January 2012 Archives

January 30, 2012

Ag-Gag Bill Flops in Florida

conklin1.jpgTime and again, MFA's undercover investigations at factory farms and slaughterhouses nationwide have revealed abuses that shock and horrify most Americans - which is why the corporate animal agriculture industry is fighting so hard to keep the suffering of farmed animals hidden behind closed doors. Thankfully, the latest attempts by factory farmers to conceal animal abuse have fizzled in Florida.

Following two public hearings and facing intense public outrage from caring consumers who contacted their state representatives, Florida legislators decided to remove the controversial "Ag-gag" provision from the larger "agriculture omnibus bill" that would have punished those who bravely expose animal abuse, environmental violations, and other problems on factory farms.

While it's a temporary relief that this dangerous provision was removed from the bill, it is more important than ever for animal advocates to remain vigilant to ensure that shady factory farm interests aren't able to sneak this provision into another bill at the last minute. It's also important to remember that similar whistleblower-suppression legislation is still pending in New York, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska.

What exactly are these pro-factory farm legislators trying to hide?


Video footage is the most powerful tool the animal rights movement has to raise awareness about the plights of farmed animals. Click here to learn more about how you can help expose the truth that factory farmers are working so desperately to hide.

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The popular Artivist Film Festival recently concluded its two-night affair at New York City's Columbia University with three films focusing on raising awareness about the plights of animals and the many benefits of transitioning to a healthy vegan lifestyle. This year's festival included the beautiful short film Dancing with Spinner Dolphins, the award-winning documentary Vegucated, and Mercy For Animals' powerful expose Farm to Fridge.

AFF3.jpgFounded in 2003, the Artivist Film Festival is dedicated to raising awareness for international human rights, children's advocacy, environmental preservation, and the humane treatment of animals through international narrative and documentary films. This year, while watching Farm to Fridge, more than 300 festival-goers were taken on an unforgettable journey behind the closed doors of the nation's largest industrial poultry, pig, dairy, and fish farms, hatcheries, and slaughter plants.

AFF2.jpgA panel of speakers with leaders in the animal protection movement, including MFA's Director of Operations Matt Rice, followed the film screenings and gave everyone a chance to ask questions and learn more about how they could get involved to help end the needless suffering of animals.

FarmToFridge34.jpgVideo footage is the most powerful tool the animal rights movement has to expose the plight of farmed animals. So what will you do to expose the truth? Click here for some ideas to get you started.

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daniela4.jpgEver wonder what it would be like to intern with Mercy For Animals? We interviewed Daniela Castillo, who recently completed an internship at MFA's Dallas office, and asked her to give us the scoop.

A veterinarian with a master's degree in wildlife conservation, Daniela has devoted her life to helping animals. Daniela grew up in southern Mexico, but now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where her husband is a graduate student at Florida State University. While she is passionate about many animal issues, helping to raise awareness about the plights of animals on factory farms is where she has chosen to focus her efforts.

What motivated you to intern for MFA?
While I was studying for my master's, I decided that I wanted to work for animals rights, and many of my class papers were about animal rights. I learned about Mercy For Animals during this research. I feel the best way to help the most animals is to help people learn about becoming vegetarian, and so I wanted to learn from MFA how to be an activist and how to do outreach. Before my internship, I had no idea where to start. I also wanted to do an internship as a way to hopefully get a job in the future with an organization like MFA.

What inspired you to go vegetarian?
I became pesco-vegetarian when I was 15. As a child, I felt very close to animals and I knew I wanted to do something to help them. During my studies in veterinary school in Mexico, I saw very closely the cruelty to farmed animals, including the use of hormones and antibiotics and mutilations, and I felt more strongly about my vegetarianism and tried to influence my classmates.

A few years ago, when I was getting my master's degree in wildlife conservation, a classmate shared a story about how turtles, dolphins and sharks were killed as by-catch in the tuna industry. I went online and looked it up and saw it was true. By that time I was also reading about pain in sea animals, so I stopped eating all seafood after that. And about a year ago, I became vegan so that I could be 100% consistent with what I'm saying and doing for animals.

