January 2013 Archives

Vegetarian-heart-image1.jpgAn eleven-year British study of 45,000 volunteers found that a vegetarian diet could cut one's risk of heart disease by as much as thirty-two percent. Lead researcher, Francesca Crowe of the University of Oxford, theorizes that this lowered risk is due to lower cholesterol and blood pressure for vegetarians.

This news should strongly impact US meat consumption, as heart disease has been ranked by the CDC as the number one cause of death in the United States. Presently, there are 26.5 million non-institutionalized American adults that have been diagnosed with heart disease.

If significantly cutting your risk of developing the top killer disease isn't enough to convince Americans to go meat-free, maybe the fact that going vegetarian can cut your risk of cancer--the number two killer in the nation--by half will be the clincher.

For more information on becoming vegan, visit ChooseVeg.com. You can also order a free Vegetarian Starter Kit.

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201212171746639903731-p2.jpgStandout New York Knicks basketball player Amar'e Stoudemire has joined the ranks of a growing number of elite athletes exploring a vegan diet.

The thirty-year-old, six-foot-eleven, 245-pound Stoudemire, a six-time all-star, has been plagued in recent years by chronic knee injuries, which have hampered his career and kept him sidelined for long stretches at a time. This season, while out again rehabilitating a knee, he decided to devote himself to fully healing his body, including adopting a vegan diet. Stoudemire has enthusiastically maintained his new diet for more than three months now.

According to the New York Times, "Stoudemire said he began talking with the team's medical staff at the beginning of training camp to try to find a better solution to staying healthy. He decided to become a vegan shortly after he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in October, the third procedure on his knees in his career."

"I wanted to really give myself the best opportunity to remain healthy," said Stoudemire. "And if something did happen and an injury did occur, I could say that I gave 100 percent from nutrition to cardio to lifting weights."

Since returning this season, Stoudemire has been playing well, gradually for more and more minutes per game. And the Knicks, currently first place in their division, are wowing fans and critics with their strong play. "It's so rewarding to be healthy. ... It feels great to feel great," said Stoudemire.

Football players Arian Foster and Tony Gonzalez, tennis pro Venus Williams, and Olympian Carl Lewis are just a few other standout athletes to adopt a primarily vegan diet during their careers.

Whether you're an elite athlete or a couch potato, and whether you're looking to improve your overall health and resiliency, to reduce your risks of some of the most deadly diseases, or to help animals and the environment, visit ChooseVeg.com for delicious recipes and tips on transitioning to a healthy and humane vegan diet.

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Cory.jpgThere's no question that Hollywood celebrities help set trends. That's why A-listers like Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain, who both walked away with Golden Globes a couple of weeks ago, made waves when they became vegan. But now politicians, from mayors to presidents, are jumping on the veg train and spreading the word far and wide.

The whole world was atwitter when Bill Clinton announced he had transitioned to a plant-based diet a couple of years ago. Clinton attributed his greatly improved health and energy level to his new lifestyle. That same year, his daughter, Chelsea, held a lavish vegan wedding in New York.

Rising political star and mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Cory Booker has been vegetarian for 20 years. Although he mainly attributes his decision to eschew meat to his desire to improve his athletic performance, he's also stated that becoming vegetarian was what was "best" for him, as it "comported with other values and ideas" he was exploring at the time.

Ed Smith, the mayor of Marshall, Texas, went vegan with his wife after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. He and his wife credit their new plant-based diet with reversing his illness. In his small town in east Texas, veganism was virtually unheard of. But Mayor Smith has changed all of that. In 2010 he started Get Healthy Marshall, a non-profit that now hosts the New Year, New You Health Fest, a conference that brings together from all over the country people interested in meat-free living.

Maryland state senator Jaime Raskin, a self-described passionate carnivore, challenged himself to go vegetarian for one week back in 2009. Raskin became so enthusiastic he never looked back. Four years later, he's still veg and speaks regularly at veg events. He recently exhorted to eager listeners: "Vote not just with your dollars, but with your whole life. That's what I'm trying to do by being a vegetarian."

