February 2013 Archives

February 28, 2013

The Hidden Horrors in Dairy

coworganicfarming.jpgThe US dairy industry is now petitioning the FDA to approve aspartame as a hidden ingredient in milk. If the FDA caves, consumers will have no knowledge as to whether the milk they're buying contains the controversial sugar substitute. This would also hold true for other supermarket items, including yogurt, sour cream, and 17 other dairy products.

Unfortunately for American shoppers, this isn't the only hidden ingredient found in marketed cow's milk. The USDA allows for a certain amount of pus and blood as well. Antibiotics and growth hormones, which are also routinely fed to dairy cows, are not mentioned anywhere on milk product packaging.

But the most horrifying hidden ingredient in dairy products is extreme animal cruelty. Dairy cows are routinely kept pregnant in order to constantly produce milk. They are confined to filthy stalls so small they can barely move. And their newborn calves are taken from them just hours after birth.

Through our undercover investigations, Mercy For Animals has uncovered the deeply disturbing abuse endured by dairy cows on factory farms. The video below was shot at Bettencourt Dairies, a Burger King cheese supplier.


The only way to ensure your own safety from the chemicals and hormones found in cow's milk and to protect these sensitive animals from such horrid abuse is to adopt a healthy and cruelty-free vegan diet. For recipes and tips, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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chickens-11.jpgEarly last year, animal welfare advocates discovered nearly 50,000 hens abandoned on a factory egg farm in Turlock, California, after the owner left them to suffer without food for weeks. Last week, prosecutors filed criminal charges against two poultry workers for cruelty to animals. The workers each face a three-year jail sentence and over $20,000 in fines.

"Two buildings the length of football fields were crammed full of dead and dying egg-laying hens," KTVU.com reports. The vast majority of the birds on this factory farm either starved to death or had to be euthanized. But Animal Place, a farmed animal sanctuary, was able to rescue over 4,000 birds:


As horrifying as this case of neglect is, it is not isolated. Mercy For Animals investigations at egg suppliers throughout the country have revealed a culture of cruelty and neglect, including extreme confinement, and mutilations without the use of painkillers.

Fortunately, we can end our support of an industry that treats intelligent and social beings as disposable commodities. Please visit ChooseVeg.com to find delicious, egg-free recipes and tips on cooking without eggs.

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February 27, 2013

Tuna with a Side of Truth

tuna.jpgWhen people transition to plant-based diets, fish is usually the last animal to leave their plates. But a recent article from the Atlantic is enough to make anyone say sayonara to sushi.

It seems that fish aficionados, particularly those who love tuna, have been duped. A new report from Oceana found that of over 1,000 purported tuna samples from restaurants and grocery stores, nearly 60 percent were not tuna at all. In fact, 84 percent of the fish samples labeled "white tuna" were actually escolar, a fish that when eaten can cause "prolonged, uncontrollable, oily anal leakage."

Disconcerting, right? What's even more disturbing is the truth behind the tuna shortage. Tuna, particularly Bluefin tuna, is in such drastic decline due to overfishing that some believe it's near the point of extinction.

The sad reality is that all fish are in peril. Scientists now believe that due to trawling and loss of biodiversity, all fisheries could collapse as early as 2048. These are animals that experience pain much like mammals and are steeped in complex social intelligence.

If you're looking for alternatives to fish on your plate, look no further than ChooseVeg.com for delicious vegetarian recipes, including mock tuna salad. For a restaurant in your area that serves up compassionate veggie sushi, check out VegGuide.org.

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pig2.jpgWalmart has been deemed one of the worst offenders when it comes to how the animals in its meat supply chain are treated. In a new report by the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare, a research and advocacy group, Walmart ranks on the lowest tier with regards to animal treatment standards. The group further states that animal welfare is simply not on Walmart's business agenda.

This comes as no surprise to Mercy For Animals. We've been touring the country, urging Walmart to phase out inhumane gestation crates--a factory farm practice so egregiously cruel that pigs can't even turn around or lie down comfortably. Other major companies, such as Kroger, McDonald's, Wendy's, and Safeway, have all committed to end their business relationships with pork suppliers that insist on this horrible practice.

