June 2012 Archives

cows_001.jpgWith two stories this week about the negative impacts of eating meat, NPR spotlights the health risks, environmental damage, and animal cruelty associated with raising animals for food.

According to the first article, a new poll indicates that meat consumption in the United States continues to drop. The NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll surveyed 3,000 adults nationwide and found that thirty-nine percent are eating less red meat now than they did three years ago. When asked about their motivation, sixty-six percent cited the health benefits, thirty percent cited animal welfare, and twenty-nine percent cited concern for the environment.

The second article states that "meat has more of an impact on the environment than any other food we eat." To make one quarter-pound hamburger, it says it takes seven pounds of grain, fifty-three gallons of water, seventy-five square feet of land, and 1,036 BTUs of energy - clearly a strain on the environment. This data matches the United Nations report, which found that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector.

With these two news stories, NPR also highlights the fact that in addition to the growing number of vegetarians in the United States, many more Americans are simply eating more vegetarian meals. They are certainly in good company, joined by high-profile celebrities, such as Meredith Vieira, Michelle Pfeiffer, Bill Clinton, Ellen Degeneres, and Russell Simmons.

For delicious recipes and helpful tips on transitioning to a healthy and humane way of living, check out ChooseVeg.com.

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Cody.jpgUndercover investigators are true unsung heroes of the animal protection movement. Nearly every piece of animal-friendly legislation, change in corporate animal welfare policy, or the most powerful change of all--the decision by countless people to adopt compassionate vegan lifestyles--stems from the work of an undercover investigator.

Documenting cruelty and violence at factory farms and slaughter plants is not glamorous--it's heartbreaking, disgusting, and horrific--but also vital to exposing and preventing farmed animal abuse. But what is it like to do this important and dangerous work? VegNews recently profiled Cody Carlson, a former MFA undercover investigator, to get the scoop:

"The more I saw, the more I needed the world to recognize the weight of this injustice. I needed everyone to look into the eyes of a caged farm animal and recognize like I had that she feels the same pain, the same terror, and even the same potential joy as you or I." - Cody Carlson

Read the rest of Cody's incredible exposé here.

Think you have what it takes to be an MFA investigator? Click here to learn more and to apply.

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liberty-fireworks.jpgThe 4th of July is about reveling in our nation's freedoms and feeling proud of our independence. Why not celebrate your freedom this Independence Day by throwing a cruelty-free extravaganza? With so many tasty vegan foods on the market, grilling with compassion this 4th of July has never been easier. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • To help combat notoriously high temperatures, consider whipping up cooling side dishes, such as creamy potato salad or egg-less salad. These delectable summertime favorites can be made with an egg- and dairy-free mayonnaise like Vegenaise.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with SO Delicious' PD Cherry Nirvana or Creamy Vanilla dairy-free ice creams. And make sure to have plenty of fresh in-season fruits to throw in for an extra special treat.
  • For a complete list of vegan-friendly beers and spirits to add to the festive mood, visit Barnivore.com.
With a little planning and creativity, it's easy to turn any 4th of July event into a fun, cruelty-free celebration. Visit ChooseVeg.com for more delicious vegan recipes and helpful cooking tips.

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Get your summer activism started in style with MFA's four new thought-provoking posters - on sale now! These pro-vegetarian posters - measuring 18" x 24" - are sure to turn heads at outreach events, demonstrations, educational exhibits, in dorm rooms, offices, and more!

2b.jpgTwo of the four poster designs feature cute farmed animals next to an adorable puppy or kitten who ask the question, "Why love one but eat the other?" and then proclaim, "Choose Vegetarian." Another design features a sow locked in a cage with the text, "How much cruelty can you swallow? Choose Vegetarian" and another a photo of a bloody turkey that declares, "Boycott Animal Abuse. Choose Vegetarian."

1b.jpgThe new posters serve some serious food for thought at the bargain price of $4 each, 10 for $20, or 25 for $40.

Get 'em while they last!

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Last week, thousands of people flocked to New York City to celebrate compassion at The Seed: A Vegan Experience. The bustling, two-day festival took place at Soho's magnificent 82Mercer and featured delicious vegan foods, inspiring speakers, pro-veg films, and vegan-inspired workshops.

IMG_1432.JPGSeed_2012_054.jpgLongtime vegans and veg-curious attendees alike were enlightened by The Seed's motivating speakers, which included Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Brendan Brazier, Kathy Freston, Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, Victoria Moran, Dr. Michael Greger, and MFA's very own Eddie Garza and Nora Kramer. Film screenings included Marisa Miller Wolfson's film Vegucated, and James Costa's film Lunch Hour.