How do you feel your internship has helped you as an activist?
It helped me a lot, and now I really feel like an activist! Before the internship, I didn't know other activists in my area and had never leafleted before, and I was nervous to go leafleting by myself. I really feel like an activist now after this internship. I appreciated that I was trusted with a lot of responsibility. Before MFA, I was vegan and was just trying to talk to people in my life, but it was really hard for me to talk to people I didn't know. Now it's a lot easier. I don't feel alone anymore.

What did you think of Dallas?
I loved my whole month in Dallas so much I cannot describe it. I loved that Nora (MFA's Dallas campaign coordinator) introduced me to so many local activists, who are such great people. They made me feel like I was in a new home. I made very good friends and activist soul mates. I never imagined having a community like that. I really enjoyed the housing. I did not imagine it was going to be so nice. It was nice to wake up in a really nice place each day.

When I was doing establishment outreach and leafleting, the people there were very open and nice. And there are great vegan restaurants there. Spiral Diner and Veggie Garden are the best restaurants I've ever gone to. I found it very easy and fun to eat vegan in Dallas.

Do you have any advice for animal advocates?
This MFA internship is a really, really good opportunity if you want to make a change for animal rights. It really fulfilled my expectations. My only suggestion is to go for a longer time than the minimum of a month. I wish I had stayed longer, as I know I could have learned a lot more. Dallas is the perfect place to intern because the weather is better, the people are nice, the MFA volunteers in Dallas are amazing, and the Texas coordinator rocks! I really loved my time there. And strongly recommend it.

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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downer.jpgStriking a major blow to animal welfare and food safety, the Supreme Court recently overruled a California law requiring the humane euthanasia of downed livestock - animals who are too sick or injured to walk to the slaughterhouse kill floor. The decision effectively strips the state of its authority to prevent the needless suffering of sick animals or to ensure the safety of the human food supply.

The California state law went into effect in 2009, after an undercover investigation showed cows who were unable to walk off of the transport truck being prodded, bulldozed, and dragged to the slaughterhouse floor.

See the undercover investigation that led to the California law here:


This is a deeply troubling decision, preventing a wide range of actions by the states to protect animals and consumers from reckless practices by the meat industry, including the mishandling and slaughter of animals too sick or injured to walk.

The decision highlights the need for increased legal protections for farmed animals on a federal level. It is certain that the powerful factory farming lobby is hard at work undermining laws intended to prevent cruelty to animals - making it even more vital that animal advocates continue to pressure their elected officials, distribute undercover videos of factory farms, hatcheries and slaughterhouses, and expose consumers to the cruelty inherent in animal agriculture.

Now is the time to speak out! Visit MeatVideo.com and show your friends and family what the meat, dairy and egg industries desperately don't want to change.

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pigblood.jpgA slaughterhouse in Dallas, Texas, recently made headlines around the world for dumping blood from the pigs it slaughters directly into a river in a residential area. Search warrants executed at the Columbia Packing Company confirmed that the plant had been releasing the pigs' blood into the stream through an underground pipe.

In addition to potentially violating environmental protection laws, reports indicate that this slaughterhouse has also been cited by the United States Department of Agriculture for multiple animal welfare violations. This incident is just another reminder that the meat industry is incapable of self-regulation and that as long as there is profit in raising and killing animals for food there will be people willing to threaten human health, the environment and animal welfare to make a buck.

We can all take a powerful stand against the corruption of the meat, dairy and egg industries by choosing to transition to a healthy and humane vegetarian diet.

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loving-couple-eating-strawberry.jpgIf you're swayed by the notion that part of being "macho" is ferociously devouring the flesh and fluids of animals, you may want to take a step back and reconsider. According to a new video by the makers of Forks Over Knives, the revolutionary documentary film empowering consumers to take control of their lives by changing the way they eat, consumption of meat, milk and eggs has a direct correlation to decreased libido.

In this video, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Terry Mason and Kathy Freston discuss how the animal food products at the cornerstone of a typical Western diet trigger cardiovascular diseases that lead to impotence and lower sex drive. Heart disease and high blood pressure not only reduce blood flow to the heart and brain, which can result in heart attacks and strokes, they decrease blood flow throughout the body, including to the penis and clitoris. Without blood flow to these areas, erection and arousal are stunted.


