July 2012 Archives

On Tuesday, Academy Award-nominee James Cromwell, best known for his role as farmer Hoggett in Babe, joined Mercy For Animals outside a Los Angeles Walmart to protest cruelty to pigs. The larger-than-life demonstration - featuring a 10-foot-tall blood- and sore-covered pig locked in a filthy gestation crate - was attended by dozens of caring MFA supporters and marked the launch of a national campaign tour with stops planned at over 70 Walmart stores across the country.

walmart demo-5898.jpgNewly released hidden-camera footage secretly recorded at Christensen Farms, a Walmart pork supplier, reveals pregnant pigs confined for nearly their entire lives in fly-infested crates barely larger than their own bodies, pigs suffering from bloody open wounds and infections, and piglets being slammed headfirst into the ground and having their testicles ripped out and tails cut off without painkillers. This latest investigation corroborates the findings of other investigations at Walmart pork suppliers, including MFA's investigation at Iowa Select Farms last year.

walmart demo-5899.jpgAlthough standard for Walmart pork producers, the practice of confining sensitive, intelligent, and social pigs into tiny gestation crates has been widely condemned by veterinarians and animal welfare experts, including Dr. Temple Grandin, who is considered the leading farmed animal welfare expert in the country.

Recognizing their inherent cruelty, major food providers, including McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, and Chipotle, and major grocery retailers, including Safeway, Kroger, and Whole Foods, have all started demanding their suppliers do away with these cruel crates.

Yet Walmart continues to support animal abuse--buying pork from suppliers that condemn intelligent and social animals to a lifetime of misery and deprivation inside tiny gestation crates.

walmart demo-5935.jpgIn an effort to garner attention and support for this important campaign, MFA's National Campaign Coordinator Phil Letten has embarked on a tour to Walmart stores in more than 70 cities across the country over the next few months - and he needs your help! Click here for more information about upcoming tour dates and how you can get involved.

In the meantime, please help stop this blatant cruelty to animals by contacting Walmart's executives and telling them you won't shop in their stores until they ditch cruel gestation crates.

  • Call Walmart at: 1-800-925-6278
  • Spread the word

While Walmart has the moral obligation and purchasing power to lessen the cruelty suffered by the millions of pigs who are raised and killed for pork sold in its stores, consumers also hold enormous power of their own in preventing animal abuse by adopting a compassionate, vegan diet.

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jane and matt1.jpgCNN's Jane Velez-Mitchell, on her namesake Headline News Network show, interviewed MFA's director of investigations Matt Rice about the recent investigation into Christensen Farms - a Walmart pork supplier.

The shocking hidden-camera video documents thousands of mother pigs forced to live inside narrow metal gestation crates barely larger than their own bodies, piglets slammed headfirst into the ground, workers cutting off piglets' tails and testicles without painkillers, and animals suffering from bloody open wounds.

Watch the interview here:


Numerous undercover investigations at Walmart pork suppliers, including MFA's investigation at Iowa Select Farms last year, have revealed similarly cruel conditions. While all of the abuses documented during these investigations are horrific, condemning intelligent and social animals to lifetimes of misery and deprivation inside gestation crates so small they can't even turn around or lie down comfortably is perhaps the cruelest form of institutionalized animal abuse in existence.

After behind-the-scenes discussions with MFA following the investigation, Costco and Kmart joined the ranks of other leading food providers, including Safeway, Kroger, McDonald's, and Burger King, in demanding their pork suppliers do away with gestation crates. MFA is now calling on Walmart to quickly follow the lead of its competitors. Visit WalmartCruelty.com to sign the petition calling on Walmart to take a stand against animal abuse by requiring its pork suppliers to end the use of gestation crates.

MFA is also launching a national campaign against Walmart--starting with an eye-catching protest outside a Walmart store in Los Angeles this week and followed by similar protests at Walmart stores in more than 70 cities across the country over the next few months. Protestors will be joined by a 10-foot-tall inflatable pig, covered in bloody sores and crammed inside a tiny gestation crate.

Where: Outside Walmart at 4101 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
When: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

For additional Walmart protest tour dates and event information, click here.

