December 2011 Archives

dreamstime9.jpgIn November, leading animal behaviorist and former professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado Marc Bekoff, Ph.D. asked Psychology Today readers to ditch the traditional turkey dinner in favor of a cruelty-free Thanksgiving. Now, Dr. Bekoff has penned another powerful appeal urging Americans to treat all farmed animals with respect and compassion by going vegetarian.

"Cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals raised for food are sentient beings who have rich emotional lives," Dr. Bekoff explains in his new article in the Atlantic. "[Farmed animals] can feel everything from sheer joy to deep grief. They can also suffer enduring pain and misery," he adds.

Scientific evidence teaches us that cows and chickens are intelligent, social, and emotional beings who care about their lives. As Dr. Bekoff notes, cows form close bonds with their loved ones and often experience "eureka" moments when opening a difficult gate or solving another challenge. Chickens - arguably the most abused creatures on Earth - have been found to empathize with other birds who are in pain.

In the words of Dr. Bekoff, "It's easy to add more compassion to the world and to expand our compassion footprint." Each time we sit down for a meal, we're presented with an opportunity to choose kindness over cruelty. Please visit to learn more.

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fishpic2.jpgAccording to a recent article in the New York Times, researchers at Case Western Reserve University found that fish kept in small tanks become stressed and agitated, just like other animals who are kept in overcrowded or cramped conditions. The article quotes Dr. Oldfield, a biology professor at Case, who says, "If people kept dogs in these conditions, they'd be put in prison. It's something we should think about."

Although the study focuses primarily on fish kept as pets, the article notes that overcrowding has become a major problem on fish farms too, where fish raised for food are forced to live in filthy, disease-ridden pens just like chickens or pigs on factory farms. Alan Duckworth, a research scientist with the Blue Ocean Institute in Cold Spring Harbor, says that overcrowding farmed fish causes stress and "could increase the amount of disease."

While science and common sense tell us that fish, like other animals, are capable of experiencing both pleasure and pain, the commercial fishing industry completely disregards the feelings of countless fish, who are painfully hooked or netted and dragged from the water, or are forced to live in overcrowded pens before being suffocated to death or even skinned alive.

As consumers, we have the power to spare fish - and all other animals used in food production - unnecessary pain and suffering by making the compassionate choice to forgo fish, as well as other meats, dairy and eggs. Visit to learn more.

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fourchickenscolorful1.jpgAccording to a recent Daily Livestock Report, 2010 marked the fourth year in a row that meat consumption declined in the United States and the fifth decline within a six-year period. Now, a new report shows this trend is expected to continue in 2012. Although the biggest drop is expected for beef, poultry and pork consumption are also expected to decline dramatically. All of this despite the fact that the US population continues to grow.

While some people may be switching from beef to chicken, an action that actually causes more animals to suffer since it takes many more chickens to equal the meat from a single cow, it appears that, on average, Americans are eating less meat, including chicken, and cooking more meat-free meals.

What is responsible for this trend? Certainly the ailing economy is prompting many consumers to tighten their belts and look for less expensive vegetarian meal options. After watching the hit documentary Forks Over Knives, or hearing about how former President Bill Clinton has reversed his heart disease, many are also looking to improve their health by adopting a healthy, vegan diet. But some reports also indicate that Americans are ditching meat, dairy and eggs after learning about how animals are raised and killed for food.

Whether to help farmed animals, improve their health, or save money, Americans are slowly but surely losing their taste for meat. Replacing meat with tasty vegetarian dishes is an inexpensive and effective way of reducing suffering on factory farms and in slaughterhouses. Please visit for delicious, cruelty-free recipes and tips on transitioning to a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle.

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toughestmudder.jpgLast weekend, vegan athlete Juliana Sproles was crowned the "toughest woman on the planet" after finishing the "The World's Toughest Mudder" competition, a 24-hour, mud-filled obstacle race in below-freezing temperatures. Sproles credits diligent training and a plant-based diet for her victory.

Tough Mudder competitions are grueling endurance tests, typically 10-12 miles in length and featuring 20-30 challenging obstacles designed by the British Special Forces. The competitions test all-around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. At the end of each year, the top 5 percent of participants from previous Tough Mudder competitions are eligible to compete in the World's Toughest Mudder series final in order to "find the toughest man and woman on the planet."