This recently shot video, taken by an undercover investigator at a pork facility that sells to Walmart, exposes the pigs' abuse and neglect:


If you'd like to help put the heat on Walmart to change its cruel ways, follow the MFA Walmart Cruelty Tour and join the protest when it comes to your city. You can also email Walmart executives here.

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February 23, 2013

Tell the FDA No to GMO

article-1287084-0A0F7E91000005DC-871_468x359.jpgThe FDA is on the verge of approving the first genetically modified animal for human consumption. Under the trade name AquAdvantage, genetically engineered ("GMO") salmon are manipulated with DNA and growth hormones so that they reach market weight twice as fast.

There are grave animal welfare concerns associated with genetically modifying these animals. Salmon, fish who naturally swim thousands of miles, are crammed into overcrowded, filthy tanks where they are doused with antibiotics and chemicals. There are also fears of genetically modified salmon infiltrating wild salmon populations through breaches in GMO salmon farms.

To let the FDA know that you oppose approval of GMO salmon, please take a moment and email the FDA here. Below is a sample letter that you can copy and paste into the online form.

Re: FDA-2011-N-0899: I am writing because I'm deeply concerned that the FDA is on the verge of approving genetically modified salmon. I'm urging you to prepare a full environmental impact statement (EIS) regarding AquaBounty's requested approval. I remain unconvinced that genetically engineered fish is safe for human consumption and I'm disturbed by the environmental and animal welfare impact that would result from expansion of this project. Additionally, I'm quite alarmed at the prospect of genetic engineering of other farmed animals and by the ease with which this might be approved if the FDA allows this initial project to move forward.

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6556773189_8d49ab6633.jpgHidden-camera video secretly shot at a North Carolina Butterball factory farm by a Mercy For Animals undercover investigator has led to even more criminal convictions of Butterball workers. Earlier today, defendants Terry Johnson and Billy McBride were found guilty of animal cruelty after a bench trial before Judge John H. Horne, Jr.

In late 2012, Butterball workers Brian Douglas and Ruben Mendoza were also convicted of criminal cruelty to animals arising out of the same investigation. Douglas's conviction marks the first-ever felony conviction for cruelty to factory-farmed poultry in US history.

All four convictions stem from an MFA undercover investigation at a Butterball turkey semen collection facility in Shannon, North Carolina, in November and December of 2011. See the video below:

MFA's undercover video shows that the lives of turkeys in Butterball's factory farms are brutal and filled with fear, violence, and prolonged suffering. Butterball's turkeys have been selectively bred to grow so large, so quickly, that many of them suffer from painful bone defects, hip joint lesions, crippling foot and leg deformities, and fatal heart attacks. Due to the company's lack of meaningful animal welfare policies, training, or procedures, Butterball subjects countless turkeys to immeasurable cruelty and neglect each year.

"This latest round of criminal convictions against Butterball workers demonstrates that an ongoing pattern of animal cruelty and neglect was allowed to flourish at this inhumane factory farm. As the convictions pile up, it leaves no doubt that turkeys raised and killed by Butterball are routinely crowded into filthy warehouses, neglected to die from infected, bloody wounds, or thrown, kicked, and beaten by factory farm workers," said MFA's executive director Nathan Runkle. "Consumers should know that the secret ingredient in Butterball turkeys is illegal animal abuse."

Mercy For Animals praises the Hoke County district attorney's office and sheriff's department for their swift and decisive action in pursuing justice in this important matter. These convictions should send a clear message to the turkey industry that animal abuse will not be tolerated.

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560822_4864110406581_1173980879_n.jpgFrom releasing videos of our undercover investigations to conducting Paid Per-View events to traveling the country protesting Walmart's cruelty to pigs, Mercy For Animals uses many different approaches to spread awareness of factory farming practices.

Recently I was invited to speak about the environmental impact of our food choices at the Dallas Office of Environmental Quality's monthly Green Bag lunch series at City Hall. There are so many devastating consequences of livestock production, but I focused my presentation on the wasted resources--land, water, and energy--involved in growing grain to feed farmed animals, as well as the pollution created by the manure produced by the over 8 billion land animals raised for food each year in this country.

It was very rewarding to see so many self-professed environmentalists hear for the first time about the environmental consequences of eating meat, all while they enjoyed a vegetarian lunch donated by a local veg restaurant.