Seed_2012_051.jpgSeed_2012_102.jpgThe Seed also featured dozens of vegan food companies that are making veganism a convenient way of life, including The Regal Vegan, Vegan Bodega, V-Spot, Foodswings, Blossom, Cinnamon Snail, Candle 79, and Mac'n Food, a vegan food truck that drove in all the way from Miami. Other compassionate exhibitors included Vaute Couture, Compassion Company, Herbivore Clothing, and YEA Camp.

IMG_1452.JPGSeed_2012_010.jpgThe mission of The Seed was to provide attendees with "all of the information, inspiration, and empowerment they need to understand why a vegan lifestyle is the way of the future." Considering the legions of inspirational speakers, amazing products featured, delicious food, and captivating workshops, The Seed was an absolute success!

Seed_2012_006.jpgSeed_2012_078.jpgCongratulations to 82Mercer and The Seed's organizers for putting together a truly incredible vegan experience.

For more information on the benefits of a vegan diet, visit ChooseVeg.com.

Photos courtesy of Splice Photography.

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Marisa.jpgThe Windy City can now add a vegan princess to its long list of veg-accomplishments with Marisa Buchheit, the first meat-free winner of the Miss Chicago pageant. Marisa, who led the inaugural Chicago Veggie Pride Parade, will be competing in the Miss Illinois pageant in hopes of making it into the Miss America pageant in 2013. Longtime vegan and native Chicagoan, Marisa is pursuing a career as a professional opera singer and can be seen performing with the American Chamber Opera Company. We got a chance to chat with Miss Chicago to find out what it takes to become veg-royalty.

MFA: At what age did you go vegan, and was it an overnight switch or a gradual transition?

Marisa Buchheit: Vegetarianism came first. I was all of seven or eight years old when I first became vegetarian, and that was because I thought I was Pocahontas and felt a deep, spiritual connection with animals from an early age. The switch to veganism happened in junior high school, at the age of twelve. Despite being a vegetarian, I had gained quite a bit of weight as a result of angst towards salads and a love for cheese and bread. I was completely lacking in confidence and going through a "goth" phase along with a friend of mine from my seventh grade class. Partially out of my love for animals and partially out of my desire to be rebellious and different, my friend and I decided to go vegan. Well, it did not take long to shed about thirty pounds and become a much stronger, healthier, happier person.

MFA: What was your motive for adopting a completely plant-based diet?

Marisa Buchheit: Mostly for the animals, but also for health reasons. Since becoming vegan, I have come up with hundreds more reasons why this is absolutely the correct lifestyle choice for me.

m2.jpgMFA: What type of advocacy work do you do, and what do you think is the most effective way to approach people?

Marisa Buchheit: Most of my advocacy is through word-of-mouth communication with friends, family members, and complete strangers. I think vegans and vegetarians who wish to reach out to others about the lifestyle need to do so in a respectful, non-judgmental way. Nobody likes being told what to do or what is right for their lives, so I think the best thing to do is to be open to talking with people who are interested, and to be knowledgeable enough to answer questions and concerns about the lifestyle. The "vegan effect" never ceases to amaze me in my daily life. Through the power of positive energy and a certain radiance that veg folks tend to exude, I find that open-minded individuals are naturally drawn to the idea of veganism and will start to ask questions. It's an interesting sort of osmosis. I've seen friends and family members transform before my eyes!

MFA: What does your vegan diet mainly consist of? Do you take into consideration any special factors such as your professional opera soprano career or pageant competitions?

Marisa Buchheit: My vegan diet consists of dark chocolate. And lots of it. Okay, okay, that is not all that I consume (unfortunately). I eat a lot of fruits, veggies, raw nuts and nut butters, soy and almond milk, beans, whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, pita, oats, vegan thai and chinese food, and of course, some vegan junk food on occasion. As far as diet goes, if I am on track with my healthy eating patterns, this pays off both in my singing abilities and the maintenance of my pageant bod.

M1.jpgMFA: How has adopting a vegan compassionate lifestyle affected your friends and family? Are they supportive? Have any of them given vegetarianism a try?

Marisa Buchheit: I love this question. I think the reason for this is that my family is super supportive, and since going vegan, I have had countless friends go vegetarian or vegan, and my dad has now been vegan for seven years! My mom is an amazing cook, and she is always cooking up a storm of creative new vegan recipes (often thai-inspired) in the kitchen. She also recently did the raw vegan detox class with me at Karyn's Raw Beauty Center. As one of the two carnivores in my family (along with my bro Joe), she really made me proud for completing the class with me and deciding to make some lasting diet and lifestyle changes as a result of the class.

