June 2011 Archives


Last Sunday, more than 1,300 people from all over the Midwest packed into the Goodman Community Center in Madison, Wisconsin, "America's Dairyland," for the inaugural Mad City Vegan Fest - a daylong celebration of all things vegan.

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Guest speakers included MFA's Kenny Torrella, Mariann and Jasmin of Our Hen House, Terry Hope Romero of Viva Vegan, and more. Festival-goers ate up delicious vegan treats from Ste Martaen, Upton's Naturals, Dandelion Food Cart, and Green Owl Café - just to name a few.

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At the Mercy For Animals booth, volunteers distributed hundreds of pieces of pro-vegan literature detailing the many benefits of plant-based living and informed attendees about MFA's groundbreaking undercover investigations.

The success of the Mad City Vegan Fest is living proof that from small cities to major metropolitan areas, veganism has gone mainstream.

Click here to see upcoming MFA events you can be a part of.

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inside-the-meat-lab_1.jpgAccording to a recent article in the Guardian titled "Artificial Meat Could Slice Emissions, Say Scientists," researchers from Oxford and Amsterdam Universities have calculated that lab-grown meat would reduce deadly greenhouse gases by up to 96 percent, use 7 to 45 percent less energy and require only 1 percent as much land and 4 percent as much water as conventional animal agriculture.

"[O]ur research shows that cultured meat could be part of the solution to feeding the world's growing population and at the same time cutting emissions and saving both energy and water. Simply put, cultured meat is potentially a much more efficient and environmentally friendly way of putting meat on the table," says Oxford University researcher Hanna Tuomisto.

While lab-grown meat might seem like science fiction, scientists believe it could be commercially available within five years. Luckily, we don't have to wait years to start reducing our impact on the planet and ending our support of the cruel factory farming industry. With great-tasting meat alternatives like Gardein, Tofurky, Field Roast and more, people can easily find the tastes and textures they love without all the saturated fat, cholesterol or cruelty associated with animal flesh.

Visit ChooseVeg.com to learn more.

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2009-0507-Veggie-Grill-Food-013-2.jpgAccording to this week's issue of Nation's Restaurant News, the leading news source for the $300 billion-plus foodservice industry, more and more restaurateurs are responding to the growing popularity of plant-based eating by expanding their selections of vegetarian fare. The cover story, titled "Meatless Menus," highlights the explosion of popular vegan, vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurants across the country.

In an interview, Veggie Grill CEO Greg Dollarhyde said, "It's all about food that I'm going to feel good about eating later - and food that is good for the planet." With mouthwatering vegetarian entrées, such as crispy fried "chicken" sandwiches and vegan "carne" asada, it's no surprise that in 2010 the Veggie Grill saw a 13% increase in same-store sales. And it's not all from vegetarians. Dollarhyde estimates that about 90% of Veggie Grill's customers are meat-eaters, who are looking to reduce their meat, egg, and dairy consumption.

Veggie Grill is not alone in successfully marketing vegetarian food to the masses. Daniel Dolan, chairman and chief executive of Native Foods, says his all-vegan restaurant generated double-digit sale increases in 2010, while Real Food Daily and Maoz Vegetarian have also seen dramatic sale increases in the last few years. All of these restaurant chains have plans to expand in the near future.

Restaurants are not the only ones cashing in on the growing demand for vegetarian fare - foodservice giant Sodexo, which serves more than 10 million meals a day, has introduced "Meatless Monday" in over 2,000 hospital, government and corporate cafeterias, and plans to expand the program to college cafeterias this fall.

Clearly, more and more consumers are choosing vegetarian foods over meat, dairy and eggs, and the foodservice industry is responding to meet the growing demand - which in turn makes vegetarian fare more accessible and vegetarian living easier.

Looking to explore great vegetarian dining in your area? MFA's VegGuide.org offers thousands of listings for veg-friendly restaurants, cafes and grocers around the world.

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antibiotics.jpgIn an important column in The New York Times called When Food Kills, renowned journalist Nicholas Kristof sounds an alarm about the routine overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. According to the Food and Drug Administration, 80 percent of antibiotics in the United States are used to promote rapid growth in farmed animals rather than to treat illnesses in humans. 