Here is a small sample of what is required to win this fierce competition:


Athletes like Juliana Sproles, Patrik Baboumian, Carl Lewis, Rich Roll, Scott Jurek, and Mac Danzig are living proof that humans can thrive on plant-based diets. Ready to get fit and be "plant-strong"? Visit for important information about vegan health and hundreds of mouthwatering, cruelty-free recipes.

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RyanGoslingSmall.jpgHollywood stars are crying foul over McDonald's' inhumane treatment of egg-laying hens after an MFA undercover investigation exposed rampant cruelty to animals at one of the fast food chain's primary Egg McMuffin suppliers.

In a letter fired off today to McDonald's, Ryan Gosling, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Deschanel, Alicia Silverstone, Maria Menounos, Kristin Bauer, Ed Begley, Jr., Wendie Malick, Bryan Adams and Steve-O wrote:

On behalf of compassionate people everywhere, we implore you to help end the needless suffering of these animals by adopting strict and meaningful animal welfare policies worldwide, including the commitment to prohibit the purchase of eggs produced by hens who spend their miserable lives crammed into tiny wire cages.

The appeal comes after hidden-camera video, shot at Sparboe facilities in three states revealed hens crammed in tiny wire cages, dead hens left to rot in cages with birds still laying eggs for McDonald's Egg McMuffins, and workers burning off the beaks of baby birds without painkillers. Watch the undercover video here:


The investigation - which broke on ABC's Good Morning America and 20/20 - prompted McDonald's to cut ties with the factory farm. However, the company has failed to implement any meaningful animal welfare policies to actually address the main issue of concern: the inherently cruel practice of confining hens in tiny wire cages for their entire lives.

The letter points out:

While McDonald's has already established a 100% cage-free purchasing policy in Europe, your U.S. restaurants continue to support egg factory farms that confine hens for most of their lives in cages so small they can't even spread their wings. These poor birds never get to walk, run, perch, roost, dustbathe, build nests, see the sun, breathe fresh air, or do nearly anything that comes naturally to them. Common sense tells us that animals with legs and wings should be given the basic freedom to move.

Sadly, there is not a single federal law to protect hens from cruelty from the time they hatch to the time they are killed. While McDonald's brags about the "billions and billions served," millions of hens exploited for your restaurants are being grossly underserved. In fact, these animals are being abused in ways that could land your egg suppliers in jail, if dogs or cats were the victims.

The letter concludes:

It's a good time for some great changes at McDonald's. As the largest egg buyer in the entire country, McDonald's has the power -- and the moral responsibility -- to ensure that the eggs in its Egg McMuffins don't come from rotten egg suppliers.

Instead of merely sidestepping the issue of egregious abuse at one of its primary Egg McMuffin suppliers and switching to another egg supplier with equally cruel practices, McDonald's needs to require all of its suppliers to uncage hens and finally give these animals the modest freedom to spread their wings, walk, and engage in basic natural behaviors.

Let McDonald's know that these compassionate celebrities aren't alone in condemning its cruel practices. Please click here to urge McDonald's to end its use of eggs from hens confined in battery cages.

While McDonald's has the moral obligation and purchasing power to lessen the cruelty suffered by the millions of hens who are abused and exploited to produce eggs for its restaurants, consumers also hold enormous power of their own in preventing animal abuse by adopting a compassionate vegan diet.

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OFEConfinement1.jpgOn the heels of a lawsuit against the dairy industry for killing calves in an illegal price-fixing scheme, the egg industry is now facing another, similar charge. This time the lawsuit is against the United Egg Producers, the largest egg industry trade group in the country, Cal-Maine Foods Inc., the largest egg producer, and 11 other egg producers and distributers. According to Courthouse News Services, Kellogg, Kraft and other major food companies claim the "egg cartel" conspired to increase egg exports and to kill off young chicks and egg-laying hens in order to reduce egg supply and control prices in violation of federal antitrust laws.

Sparboe Farms, the fifth-largest egg producer in the country and one of the defendants in the case, was the subject of a recent MFA undercover investigation that revealed hens crammed into filthy battery cages and dead hens left to rot alongside birds still laying eggs for human consumption. The investigation also documented workers burning off the beaks of chicks without painkillers, sadistically and maliciously torturing animals, and throwing live birds into plastic bags and leaving them to suffocate.