While Walmart has the moral obligation and purchasing power to lessen the cruelty suffered by the millions of pigs who are raised and killed for pork sold in its stores, consumers also hold enormous power of their own in preventing animal abuse by adopting a compassionate, vegan diet.

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fire.jpgMercy For Animals has joined a host of animal protection organizations in calling on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to approve Amendment 150 requiring fire sprinklers to be installed in factory farm facilities nationwide. The NFPA is a national trade association tasked with creating fire codes for implementation by local governments.

In a letter sent to the NFPA on Friday, leaders from more than a dozen animal protection groups point out that hundreds of thousands of farmed animals have perished in preventable factory farm fires in just the last couple of months. The letter explains:

Being burned alive is said to be the most painful way to die. Yet for animals in concentrated animal feeding operations, the prevalent animal farming system in the U.S. today, it actually gets worse. These animals are hyper-confined in ways that under normal conditions cause severe stress. Add an inescapable death by searing heat, and it's hard to imagine a worse fate. In a fire, the animals shriek loudly in terror, bang desperately against the bars of their cages or crates, and pile on one another in their panic and fear at being trapped and killed.

While installing sprinkler systems could save hundreds of thousands of animals a year from this horrific fate and could actually save the industry money in the long run, it is not surprising that the notoriously cruel factory farming industry is opposed to this common-sense measure. But with a little pressure from compassionate people across the country, we feel the NFPA will approve this important amendment.

The NFPA will be considering Amendment 150 in August. Please help ensure it passes by contacting the NFPA at stds_admin@nfpa.org and asking them to require sprinklers to be installed in all animal housing facilities to protect animals from being burned alive.

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5B90DFF5ED11EC7060B17D1B28CD997F_250_250.jpgAccording to Reuters, Cargill Inc. recalled nearly 15 tons of ground beef in connection with a widespread outbreak of salmonella in the Northeast and Virginia. The USDA announced the recall on Sunday, July 22, 2012, almost two months after the production of the infected meat.

While the tainted beef is no longer sold in stores because it has passed its sell-by date, Cargill issued the recall to warn consumers about the potentially dangerous ground beef that they may still have in their freezers.

In a statement by Cargill Inc., Cargill Beef president John Keating said, "Food borne illnesses are unfortunate and we are sorry for anyone who became sick from eating ground beef we may have produced."

An easier and more effective way to avoid salmonella poisoning and help end the suffering of millions of cows and other farmed animals is to choose healthy and humane vegetarian alternatives to bacteria-infested animal flesh.

Visit ChooseVeg.com for healthy and delicious plant-based recipes and instructional cooking videos.

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MFA took the Northeast by storm over the past few weeks, conducting a series of thought-provoking "Why Love One but Eat the Other?" demonstrations - featuring a massive inflatable puppy crammed inside a hamburger bun - to spark debate over why we call some animals pets and others dinner. At each stop, MFA's national campaign coordinator Phil Letten was joined by local activists wielding signs that read, "Boycott animal abuse. Choose vegetarian."

DSCN0613.jpgDSCN0647.jpgThe Northeast tour took our compassionate message to the Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island cities of Baltimore, Philadelphia, Scranton, Harrisburg, and Providence, and the Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York cities of Boston, Hartford, Albany, and Binghamton, as well as the New York City borough of Brooklyn, where our crew held a protest against Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest.

DSCN0673.jpg458782_463594710319928_1058853674_o.jpgEach of our head-turning demonstrations attracted countless passersby, and everyone was encouraged to adopt a kind and compassionate vegetarian diet, as it's the most powerful action we can take to prevent animal abuse.

DSCN0587.jpgDSCN0596.jpg"Factory-farmed animals are forced to spend nearly their entire lives crammed inside tiny crates that are barely larger than their bodies," said Phil in an interview with CBS Radio, Philadelphia's largest talk radio station. "They are mutilated without painkillers and forced to endure a brutal slaughter at the slaughterhouse."