Later I got a chance to speak at two marketing classes at the University of Texas at Dallas, where I presented agribusiness as a case study for the class's discussion of the ethics of marketing (or, in this case, lack thereof). I contrasted animal agriculture's often misleading advertising with the true horrors of factory farms by showing MFA's hard-hitting video Farm to Fridge. We discussed agribusiness's singular drive for profits, and how it results in unethical treatment, such as mutilating animals without painkillers, pumping them full of antibiotics and hormones, and keeping them in enclosures so small that many cannot even turn around, let alone walk or roam outside.

Additionally, we discussed big-ag's efforts to prevent consumers from learning about the realities of food production through "ag-gag" legislation. Over 120 students attended this class and many took a Vegetarian Starter Kit to begin incorporating more plant-based meals into their diets.

Each of us has a role to play in spreading the word about the terrible impacts of animal agriculture, the deliciousness of vegan eating, and the worthiness of farmed animals to be treated with compassion and respect. You can get started on the veggie path at ChooseVeg.com or find out how to get more active for animals at our Action Center.

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Untitled1.jpgFinding vegan-friendly products in conventional supermarkets used to be more of a treasure hunt than an ordinary shopping trip. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw an email blast from Supermarket News, a major retail industry publication, featuring the article "8 ways retailers can support vegan shoppers." It appears our day has arrived--major mainstream retailers are finally viewing customers looking for vegan products as a powerful force in the marketplace--a customer base that used to be largely ignored.

The article offers up tips, such as using shelf talkers that will call out dairy-free and vegan products, offering vegan shoppers store tours, hosting vegan meet-ups and cooking demos, and even starting up vegan book clubs.

As meat consumption continues to decline, faux meat products are improving so much that they are "fooling experts," adversely impacting the meat and poultry industries, and prompting venture capitalists to venture into veganism. Supermarket chains are certainly wise to view vegan customers as major influencers of their bottom line.

Before you head out to the market, visit ChooseVeg.com for vegan recipes, products, and tips on making the transition to plant-based eating.

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KevinSunriseSanctuary.jpgEver wonder what it would be like to volunteer for Mercy For Animals? Meet activist extraordinaire Kevin O'Connor. Residing in Cincinnati, Kevin went vegan back in 2006 and became involved in animal advocacy shortly thereafter. In 2010, Kevin worked with Ohioans for Humane Farms on its ballot initiative campaign to ensure cows, pigs, and chickens had at least enough space to stand up, turn around, extend their limbs, and lie down. He later became MFA's outreach coordinator.

What sparked your interest in helping animals?

Becoming an active animal advocate was the obvious next step for me after adopting a vegan lifestyle. I have always had a big problem with injustice and there is no bigger injustice than the way we treat the over nine billion sentient beings raised for food in this country every year. Once I realized that I could actually do something to contribute to exposing and ending this injustice, I almost had no choice but to act.

KevinWalmartDemo.jpgWhat inspired you to go vegan?

There were a lot of influences that came together and convinced me to go vegan, including reading Gandhi's autobiography and hearing a radio interview in which someone was talking about veganism. What finally put me over the line was a coworker telling me about a procedure (a standard practice) which he helped perform on a farmed animal the prior weekend. I decided right then that I could no longer contribute to the violence that is inherent in animal agriculture.

What is your favorite thing about volunteering with MFA?

Working with other MFA volunteers! MFA is an organization that I have always thought of as a class act and it seems to draw really amazing people, both as employees and volunteers. Oh, and really cool T-shirts too.

What is your favorite type of volunteer event?

I think the pride parades/festivals are my favorite. These are our biggest events locally as far as volunteer turnout goes, and hanging out with a couple dozen MFA volunteers is always a great time. Plus, the crowd is generally very receptive to our message and the whole event has a really positive energy.
KevinEarthDay.jpgCan you give an example of someone who changed his or her diet as the result of your advocacy work?

Recently, while leafleting at a concert, we ran into a couple who adopted a vegan lifestyle after receiving literature from us at the same venue last year. There is nothing more uplifting than that! 

You have a full-time job. How do you find time for activism?

The vast majority of the events I schedule are only an hour long and in that time we will usually reach several hundred people with our message. So, someone helping at just one event monthly, literally spending an hour a month on outreach, could have a real impact. It's not a large investment of time at all.

Why do you choose to volunteer your time to help farmed animals?