Sadly, abusing animals and consumers is just business as usual for the egg industry. The good news is that simply leaving eggs off your plate and replacing them with cruelty-free vegan alternatives is a powerful way to protect yourself and animals from being cheated by the rotten egg industry.

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MFA volunteers in New York City exposed thousands of festival-goers at the inaugural Green Holiday Festival to the plights of farmed animals, and encouraged them to make a switch to a healthy and compassionate plant-based lifestyle.

ppvholiday1.jpgThroughout the course of the festival, people packed MFA's "Paid-Per-View" station to earn a dollar by watching a 4-minute segment of the eye-opening documentary Farm to Fridge. Horrified by how farmed animals are treated, many people pledged to choose vegetarian this holiday season, some even pledging never to eat animals again.

ppvholiday2.jpgVolunteers also distributed stacks of pro-vegetarian MFA information to eco-friendly crowds eager to learn more about the environmental, ethical, and health benefits of plant-based eating. With the holidays just around the corner, this is the perfect time to inspire loved ones to extend their kindness and compassion to all living beings.

ppvholiday4.jpgInspired to set up your own holiday screening of Farm to Fridge? Check out our easy step-by-step instructions on how to set up a Paid-Per-View event, receive funding and obtain copies of Farm to Fridge and MFA's Vegetarian Starter Kits.

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applebite.jpgAccording to a study published in Stroke magazine by the National Stroke Association, women who eat a diet rich with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have a 17 percent reduced risk of stroke, even if they have a history of cardiovascular diseases. The study highlights the impact of antioxidants and their role in helping stop free radicals, which have been linked to a number of health concerns, including heart disease and stroke.

This new study comes on the heels of a recent study showing that fruits and vegetables dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease, and another study showing that vegetarian diets help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes, stroke and heart disease are among the leading causes of death in the United States, together killing nearly 1 million Americans every year.

Thankfully, we can help prevent these deadly diseases, while helping to end the needless suffering of animals, by choosing healthy and humane plant-based alternatives to meat, milk and eggs. Visit for delicious vegan recipes and additional information on how to transition toward a diet that is as good for your health as it is for the animals.

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quorn3.jpgAs one of the world's leading brands of meat-free fare, Quorn Foods made a monumental move this month, after working closely with Compassion Over Killing, by creating their first 100% vegan burger.

In addition to offering the exciting new vegan burger, Quorn will also be reducing the number of eggs used in its other products. The company will use 3.5 million fewer eggs annually, meaning 14,000 egg-laying hens will be spared from extreme cruelty on factory farms.

Quorn Foods General Manager, David Wilson, says: "The team at Quorn Foods, in cooperation with Compassion Over Killing, is delighted with the results of the work to reduce egg use in our product range. In addition to using 3 million fewer eggs a year, the new launch of the Quorn 'egg-free' vegan burger has been a huge success with our customers."

We can all do our part to choose compassion over cruelty by removing eggs from our diets. Visit for free vegan recipes and tips on egg-free living.

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f2freaction.jpgMFA's powerful new documentary Farm to Fridge is sparing animal lives, and preventing cruelty, by inspiring countless people to reduce or eliminate their consumption of meat, milk and eggs. Offering viewers an inside look into modern farms, slaughterhouses, and hatcheries, Farm to Fridge has amassed millions of online views and has inspired a growing list of positive reactions:

  • "Wow. This made me become vegan. Seriously."
  • "I'm a vegan after watching that video."
  • "I've just told them [my children] we are finished eating meat or fish from now on ..."
  • "Oh my God ... I don't think I'm eating turkey this Thanksgiving."

Some Farm to Fridge viewers are taking it a step further by videotaping their reactions and sharing them with the world. One viewer could not stop crying after bearing witness to the cruel realities faced by animals on factory farms and was moved to adopt a vegan diet, and another young viewer exclaimed it was the reason he transitioned to a vegetarian diet.

Watch some more reactions to Farm to Fridge below:

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? Click here for some ideas to get you started.

Help us continue to open hearts and minds and save animals. Donate to MFA to help promote advertisements of Farm to Fridge, such as online ads, billboards and TV commercials.