To learn more about the health, environmental, and ethical benefits of plant-based eating, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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After living as a vegan in a world without vegan marshmallows, Sara Sohn was determined to fill that gap by creating mouthwatering marshmallows that vegans and non-vegans could all enjoy. This was the simple idea behind the celebrated Queens-based company Sweet & Sara, which has been featured in VegNews magazine and Martha Stewart's Weddings magazine, as well as on the Food Network and the Rachel Ray Show. Sweet & Sara's lineup of delicious vegan treats includes a variety of marshmallow flavors, such as Smores, Rice Crispy Treats, and Rocky Road Bark, all of which can be found throughout the United States and select locations in Canada and overseas. We recently spoke with Sara to find out more about the vegan marshmallow that's changed the world!

Sweet&Sara.variety1.jpgMFA: Why did you first become interested in veganism?

Sara Sohn: When I was 12, the sweetest, most adorable bunny came into my life. Skipper was my baby and she immediately changed the way I viewed animals. One day at my neighborhood street fair, I came across an animal rights table and the first thing I saw was a huge picture of a rabbit with blistered eyes and exposed flesh, and I was sickened to find out she was a victim of cosmetic testing. The whole time I kept thinking about Skipper. If someone even petted her a little rough I would get upset, so I could only imagine how I would react if chemicals were being burned into her eyes and skin. The lady behind the table asked me if I would ever eat my rabbit, to which I replied, "Of course not!" She then asked me why I ate cows and pigs if I wouldn't eat my rabbit. Good question - and I didn't have a good answer. The very next day I became a vegetarian. A year later I became vegan. Two decades later, I have never looked back. Going vegan is one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.

Sweet&Sara.Sara.jpgMFA: What inspired you to start Sweet & Sara?

Sara Sohn: Being vegan meant I could no longer have my favorite sweet snacks - rice crispy treats and Korean moon pies - because both were made with marshmallows, and marshmallows contain gelatin, which is made from the tendons, ligaments, and bones of animals. Years went by, and I honestly thought someone was going to come out with a vegan marshmallow, but no one did, and I really, really wanted a rice crispy treat. I decided to take matters into my own hands, and though it was far from easy, I created the first vegan marshmallow! Sweet success.

IMG_6184-1.jpgMFA: What are your favorite ways to use Sweet & Sara Vegan Marshmallows?

Sara Sohn: I love to roast Classic Vanilla Marshmallows so they get nice and puffy and caramelized, then I smoosh them between graham crackers and chocolate to make the ultimate Smore. The Toasted Coconut Marshmallow is heavenly and amazing to eat as is - just pop 'em in your mouth. Strawberry Marshmallows are awesome to dip in chocolate. They are made with real strawberries, so it's like eating chocolate-covered strawberries. Cinnamon Pecan Marshmallows are a dessert on their own: candied pecans atop a fluffy cinnamon mallow, and they are out of this world melted on candied yams. Mmm-mallows.

dsc_0158.jpgMFA: How do you go about developing new flavors and products?

Sara Sohn: I'm always testing out new products because my mind is always thinking about food, my stomach is always demanding food, and I'm always wishing that the non-vegan snacks I am constantly surrounded by could be made vegan. Most of my ideas come at night right before I fall asleep and research and development begins the next day. I'm obsessed with perfecting textures and keeping flavors simple but flavorful, and being the perfectionist I am, it can take over a year to put a product out on the market.

Sweet&Sara.RiceCrispyTreat.jpgMFA: Where can our readers pick up some of your amazing cruelty-free delights?

Sara Sohn: Our vegan marshmallow treats can be found nationally and also in the UK, Canada, and Australia. You can find Sweet & Sara in supermarkets, delis, chain stores, mom-n-pops, movie theaters, online shops, and at our factory in Queens, NY. Oh, and we recently got picked up by Duane Reade, NYC's largest chain convenience store (and subsidiary of Walgreens)! I am over the moon and proud that our vegan delights can be purchased in such mainstream places and are easily accessible. And it's really sweet that our award-winning, scrumptious vegan marshmallow products have been featured on the Food Network, CNBC, and Rachel Ray's talk show, and mentioned in Martha Stewart's Weddings magazine! We are taking over the world one vegan marshmallow at a time.

sweetsara2007yum.jpgIf you haven't already tried one, find a store near you or go online and try some of these delicious treats from the company that is helping people go vegan, one cruelty-free marshmallow at a time.