Dr. Mason explains, "If you have vascular disease anywhere, you have it everywhere ... Erectile dysfunction is actually the first clinical indicator of generalized cardiovascular disease." So enhance your sex life and prevent impotence by ditching that artery-clogging burger and switching to a compassionate vegan diet.

Visit ChooseVeg.com for an array of mouthwatering, cruelty-free recipes and meal ideas.

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January 24, 2012

The Broken Egg Industry

As Americans become aware of the inherent violence and cruelty of the egg industry, many are losing their taste for eggs. In fact, according to a recent report released by the egg industry itself, per capita egg consumption in the United States has been plummeting for the last 6 years. Egg factory farms are now even losing money around Easter, which is typically the third-busiest time of the year for the industry.

egg chart.jpgWhile no one factor can explain the rotten taste the egg industry seems to be leaving in Americans' mouths, undercover investigations into egg factory farms and hatcheries across the country have certainly helped to expose millions of people to the routine horrors egg-laying hens and baby chicks are forced to endure.

Most recently, MFA's undercover investigation into McDonald's' primary Egg McMuffin supplier revealed shocking cruelty to animals, including birds crammed into filthy wire cages with less space for each bird than a standard-sized sheet of paper to live her entire miserable life, and rotted hens - decomposed beyond recognition - left in cages with hens still laying eggs for human consumption. See for yourself how the majority of egg-laying hens are treated in this country:


There has never been a better time to replace the eggs in our diets with healthy and humane vegan alternatives. Visit ChooseVeg.com for hundreds of mouthwatering, egg-free recipes, and a helpful video about baking without eggs.

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Nora.jpgThe popular Dallas-Fort Worth area website and weekly magazine DFW.com recently featured MFA's Texas Campaign Coordinator Nora Kramer as a local "Mover and Shaker," saying, "one talk with Kramer could change your life."

"Her broad smile and sweet demeanor are what first disarm you," Heather Svokos writes. "Then, with a one-two punch, she lays you flat with an arsenal of alarming facts and a stream of gentle persuasion. Before you know it - as you betray what your taste buds have told you your whole life - you're considering ... never eating a cheeseburger again."

Nora has been involved in farmed animal advocacy for over 10 years, was instrumental in efforts to pass landmark animal protection standards in Ohio and California, and moved to Texas last year to run MFA's Dallas office, which distributed more than 150,000 pro-vegetarian brochures throughout the Lone Star state in 2011.

Within an hour of the article's posting online, Nora received a message from a Dallas resident who had read the piece, saying, "I am ready to volunteer! ... I want to get to work."

If you'd like to join the MFA team in Texas too, we currently offer free housing in Dallas through our exciting internship program, as well as opportunities to volunteer to help animals throughout the state.

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January 20, 2012

Lives Worth Living

balcombe.jpgAccording to Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., a world-renowned animal behaviorist and acclaimed author of Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good, animals experience life in much the same way as we do. They feel fear and pain of course, but more central to the lives of animals is the capacity to experience joy and pleasure.

In a recent article published in Positive News, based on his latest book The Exultant Ark: A Pictorial Tour of Animal Pleasure, Dr. Balcombe shares the latest science on the inner world of animals and explains why some researchers now believe that other animals may experience certain emotions more intensely than humans and how, when the lives of animals are deprived of purpose or pleasure, they suffer more intensely than humans do.

He notes that chickens are intelligent creatures who communicate through at least thirty different calls and sheep can recognize emotions on the faces of other sheep. In fact, chickens and sheep, like all farmed animals, have complex emotional lives and are equally capable of experiencing joy, pleasure and love, as they are fear, loneliness and pain. Unfortunately, when crammed into tiny cages or crates on factory farms and deprived of nearly everything that is natural and important to them, farmed animals are forced to endure lives that few of us can even imagine.

Perhaps worse than the physical torments farmed animals are made to suffer, is the loss of freedom, companionship and other joyful experiences that wild animals are afforded. As Dr. Balcombe explains, "Pleasure adds intrinsic value to life - that is, value to the individual who feels it regardless of any perceived worth to anyone else. Pleasure seekers have wants, needs, desires, and lives worth living. They can have a good quality of life. If we let them."