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eatkind1.jpgStill shopping for those last minute holiday gifts? Whether you are a chronic procrastinator or you just haven't found the perfect gift for that special someone, Mercy For Animals' Merchandise Store offers an assortment of compassionate holiday gift ideas for anyone who cares about animals.

Help loved ones stay current on fashion trends with MFA's logo-imprinted Messenger Bag or "Eat Kind, Choose Vegetarian" orange tote, featuring an adorable pig holding a sign pleading for "Mercy For Animals."

Friends and family can sport MFA's new "Ask Me Why I'm Vegetarian" tee, in either fuchsia or heather lake blue, to help start conversations about the benefits of a healthy and humane vegetarian diet. Or make an extra-bold statement with our wildly popular pro-vegetarian hipster tee, featuring the etchings of the human rib cage, a dotted line illustrating the stomach, and a swallowed baby chick-with-attitude declaring "Not Cool" on the front and "Go Vegetarian" on the back. 

combo1.jpgGive the gift of compassion with a gift membership to Mercy For Animals. With a donation of $15 or more, not only will you spare animals from suffering and violence, but your nearest and dearest will also receive a membership packet loaded with information on MFA's vital work, a free copy of our eye-opening documentary, Farm to Fridge, and a subscription to our semi-annual magazine, Compassionate Living.

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NYC Intern.jpgThat's right, folks! In addition to the free intern housing in Chicago and Dallas, housing is now available for MFA interns in Manhattan - just a short distance away from MFA's New York Advocacy Center.

Interning with MFA is a great way to become active in the national animal protection movement and be a voice for farmed animals. Opportunities abound to get involved in national and local projects, to collaborate with other activists on campaigns, and for training in animal protection work.

As an intern, you will use your skills and talents for a diverse group of projects in a variety of departments. Activities range from:

  • Organizing events, such as fundraisers, video screenings, and speaker presentations 
  • Research and writing projects
  • And more!

Additionally, full-time interns receive a weekly stipend and a public transportation card.
Interns are given a level of responsibility that requires reliability, dedication and hard work. As an intern, you will be an integral part of MFA and will be considered part of the staff. In addition, you will learn important advocacy skills and meet like-minded people, all while spreading compassion for animals!

Inspired? Click here to learn more about MFA's Internship Program and apply today for an exciting internship in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, or Columbus, OH.

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veggroup2.jpgFrom college cafeterias to celebrity kitchens, enthusiasm for cruelty-free cuisine has never been greater - prompting more and more restaurateurs and major foodservice companies to expand their vegetarian meal offerings. According to industry reports, per capita meat consumption in the United States has been steadily declining for the past six years and can be at least partially credited to continued media exposure of animal welfare issues.

Now, the results of a national poll offer further proof that plant-based eating is going mainstream. Commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group earlier this year, a Harris Interactive poll has revealed that about one third of Americans eat vegetarian fare a significant amount of the time and about 7.5 million people in the United States are vegan.  

Whether you're interested in plant-based eating out of concern for animals, the environment, or your health, you're certainly in good company. Be sure to check out for many delicious recipes and helpful tips on transitioning to a healthy and humane way of living.

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With the winter holidays just around the corner, what better way to show the vegans in your life that you love them than with this handmade, limited edition, sterling silver "VEGAN" necklace by Michelle Rubin. This stunning and stylish necklace is a perfect way to show support for animal rights and makes a wonderful gift for your friend, your partner, or yourself!

vegannecklace2.jpgThis beautiful necklace is only available until December 19. To be sure you have plenty of time to get the necklace to your loved ones before the holidays, don't delay - order yours today!

The sterling silver necklace has "VEGAN" hand-stamped on a 9/16" pendant, which hangs with a hematite stone on a 16" chain. Click here to order a necklace for that special someone today.

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Kenny humane ed.jpgLast week, Kenny Torrella, Mercy For Animals' Chicago Campaign Coordinator, gave a total of 16 humane education presentations to more than 200 students in a Chicago public high school on the health, environmental and ethical concerns surrounding factory farms and slaughterhouses.