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

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PigFarm1.jpgToday, after eleventh hour behind-the-scenes discussions with Mercy For Animals, both Costco Wholesale, the second largest retailer in the US, and Sears Holdings Corporation's subsidiary Kmart, the third-largest discount store in the world, announced that they would eliminate gestation crates from their pork supply chains.

In a letter addressed to Costco Wholesale's pork suppliers, Doug Schutt, Executive Vice President of Merchandising said:

Here at Costco we are encouraging you to make this transition: we want all of the hogs throughout our pork supply chain to be housed in groups with access to safety zones and expect that this transition should be accomplished no later than 2022.

Sears Holdings issued a public statement promising that the company "will work to eliminate gestation crates from our supply chain as it pertains to the production of pork products." Robin Michel, Sears Holdings' senior vice president and president for grocery, drug, and pharmacy said:

We believe that a gestation crate-free environment is more humane and we support and appreciate the efforts of pork suppliers to reduce and eliminate the use of gestation crates.

"Mercy For Animals applauds both Costco's and Kmart's commitment to eliminate one of the worst forms of institutionalized animal abuse in existence," said Nathan Runkle, Mercy For Animals' executive director. "We praise these companies for acknowledging that this cruel system is unsustainable and must be phased out. By speaking out against these inherently cruel crates, these top retailers are taking a positive step forward in improving animal welfare."

Recently MFA conducted an undercover investigation into Christensen Farms, a pork supplier to both Costco and Kmart. The hidden-camera video documents thousands of mother pigs forced to live inside narrow metal gestation crates barely larger than their own bodies, piglets slammed headfirst into the ground, workers cutting off piglets' tails and testicles without painkillers, and animals suffering from bloody open wounds. Pigs confined in gestation crates are unable to even turn around, take a step forward or backward, or lie down comfortably for nearly their entire lives. Both Costco and Kmart took swift and decisive action--immediately denouncing the use of gestation crates in their supply chains--after MFA privately presented them with the undercover video.

Costco and Kmart have joined the ranks of several other corporations, including Kroger and Safeway, two of the largest grocers in the nation, and McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's, the top fast-food restaurants in the United States, in their commitments to completely phase out gestation crates from their supply chains.

"Costco and Kmart's commitments to transition their pork supply chains should send a strong signal to the pork industry that confining pigs in crates so small they cannot even turn around or lie down comfortably is blatant animal abuse that will not be tolerated by socially responsible retailers," says Runkle.

MFA is now calling on Walmart, another customer of Christensen Farms, to quickly follow Costco and Kmart's lead in taking a stance against inherently cruel gestation crates. Today, Mercy For Animals is launching a national campaign aimed at pressuring Walmart executives to adopt a new policy requiring the company's pork suppliers to phase out gestation crates. 

Learn more, and take action, at WalmartCruelty.com.

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E_ Coli77.jpgAccording to a new study reported on NPR, some chicken is contaminated with the same strains of antibiotic-resistant E. coli found to cause recurring human bladder infections. Researchers say it is likely that the E. coli strains are being transferred to humans through the consumption of infected birds.

Maryn McKenna, journalist with the Food and Environment Reporting Network and author of SUPERBUG, says consumers should be concerned. Strains of the bacteria create infections that spread from the gut to other areas of the body. "Because of this decade of research," adds McKenna, "there is now abundant epidemiologic evidence that this bacterial traffic is occurring."

The broad-scale use of antibiotics on factory farms to promote rapid growth and fight off illnesses induced by filthy, disease-ridden, and overcrowded living conditions is in great part responsible for creating antibiotic-resistant superbugs, making these same antibiotics less effective at treating human illnesses. According to ABC News, these particular strains of E. coli are linked to a troubling rise in the occurrence of "painful and long-lasting bladder infections" that are increasingly difficult to treat with antibiotics.

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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 disease-infested meat, dairy, and eggs.