In fact, the state of North Carolina alone uses more antibiotics for livestock than the entire United States uses for humans - creating a breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant pathogens that threaten human health worldwide.

According to Centers for Disease Control, nearly twice as many people die annually from tainted meat than died in the attacks of September 11, 2001. Making a powerful comparison, Kristof points out that "while the terrorist attacks of 2001 led us to transform the way we approach national security, the deaths of almost twice as many people annually have still not generated basic food-safety initiatives." He blames agribusiness lobbying for this Congressional inaction and urges reform to ban antibiotic usage on farms.

One of the few legislators willing to take a stand on this issue, Representative Louise Slaughter, argues that "these statistics tell the tale of an industry that is rampantly misusing antibiotics in an attempt to cover up filthy, unsanitary living conditions among animals. As they feed antibiotics to animals to keep them healthy, they are making our families sicker by spreading these deadly strains of bacteria."

For more information and helpful tips on how to withdraw your financial support for this practice that hurts humans, animals, as well as the environment, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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time5512524303_6c42477d3b.jpgIn a powerful piece titled "A Legal Assault on Animal-Abuse Whistle-Blowers?," Time.com reporter Alexandra Silver outlines the current attempts by the Ag Industry and pro-factory farm legislators in some states to make criminals out of those who would expose cruelty to farmed animals.

The article points out the glaring bias in the bills targeting those who expose animal abuse by comparing the proposed $1,000 fine and year in jail attached to the New York anti-whistleblower bill and the mere $555 fine and order not to have contact with animals for a year imposed upon Phil Niles, the man who was found guilty of cruelty to animals following an undercover investigation by Mercy For Animals at Willet Dairy in New York.

"In other words, someone who strikes a cow on the head, in clear violation of animal-cruelty laws, could receive a lighter punishment than someone who points a camera at the abuser," the author notes.

According to the article, Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann, who prosecuted Phil Niles and calls the anti-whistleblower bills "ludicrous," says that without the undercover video footage from Mercy For Animals, he would not have had a case. Without video evidence, Phil Niles would never have been brought to justice.

Due in part to vocal opposition from free speech and animal welfare advocates, and the failure of similar bills in Florida and Minnesota, the New York bill isn't expected to pass. The anti-whistleblower bill in Iowa, however, remains a threat to farmed animals and those who selflessly work to protect them.

The silver lining is that these misguided attempts to silence whistleblowers and protect animal abusers have generated a lot of mainstream media attention to the cruelty endured by animals raised for food and our moral obligation to protect them from abuse.

People have a right to know where their food comes from and farmed animals have a right to have their stories told. Video footage is the most powerful tool the animal rights movement has to expose the plight of farmed animals. What will you do to expose the truth? Here are some ideas to get you started.

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After reaching millions of people in more than 40 cities across the country with a powerful message of compassion, MFA's popular Farm to Fridge Tour has completed its ambitious mission.

During the 3-month, 12,000-mile road tour, MFA's specially modified truck, equipped with 80" video screens that aired graphic undercover factory farming footage, created a high-impact spectacle at busy college campuses, shopping centers, sporting events and other public places around the nation. The Farm to Fridge Tour undoubtedly raised great awareness of the plights of animals raised and killed for food in the United States.

FarmtoFridgeTourTruckDemo.JPGFarmtoFridgeTourDemo1.JPGIn city after city, from New York City to Los Angeles, New Orleans to Bozeman, the tour garnered tons of attention, including great mainstream media coverage, as local MFA volunteers alerted consumers to common agricultural practices that, while deemed legal in most states, shock and horrify most Americans. Volunteers also distributed colorful Vegetarian Starter Kits designed to help caring people make the switch to a cruelty-free lifestyle.

FarmtoFridgeTourNYCCrowd.JPGPhil Letten, the energetic coordinator who oversaw the tour from inception to completion, says of the experience, "This tour has made me very optimistic about the future. After speaking with people all over the country, I have come to realize that almost everyone cares about animals and does not want to cause them suffering. People really are going vegan in droves."