In his book Dominion--a magnificent and hard-hitting argument for veganism through a religious lens--Matthew Scully, speechwriter for President George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, and Paul Ryan, writes: "Factory farming isn't just killing: It is negation, a complete denial of the animal as a living being with his or her own needs and nature."

When political figures speak out about their choice to follow a healthy, meat-free diet, it prompts people to explore how their own food is sourced and how animals on factory farms are treated. This heightened awareness is the first step toward getting people to consider the plight of farmed animals and make cruelty-free food choices.

For more information on how you can vote with your food dollars, visit ChooseVeg.com for healthful and compassionate vegan recipes.

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Thumbnail image for la-fi-mo-burger-king-horse-meat-20130124-001.jpgLast week, the UK was rocked when trace amounts of horse meat were found in ground beef being used for hamburger. The outcry resulted in the recall of 10 million pounds of meat by Irish supplier Silvercrest.

This dramatic event shines a glaring light onto a sad societal hypocrisy: it's considered acceptable to eat some animals--cows, pigs, and lambs, for example--but offensive to eat others, such as dogs, cats, and horses. The reality, of course, is that all animals suffer similarly. Yet, humans lavish love upon certain species while condemning others to the horrors of the slaughterhouse.

In a disingenuous morality play, US-based Burger King announced it was dropping Silvercrest following the horse meat scandal, and that certain menu items might become unavailable.

This isn't the first time Burger King has found itself in hot water for the mistreatment of animals used in its cheeseburgers. In October, Mercy For Animals presented Burger King executives with undercover video shot at one of its dairy suppliers--Bettencourt Dairies-- that revealed workers beating, kicking, mutilating, confining, and neglecting animals.

The abuse was so severe that one of Bettencourt's employees just pled guilty to criminal cruelty to animals and is facing six months in jail and a $5,000 fine. Despite all of this, the multi-billion-dollar company did nothing in response but to temporarily cut ties with the supplier--it refused to take meaningful action, such as instituting zero-tolerance policies for animal abuse, that would prevent such horrifying events in the future.


Let Burger King know that abusing dairy cattle is unacceptable. Go to BurgerKingCruelty.com and sign the petition urging Burger King to require its cheese suppliers to implement meaningful animal welfare standards.

Concerned consumers can be sure they aren't consuming horse meat and can help prevent needless violence and cruelty to animals by ditching meat and dairy in favor of healthy and humane plant-based alternatives. Visit ChooseVeg.com to learn more.

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419584_10151452369702990_2110403003_n.jpgAs many parts of the nation cope with staying warm in sub-freezing temperatures, it's disturbing but important to remember that farmed animals have virtually no protection from the elements during transport to slaughter.

Just take a look at this harrowing video filmed by Canadian activists in Toronto. During a vigil held for animals on their way to slaughter, activists stood on the side of the road in -20ºC weather (-4ºF) and documented pigs being shipped in trucks with no climate control. There is barely even any hay inside the cars for the pigs to cover up and stay warm. One shot shows what appears to be frostbite on a pig's ears.


Such brutal transport is also endured by pigs here in the United States. One can only imagine the suffering of these animals, being exposed to such extreme temperatures for several hours, sometimes over hundreds of miles. In Gail Eisnitz's book Slaughterhouse, Dr. Lester Friedlander, a former USDA veterinarian, expressed his concern: "This past winter, we had minus-50-degree weather with the wind chill. Can you imagine if you were in the back of a trailer that's open and the wind-chill factor is minus 50 degrees, and that trailer is going 50 to 60 miles an hour?"

The best way to ensure animals don't have to suffer such horrific conditions is to adopt a cruelty-free, vegan diet. For more information visit ChooseVeg.com.