Interested in helping to create a more pleasurable world for farmed animals? Visit ChooseVeg.com to find out how you can start by adopting a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle.

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roots.jpgCruelty-free eating is catching on at college campuses across the country as more and more students learn of the devastating consequences that raising animals for food has on the environment, human health and animal welfare. In fact, vegetarianism has gone up 50 percent and veganism has doubled on college campuses in the last several years. According to a recent report, 1 in 5 college students is ditching meat in favor of healthier and more humane plant-based alternatives.

Noticing the growing veggie trend, campus dining services are increasingly stepping up to the plate and adding vegan and vegetarian options that all students can enjoy. Last year, the University of North Texas made headlines after responding to student demand by making its Mean Greens dining hall menu 100 percent vegan. And now, San Diego's veg-friendly campus dining scene is getting a boost thanks to Roots!

Roots is a completely vegetarian and primarily vegan eatery and lounge that just opened on the University of California, San Diego campus. Diners can select delicious plant-based dishes ranging from colorful salads to a hearty grilled vegan "chiken" sandwich with all the fixings. Given the venue's sustainable and cruelty-free fare, it comes as no surprise that Roots is located in Muir College - home to the university's Environmental Studies program.

If you're a student and your cafeteria could improve upon its plant-based meal offerings, why not nudge your school in the right direction? High schools and colleges across the country are expanding meat-free meal options, adopting Meatless Monday programs, and, in some cases, even welcoming totally meat-free eateries.

Check out this helpful Guide to Veganizing Your University's Cafeteria and related video for tips on how to keep vegetarianism growing in your area.

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allisons_cupcake.jpgHelping animals, protecting the planet and improving personal health are all good reasons to pledge to go vegetarian in 2012, but if you could use a little extra motivation, MFA is sweetening the pot with vegan marshmallows, cupcakes, chocolates, cosmetics, books, and more.

In addition to receiving great tips, delicious recipes and friendly encouragement, everyone who takes MFA's 2012 Vegetarian Resolution will be entered to win cool prizes every month they stick with their pledge.

Along with a year's subscription to VegNews magazine, monthly winners will receive:

January: A gift package from best-selling vegan cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz, including a signed copy of Veganomicon and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, along with a handmade apron and t-shirt.

February: 100% vegan marshmallows from Sweet & Sara. These tempting morsels of edible bliss are rich, creamy, and incredibly divine - makes you wonder how you've gone this long without them.

March: Stylish and cruelty-free Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics gift pack - a popular brand of vegan cosmetics that, until recently, was only available for professional makeup artists.

April: Decadent, animal-friendly makeup from Urban Decay Cosmetics - beauty with an edge... feminine, a little dangerous, and a lot of fun.

May: Ethically Engineered vegan soaps, moisturizers, or hair products - pure products for a pure planet.

June: $50 gift certificate to Herbivore Clothing Company for hip shirts, bags, wallets, and more. What more is there to say? Herbivore is one of the coolest clothing companies in the world.

July: A free dvd copy of Forks Over Knives - the powerful new documentary film that examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.

August: A stylish and practical MFA logo messenger bag and t-shirt. Now you can promote mercy and compassion for animals everywhere you go.

September: A designer wristlet purse from ellu. ellu handbags are vibrant, brave, original... as is the ellu woman.

October: A free copy of Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World - a step-by-step practical guide for "leaning into veganism" by New York Times best-selling author and renowned wellness expert Kathy Freston.

November: An Obsessive Confection Disorder gift basket - kinder, gentler sweets born out of the desire to share a lifelong passion for satisfying the proverbial sweet tooth, with uncompromising commitment to doing so cruelty free.

December: $75 gift certificate for Allison's Gourmet -- award-winning vegan baked goods with organic ingredients for the environment and your taste buds.

Make your 2012 Vegetarian Resolution today! If you are already vegetarian, please share this page with your non-vegetarian friends and family.

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ButterballAbuseA.jpgIn a case of the fox guarding the henhouse, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture is under fire for compromising a criminal animal cruelty investigation at a Butterball turkey factory farm after an official for the agency admitted to warning the company days prior to a raid by state law enforcement officials.

According to a warrant issued for the phone records between Butterball and government officials, Dr. Sarah Mason, the director of Animal Health Programs with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, improperly leaked information about the criminal investigation and the impending raid to Butterball.