For information and tips on protecting your health and helping animals by adopting a plant-based lifestyle, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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pig37.jpgAn animal welfare organization has served a notice of intent to sue more than 50 pig factory farm facilities in Iowa, North Carolina, and Oklahoma, for failing to report hazardous waste discharges into the environment. Industrial pig farms that confine thousands of pregnant pigs inside inherently cruel gestation crates for nearly their entire lives can emit hundreds of pounds of toxic ammonia fumes per day--endangering the environment and public health.

Not surprisingly, Iowa Select Farms and many other pig factory farms controlled by Jack Decoster have been put on notice. Decoster-owned factory farm facilities have a long record of animal welfare, environmental, and food safety problems, including the recall of nearly half a billion salmonella-contaminated eggs in 2010. An MFA investigation at a Decoster-owned egg factory farm in 2009 resulted in a raid by state police and a court order to pay more than $130,000 in fines and restitution after the mega-farm pled guilty to 10 counts of cruelty to animals.

In 2011, an MFA undercover investigation at Iowa Select Farms documented management training employees to use dull clippers to cut off the tails of piglets, to castrate them without painkillers, and to throw piglets across the room--comparing it to a "roller coaster ride." The investigation also revealed mother pigs--physically taxed from constant birthing--suffering from distended, inflamed, bleeding, and usually fatal uterine prolapses, and sick and injured pigs often left to languish and slowly die without proper veterinary care.

Watch the video from MFA's investigation at Iowa Select Farms:


At factory farms animal abuse goes hand-in-hand with environmental degradation. Manure and urine from factory-farmed animals produces ammonia, a dangerous toxin that can cause severe health problems and even death in humans and farmed animals. Waste from factory farms pollutes air, contaminates streams and rivers, jeopardizes our water supply, and harms delicate eco-systems.

But knowledgeable consumers can easily safeguard their health and the planet while helping to prevent needless cruelty to animals by transitioning to a sustainable plant-based diet.

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emmy_award_trophy_statue_05.jpgAlready the recipients of two highly regarded Genesis Awards for their coverage of MFA's undercover investigations (here and here), the crew at ABC News has now been nominated for a prestigious Emmy Award for their outstanding reporting on MFA's investigation into the primary Egg McMuffin supplier for McDonald's.

Not only did ABC's in-depth coverage of MFA's investigation into a McDonald's egg supplier expose millions of viewers to the plights of egg-laying hens, its exclusive coverage on Good Morning America, World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, and 20/20 sparked a viral media maelstrom that resulted in widespread coverage by more than 2,000 media outlets worldwide.

Thanks to ABC's incredible reporting, countless people around the world were exposed to the shocking, but standard, practices of the egg industry:

Of course, all of this media coverage has far-reaching and positive effects for farmed animals. In fact, recent research shows that consumer demand for animal products is negatively impacted when media attention is given to animal welfare issues.

As MFA works with ABC and other media outlets to expose and end the exploitation of animals at the hands of the meat, egg, and dairy industries, consumers still hold the greatest power of all to prevent needless suffering of farmed animals by adopting a healthy and humane vegan diet. Visit ChooseVeg.com for great-tasting recipes and helpful tips for making the transition to a vegan lifestyle.

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DSC06003 - Copy.jpgEver wonder what it would be like to intern with Mercy For Animals? We interviewed Tyisha Shaia, who recently completed an internship at MFA's New York office, and asked her to give us the scoop.

A native of Tampa, Florida, Tyisha adopted a vegan diet after making the connection that farmed animals are just as important as the cats she grew up with and called her friends. In addition to advocating for animals, Tyisha is a seasoned activist for multiple social justice issues, with a special passion for promoting LGBTQ equality. When not advocating for human rights and animal rights, Tyisha spends her down time catching up on reruns of Logo's RuPaul's Drag Race and Drag U.

What first inspired you to become a vegan?

I first knew that I had to go vegan after seeing an undercover investigation of Conklin Dairy Farms that Mercy For Animals conducted. It took me a while to adapt, but I was finally able to eliminate all animal by-products from my diet and I've never felt better.