Students and staff alike were shocked to learn that animals on factory farms are crammed into cages so small they cannot turn around or engage in natural behaviors, mutilated without any painkillers, and violently slaughtered. After learning that animal agriculture is also one of the greatest contributors to global warming and environmental devastation, and that countless people have prevented, treated, or even reversed serious, life-threatening illnesses through plant-based eating, many students were eager to begin making the switch to a vegan diet.

MFA's Humane Education program is raising awareness among our youth and giving them the information and resources they need to make more compassionate choices every time they sit down to eat - for animals, the planet, and their health.

If you would like to invite an MFA speaker into your classroom or community, click here to fill out a speaker request form.

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CNN.jpgOn her Headline News Network show, Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell, CNN's Jane Velez-Mitchell interviewed MFA's Executive Director Nathan Runkle about the recent three-state investigation into McDonald's' primary Egg McMuffin supplier - Sparboe Farms. McDonald's, Target and several other major retailers fired Sparboe as an egg supplier following the release of the investigation, but MFA is calling on McDonald's not to simply switch to another factory farm with equally cruel practices, but to require all of its suppliers to implement meaningful animal welfare policies and to end their use of battery cages - perhaps the cruelest form of institutionalized animal abuse in existence.


Sadly, cruelty to animals runs rampant on factory farms and the industry knows it. In an effort to minimize costs and maximize profits, farmed animals are treated as disposable commodities rather than sentient beings, who feel pain and rightly deserve protection from abuse.

Click here to urge McDonald's to stop buying eggs from hens trapped in battery cages. As a leader in the foodservice industry, McDonald's has a responsibility to step up to the plate and keep eggs from battery-caged hens off their menus.

While McDonald's has the moral obligation and purchasing power to lessen the cruelty suffered by the millions of hens who are abused and exploited to produce eggs for its restaurants, consumers also hold enormous power of their own in preventing animal abuse by adopting a compassionate vegan diet.

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HolidaydayCardCoverSitePU.jpgThis year, give the gift of peace and compassion for the holidays! Featuring an adorable calf standing alongside his watchful mother, MFA's newly released seasonal card is the perfect way to spread holiday cheer to friends and family.

On the back of each card, loved ones will find information on how to make a tax-deductible contribution to help MFA's vital, lifesaving work. The inside is blank for you to write your own personal message.

The standard packet is only $10 and includes 12 cards and white envelopes. Now you can give family and friends the season's greetings while spreading the message of peace for all! Order yours today!

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Screenshot3.jpgIn the wake of a shocking undercover cruelty investigation that prompted McDonald's, Target, Sam's Club and other major retailers to drop Sparboe Farms as an egg supplier, Mercy For Animals has filed an official complaint against the company for lying to its customers about the way egg-laying hens and baby chicks are treated at its facilities.

The complaint, submitted to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday, details the false statements issued through Sparboe's websites and the contradictory evidence of routine animal abuse documented by MFA and statements by animal welfare experts demonstrating the company's blatant disregard for the health and well-being of millions of birds.

On Sparboe's website, the company falsely claims to "ensure" hens are provided with "Five Essential Freedoms":

1.) Freedom from hunger and thirst - MFA's investigation clearly shows workers regularly tossing sick or injured chicks into trash bags to slowly suffocate or starve to death and hens trapped in cage wire unable to access food or water
2.) Freedom from discomfort - as the company routinely burns the beaks off of baby birds without any painkillers, causing acute and chronic pain and discomfort
3.) Freedom from pain, injury or disease - yet decomposing carcasses of sick or injured birds are left for weeks in cages with live hens still laying eggs for human consumption
4.) Freedom to express normal behavior - while all of its hens are crammed into cages so tightly they are unable to freely move or stretch their wings, let alone engage in basic natural behaviors, such as walking, running, exercising, nesting, dust-bathing, perching, foraging, or roosting
5.) Freedom from fear and distress - even as hidden-camera footage shows workers swinging chickens around with wires attached to their legs and attempting to stuff terrified birds into each other's pockets as a prank.
Watch the undercover investigation for yourself and see if Sparboe's claims match up with reality:

Don't buy the lie. As MFA works to expose the cruelty and deception of Sparboe and other factory farm giants, consumers still hold the greatest power of all to prevent needless suffering of animals by simply removing eggs from their diets and replacing them with cruelty-free vegan alternatives.

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About this Archive

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

November 2011 is the previous archive.

January 2012 is the next archive.

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

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