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Proud Looking Pig.jpgThis week, both Marriott International, a leading lodging company with more than 3,700 properties in over 74 countries/territories, and Au Bon Pain, a fast casual restaurant chain with more than 200 locations, committed to eliminating crated sows and caged laying hens from their supply chains.

Both companies made strong and timely commitments that set a progressive example for other large food companies to follow. Specifically, Marriott International requires the elimination of gestation crates by 2018 and will ensure cage-free housing for hens by 2015. And Au Bon Pain has committed to a crate- and cage-free supply chain by 2017.

While Au Bon Pain and Marriott, as well as more than 50 other companies, make important progress in eliminating some of the cruelest forms of institutionalized animal abuse from their supply chains, Walmart continues to drag its feet.
Thumbnail image for laying hens all lined up.jpgAs the largest retailer in the world, Walmart has the power to end the sale of crated pork in the US supply chain. That's why Mercy For Animals is calling on Walmart to eliminate gestation crates from its pork supply chain with the national Walmart Cruelty campaign. Join the campaign and share WalmartCruelty.com with friends and family.


While retailers have incredible power to end some of the most egregious factory farming practices, consumers can also help prevent cruelty and promote compassion each time they sit down to eat by adopting a vegan diet.

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Martin-Luther-King-Jr-9365086-2-402.jpgPeople all over the world have been inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.'s tremendous commitment to justice and nonviolence, his courage to speak up for equality, and his recognition of the interconnectedness of social justice struggles.

Dr. King famously said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," a critical acknowledgment that if we allow some to be treated unfairly, it lowers the bar for how all of us relate to one another. In other words, "No one is free when others are oppressed."

Injustice and oppression are rampant in our industrialized food production system. Workers on factory farms endure unsafe conditions and immigrants are often knowingly hired so that their lack of legal standing they can be exploited. Slaughterhouses have been ranked as among the most dangerous workplaces in the country.

And of course, there are the animals. Farmed animals endure the most egregiously cruel treatment, all in the name of profit. They are crammed into spaces so small they can't even turn around, have their tails, ears and genitals mutilated with no anesthetics, and are brutally slaughtered - some while still fully conscious.

Dr. King's wife, Coretta Scott King, observed a vegan diet, as does his son, Dexter Scott King. Mrs. King believed that animal rights were a logical extension of Dr. King's philosophy of nonviolence. "Veganism has given me a higher level of awareness and spirituality," Dexter Scott King told Vegetarian Times magazine. "If you're violent to yourself by putting things into your body that violate its spirit, it will be difficult not to perpetuate that onto someone else."

Mohandas Gandhi, the world-renowned peace advocate who inspired Dr. King, was a committed vegetarian. And it's no coincidence that other social justice luminaries, including Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, and Susan B. Anthony, also eschewed animal-derived foods.

There are many ways in which each of us can take action for peace and justice in our daily lives, such as advocating for meaningful causes in our communities, speaking up when we see injustice, and choosing to be vegetarian.

For tips on transitioning to a humane and healthy vegan diet, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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Img47.jpgA new study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology reveals that the European shore crab, a species very close to the crabs commonly eaten by people, experiences pain. Queen's University professor Bob Elwood, who conducted the study, notes that the crabs' response to adverse stimuli "fits all the criteria of pain."

Previous work by the same researchers also found that hermit crabs and prawns exhibit similar pain avoidance behaviors indicative of sentient, feeling beings. They now believe that all decapod crustaceans, a group that includes lobsters and crayfish, feel pain. This prompted Professor Elwood to raise the very serious issue of the utter absence of laws to protect the welfare of these animals.

Indeed, the entire aquaculture industry (think factory farms for aquatic animals) is largely overlooked by animal welfare advocates, even though ample scientific evidence clearly shows that fish and other aquatic animals suffer similarly to mammals.