Farmed animals are the most abused creatures on earth. They are abused in vastly greater numbers than any other group of animals but they have the least number of advocates. I feel that this is where I am most needed.
383604_2644686681759_1400374097_n.jpgWhat is your favorite food?

Just about anything with pasta. If there happens to be some Field Roast Sausage and nutritional yeast involved as well, that is a bonus.

What is your favorite restaurant?

The Loving Hut in Cincinnati. Great food and an awesome staff.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Fifteen years ago, it would have been pretty hard to find someone less likely to go vegan than me. Anyone and everyone can eventually see the light, so don't give up!

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dairy_cow1.jpgOf all farmed animals on today's factory farms, dairy cows receive some of the worst treatment. They are repeatedly impregnated so that they constantly produce milk, have their newborn calves taken away from them shorty after giving birth, and have to stand in filthy stalls where they can barely move--all so that farmers can collect their milk. Once a cow's milk production declines (usually after four years), she is rewarded with a trip to the slaughterhouse where she will most likely become hamburger.

When people think of dairy cows, they think of milk. Most assume that all this intensive and cruel farming is for those cartons of cow's milk you see at the grocery store. But the USDA's numbers tell a different story. The truth is that cheese production today puts more demand on cows than any other dairy product.

Since 1970, fluid milk consumption has been on the decline. On average, people are drinking 30 percent less milk than they did 40 years ago. But cheese consumption has soared by over 170 percent. It doesn't help matters that the USDA has been working behind the scenes not only devising ways of adding more cheese to products, but actually funding cheese marketing campaigns.

But here's the worst of it: While fluid milk production is pretty straightforward--every pound of milk from a cow's udders can be sold as a pound of milk in the grocery store--cheese production requires an average of nine pounds of fluid milk for every pound of cheese. This means that cows have to work much harder to produce cheese than milk.

Just check out our recent undercover investigation at Bettencourt Dairies, a Burger King cheese supplier, to see what life is like for a dairy cow:


With all the amazing and compassionate dairy alternatives, specifically vegan cheeses such as Daiya, Follow Your HeartDr. Cow, and Treeline Cheese, not to mention cookbooks such as The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook and Artisan Vegan Cheese, there's absolutely no reason to put cows through such lives of misery and despair. For even more dairy-free inspiration, visit ChooseVeg.com for recipes.

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CAUTION-BIOHAZARD.jpgJust days after news broke that 80 percent of antibiotics used in the United States are being fed to farmed animals, the CDC issued a somber warning: neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria that causes the STD gonorrhea, is becoming resistant to the current class of antibiotics used to treat it.

With over 300,000 cases reported in the United States in 2011, gonorrhea is the second-most reported infectious disease. Scientists are worried that an antibiotic-resistant version of the bacteria could lead to dangerous health percussions for people who become infected.

The gonorrhea bacteria is not the first harmful bacteria to morph into a superbug. Antibiotic-resistant strains of MRSA, a deadly skin bacteria, are also emerging. Scientists now blame farmers for the super strains of MRSA. It seems that farmers transmitted the bacteria to pigs who were being pumped full of antibiotics. This created a perfect environment for the bacteria to mutate. The strain is now found in turkeys, cattle, and other livestock.

As humans continue to overuse antibiotics on factory farms, it's important for us to keep in mind that many diseases that affect us can also be carried by animals. Tuberculosis is infectious to cattle, and swine flu and bird flu have jumped the species barrier as well. Yet, farmers continue to cram sick animals into tiny spaces while repeatedly injecting them with antibiotics--putting us all at serious risk.

The best way to stave off superbugs is to boycott the industry that's helping create them. Transitioning to a diet free of animal products is easy, healthy, and delicious. For more information, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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Mercy For Animals thought Walmart's executives could use an extra little pick me up with their coffee this morning. So we decided to run a provocative full-page ad in Walmart's hometown newspaper, the Benton County Daily Record, in Bentonville, Arkansas. The ad  targets the world's largest retailer for continuing to source pork from factory farms that keep pregnant pigs confined in cruel gestation stalls.

While almost every other food corporation has already committed to phasing out gestation stalls, Walmart executives continue to drag their feet, keeping pregnant pigs in crates so small they are never able to turn around or lie down comfortably. MFA hopes this full-page ad will be a major wake up call to Walmart: they must immediately take a stand against one of the worst forms of institutionalized animal abuse.