Everyone at Mercy For Animals extends their deepest and sincerest gratitude to the hundreds of dedicated and thoughtful activists who made this historic Tour a reality. Because of your efforts, countless lives have been changes and spared.

FarmtoFridgeTourNoraPhilTruck.JPG While the tour may be over, at least for now, there are still plenty of creative ways to share Farm to Fridge with the world. Whether it is posting the video on Facebook, including a link to the video in your email signature, donating a copy to your local library, or hosting a Paid-Per-View on your college campus, you can help keep the Farm to Fridge Tour going in your community.

Click here for more tips on using the power of video to open hearts and change minds about animals.

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A new anti-meat billboard, supported by members of the local group Central Coast Vegetarian Network and backed by Mercy For Animals, is giving San Luis Obispo, California drivers some serious food for thought. The provocative ad, located on US 101, facing north about 1 mile from Monterey St., features an adorable puppy and a lovable piglet sitting side-by-side and asks, "Why love one but eat the other?" Motorists are encouraged to "Choose Vegetarian" and visit CCVegNet.com for additional information.

The campaign aims to spark debate over why we call some animals pets, and others dinner.

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 Far from receiving the kindness and respect afforded to most dogs and cats, the billions of cows, pigs, and chickens raised and killed for meat in America lead lives filled with misery. The green pastures and idyllic barnyard scenes of years past are now distant memories. On today's factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy, windowless sheds, wire cages, gestation crates and other cruel confinement systems. These animals will never root in the soil, build nests or do anything that is natural to them. They won't even feel the sun on their backs or breathe fresh air until the day they are loaded onto trucks bound for slaughter.

Animals on factory farms have little to no legal protection. Cruelty that would be illegal if it were inflicted on dogs or cats, such as neglect, mutilation, transport through all weather extremes, and gruesome and violent slaughter, is commonplace in animal agribusiness. Yet farmed animals are no less intelligent or capable of feeling pain than are the dogs and cats we cherish as companion

MFA has run similar pro-vegetarian billboard and transit ad campaigns nationwide. To make a tax-deductible donation to support future ads, click here.

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crippledBroiler2.jpgAccording to a recent article in the Washington Post, Alpharma, a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc., has suspended sales of an arsenic-based drug widely used to promote unnaturally rapid growth in chickens. Along with genetic manipulation and selective breeding, factory farmers use drugs like Roxarsone to cause chickens to grow so large, so quickly, that they collapse under their own weight. In fact, according to a study conducted by the University of Bristol, 26% of chickens raised for meat are severely crippled and 90% are unable to walk normally.

The recall of Roxarsone is in response to a Federal Drug Administration study linking the drug, used in animal feed, to poisonous arsenic found in chicken meat. Arsenic contamination from the poultry industry has also resulted in serious environmental problems, as the toxic chemical seeps into rivers and groundwater supplies. A Food & Water Watch test found wells near Chesapeake Bay farmland to contain levels of arsenic 13 times greater than Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Roxarsone is just one of the many means by which industrial farming harms animals, humans, and the environment. For more information, please visit ChooseVeg.com.

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tropicalfish611.jpgMore and more scientists around the world are saying that fish are not only capable of feeling pain but have an awareness of it, are capable of suffering, and are even able to feel pleasure in ways similar to dogs, cats and other animals. Sadly, scientists are also saying that, at the current rate of over-fishing, fish may not be the only ones hurting.

According to a recent article in the Guardian titled "Information is Beautiful: Plenty More Fish In The Sea?," shocking evidence lingering deep within the oceans reveals a growing decline in fish populations caused by decades of unsustainable, industrialized fishing operations. The impact on future generations will be devastating, if the oceans' ecosystems become unbalanced and the overall ecological unity of the oceans collapses.

The dangerous decline in fish populations is just another reminder of how our dietary choices have a profound impact on animals and our environment. Knowing that fish are just as capable of feeling pain as other animals and with so many plant-based protein options available, there is no reason to continue to deplete our oceans of valuable sea life. The best way to show your support for a healthy ecosystem and help put an end to needless animal cruelty is by choosing healthy, plant-based alternatives to meat (including fish), dairy and eggs.