In 2010, Mercy For Animals conducted the first undercover investigation inside a fish slaughter facility--Catfish Corner in Texas. Workers were caught on hidden camera using pliers to pull the skin off of live fish and cutting fully conscious fish in half. Unfortunately, because aquatic animals aren't afforded the same legal protections as dogs, cats, and other land animals, law enforcement failed to prosecute this case, even though skinning animals alive is illegal in Texas.

While it is obvious that we need to strengthen laws to protect all animals, including aquatic animals, we don't have to wait another minute to help stop the needless suffering of these sensitive creatures. Transitioning to a plant-based diet is the best way to ensure that fish, crabs, and other animals are spared unnecessary cruelty and suffering. For more information on delicious vegan recipes, including mock tuna salad, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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spicy-sauteed-kale.jpgThe New York Times offered up some amazing tips for going vegan this week. In a piece simply called "How to Go Vegan," writer Tara Parker-Pope shares her insights on making the transition to a plant-based diet.

Similarly to the approach taken by author Kathy Freston, Parker-Pope suggests making the transition gradually, slowly introducing new foods to your regular regimen.

Featuring Food Network's Cupcake Wars winner Chloe Coscarelli, Parker-Pope demystifies eggless baking and reveals new ways to create creamy dishes, such as a delicious pizza topped with caramelized onions and butternut squash. She also highlights the wonders of nutritional yeast--a favorite ingredient among many vegans.

Parker-Pope encourages readers to share their tips on going vegan in the comments section of the piece or by tweeting with the hashtag "#vegantips."

Whether it's for personal health, the health of the planet, or to take a compassionate stance for animals, more people each year are making the switch to a delicious vegan diet.

For even more recipes and useful tips on becoming vegan, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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Hathaway.jpgShape magazine has named its 25 sexiest vegan and vegetarian celebrities. On the list is everyone from singer Ne-Yo, who went vegan for the New Year, to actor Tobey Maguire, a 20-year vegetarian who became vegan in 2009. Shape says it's "swooning" over these stars, who are known for their compassionate diets.

In the past few years, more and more celebrities have been excited to share their views on meat-free living. Popular daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has devoted a section of her talk show's website--Going Vegan with Ellen--to all things vegan. President Bill Clinton appeared on CNN to discuss how transitioning to a plant-based diet has greatly improved his health. And, most recently, Hollywood superstar Anne Hathaway showed up on the red carpet with vegan shoes designed by Tom Ford. The actress's luxurious wedding in Big Sur was also entirely vegan.

And this is only the beginning. As people become increasingly aware of the horrible conditions on factory farms and of the health and environmental benefits of cruelty-free eating, demand for meat, dairy, and eggs continues to decline.

For more information on becoming vegan, visit ChooseVeg.com. You can also order a free Vegetarian Starter Kit.

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brokenegg.jpgThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently sent warning letters to major egg producers Midwest Poultry and SKS Enterprises for failing to comply with regulations to prevent deadly salmonella contamination. According to an article published by the New York Times, FDA inspectors wrote that these failures meant that eggs from these factory farms may have been "contaminated with filth."

Mercy For Animals investigations into egg farms across the country have uncovered horrific cruelty to animals, as well as potential food safety issues, including chickens crammed into tiny wire battery cages and dead hens left to rot alongside birds still laying eggs for human consumption.

Like most egg farms in the United States, Midwest Poultry and SKS Enterprises confine hens to barren battery cages so small that each bird has less space than a single sheet of notebook paper to live out her entire life. Numerous studies indicate that battery cages are not only inherently cruel, they are a breeding ground for disease.

The best way to protect your health and prevent needless cruelty to hens and other animals is to transition to a compassionate vegetarian diet. To learn more, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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jesus1.jpgHidden-camera video footage of animal abuse secretly recorded by Mercy For Animals at Bettencourt Dairies - a Burger King cheese supplier - has led to dairy worker Jesus Garza pleading guilty to criminal cruelty to animals earlier today. Garza was caught on video viciously beating, kicking, and jumping on cows.