Numerous undercover investigations by MFA at Walmart pork suppliers have revealed heartbreaking animal abuse. See for yourself:

Please join MFA's Walmart Cruelty campaign today and ask the company's executives Mike Duke, Bill Simon, and Doug McMillon to "quit stalling" and do away with cruel gestation stalls. Take action at WalmartCruelty.com.

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heart_attack_grill.jpgThe meat-centered, Las Vegas-based Heart Attack Grill, which features menu items such as the Triple Bypass Burger, was mourning the death this week of its unofficial spokesman, John Allemen, who died from, you guessed it, a heart attack.

John Basso, owner of Heart Attack Grill, who was in the hospital room when Allemen passed away, remarked, "I absolutely think the food I'm serving is unsafe." Blair River, the former 575-pound spokesperson for the restaurant, also died recently from pneumonia. At the time of his death, Basso revealed that River's weight had complicated his condition.

It's old news that meat is bad for our hearts. As heart disease climbed to the number one killer in America, claiming almost 600,000 lives a year, doctors warned patients to avoid eating it. But now, top medical professionals, such as Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. Dean Ornish, are recommending a healthy vegan diet not only to halt heart disease, but reverse it.

President Bill Clinton followed Esselstyn's plan after undergoing surgery for heart disease. He recently told CNN, "All my blood tests are good, and my vital signs are good, and I feel good, and I also have, believe it or not, more energy." He was also excited to announce that he'd shed several pounds.

For those of us who want to steer clear of heart disease, feel vibrant and energetic, and also spare innocent animals from needless slaughter, it's good to know that we don't need to sacrifice flavor. Plant-based cuisine is as delicious as it is compassionate and healthy. For tips on transitioning to a vegan diet and for amazing recipes, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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Veggie-Grill-All-American-Stack.jpgWith just a little over a month under our belts, it seems pretty safe to say that 2013 is the year of the veg restaurant. From sea to shining sea, Americans will be dining on compassionate cuisine thanks to the likes of Veggie Grill, Native Foods, and LYFE Kitchen.

An MFA staff favorite, the all-vegan Veggie Grill, known for its All Hail Kale Salad and All-American Stack Burger, made a huge splash in January when it announced plans to double its storefronts over the next 18 months. In its fourth round of fundraising, the restaurant chain procured more than $20 million in stock funding. It specifically plans to expand in Seattle and Portland, as well as to increase its presence in California. Plans to move eastward are also in the works.

After a banner year in 2011, Chicago-based vegan restaurant Native Foods decided to expand. Last year the restaurant opened new locations in southern California, Denver, and Portland. Currently owned and run by Andrea McGinty and her husband, Daniel Dolan, Native Foods shows no signs of slowing its pace. The couple hired the former head of Wolfgang Puck Casual Dining division Ron Biskin, who now serves as the president of Native Foods. Expect more Native Foods locations, including on the East Coast, to open soon.

LYFE Kitchen, the brainchild of Mike Roberts, former president of McDonald's, is reinventing the fast-food restaurant. Roberts tapped vegan celebrity chef Tal Ronnen to help develop the menu, and the result is veg-friendly fare featuring healthy dishes that showcase tofu, quinoa, and kale. Gardein's plant-based "chicken" also appears in a variety of dishes. LYFE ambitiously aspires to open 250 franchises in the next five years. Locations in Palo Alto and Culver City, California, are currently up and running.

Whether you're dining out or eating in, choosing delicious vegan meals has never been easier. For more veg-friendly restaurants in your area, check out VegGuide.org. For meat-free recipes, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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fda-antibiotics-320.jpgThe Pew Charitable Trust has crunched the FDA's latest numbers relating to antibiotic use on livestock farms. And the results are not pretty. Though the FDA has nudged the meat industry to reduce its antibiotic usage, implementing a policy of any sort has proved problematic.

The catastrophic consequence is that 80 percent of all antibiotics currently used in the United States are given to farmed animals. At a total of 29.9 million pounds of drugs, this is the greatest amount ever documented. Rather than scaling back, the meat industry is becoming more antibiotic-intensive.