MFA: What are your favorite veg-places to dine in Chicago?

Marisa Buchheit: Native Foods, Chicago Diner, Karyn's Cooked, Karyn's on Green, Karyn's Raw, Urban Vegan, Amitabul, Pick Me Up, Quesadilla... The list goes on. If I had to pick one absolute favorite place, it would probably have to be a tie between Chicago Diner and Karyn's Cooked. My family has been eating at both of these places for years!

393431_202936529791022_494465807_n.jpgMFA: Do you think being vegan has any effect on your fan base, or the people who look up to you?

Marisa Buchheit: Totally! Since becoming Miss Chicago, the vegan community has been the most supportive group of people I could have possibly imagined. I mean, it probably has to do with the common bond over food. I'm all about the amazing vegan food this city has to offer, and I think people are inspired by the fact that there is a pageant girl who likes to eat - delicious vegan food, at that. I think that my veg-friends also respect the fact that I'm working with animal rights organizations, festivals, and events in this city to create more awareness for the lifestyle and to promote animal welfare.

MFA: Since becoming a vegan, how has your health improved?

Marisa Buchheit: Becoming vegan has turned me into some kind of a "superwoman," according to my friends and family. Not trying to sound big-headed or unreasonable at all, but the health effects are unreal. I do not get sick, I have consistent energy each and every day, and I am cheerful and pretty much always positive in life. It's a drastic difference from when I was a young girl and never used to smile. Being vegan has helped me to feel balanced and has given me incredible mental and physical strength. I'm a big time runner, and I'm training for my second full marathon right now - Chi Marathon coming up this October. I've also completed four half marathons and I regularly do strength training workouts, boot camp, cycling, and pilates.

470719_1771614407584_688800334_o.jpgMFA: With your aspirations to become Miss Illinois and go on to the Miss America pageant, how do you plan on spreading the word about a vegan lifestyle? How important is it to share your passion for a vegan lifestyle while competing in future pageants?

Marisa Buchheit: I plan to keep performing and participating at events that support the vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. It has been wonderful being a part of the Green Festival in Chicago, the Veggie Pride Parade, and Chicago VeganMania, and I'll be involved with Veggie Fest this August in Naperville. Aside from these events, I will be spreading the message of health and compassion with many individuals I have the opportunity to meet at different events. I've adopted healthy lifestyle choices and the green-vegan movement as my secondary platform, after my main service platform of music education in public schools. If I become Miss Illinois or Miss America, I will make it a point to speak on both of these important topics when I make school visits or speak at events. I will also support great organizations such as Mercy For Animals in any way that I can, from a promotional, fundraising, or volunteer standpoint. Lots of work to do to spread awareness of our cause, and we are in this together!

Click here to keep up with Marisa and her race for the Miss Illinois title.

For tips on making the switch to a healthy and compassionate vegan lifestyle, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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800px-New_Forest_calf.jpgIn a victory for farmed animals, Rhode Island governor Lincoln D. Chafee signed two important animal protection measures into law this week. S. 2191/H.7180 - which prohibits the use of veal crates for calves and gestation crates for breeding sows - will take effect in July 2013. S. 2192 - which bans the cruel practice of tail-docking cows - will take effect immediately.

On modern day factory farms, mother sows are confined in filthy gestation crates, where they are unable to freely turn around, breathe fresh air, lie down comfortably, walk, run, play, or engage in other natural behaviors. Baby calves are chained by the neck for their entire lives, deprived of the care and attention of their mothers, and unable to clean themselves or see natural light.

Gestation crates and veal crates are so patently cruel that the entire European Union and the states of California, Arizona, Oregon, Michigan, Maine, Ohio, Florida, and Colorado have banned their use.

Also horribly cruel, most cows in the dairy industry are routinely subjected to "tail-docking" - the partial amputation, typically without painkillers, of up to two-thirds of a cow's tail. This inhumane practice has been condemned by the American Veterinary Medical Association and numerous dairy industry representatives as causing chronic pain for cows, as well as aggravation and distress from an inability to fend off fly attacks.

Thanks to the Rhode Island legislature, Governor Chafee, and the countless MFA supporters who responded to our action alerts and voiced their support for the passage of this important legislation, Rhode Island becomes the ninth US state to have banned gestation crates, the seventh US state to have banned veal crates, and the third US state to have banned bovine tail-docking.

Ultimately, the best way to prevent the needless suffering of animals at the hands of the meat, egg, and dairy industries is to adopt a healthy and compassionate vegetarian diet.