Visit ChooseVeg.com for delicious recipes and helpful tips on transitioning to a sustainable vegan diet.

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theultimateveganguidecover.jpgA vegan for over twenty years, Erik Marcus, author and publisher of Vegan.com, has helped thousands of individuals transition to a cruelty-free diet. And now, with his newly updated version of The Ultimate Vegan Guide, many more will have the opportunity to learn the basics of vegan living, including cooking, nutrition, food shopping, travel, dining out, and much more. Marcus' book provides straightforward advice that will enable anyone to make lasting change.  

In order to bring this material to as many new readers as possible, Marcus has obliterated his royalties and is offering The Ultimate Vegan Guide for just 99 cents on Kindle. Sharing this amazing deal through email, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets can amount to some powerful advocacy. Not only will it benefit your friends and family, but continued strong sales of The Ultimate Vegan Guide will expose the book to thousands of omnivores doing general searches for diet and health books. And remember that you don't need a Kindle to take advantage of this 99 cent deal. Free Kindle reader apps are available for Mac, Windows, iPads, iPhones, and Android.

Transitioning to a vegan lifestyle is easy when you know the basics, and the Ultimate Vegan Guide tells you everything you need to know. Use Facebook, Twitter, and email to share this special 99-cent price widely, and spare thousands of animals a lifetime of suffering.

Blog post written by Carrie LeBlanc, Director of Go Vegan USA.

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The Ohio Department of Agriculture has put a stop to plans by Hi-Q Egg Products to build a controversial 6-million-hen capacity battery-cage egg factory farm in Central Ohio. According to an article in Farm and Dairy, the company was denied the necessary permit for failing to provide a report on the impact the massive factory farm would have on the surrounding community.

4017696455_dd94790c1e_z.jpgThe Hi-Q egg factory farm would have reportedly produced at least 74,000 tons of chicken manure and 23 million gallons of manure-contaminated egg-wash water each year, creating an environmental and public food safety risk. Additionally, the facility would have forced millions of hens to endure lives of misery inside small, barren, wire battery cages stacked in rows inside filthy windowless sheds.

In late 2010, dozens of Mercy For Animals members from across Ohio converged at a hearing held at the Ohio Department of Agriculture to protest construction of the facility. Although not permitted to make a public comment, the group boldly wore "Ohioans Against Hi-Q Egg Farm" t-shirts to stage a silent "stand-in" inside the public hearing, urging the state to deny the factory farm permits needed to begin construction.

nohiqeggfarm2.jpgIn an agreement reached last year by then Governor Ted Strickland and leaders of both the animal protection and farming communities, the former Governor and Ohio Farm Bureau pledged to work to ensure that operating permits for Hi-Q were not granted. Given growing consumer and legislative concern for the welfare of farmed animals, the decision to prohibit Hi-Q from building a new facility in Ohio sends a clear message that egg factory farms are bad for animals, the environment and neighboring communities.

While this is a huge victory, there is still much work to be done. One of the best actions consumers can take to prevent animal cruelty and reduce the environmental and human health toll posed by factory farms is to adopt a healthy and compassionate vegan diet. Visit ChooseVeg.com to learn more.

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Real-Food-Daily.jpgPending City Hall approval, one of the Los Angeles area's most popular vegan and 100% organic restaurants, Real Food Daily, will open its third location in Terminal 4 at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), one of the world's busiest airports.

From hearty sandwiches and fresh salads to decadent baked goods, this restaurant will be a welcome addition for travelers looking for healthy and humane fare.

Can't jetset to LAX to celebrate the opening of the next Real Food Daily? Get your veg-food fix at VegGuide.org, an international listing of vegan-friendly restaurants and grocers.

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For every person who adopts a vegetarian lifestyle, more than 50 animals per year are spared a lifetime of misery. While individual vegetarians save lives every time they sit down to eat, we can exponentially increase the number of animals we help by encouraging others to try vegetarian living too.