The Department of Agriculture is responsible for ensuring the health of farmed animals in North Carolina, but in this case, according to law enforcement authorities, the agency interfered with a criminal investigation after Mercy For Animals documented routine animal abuse and neglect at Butterball, including:

  • Workers violently kicking and stomping on birds, dragging them by their fragile wings and necks, and maliciously throwing turkeys onto the ground or into transport trucks in full view of company management;
  • Employees bashing in the heads of live birds with metal bars, leaving many to slowly suffer and die from their injuries;
  • Turkeys covered in flies, living in their own waste, with some unable to access food or water and suffering from severe feather loss
  • Birds suffering from serious untreated illnesses and injuries, including open sores, infections, rotting eyes, and broken bones; and
  • Severely injured turkeys, unable to stand up or walk, left to die without any veterinary care, because treating sick or injured birds was too costly and time consuming, as the farm manager explained to MFA's investigator.

Watch the undercover investigation into Butterball here:


MFA praises law enforcement for taking swift and decisive action in this important matter. While it is troubling that the government agency charged with overseeing the health of animals has allegedly helped protect a company that was caught abusing and neglecting animals, the good news is that each of us has the power to help prevent animal abuse by transitioning to a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle. Visit ChooseVeg.com to learn more.

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leafleting2011.jpgThanks to our team of dedicated volunteers and interns, MFA handed out more than 560,000 pro-vegetarian brochures in 2011, providing more than half a million people with compelling information about the health, environmental and ethical reasons to ditch meat, dairy and eggs in favor of compassionate plant-based alternatives.

Why leaflet? Consider this: even if only 2 percent of the people who received MFA brochures in 2011 made the switch to vegetarianism, that translates to more than 10,000 new vegetarians and hundreds of thousands of animals spared a lifetime of misery on factory farms each year!

What's more, leafleting is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reach thousands of people with a message of compassion for animals. Leafleting takes zero preparation and, at the right time and place, just one person can hand out hundreds of brochures in less than an hour. How many other activities can you think of that just about anybody can do, which can reach so many people in so little time?

It's not too late to set a New Year's resolution to help more animals in 2012 - and leafleting is a great way to start. MFA has offices and staff in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Columbus, OH, and is always looking to work with more people who want to promote compassionate eating. Help make 2012 an even bigger year for animals by signing up to volunteer, applying to intern, and visiting MFA's Action Center for more ideas on how you can promote compassionate food choices.

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larryhagman.jpgBest known for his role as "J.R. Ewing" in the eighties hit series Dallas, TV legend Larry Hagman is ditching meat, dairy and eggs to combat cancer. The eighty-year-old actor tells The Daily Mail, "The first thing I did when I was diagnosed was to turn vegan."

"I've become a bit of a vegan nut, but I believe it's kept me strong," says Hagman, who has joined a growing number of high-profile stars who are switching to healthier, more humane plant-based lifestyles.

Filming for TNT's revival of Dallas is currently underway in Dallas, Texas, and sources tell MFA that cast and crew members have been making their rounds to Dallas' hottest vegan eateries. Delia Pisarro, proprietor of VSPOT Café and Bliss Raw Café & Elixir Bar, revealed, "Actress Linda Gray, Larry Hagman's co-star, stopped by Bliss Raw Café & Elixir Bar for lunch earlier in the week" and said she "loved the food and was going to bring him in."

For tips on improving your health and helping animals by transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, visit ChooseVeg.com. Click here to order a free Vegetarian Starter Kit.

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2011 was another groundbreaking year for Mercy For Animals! With the help of amazing volunteers, donors and supporters, we were able to confront horrendous cruelties, while opening the hearts and minds of millions of people to the plights of animals raised and killed for food.


Expanding our innovative grassroots campaigns and critical undercover investigations across the country, MFA has been taking effective animal advocacy to a whole new level.