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happy_pig_400.jpgYesterday, Sonic Corp. - the largest drive-in restaurant chain in the United States - announced plans and a timeline for working with its suppliers to eliminate gestation crates from its supply chain.

According to Sonic's Animal Welfare Goals and Mission document, "Sonic is actively working to eliminate gestation crates from its pork supply chain, and intends to reach that goal no later than 2022, although is working toward 2017, the timeframe several large pork producers have set to be fully transitioned to group sow housing. Sonic will continue to favor suppliers that raise hogs in a gestation crate-free environment in addition to suppliers that can provide audit and tracking reports for sourcing crate-free pork."

Mercy For Animals praises this move by the drive-in chain, but remains cautiously optimistic. Sonic becomes the latest business to commit to a 100% gestation crate-free supply chain policy, following similar recent announcements by McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, and Tim Hortons, casual dining restaurants, such as Cracker Barrel, and foodservice companies and retailers, such as Compass Group, Bon Appétit Management Company, Safeway, and Kroger.

We hope Sonic's announcement will encourage other food distributers, including Walmart, Kmart, Costco, Domino's, Cheesecake Factory, Starbuck's, and countless others, to make similar commitments to phase out gestation crates from their supply chains in the near future.

To help eliminate crated pork from the United States' supply chain, ask your local restaurants and grocers about their animal welfare practices and urge them to move away from cruel gestation crates. You can also encourage friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors to adopt a pork-free vegetarian diet. For delicious, cruelty-free recipes, visit ChooseVeg.com. For your free Vegetarian Starter Kit, click here.

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Looking for an innovative way to help inspire compassion? Drive the pro-vegetarian message home with MFA's new car magnets - now available for purchase at the MFA store!

WLOCarMagnet.jpgEach set of magnets depicts a cute puppy next to an adorable piglet, who beg the question,"Why love one but eat the other?" Measuring 12" x 24", these magnets fit perfectly on any automobile. With your magnets you can join a growing meatless mobile fleet, including MFA's compassionate commuter car in Chicago, and spread the important message to thousands of fellow drivers and passengers each day.

Get your car magnets today!

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chaka-press-photo.jpgAfter focusing on her health, ten-time Grammy award-winning singer Chaka Khan shocked the American Idol audience at last month's finale with her sixty-pound weight loss, which she credits to her new vegan diet.

Khan made the switch to a vegan diet recently to improve her health and combat her type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. According to the American Dietetic Association, vegetarian and vegan diets are "healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases," including lower blood pressure, lower rates of type 2 diabetes, and lower overall cancer rates. Besides for the health benefits, a growing number of people are going vegetarian to help the environment and animals.

Khan joins the many high-profile celebrities who have adopted a compassionate plant-based diet, including Michelle Pfeiffer, Meredith Vieira, Bill Clinton, Russell Simmons, and Mike Tyson.

For your free Vegetarian Starter Kit, click here. Visit ChooseVeg.com for delicious vegan recipes and tips on transitioning to a compassionate, vegan diet.

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CruelCutsMugShot2 copy.jpgAfter Mercy For Animals obtained shocking hidden-camera video footage of his illegal slaughter operation in Los Angeles County, Roberto Celedon has pleaded guilty to felony cruelty to animals and been sentenced to ninety days in jail and five years probation. Celedon was also ordered to pay nearly $4,000 in fines, penalties, and restitution, to complete 48 animal cruelty classes, not to own, possess, maintain or harbor any animals, not to operate a meat-producing facility, not to attend auctions where animals are sold, and not to sell any meat products.

The hidden-camera video footage, which led to Celedon's arrest and conviction, shows animals being violently pinned down, having their throats crudely sawed open, and slowly bleeding to death.

During a raid of Celedon's illegal slaughter facility, Los Angeles County Animal Control officers seized dozens of sick, injured, and emaciated animals. These animals are now being rehabilitated at The Gentle Barn, a sanctuary for farmed animals in California.

This case graphically illustrates the cruel, inhumane, and illegal abuses that farmed animals are all too often subjected to in California and across the nation. While MFA works to expose and end cruelty to farmed animals, compassionate consumers can help prevent the needless suffering of animals at the hands of the meat, egg, and dairy industries by adopting a compassionate vegetarian diet.

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Thousands of people celebrating gay pride in Los Angeles this past weekend got an eye-opening glimpse of another form of oppression: factory farming. Dozens of Mercy For Animals members marched in the LA Pride Parade, handing out over 14,000 flyers featuring an image of a puppy and piglet asking attendees the burning question, "Why love one but eat the other?"