What is your favorite vegan/animal rights resource?

ChooseVeg.com is hands down the best resource for people wanting to make the vegan leap. It's packed with tips, recipes, and information on why a vegan diet is what's best for the animals, the earth, and yourself. When people want more info on veganism, it's the first website I send them to.

DSC06377 - Copy.jpgWhy did you choose to intern with MFA?

I knew that I wanted to delve into the world of animal activism. So, what better organization to do it with than Mercy For Animals? Being highly respectable and extremely efficient in delivering their message, MFA was the clear choice for seeking an internship.

What did you like most about interning with MFA?

My favorite part of the internship was hosting Paid-Per-View events. I really enjoyed meeting new and amazing people every day. At Paid-Per-View events, you get to see change happen immediately and it's amazing to be a part of. I also got to meet all kinds of people on a regular basis, from established animal rights advocates to interested people who just want more information on how they can switch to a plant-based diet and help themselves while helping animals.

DSC05710.jpgWhat is the key to your success as an activist?

For me, I think patience, passion, and persistence are essential. Patience is a must because most people won't change overnight. Passion is crucial because it will be the only thing you have when you feel like no one is listening. And persistence is mandatory because it tends to take multiple tries before getting people to transition to any new lifestyle. If you have those three qualities, fighting for your cause will be much more rewarding.

Can you offer any insight for others interested in becoming involved with animal rights activism?

Dive right in. There's no use in feeling nervous or anxious or waiting for the right time. Now is the time! Be a voice for the voiceless and everything will fall into place. Do what you can to get in with a great organization like Mercy For Animals and people will help guide you along the way.

553263_265036710278535_1500251986_n.jpgInspired? Click here to learn about MFA's internship program and apply today for an exciting internship in one of our campaigns offices.

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salmonella1111.jpgAccording to Reuters, "A global study mapping human diseases that come from animals like tuberculosis, AIDS, bird flu or Rift Valley fever has found that just 13 such diseases are responsible for 2.4 billion cases of human illness and 2.2 million deaths a year."

While these zoonotic diseases - diseases that originate from animals - "can be transmitted to people by either wild or domesticated animals, most human infections are acquired from the world's 24 billion livestock, including pigs, poultry, cattle, goats, sheep and camels," the article reports.

John McDermott, director of the CGIAR research program on agriculture for nutrition and health led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) says, "A major concern is that as new livestock systems intensify, particularly small- and medium-sized pig production ... more intensive systems will allow the maintenance and transmission of pathogens. A number of new zoonoses ... have emerged in that way."

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 disease-infested meat, dairy, and eggs.

For delicious recipes and tips on transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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5513119712_87144bfd48.jpgIn a recent New York Times article titled "Got Milk? You Don't Need It," food journalist and author Mark Bittman highlights the numerous downsides of the dairy industry. He calls attention to health issues that can stem from drinking cow's milk, including links to prostate cancer, type 1 diabetes, and Bittman's own struggle with chronic heartburn. This timely article explores the key components in the decision of a growing number of Americans to give up dairy products - whether it's for personal health or compassion for animals.

Citing giving up dairy as the cure for his lifelong struggle with heartburn, Bittman suggests a dairy-free diet as an alternative to heartburn treatment - a business that costs Americans $10 billion per year. Bittman shares, "I decided to give up dairy products as a test. Twenty-four hours later, my heartburn was gone. Never, it seems, to return. ... Presto! No dairy, no heartburn!"

Bittman also points out the inherent cruelties within the dairy industry, stating, "There are our 9 million dairy cows, most of whom live tortured, miserable lives while making a significant contribution to greenhouse gases."

In response to the suggestion that there are better ways of producing milk, Bittman asserts, "But the bucolic cow and family farm barely exist."

The fact is, the majority of dairy cows in the United States spend their entire miserable lives on large factory operations. On modern day dairy facilities, mother cows endure extreme pain and suffering before ultimately being mercilessly slaughtered. Several times a day, dairy cows are hooked up to electric milking machines that can cause the cows to suffer electrical shocks, painful lesions, and mastitis--a painful inflammation of the mammary glands. In order to further increase profits, Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH), a synthetic hormone known to cause breast and prostate cancer in humans, is injected into cows to get them to produce even more milk.