Garza entered his plea just moments before his trial was set to begin and after a jury had already been called. Sentencing is expected to take place next month. Garza could face up to six months in jail, fines up to $5,000, and be prohibited from working with animals in the future.

Watch the undercover video footage here:


In light of this conviction, MFA is urging Burger King and other Bettencourt Dairies buyers to adopt new animal welfare guidelines, including zero tolerance for kicking, punching, and shocking cows, requiring suppliers to prohibit painful and unnecessary mutilations of animals, and requiring suppliers to provide a safe, clean, and sanitary environment for cattle, and more.

While Burger King has the power and the ethical responsibility to help end some of the worst forms of animal abuse in the dairy industry, concerned consumers can help prevent needless violence and cruelty to animals by ditching dairy in favor of healthy and humane plant-based alternatives to milk, cheese, and ice cream. Visit ChooseVeg.com to learn more.

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rahm.jpgDubbed "America's Fittest Mayor," Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared on local WGN-TV news with firefighter-turned-author Rip Esselstyn to sing the praises of a vegan diet and show people how to prepare a delicious breakfast of cereal, fruit, and almond milk.

Rip Esselstyn, son of the famous Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, is author of The Engine 2 Diet and a proponent of what he calls "a plant-strong diet." While a firefighter, he challenged his whole firehouse to go vegan and start exercising. He documented their astounding health transformation in his book.

During the television segment, Emanuel asserted: "We have to do a better job at how we eat and control our weight, which deals with both healthcare costs, as well as life expectancy."

Indeed, from Bill Clinton to Michelle Pfeiffer, people are transitioning to a vegan diet to become healthier and to live longer.

The best way to safeguard your health and help spare countless animals from needless suffering in factory farms is to transition to a vegan lifestyle. For amazing plant-based recipes and helpful tips on becoming vegan, visit Chooseveg.com.

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2013-new-year.jpgThe new year is the perfect time to make a resolution to go vegetarian. Helping animals, protecting the planet, and improving personal health are all good reasons to try more plant-based meals in 2013, but if you could use a little extra motivation, New York Times health columnist Martha Rose Shulman has shared five delicious vegan recipes to help kick-start your compassionate new year and save you some money in the process.

Working with items already in her pantry, Shulman creates an enticing menu, loaded with whole, plant-based ingredients, including a recipe for a warm lentil salad with balsamic roast squash.

More and more people are replacing meat with tasty vegetarian dishes as an inexpensive and effective way to reduce suffering on factory farms and in slaughterhouses. In fact, according to a recent report from the United States Department of Agriculture, Americans are expected to eat approximately half a billion fewer chickens and about 400,000 fewer cows in 2013 than they did in 2006. At the same time, Americans are expected to eat about 12 million fewer pigs next year, compared to peak consumption in 2007, and about 22 million fewer turkeys since a peak in 2008.

Please visit ChooseVeg.com for delicious, cruelty-free recipes and tips on transitioning to a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle.

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543825_10151254115529475_341710557_n.jpgA British student eating at KFC was horrified to discover what he believed to be a chicken brain in his "Gladiator Box Meal," causing him to swear off ever eating at the fast-food chain again.

According to the British newspaper the Sun, Ibrahim Langoo spotted the organ and picked through it in time not to eat it, and said of the experience, "I was grossed out by the fact that I could so easily have eaten it without realizing. I just wanted to get out of KFC as quickly as I could. I still feel really sick and disgusted by it all now." A KFC spokesman claimed that the company's experts believed the organ was a kidney.

Stomach-churning stories about "pink slime," "meat glue," and KFC's mystery organ all reveal the less appetizing realities of industrial meat production. The KFC case also illustrates the disconnect in people's minds between what they consider food--patties, nuggets, or burgers--and animals' body parts. Comparable outrage ensued when a customer found a chicken head in her McDonald's meal.