Volunteers proudly waved rainbow and MFA logo flags and carried a banner reminding the excited crowd: "No one is free when others are oppressed."

LAP1.jpgLAP2.jpgVolunteers also exposed festival-goers to the cruelty inherent in animal products at the weekend-long LA Pride Festival. At the Mercy For Animals booth, festival-goers were offered one dollar to view a 4-minute edit of the Farm to Fridge video on MFA's new paid-per-view stands. Viewers walked away from the booth with a new perspective of the oppression faced by billions of farmed animals, and with a Vegetarian Starter Kit in hand.

LAP3.jpgLAP4.jpgWhile this is MFA's seventh year of marching in gay pride parades nationwide, it marks our debut at LA Pride in West Hollywood - which stepped off near our new national headquarters. Huffington Post writer Mikko Alanne, who joined MFA in the parade, wrote a compelling article on the experience, sharing his feelings about the commonalities between the gay rights and animal rights movements.

For help improving your health and helping animals by adopting a plant-based diet, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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vm_001_DeliciousTV_flyer_sm-1.jpgTune in to PBS this fall to watch Vegan Mashup, a new vegan cooking show that will debut in September. The show is to be hosted by celebrity chefs Terry Hope Romero, co-author of bestselling vegan cookbooks Veganomicon and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Toni Fiore, host of Totally Vegetarian, and Miyoko Schinner of Miyoko's Kitchen. The inaugural season will feature episodes that focus on breakfast, teen-friendly meals, cheap eats, and more!

Now that we have expanded our national pro-vegetarian ad campaigns to run on MTV, Bravo, VH1, E!, and Oxygen, it's a perfect time for PBS to jump on the bandwagon to promote a kind and compassionate vegan lifestyle.

As more people are becoming aware of the mistreatment of farmed animals, a growing number are choosing to forgo meat, dairy and eggs. Consequently, vegan dining has become very popular and widespread with many restaurants, college cafeterias, and foodservice companies now offering vegan options.

Be sure to tune in to PBS this fall for Vegan Mashup and check out ChooseVeg.com for even more delicious recipes and helpful tips on transitioning to a healthy and humane way of life.

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33741_160444923980515_5460375_n.jpgEver wonder what it would be like to intern with Mercy For Animals? We interviewed Julie Rothman, who recently completed an internship at our Los Angeles office, and asked her to give us the scoop.

A native Bostonian, Julie adopted a vegetarian diet after realizing that cows, pigs, chickens, and other farmed animals deserve respect and compassion just like the cats and dogs with whom we share our lives. She interned at MFA's Dallas office before heading to California to assist with outreach and fundraising at MFA's new Los Angeles headquarters.

What first inspired you to become a vegan?
In college, I came across information about the cruelties of the egg and dairy industries. It shocked me to learn that male chicks are commonly thrown into grinders because they're useless to the egg industry. The more I learned about the suffering of farmed animals, the more motivated I became to distance myself from these inhumane industries.

What is your favorite vegan/animal rights resource?
One of my favorite books is Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals by Karen Dawn. It's beautifully illustrated and provides a very readable overview of factory farming along with other important issues affecting animals. Also, I love to travel and definitely rely on VegGuide.org for finding local veg-friendly restaurants and stores.

Julie_cow.jpgWhy did you choose to intern with MFA?
What's not to love about Mercy For Animals?! I was especially impressed by MFA's focus on farmed animal advocacy and the friendly, results-driven approach to helping animals.

What did you like most about interning with MFA?
Everything - the whole experience was amazing! I enjoyed handing out booklets at Los Angeles' bustling Union Station. It was rewarding to hear from people who were motivated to adopt a vegetarian diet after reading MFA's literature. I also loved working as a development intern and acknowledging the people who make MFA's lifesaving work possible.

julieevent.jpgWhat is the key to your success as an activist?
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the scope of suffering and injustice in the world. At the same time, I've found that it's impossible to open people's hearts and minds when activism comes from a place of anger. I try to add humor to my life and focus on the potential for change, so I can act from a more joyful and hopeful place.

Can you offer any insight for others interested in becoming involved with animal rights activism?
Getting involved with a local animal advocacy group like MFA is the easiest way to meet like-minded people and learn about effective animal advocacy. MFA's online Action Center also has so many useful tips on making a difference for farmed animals - no matter where you live!

Julie_Office.jpgInspired? Click here to learn about MFA's internship program and apply today for an exciting internship in sunny Los Angeles!

Photos courtesy of Sylvia Elzafon.