A 2009 undercover investigation at Willet Dairy - the largest dairy in New York State - revealed extreme animal abuse, including cows with bloody open wounds, prolapsed uteruses, pus-filled infections, and swollen joints, apparently left to suffer without veterinary care, and "downed" cows - those too sick or injured to even stand - left to suffer for weeks before dying or being killed.

For information and tips on protecting your health and helping animals by adopting a plant-based lifestyle, visit ChooseVeg.com.

Click here for your free Vegetarian Starter Kit.

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One of the most simple and effective ways to get active for animals this summer is through vegetarian leafleting at festivals, concerts, boardwalks, and other public places with heavy foot-traffic.

The average person eats about 50 farmed animals per year (about 27 land animals, and dozens of aquatic animals), adding up to thousands in a lifetime. Leafleting with literature on factory farming has been proven effective in inspiring new vegans and vegetarians, and convincing others to reduce their consumption of animal products. By educating the public about animals suffering on factory farms, we can inspire others to spare countless animals and ultimately create a more compassionate society.

A great thing about leafleting is the lack of preparation time required. Also, at the right time and place, just one person can hand out hundreds of brochures in less than an hour. Placing free information directly into the hands of the public embodies MFA's core philosophy and strategies: promoting humane eating, cost-effective grassroots activism, volunteerism, and dedication to putting a friendly face on animal advocacy.

MFA staff and interns host nearly daily leafleting events throughout Ohio, Texas, California, Chicago, and New York, where volunteers gather to distribute thousands of pieces of literature to curious consumers. All events are open to the public and everyone is encouraged to participate.

Click here to find leafleting events in your area.

For tips on organizing a leafleting event in your own community, click here.

Visit the MFA's Literature Store to choose from a variety of leafleting materials.

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nfl_u_foster_ah_600.jpgLast week, Houston Texans running back Arian Foster announced to his fans that he had become vegan, tweeting,"Officially vegan now. We'll see how this goes. But one week down. So far so good. Feels wonderful." Foster also tweeted, "People feel so strong about meat and milk. I wish they felt this strong about peace."

Foster joins the ranks of professional athletes who have decided to ditch cruelty by adopting a plant-based diet, including ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, Ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier, and vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke.

For information and tips on improving your health and helping animals by adopting a plant-based lifestyle, visit ChooseVeg.com.

Click here for your free Vegetarian Starter Kit.

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pig112.jpgOn Friday, both Oscar Mayer Brand (owned by Kraft Foods) and CKE Restaurants (owner of Hardees and Carl's Jr. restaurant chains) announced that they will require their pork suppliers to be 100% gestation crate-free by 2022.

The announcements by large companies to go gestation crate-free are still coming at a fast and furious pace. From January of this year until today, a total of fourteen major companies - retailers, restaurant chains, manufacturers, and foodservice providers - have committed to eliminating gestation crates from their pork supply chains.

Last year, MFA's undercover investigation of Iowa Select Farms documented thousands of mother pigs forced to live inside narrow metal gestation crates barely larger than their own bodies. At the time of the investigation, Iowa Select Farms supplied two of the largest retailers in the United States, Safeway and Kroger, which have also recently announced their commitment to eliminate gestation crates from their supply chains. Kroger has even committed to accelerating its suppliers' transition to 100% gestation crate-free pork.

We hope these most recent announcements will encourage other retailers, restaurants, and manufacturers, including Walmart, Kmart, Costco, Domino's, Cheesecake Factory, Starbuck's, NestlĂ©, Tyson, General Mills, 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 Kitclick here.

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Mercy For Animals spent the Fourth of July holiday advocating for farmed animals in a head-turning protest against Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest, a barbaric display of gluttony that draws nearly 50,000 live spectators and over two million ESPN viewers worldwide.