The practice of cramming animals together on factory farms while pumping them full of antibiotics creates a veritable breeding ground for dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The FDA's numbers on such superbugs are a clear cause for alarm: Over 78 percent of salmonella found in turkey is resistant to at least one antibiotic, as is 75 percent of salmonella in chicken. Additionally, campylobacter in retail chicken is increasingly resistant to tetracycline, an antibiotic commonly used to treat human illnesses. A staggering 95 percent of retail chicken is contaminated with campylobacter.

The best way to ensure the meat industry's recipe for disaster doesn't lead to a national health crisis is to switch to a delicious vegan diet. For more information and amazing plant-based meal ideas, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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xx.Leanne-and-J-J.jpgThe past two weeks have seen vegans hitting the mainstream in a big way. From The Today Show to the headlines of CNN to a vegan talk show, meat-free mavens are taking over the airwaves.

Dan and Annie Shannon, authors of the ingenious Betty Goes Vegan, stopped by The Today Show to share their enthusiasm for plant-based cooking. In the segment, the pair showed Kathy Lee and Hoda how to make pesto "chicken" sandwiches vegan style. Their book, which veganizes the legendary Betty Crocker Cookbook, has caused quite a media frenzy, garnering coverage everywhere from LA Weekly to Yahoo! Shine. Check out our interview with Dan and Annie here.

Plant-based dietician Julieanna Hever is the first person to land her own vegan talk show. Premiering last week on the Veria Living network, Hever's show focuses on a wide range of topics, from cooking to yoga. Impressive guests are lined up for the first 39 episodes, including the world-famous Dr. T. Colin Campbell (The China Study) and vegan bodybuilder Derek Tresize.

Vegan fashion designer Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart took New York Fashion Week by storm, landing in the headlines of CNN. A longtime, committed animal protection activist, Hilgart's fashion line, Vaute Couture, excludes all animal products from its designs. Hilgart remarked to CNN: "I realized that if I could create a business where the process in itself was actually creating positive change, that would be my activism."

With so many vegans reaching mainstream audiences, it's no wonder demand for meat is on the decline. For more information on how you can join the cruelty-free crowd, visit ChooseVeg.com for delicious vegetarian recipes.

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documentspetitionsphoto122626500bobbycalf2jpg_300roundcornermaskpng__0.0_0_0__97.jpgOur friends at Animals Australia have released video footage from an undercover investigation at a slaughterhouse in Northern Victoria showing young calves being pushed, hit, dragged, and illegally shocked with electric prods, in an effort to move them onto the kill floor. These unwanted baby animals are considered "waste products" by the Australian dairy industry, which violently slaughters approximately 700,000 calves each year.

Although Animals Australia lodged a formal complaint with the Department of Primary Industries--the governmental agency charged with overseeing the agricultural industry--citing multiple violations of Victorian animal cruelty laws at this facility, incredibly no criminal charges have been filed.

Watch the disturbing video footage here:

Dairy industry cruelty is certainly not limited to Australia. Mercy For Animals has conducted four undercover investigations at dairy operations across the United States, and every single one of these investigations has led to criminal cruelty charges and convictions of workers and managers who were caught on video maliciously abusing animals.

Most recently, hidden-camera video footage secretly recorded by an MFA investigator at Bettencourt Dairies, one of the largest dairies in the country and a Burger King cheese supplier, led to the arrest of two workers and a manager. Workers were caught on video viciously beating and shocking cows, violently twisting their tails in order to deliberately inflict pain, and dragging a downed cow by her neck using a chain attached to a tractor. In January, worker Jesus Garza pled guilty to criminal cruelty to animals.

Time and again, the dairy industry proves to be one of the cruelest and most corrupt industries on the planet. Thankfully, 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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Turkey-farm-in-Massachuse-001.jpgRussia has announced that it will begin banning turkey imported from the United States because of health concerns over ractopamine, a feed additive. The country previously banned US imports of beef and pork for the same reason.

Ractopamine is used as a growth stimulant and is said to make meat leaner. Many countries, including all of the EU, China, and Taiwan, have banned its use due to concerns that it contaminates the meat and could cause health problems.

This isn't the first time alarms have sounded over additives in animal products. In 2011, after years of denial, the FDA admitted to the use of toxic arsenic in chicken feed. Monsanto's growth hormone, rBGH, which is fed to dairy cows, has been banned in 27 countries due to human health fears, although it continues to be widely used in the United States.