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CVF.pngBefore funnymen Ryan Howard and Dan Ziegler founded the award-winning, nationally recognized Chicago Vegan Foods (previously Chicago Soy Dairy), they were crafting just a few vegan alternatives on a small scale in a tiny basement. Now, their mouthwatering lineup boasts an array of nationally available treats, including Temptation Vegan Ice Cream, Teese Vegan Cheese, and Dandies Vegan Marshmallows. We recently chatted with Howard and Ziegler to get the scoop on how this small vegan business took the world by storm!

MFA: Why did you guys first become interested in veganism?

Dan Ziegler: It's an old story: boy meets veganism, veganism meets boy. All this happened about 20 years ago for me. 

Ryan Howard: Ziegler is the smartest man alive. I wish he was the reason I went vegan, but it was actually Diet for a New America by John Robbins 19 years ago. 

teese-6.jpgMFA: What inspired you to start Chicago Vegan Foods?

Dan Ziegler: It was Ryan's idea. He called me one day and asked if I wanted to start a natural foods company. I told him I had nothing else to do. 

Ryan Howard: I knew in high school that I wanted to do something with vegan food, but bigger than a bakery - something that would reach more people. I used to sell vegan cookies in high school during the passing periods. Most kids didn't know the cookies were vegan until I told them. It was good outreach then.

temptation-softserve-1.jpgMFA: Why the focus on indulgent foods?

Dan Ziegler: Those are the foods I grew up loving and missed the most when I decided to become vegan. We make products that we love to eat. 

Ryan Howard: We like to call them "transition" foods. It's easier to get people to veganism if they have familiar food options. We do try to make the options healthier. Our Teese is low-fat and the soft-serve Temptation is fat-free. Of course, I always encourage people to eat their salads & veggies.

dandies-12.jpgMFA: What are your favorite ways to use Dandies Vegan Marshmallows?

Dan Ziegler: Roasted over a campfire. Also as a projectile. When you make over 500,000 marshmallows in a day, is there anything more fun than grabbing a handful and throwing them at employees?  

Ryan Howard: Eating them as a snack directly out of the bag on the way home from work. So good.

teese-5.jpgMFA: What kind of research goes into developing a new product?

Dan Ziegler: Ryan goes into the basement and comes out with something new. It's understood that we don't know, and don't want to know what happens down there. 

Ryan Howard: It's a bit of a blur, but I remember a blast of gamma radiation. Beyond that, it's top secret. 

temptation-1.jpgMFA: Where are your foods available and do you have plans to expand the availability of your products?

Dan Ziegler: Dandies are available at Whole Foods everywhere. You can find Teese at Whole Foods in the Midwest and southern California. Also, my mom has some.  

Ryan Howard: Yeah, my dad usually stocks up when he visits from Indianapolis, so you can talk to him. Or your local health food store. We think 2012 will be a great year for expansion of our current product line. 

teese-2.jpgMFA: What's next for Chicago Vegan Foods?

Dan Ziegler: We're going to make a triumphant video and get Eddie Van Halen in the band.

Ryan Howard: Or do we have to get Eddie Van Halen in the band first and then make a triumphant video? So much to be done...

If you're in the Chicagoland area, visit Chicago Vegan Foods at the Pitchfork Music Festival, where they'll be serving up Temptation Vegan Ice Cream, one of the best non-dairy alternatives on the market.

To learn more about choosing a compassionate vegan lifestyle, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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7363261988_90a9b1ac94.jpgOn June 2, James Costa and John Archibald again graciously opened their beautiful Hollywood Hills home for MFA's star-studded Justice For All event, celebrating our important legal advocacy efforts and initiatives.

Over 200 high-profile guests from the entertainment, business and philanthropic communities sipped champagne while treated to decadent vegan hors d'oeuvres and exquisite desserts provided by the incomparable Madeline Bistro, and enjoyed delicious organic vegan wines provided by Querciabella and Frey.

Skinny Bitch co-author Rory Freedman presented Bones actress Emily Deschanel with MFA's Compassionate Leadership Award, honoring Emily for her farmed animal advocacy leadership and accomplishments, and continued dedication and support of MFA's mission.

The Compassionate Leadership Award acknowledges visionary leaders who are committed to inspiring millions of people to make compassionate choices and positive changes in their lives and the lives of farmed animals. Emily joins an impressive list of changemakers, including last year's honoree Bob Barker.The beautiful bronze award plaque was handcrafted by artist and sculptor Steve Worthington. Many thanks to Steve for creating such a stunning piece for our honoree again this year!