In 2011, MFA:

mcd1.jpg1 - Exposed McDonald's' rotten treatment of egg-laying hens
MFA's undercover investigation into a McDonald's egg supplier, Sparboe Egg Farms, exposed the fast-food giant's secret ingredient: shocking cruelty to animals. Garnering massive mainstream media attention worldwide and raising awareness among millions of people about the plights of egg-laying hens, the investigation also prompted McDonald's, Target, Sam's Club and other major retailers to drop Sparboe as an egg supplier.

iowaselect2.jpg2 - Uncovered shocking cruelty to animals at Iowa's largest pig factory farm
Revealing horrifying abuses, including piglets having their tails cut off and their testicles ripped out without painkillers, and mother pigs confined for life to barren metal crates barely larger than their own bodies, MFA's undercover investigation at Iowa Select Farms sent shockwaves through the industry and led the largest grocery chains in the nation to take action.

f2f32.jpg3 - Created the eye-opening documentary Farm to Fridge
Since its release in early 2011, Farm to Fridge has reached more than 4 million viewers and has inspired countless people to ditch meat, milk and eggs for good. MFA also took the life-changing film on a 3-month, 12,000-mile road tour to more than 40 cities across the country - creating a high-impact spectacle at busy college campuses, shopping centers, sporting events and other public places.

mtv4.jpg4 - Launched three cutting-edge, pro-vegetarian advertisements on MTV
Running ads alongside those for KFC and McDonald's, MFA launched an ambitious national television ad campaign that is bringing millions of young consumers face to face with the harsh reality animals suffer before becoming their breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Aimed at the youth demographic, which is typically most receptive to animal welfare issues, MFA's powerful new MTV ad campaign is changing minds and saving lives.

pride5.jpg5 - Held over 1,500 vegetarian outreach events - promoting kindness and inspiring compassion from coast to coast
With the help of a growing team of dedicated volunteers, MFA more than doubled the number of outreach events it held in 2011. From educational exhibits to parade marches, humane education lectures to leafleting events, MFA is giving a powerful voice to farmed animals across the country.

fish6.jpg6 - Released the first-ever undercover investigation into a fish slaughter facility
Exposing the violent manner in which these sensitive and intelligent animals are killed for food, MFA conducted a groundbreaking fish slaughter investigation at a fish factory farm in Texas. Hidden-camera footage revealed shocking cruelty, including workers cutting, slicing, skinning, suffocating and dismembering live and fully conscious catfish - an excruciatingly painful practice harshly condemned by veterinarians. MFA called on Texas House and Senate members to ban the skinning and
                                                           dismembering of all live, conscious animals.

ad7.jpg7 - Exposed millions to the plights of farmed animals with our powerful bus, billboard, and magazine ads
MFA's powerful ads spoke up for farmed animals and urged Americans to "Choose Compassion, Choose Vegetarian" in California, Colorado, Michigan, Illinois and North Carolina, while our edgy anti-milk ad in Ms. Magazine offered a pro-woman, pro-animal response to controversial and sexist PMS-themed ads by the milk industry.

bob3.jpg8 - Expanded our lifesaving campaigns to the West Coast, opening our newest advocacy center in Los Angeles
Following a hugely successful fundraising event with Bob Barker in the Hollywood Hills, MFA opened its newest advocacy center in Los Angeles. Under the direction of Steve Erlsten, our new Los Angeles Campaign Coordinator, MFA is bringing its message of compassion for farmed animals to the Golden State.

calf2.jpg9 - Took on a Texas calf factory farm, and won
MFA's undercover investigation into E6 Cattle Company in Texas, where workers used pickaxes and hammers to bash in the skulls of baby calves, sparked international outrage and led to a historic five felony and two misdemeanor cruelty-to-animals charges against the owner and employees.

calf 10.jpg
10 - Rescued four baby calves - taking them from harm to harmony
Thanks to the brave efforts of an MFA investigator, four baby calves - Ari, Mercy, Bob, and Roy - were pulled out of a living nightmare at E6 Cattle Company and are now living out their lives in peace and freedom at a sanctuary in California.

vegnews11.jpg11 - Named Nonprofit of the Year
The first organization to receive the honor twice, MFA has been named Nonprofit of the Year by VegNews magazine for "fast-tracking the vision of animal protection's promising future to the present."

MFA's groundbreaking undercover investigations have indeed led to landmark criminal prosecutions of animal abusers, and our creative and effective grassroots vegan advocacy work has also inspired countless people to choose compassion over cruelty in cities across the country.