That's the philosophy and the inspiration behind MFA's powerful new "Ask Me Why I'm Vegetarian" T-Shirt Challenge - designed to spark crucial discussions about the ways animals raised for food are treated and our moral obligation to alleviate needless suffering. 

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Printed on American Apparel, these cute, fun and lighthearted T's feature a lovable cow with the phrase "Ask Me Why I'm Vegetarian" and the MFA logo on the back. Combined with MFA's colorful new 25 Reasons to Try Vegetarian brochures, animal advocates now have the tools to start saving countless lives.

Here's how it works:

1. Order a men's or women's cut "Ask Me Why I'm Vegetarian" t-shirt.
2. Order a packet of 25 Reasons to Try Vegetarian brochures.
3. Wear your new "Ask Me Why I'm Vegetarian" t-shirt with pride.
4. When someone asks about your shirt, smile and give them a 25 Reasons brochure from the packet you've been keeping in your purse or backpack.
5. Have a friendly discussion about the reasons you went vegetarian.
6. Pat yourself on the back. You've just inspired someone to move toward a compassionate diet.
7. Wash your shirt.
8. Reorder literature.
9. Repeat.

That's it! By starting conversations and planting seeds of compassion, you'll be helping to spare countless animals unimaginable suffering. Simple. Effective. Vital.

Click here to order an "Ask Me Why I'm Vegetarian" t-shirt for $25. Your tshirt order will include a free 10-pack of 25 Reasons brochures.

Click here to order more 25 Reasons brochures.

Click here for a note about our "vegetarian" terminology usage.

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Hundreds of leading health, environmental and animal protection advocates, compassionate celebrities, and other high-profile, socially conscious individuals gathered at the beautiful home of James Costa in the Hollywood Hills on Saturday for MFA's unforgettable Honoring Hidden Heroes event to honor and support the brave undercover investigators who risk their safety to expose and end cruelty to farmed animals. Adding to the excitement, two investigators were on hand to tell their touching firsthand accounts of working on the frontlines.

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During the special evening, MFA's Executive Director Nathan Runkle presented Bob Barker, the Emmy Award-winning host of The Price is Right, with the 2011 Compassionate Leadership Award for his more than 30 years of groundbreaking activism on behalf of animals and his generous support of MFA's investigative efforts. Pledging to continue to support MFA's vital work on behalf of farmed animals, Mr. Barker presented MFA with a check for $250,000.

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This hugely successful event was sponsored by Cheri and Naren Shankar, VegNews and Ozimo, and featured an open bar with mixed drinks and organic wine donated by Frey Vineyards, vegan hors d'oeuvres and desserts from Veganics and Chef AJ's Healthy Kitchen, and a silent auction with incredible items generously donated by Real Food Daily, Vaute Couture, John Bartlett and many other compassionate companies and individuals! Of course, the entire event would not have been possible without the inspiring efforts of the event Host Committee and a team of dedicated local volunteers.

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Thank you to everyone who attended this event to help strengthen and expand MFA's vital work on behalf of farmed animals. If you weren't able to attend the event but would like to support our work, please consider making a tax-deductible donation online.

Click here to view more photographs from the inspiring event.

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CNN's Jane Velez-Mitchell recently featured an interview with MFA's Executive Director Nathan Runkle about the rescue of four calves from the E6 Cattle Company in Texas.


An MFA undercover investigation into E6 revealed workers bashing in the skulls of calves with pickaxes and hammers, dragging them by their ears, throwing them, and neglecting them to die from illness and injury without veterinary care.

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The lucky survivors, who have been named Roy, Ari, Bob and Mercy, are now out of harm's way and recovering at The Gentle Barn farmed animal sanctuary in California. The Gentle Barn is currently home to 130 animals, all rescued from severe abuse, neglect or slaughter.

Once animals have been rehabilitated, they stay at the sanctuary for the rest of their lives and serve as ambassadors for change, helping to heal abused children.

Order your free Vegetarian Starter Kit or download the PDF to begin your journey toward cruelty-free living.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2011 is the previous archive.

July 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

 
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