Consumers are also appalled to learn of the horrific mistreatment that animals endure on factory farms, where they are confined in spaces so tightly they can barely move, are mutilated without painkillers, denied veterinary care, and ultimately slaughtered--often while still fully conscious.

As people become more and more aware of the horrors of the meat industry, meat consumption is declining; in fact, plant-based eating is a top trend of 2013.

If you are as disgusted as this KFC customer, visit ChooseVeg.com for delicious vegetarian recipes and tips on plant-based eating.

Click here to order your free Vegetarian Starter Kit.

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January 11, 2013

Powerful New Video: My Story

Acclaimed artist Gretchen Ryan has teamed up with Mercy For Animals to shoot a YouTube video highlighting the plight of dairy cows. The three-minute piece, modeled after videos recorded by bullied teens, tells a harrowing, emotional story.

Mercy For Animals undercover investigations have revealed time and again the rampant abuse suffered by cows on dairy farms. They've documented cows kept in crowded industrial sheds, never feeling the sun on their faces nor the grass under their feet, and cows too weak to stand being kicked and dragged.

The best away to alleviate the suffering of dairy cows is to transition to a vegan diet. You can start by visiting our website Chooseveg.com to discover delicious dairy-free recipes.

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ice.jpgAccording to the Associated Press, dozens of federal homeland security agents raided Sparboe Farms in Litchfield, Minnesota, on Tuesday as part of a "larger criminal investigation" and ten people were detained, possibly as undocumented workers. Sparboe Farms is the fifth-largest egg producer in the country. Authorities have not yet released the nature of the investigation.

This is not the first time Sparboe Farms has been in trouble. In 2010, the company was accused of involvement in a major price fixing scheme uncovered during a class-action lawsuit against United Egg Producers.

In 2011, Sparboe Farms was the subject of an MFA undercover investigation that exposed workers burning off the beaks of young birds, throwing live chicks into plastic bags to be suffocated, and grabbing hens by their throats and ramming them into tiny, filthy battery cages so small they were unable to fully stretch their wings or engage in most other natural behaviors.

Watch the undercover video here:


Following the investigation, which was featured on ABC's Good Morning America, World News Tonight, and 20/20, McDonald's, Target, Sam's Club, and other major retailers dropped Sparboe Farms as an egg supplier. Soon after, MFA filed an official complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against the company for lying to its customers about the way egg-laying hens and baby chicks are treated at its facilities.

This raid proves once again that "Big Ag" is incapable of self-regulation. Sparboe continues to put profit over principle, engaging in a pattern of behavior that shows contempt for animal welfare, consumer safety, and federal law. It is no surprise that this egg factory farm, which was caught red-handed torturing chickens and then lying to its customers about it, would find itself in trouble again. Enough is enough. It's time for this cruel and unethical factory farm to be shut down for good.

Please, help take a stand against the rotten egg industry by choosing cruelty-free vegan alternatives.

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pig1_1204022c.jpgAccording to a study at Purdue University, 14 percent of American consumers have cut their pork consumption by more than half in the last three years because of heightened awareness of animal welfare issues. This study corroborates the findings of a 2010 report by economists at Kansas State University and Purdue University that indicates consumers eat less meat after learning about animal welfare issues in the news.

Of course, this is good news for pigs, but it also helps inform animal advocates about the effectiveness of generating awareness about the plights of factory farmed animals. In fact, a growing number of sources, from the Daily Livestock Report to the New York Times, report a steady decline in US meat consumption in the last several years - and this decline is largely due to the fact that people care about animals.

In the pork industry, mother sows are confined in cruel gestation crates, unable to turn around, lie down comfortably, or engage in any natural behaviors for nearly their entire miserable lives, and piglets have their testicles ripped out of their bodies, and their tails chopped off - all without painkillers.

A Mercy For Animals undercover investigation at a Walmart pork supplier revealed horrific cruelty, including workers slamming conscious piglets headfirst into the ground and leaving them to slowly suffer and die, and sick and injured pigs with severe, bleeding wounds or infections left to suffer without veterinary care.