Honored guests included host committee members Mikko Alanne, Dr. Jenn Berman (Host, VH1's Couples Therapy), Karen Dawn (Author, Thanking the Monkey), Cindy Landon, Shaun Monson (Director, Earthlings), Dan Piraro, Simone Reyes (Activist, star of Running Russell Simmons), Cherie Shankar, Ari Solomon, Susan Weingartner and Brian Wendel (Producer, Forks Over Knives), and celebrity guests Steve-O, Michaela Conlin, Dr. Mike Dow, Jackson Galaxy and Fiona Gubelman.

Silent auction items included a stunning art piece by the legendary Peter Max, a complimentary week's stay at a beautiful vacation estate in Wisconsin's North Woods, custom jewelry and clothing, and many other exquisite items generously donated by leading cruelty-free companies and compassionate individuals.

MFA's General Counsel Vandhana Bala updated guests on MFA's legal advocacy initiatives, which have led to landmark criminal and civil prosecutions of factory farms, increased animal protection laws, defeat of whistleblower-suppression bills, and policy changes that improve animal welfare and consumer protections.

Executive Director Nathan Runkle encouraged attendees to lend financial support for MFA's mission and legal advocacy efforts. Thanks to the enormous generosity of our guests and supporters, proceeds from the event reached $100,000!

Thank you to all our members, guests, and sponsors, including Ady Gil and American Hi Definition, James Costa and John Archibald, Tatiana Freitas, Deborah Wolfe (Blood Chain), VegNews, The Veggie Grill, and Upton's Naturals.

If you weren't able to attend the Justice For All event, but would like to become a member or support our work, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.

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tv2012.jpgFollowing the launch of Mercy For Animals' ambitious national pro-vegetarian television ad campaign last fall--which reached millions of teens and young adults from coast to coast on MTV--this month we are further expanding our efforts to include even more channels, including Bravo, VH1, Oxygen, E! and more.

MFA's powerful series of ads brings Americans face-to-face with the harsh reality animals endure in factory farms and slaughterhouses, and encourages viewers to transition toward healthy and humane vegetarian diets. Watch the provocative ads here:


Sir Paul McCartney famously said, "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian." Imagine the number of people who would embrace a cruelty-free diet if more of them knew the truth about factory farming.

Help us inspire even more people to choose compassion over cruelty by sharing these powerful new ads with your friends and family on Facebook and other social networking sites or blogs. With your help, we can build a more compassionate world for all animals.

Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution today to support these life-changing new ads.

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michelle-pfeiffer-movies-list.jpgOscar-nominated actress Michelle Pfeiffer recently declared her love for her healthy and cruelty-free vegan diet while talking with CNN's Sanjay Gupta. Inspired by Bill Clinton and the book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure, Pfeiffer made the leap to a plant-strong vegan diet to protect her health.

"My father died from cancer, and the older you get, there's a lot of disease around you. And you see people struggling with chronic disease. You see people dying with terminal illnesses," Pfeiffer told Gupta about her decision to adopt a plant-based diet.

Pfeiffer joins the growing number of A-list stars who have adopted a healthy and compassionate vegan lifestyle, including Meredith Vieira, Russell Simmons, Ellen Degeneres, and Mike Tyson.

For your free Vegetarian Starter Kit, click here. Visit ChooseVeg.com for delicious vegan recipes and tips on transitioning to a compassionate, vegan diet.

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Picture 6.pngLast week, MFA's Executive Director Nathan Runkle appeared on CNN's Jane Velez-Mitchell to talk about the undercover investigation at one of southern California's largest and oldest livestock auctions that led to 21 charges of cruelty to animals against seven auction employees and its owner.

MFA called for the auction to be shut down, not only on the grounds of severe animal cruelty but also for reasons concerning public health. Despite California laws that prohibit auctions from selling or holding animals who are too sick or injured to walk, such animals were indiscriminately sold and transported with the others. These downed animals are more likely to carry diseases that threaten public health if allowed to enter the human food supply.

Nathan summarized the investigation to viewers:

"Our investigator documented a culture of cruelty. Workers were documented beating animals, dragging them, throwing them by their necks, and neglecting 'downed' animals - animals too sick or injured to even walk - without any access to food, water, or veterinary care." Nathan expressed that this sort of conduct is nothing less than institutionalized cruelty - standard practice at factory farms, slaughterhouses and livestock auctions everywhere.

To remove your support from industries that harm animals, people, and the planet, order a free Vegetarian Starter Kit at ChooseVeg.com.

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This past weekend, Mercy For Animals helped make history by being a voice for farmed animals at the inaugural Chicago Veggie Pride Parade.

CVPP3.jpgMarching from the heart of Chicago's Grant Park down Michigan Avenue, animal activists proudly proclaimed their dedication to a cruelty-free vegetarian lifestyle by holding thought-provoking signs and banners along the streets of downtown Chicago.