Mercy For Animals will continue to be a voice for the voiceless and we are determined to put an end to needless animal suffering at the hands of the meat, dairy and egg industries. But we can't do it without your support.

Thank you for making 2011 a landmark year for animal rights! Please stand by our side as we work to give farmed animals the power and effective voice they deserve in 2012.

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Cow12.jpgResponding to a reader-submitted question, Scientific American recently outlined the terrible impact meat, dairy and egg consumption has on the environment and human health. According to the article, from the "huge outlays of pesticides, fertilizer, fuel, feed and water" needed to raise animals for food to the massive amounts of "greenhouse gases, manure and a range of toxic chemicals" released into the environment, animal agriculture is taking a "serious toll on the environment."

Not only does our current system of raising animals for food hurt the environment, it diverts grain and other resources away from starving people and has led to "the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that threaten human health and the environment in their own right." Furthermore, the article states that eating meat is "no good for our health, with overindulgence linked to increasing rates of heart disease, cancer and obesity."

Simply put, adopting a plant-based diet is one of the most effective ways to ease the strain on our planet's limited resources, protect the environment, prevent disease and starvation, and spare the lives of dozens of animals each year. Visit ChooseVeg.com for recipes, tips and information on taking your first step to a vegan lifestyle.

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Al-Sharpton-1.jpgSeven years after speaking out against the cruel practices of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Rev. Al Sharpton has decided to ditch meat for good, to better his health and help animals. Sharpton attributes his vegetarian resolution to the influence of other political heavyweights, such as former President Bill Clinton and Coretta Scott King, wife of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sharpton explains, "I ran into Bill Clinton, who told me how he has more energy, needs less sleep and can think more clearly since going vegan, and I can tell you the same thing happened to me. I also kept in mind the words of another vegetarian friend - Coretta Scott King - who always spoke of the ethical reasons to give up meat." Sharpton went on to say, "Avoiding meat is the way to eat for anyone with a highly charged life. A vegetarian diet has a way of absorbing the stress and gives you greater endurance. ... I feel like a new, improved me."

The popular civil rights leader is not the only one to resolve to go vegetarian in 2012. Emmy-nominated actor, author and director Alan Cumming recently tweeted his New Year's resolution to go vegan in 2012 after being inspired by retired boxer and fellow vegan Mike Tyson, and tennis star Venus Williams has embarked on a vegan diet to improve her health after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.

Want to make a resolution that will help animals, reduce your carbon footprint, and improve your health? Take MFA's New Year's Veg Pledge and start receiving helpful tips, delicious recipes, friendly encouragement and a chance to win cool prizes every month. Share and sign up today!

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sitko2.jpgOver the last decade, vegan bodybuilding has been making a big name for itself, breaking into the mainstream with pro and amateur hardbodies ditching meat, dairy, and eggs, while racking up medals and trophies along the way.

Taking notice of the fast-growing community of vegan bodybuilders, the New York Times recently profiled a number of beefless beefcakes, including Robert Cheeke, Kenneth G. Williams, Billy Simmonds, and Jimi Sitko, who are bulking up and shredding stereotypes about the power of vegan living.

For some bodybuilders, the switch to a plant-based diet is an endeavor to improve health and performance, but Sitko says it was opposition to cruelty to animals that inspired him to go vegan. "I read more about how animals are treated on farms and especially how they are treated right before slaughter. It amazed me how much cruelty there is in the commercial farming industry," says Sitko.

With hearts as big as their biceps, these plant-strong bodybuilders prove that athletes can thrive on a vegan diet and even outcompete their meat-eating counterparts. Other top vegan athletes include Germany's strongest man Patrik Baboumian, the world's toughest woman Juliana Sproles, Ultraman Rich Roll, and more.

For information on how to start your plant-strong journey and spare dozens of animals from a lifetime of misery and suffering each, visit ChooseVeg.com. For more information about vegan bodybuilding, check out VeganBodyBuilding.com.

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berrybliss.jpgAs plant-based eating continues to grow in popularity amongst celebrities and other consumers, leading nutritionists are also giving vegetarian living their seal of approval. Recently, vegan nutrition was the focus of a U.S. News and World Report article titled "The Mainstreaming of Vegan Diets."