Thankfully, compassionate consumers can help prevent needless cruelty to pigs by simply leaving pork off their plates. Visit ChooseVeg.com for hundreds of healthy and delicious cruelty-free alternatives to pork.

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IMG_2044 copy.JPGEver wonder what it would be like to live in the Big Apple advocating for farmed animals? We caught up with Irene Zhou, who recently spent three months volunteering at our New York City Advocacy Center, and asked her to give us the scoop.

A cooking and baking whiz with a background in English literature, Irene adopted a vegan diet in 2010 after reevaluating the impact her food choices made on her health, the planet, and animals. Two years after going vegan, this culinarily savvy Queens, NYC native took the next step into farmed animal advocacy through pro-vegetarian leafleting, Paid-Per-View screenings, and writing blogs and letters to the editor about the plight of animals raised and killed for food.

What first inspired you to become a vegan?

Two years ago, I read Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals, which made me completely reevaluate how I thought of animals. The scale of animal suffering is so immense, and going vegan was the easiest, most immediate way for me to alleviate such unnecessary suffering.

IMG_1985.JPGWhat is your favorite vegan/animal rights resource?

When I first started out, vegan food blogs like the Post Punk Kitchen and vegan cookbooks helped me discover that I could make plant-based versions of virtually all the foods I was used to cooking.

Why did you choose to volunteer with MFA?

I wanted to be involved in something I was passionate about and be able to articulate more effectively to everyone around me why our food choices matter on an individual, community, and global scale. MFA is such an effective champion for farmed animals so I knew they would have so much insight to offer into issues that I was still learning about.

73082_540053189338951_593359340_n.jpgWhat did you like most about volunteering with MFA?

I loved leafleting! I was really hesitant about it before I started, but the firsthand interaction with people was overwhelmingly rewarding. What also made it so enjoyable was working alongside Eddie Garza, former intern Heather Schloss, and dozens of other compassionate animal activists because they were so generous with their time and knowledge.

What is the key to your success as an activist?

Patience. The majority of people are open to learning about the benefits of going vegan, but you will encounter people who can be insensitive at first. I was one of those people who never thought she'd be vegan and said, "I love meat" to my vegetarian roommate on multiple occasions, so that is always important for me to keep in mind.

23878_308661755916030_1736903461_n.jpgCan you offer any insight for others interested in becoming involved with animal rights activism?

The best advice I can give is to just start volunteering with a group like Mercy For Animals. It will make you a happier person knowing that you are a voice for animals!

Inspired? Click here to start getting active for farmed animals!

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2012 was truly a groundbreaking year for Mercy For Animals. Through our cutting-edge undercover investigations, legal advocacy and corporate outreach successes, thought-provoking advertising campaigns, and inspiring educational outreach efforts, MFA has set a new bar for effective farmed animal advocacy.

Please take a moment to view our 2012 Year in Review video, and join us in celebrating the outstanding progress for farmed animals that was made possible by your support!

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Jason-Wrobel-tv-show.jpg.jpgTune in to the Cooking Channel this Sunday for the premiere of How to Live to 100, a new vegan cooking show hosted by celebrity chef Jason Wrobel. Wrobel has gained a large following for his popular YouTube program The J-Wro Show and for his bestselling instructional DVD, Simple Vegan Classics. Some of Wrobel's biggest fans include vegan superstars Woody Harrelson and Russell Simmons, who constantly rave about his delicious and innovative cooking.

From mainstream media outlets to top food trend publications, veganism has reached new heights in the food world, making this the perfect time for the Cooking Channel to follow suit by promoting kind and compassionate plant-based eating.

Be sure to check out the premiere of How to Live to 100 on Sunday, January 6 at 8:00 p.m. ET and show the network your support of plant-based cooking programs. Visit ChooseVeg.com for even more delicious recipes and helpful tips on transitioning to a healthy and humane lifestyle.