DSC01477.JPGDSC01435.JPGThe larger-than-life demonstration featured MFA's mascot - a massive, 10-foot-long inflatable puppy crammed inside a bun and topped with ketchup, mustard, cheese, and lettuce - and was joined by dozens of New York City activists wielding signs with images of an adorable puppy and lovable farmed animals sitting side-by-side that read, "Why Love One but Eat the Other? Choose Vegetarian." Other activists held signs that read, "Nathan's Famous = Animal Cruelty in a Bun" and distributed emergency Vegetarian Starter Kits to passersby.

n.JPGN2.JPGLeading our crew was television personality and animal rights activist Simone Reyes, and MFA's National Campaign Coordinator Phil Letten, who's been traveling the country to spread the message of kindness and compassion. Our demonstration drew a slew of photographers, including several members of the media, and was covered by the Associated Press and Reuters through a multitude of national news outlets.

NHDEC.JPG"If you wouldn't eat your dog, why eat other animals? Farm animals are just as intelligent, sensitive, and worthy of our respect as the animals we consider pets," said Phil in an interview with CBS New York. "This outrageous meat gorge fest is not only a gross public display of gluttony, but also promotes the cruelty, exploitation, and violence that animals suffer at factory farms and slaughterhouses before becoming Nathan's Famous Frankfurters. The most powerful action we can take to prevent egregious animal abuse is to adopt a compassionate vegetarian diet."

Join MFA for our next stops as we tour the Northeast.

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Spotlighting the parallels between gay rights, animal rights, and other social justice movements, MFA volunteers in Chicago, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and New York City marched in their respective cities' annual gay pride parades. Marching behind a banner bearing the message, "No one is free when others are oppressed," they promoted compassion for humans and animals alike.

NYCPride2.jpgJoining MFA volunteers at pride parades in New York City and Los Angeles were a number of key players in the national veg-scene, including Simone Reyes, Ashley Lou Smith, Rory Freedman, Ari Solomon, Mikko Alanne, and fashion designer John Bartlett.

288450_436077699746384_1750151430_o.jpgOver three-hundred volunteers from all seven parades distributed a record-breaking total of 57,000 pieces of pro-vegetarian literature, including MFA's Why love one but eat the other? brochures, to excited and enthusiastic crowds. Our Paid-Per-View program also broke records with over 1,300 people watching a four-minute version of MFA's hard-hitting documentary Farm to Fridge.

318006_403071923076810_1251389298_n.jpgThis was MFA's seventh year marching in gay pride parades nationwide, promoting compassion, diversity, and social justice for all.

7363241314_0e2dc3c414_b.jpgFor information and tips on improving your health and helping animals by adopting a plant-based diet, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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July 2, 2012

On the Road Again

Mercy For Animals hit the road again to spread the message of compassion with twelve traffic-stopping demonstrations throughout the Midwest.

The tour started with a head-turning protest outside the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, IA, where we were joined by local activists and our gigantic, 10-foot-tall inflatable pig - covered in sores and filth - crammed inside a gestation crate. The demonstration shed light on the inherently cruel practice of forcing pregnant pigs to live nearly their entire lives crammed inside tiny, filthy crates, where they are virtually immobilized. Several television, print, and radio outlets covered the event, alerting countless consumers to the cruel suffering mother sows endure in the pork industry.

DSCN0503.jpgWe continued our Midwest tour with our thought-provoking "Why Love One but Eat the Other?" demonstrations. Featuring a massive inflatable puppy stuffed inside a hamburger bun, the events sparked debate over why we love animals we consider pets, but eat farmed animals we consider dinner.

DSCN0543.jpgMFA's "Why Love One but Eat the Other?" tour included stops in the Iowa and Illinois cities of Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Peoria, and Springfield, and then continued on to Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska, where we held demonstrations in St. Louis, Springfield, Joplin, Kansas City, Topeka, Lincoln, and Omaha.

DSCN0558.jpg"The reactions have been incredible everywhere," said National Campaign Coordinator Phil Letten in an interview with the Topeka Capital-Journal. "Most people are opposed to animal cruelty. And when they learn about the egregious abuses farmed animals endure during their lives, many are moved toward a vegetarian diet."

Join MFA for our next stops in New York City and the Northeast this week.

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