Helping to dispel common myths about vegan nutrition, Vandana Sheth - a registered dietician and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, says, "Properly planned vegan diets are healthy, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of many diseases."

According to the article, vegetarians and vegans enjoy lower risk of developing heart disease and cancer, healthier body mass indexes, lower blood pressure, and better control and prevention of diabetes. "[N]utritionists now believe that a well-thought-out vegan eating plan could be the most healthy way to live for most people," writes reporter Dennis Thompson. Just as importantly, plant-based diets effectively prevent needless animal suffering in hatcheries, factory farms, and slaughterhouses.

Ready to give cruelty-free eating a try? Check out our top vegan health tips and visit ChooseVeg.com to find hundreds of delicious, cholesterol-free vegan recipes.

Photo credit: Sylvia Elzafon

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egg9.jpgThe egg industry is notorious for abusing animals and deceiving consumers, and now research shows that eating eggs can be deadly for men. A study recently published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Cancer Prevention Research confirms that eggs aren't just loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol - they're linked to deadly prostate cancer as well.

Led by Dr. Erin Richman from the Harvard School of Public Health, this fourteen-year-long study examined the eating habits and health of over 27,000 men. Those who consumed more than two and a half eggs each week were over 80 percent more likely to die from prostate cancer. "Eating eggs may increase risk of developing a lethal form of prostate cancer among healthy men," concluded the researchers.

As scientific research reveals the health risks of egg consumption, MFA's undercover investigators are exposing the routine cruelties inflicted on egg-laying hens. Our recent investigation into Sparboe Farms found hens crammed into filthy battery cages, workers burning off the beaks of chicks without painkillers, and other abuses that are standard within the egg industry.

Thankfully, it's never been easier to avoid the cruelty, cholesterol, and increased risk of prostate cancer that come with eating eggs. Please visit ChooseVeg.com for hundreds of delicious, egg-free recipes and helpful tips on cooking without eggs.

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meatbacteria.jpgIn December, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) abandoned its previous intention to regulate the use of antibiotics on factory farms, despite the fact that the overuse of antibiotics on farms has already led to the evolution of deadly, antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. However, in an apparent about-face, the agency announced today that it would begin limiting the use of cephalosporin antibiotics in livestock starting in April 2012.

Unfortunately, while cephalosporins are an important class of antibiotic used to treat human illnesses, they are not as widely used for livestock as penicillin, tetracycline and other drugs that experts say pose a threat to human health when used by factory farmers to force animals to grow more rapidly and to keep them alive in filthy, disease-ridden conditions that would otherwise kill them.

"This is a modest first step by the FDA, but we're really just looking at the tip of the iceberg," says Representative Louise Slaughter (D - NY28), a congresswoman from New York and microbiologist who has been outspoken on this issue. "We don't have time for the FDA to ploddingly take half-measures. We are staring at a massive public health threat in the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. We need to start acting with the swiftness and decisiveness this problem deserves."

According to the FDA, 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 1977, the FDA became aware that the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms was creating antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that seriously threaten public health. Instead of regulating the use of antibiotics on farms, the FDA stalled for more than three decades. Now, the federal agency charged with protecting public health has decided to continue to allow factory farmers to breed deadly strains of untreatable bacteria and to contaminate the country's meat supply.

A study released earlier this year found that nearly half of the beef, pork, chicken and turkey in grocery stores is contaminated with staphylococcus aureus bacteria and that 52 percent of the bacteria is resistant to at least three classes of antibiotic drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 11,000 people die from S. aureus infections in the United States each year and more than half of those deaths stem from drug-resistant strains of the bacteria. And these are just strains of one antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It has been estimated that the total cost of treating antibiotic-resistant infections in the United States exceeds $20 billion a year.

Thankfully, an easy and effective way to safeguard your own health and prevent the needless suffering of animals is to choose plant-based alternatives to bacteria-infested meat, dairy and eggs. Visit ChooseVeg.com for delicious, cruelty-free recipes and tips on transitioning to a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle.

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January 2, 2012

Cutest. Picture. Ever.


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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2011 is the previous archive.

February 2012 is the next archive.

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