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IMG_3310_thumb.jpgIn a recent two-part series, National Public Radio (NPR) highlighted the benefits, ease, and deliciousness of a vegan diet, as well as recipes and meal ideas to start off the year right.

Last Sunday, the station interviewed Kathy Freston, best-selling author of The Veganist and the new book The Lean, to "explore what it means to go vegan." Freston described growing up in the South and eating a heavily meat-based diet and shared that "being vegan doesn't have to mean giving up the pleasures of a fine meal." She recommends people "lean into" veganism by "gradually moving away from animal foods and towards plant-based foods."

Freston also dispelled the common misconception that people need only switch to organic meat and dairy: "There's not enough acreage in the world to supply our kind of appetite [for animal products]; there just isn't. The only answer, really, is to decrease our consumption of meat."

The following day, NPR interviewed vegan chef Bryant Terry, author of cookbooks The Inspired Vegan and Vegan Soul Kitchen, who shared some of his innovative recipes, which combine traditional soul food with other types of cuisines for a "multicultural flavor," such as black-eyed peas with candied sweet potatoes and greens made with the traditional asian staples tamari and miso.

Such radio programs are yet another indicator of the growing popularity of a vegan diet. Major media outlets are increasingly highlighting the benefits to our health, animals, and the planet of transitioning toward plant-based eating.

For help with your veggie New Year's resolution, order a free Vegetarian Starter Kit or check out ChooseVeg.com.

Photo: Gena Hamshaw

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5AA4BB467AED6AFD49C91B3143A221_h316_w628_m5_cLPSXsjGK.jpgJWT, the world's best-known marketing communications brand and consulting firm, has named faux meat a 2013 trend. A number of food trends are expected to impact the meat and poultry industries in 2013, but faux meat has risen to the top of the list.

Reasons cited for this expected transition from animal-based products to faux meat include budgetary, environmental, and health concerns.

According to JWT, improvements to faux meat are also playing an important role with special mention of Beyond Meat and its ability to even "fool some experts" and the EU's Like Meat project, which is aimed at the development of meat analogues with "excellent, well-accepted texture, juiciness, appearance and aroma based on plant proteins."

As meat consumption continues to decline, faux meat continues to improve, and even in-vitro meat is introduced, factory-farmed meat could soon be a thing of the past!

For vegan recipes and tips on making the transition to plant-based eating visit ChooseVeg.com.

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hsuspig.jpgNine employees, including two managers, have been charged with a total of 30 counts of criminal cruelty to animals following the release of undercover video footage taken inside a Wyoming pig factory farm. The gruesome video was shot at a facility that supplies pork to Tyson Foods--one of the world's largest meat processors.

The investigation documented workers punching and kicking mother pigs and their piglets, whipping piglets around by their hind legs, smashing them into concrete floors, and throwing them high into the air. Pregnant pigs were also confined in tiny metal gestation crates, unable to turn around for nearly their entire lives. An animal cruelty conviction in Wyoming carries a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

Watch the undercover video here:


MFA's investigations into pig factory farms have revealed similarly horrific scenes of blatant animal abuse and needless suffering, including at Iowa Select Farms, the nation's fourth-largest pork producer, and Pennsylvania's Country View Family Farms. Unfortunately, even the most extreme cruelty documented in these facilities is considered standard and largely acceptable within the pork industry.

The use of gestation crates to immobilize pregnant pigs is arguably the worst form of institutionalized animal abuse in existence. In fact, gestation crates are so cruel that nearly 50 major food companies, including McDonald's, Burger King, Safeway, and Costco, are demanding the pork industry do away them. Despite all of this, Walmart--the largest retailer in the world--continues to support blatant cruelty to animals by buying pork from factory farms that use gestation crates.

Want to help pigs? Get involved with the campaign at WalmartCruelty.com and remember, the best action you can take to help pigs, and other farmed animals, is to stop eating them. Visit ChooseVeg.com for vegan tips and recipes.

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