CVPP6.jpgThe march ended with a post-parade rally, where parade-goers enjoyed prize giveaways, costume contests, and presentations by inspiring speakers, including Miss Chicago Marisa Buchheit and Mercy For Animals' very own Chicago Campaign Coordinator Mikael Nielsen.

CVPP4.jpgAll in all, the Chicago Veggie Pride Parade was an incredible combination of compassion for animals and a fun-filled environment for everyone.

CVPP1.jpgIf you're in the New York City area, join us next weekend at The Seed: A Vegan Experience! Click here to purchase your tickets today.

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pig1_1204022c.jpgYesterday, Kroger - the largest traditional grocer in the United States - officially announced that it would begin encouraging its suppliers to accelerate the transition to crate-free pork. "Kroger believes that a gestation crate-free environment is more humane and that the pork industry should work toward gestation crate-free housing for pregnant sows."

Mercy For Animals is cautiously optimistic about Kroger's plan to move toward a gestation crate-free supply chain. The pork industry's use of gestation crates is one of the worst forms of institutionalized animal abuse in existence and we praise Kroger for acknowledging that this cruel system is unsustainable and must be phased out. By speaking out against these inherently cruel crates, Kroger is taking a positive step forward in improving animal welfare.

Last year, MFA conducted an undercover investigation into Iowa Select Farms, one of Kroger's pork suppliers, documenting thousands of mother pigs forced to live inside narrow metal gestation crates barely larger than their own bodies. Our investigation at this Kroger pork supplier revealed pigs suffering from untreated pressure sores, bleeding uterine prolapses, chronic lameness, and severe psychological distress.

The list of fast-food giants, including McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, and Tim Hortons, as well as foodservice companies and retailers, such as Compass Group, Bon Appetit Management Company, and Safeway, that are making this move keeps on growing. And now that Safeway and Kroger, the nation's top two traditional grocers, have taken this step, we hope to see Walmart, Kmart, Costco, SUPERVALU, and others follow suit. We further hope that all of these major foodservice providers commit to 100% gestation crate-free pork policies, establishing clear plans and timelines for a timely transition.

To help eliminate crated pork from the United States' supply chain, ask your local grocers about their animal welfare practices and urge them to move away from cruel gestation crates. You can also encourage friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors to adopt a pork-free vegetarian diet. For delicious, cruelty-free recipes, visit ChooseVeg.com. For your free Vegetarian Starter Kit, click here.

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decoster32.jpgA federal grand jury probe has uncovered documents showing a major egg producer knew that eggs from his factory farms were contaminated with deadly bacteria months prior to the salmonella outbreak that sickened 62,000 Americans. Not surprisingly, Austin "Jack" DeCoster, the egg tycoon linked to the outbreak, has a long history of endangering public health and abusing animals. His 30-year criminal rap sheet also includes charges of indenturing migrant workers and exploiting young children, and he has been deemed a "habitual violator" of state environmental laws.

In 2004, MFA investigators documented filthy, disease-ridden conditions at a DeCoster-backed Ohio Fresh Eggs facility, including hundreds of thousands of egg-laying hens with broken, damaged, and feces-covered feathers packed into battery cages so small they couldn't spread their wings, and chicken corpses left to rot in cages with birds still producing eggs for human consumption.

A DeCoster egg factory farm in Maine was the subject of a 2009 MFA undercover cruelty investigation that revealed hens suffocating in trash cans, chickens kicked into manure pits to drown in liquid feces, and workers whipping birds around by their heads in cruel attempts to break their necks. The investigation led to a raid by state police and DeCoster was ordered to pay more than $130,000 in fines and restitution after pleading guilty to 10 counts of cruelty to animals.

Here is the footage from the 2009 undercover investigation:


In spite of state and federal prohibitions, and such repeated run-ins with authorities, DeCoster and other egg industry giants continue to endanger public health, the environment, and animal welfare. And instead of protecting consumers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been helping to cover up food safety violations at egg farms. Meanwhile, pro-factory farming legislators in some states are working to make criminals out of those who dare to expose cruel, corrupt and even illegal practices at factory farms and slaughterhouses.

The good news is that it is easy to safeguard your health and prevent needless cruelty to animals by simply transitioning to a compassionate vegetarian diet. If you've been thinking about ditching eggs in favor of healthy and humane alternatives, visit ChooseVeg.com for tips on baking without eggs, delicious egg-free recipes and more.

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About this Archive

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

May 2012 is the previous archive.

July 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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