From antibiotics and growth hormones to pesticides, animals are exposed to all kinds of harmful chemicals on factory farms. The best way to steer clear of these substances and to make sure animals and people don't suffer from them is to adopt a plant-based diet.

For delicious, meat-free recipes and information on transitioning to a healthy, vegan diet, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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file_3_3.jpgWhether you're single or coupled, Valentine's Day is definitely worth celebrating. It's the perfect excuse to indulge in some of the most delicious and decadent vegan treats. So light some candles, pour some wine, and grab some chocolate. These cruelty-free items will definitely get you in the mood for love!

  • First, take a long, hot bubble bath with "Sex Bomb," a naughty but nice bath bomb from Lush, scented with jasmine, ylang ylang, and clary sage. Oh my!
  • A perfect red wine always spices up the evening. Why not try a full-bodied, biodynamic, vegan red from Querciabella? Looking for the perfect chardonnay? Girasole Vineyard has a luscious varietal with notes of kiwi and apple.
  • If you're planning on smooching your sweetheart, go for this ruby-hued lip tint aptly called A Million Kisses. Scented with rose, sugar, and lemon, your Valentine will be begging for more.
  • Perhaps a romantic dinner out is in order. Just visit VegGuide.org, enter your zip code, and find all the vegan-friendly restaurants in your area.

This Valentine's Day, celebrate love by making cruelty-free choices. For more information and recipes visit ChooseVeg.com.

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Thumbnail image for ht_beyond_meat_Wrap_thg_120613_wg.jpgVenture capitalists have begun funding environmentally conscious, animal-friendly food startups in the hopes of saving the planet's dwindling resources.

An article by Bloomberg Business Week spotlights several ventures that may change the way Americans eat, especially when it comes to meat, dairy, and eggs. "It's not just fake meat. The goal is to have a no-compromise solution," says Amol Deshpande, a general partner at Kleiner Perkins.

According to JWT, the world's best-known marketing communications brand and consulting firm, improvements to faux meat are playing an important role, such as Beyond Meat's 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."

Josh Tetrick, CEO of Hampton Creek, the company behind Beyond Eggs, is working with the company's over 20 employees towards a plant-based product to replace eggs in everything from omelets to cookies. At a recent conference, Tetrick presented former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and billionaire CEO Bill Gates with muffins made with Beyond Eggs and asked them to compare the muffins with ones made from hens' eggs. Neither could tell the difference.

As meat consumption continues to decline, faux meat and egg substitutes continue to improve, and even in-vitro meat is further explored, factory-farmed meat and eggs might soon become a thing of the past.

Luckily, consumers don't have to wait for these products to be developed and experiments to be finalized to start saving the environment and helping animals. Going vegetarian has never been easier with so many delicious meat alternatives already on the market, including Gardein, Tofurky, Field Roast, and more. And baking without eggs is a cinch.

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

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vegannecklace2.jpgWith Valentine's Day approaching, now is the perfect time to celebrate your love for the vegans in your life with a beautiful, handmade "VEGAN" necklace! Crafted by jeweler and animal activist Michelle Rubin, this chic necklace is the perfect way to showcase compassion for animals. It makes an extraordinary and unique gift for a family member, friend, that special someone, or just for you!

This alluring, limited edition necklace is only available until February 12. To ensure that you have plenty of time to get the necklace for your loved ones before Valentine's Day, don't delay--order yours today!

The necklace has "VEGAN" hand-stamped on a 9/16" sterling silver pendant, which hangs with a pyrite stone and sterling silver heart on a 16" chain. Click here to order and make someone's Valentine's Day extra special, while helping farmed animals too.

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February 1, 2013

Vegan Super Bowl Party!

super-bowl.jpgAre you ready for some football? I am! I absolutely love football. I love the teamwork, drama, dedication, and strategy. I adore the camaraderie of fans and the culmination of many years of training and a whole season of incredibly hard work.

But as the big game approaches, I recognize that for millions of people, the Super Bowl is mostly a great excuse to get together with friends and family and indulge. You don't need to know the difference between a safety and a two-point conversion to know that you can have a delicious vegan Super Bowl party. These plant-based meal ideas are sure to be crowd-pleasers:

  • If you couldn't care less who wins, there's no need to commit to a team--or to a tortilla chip topping with a delicious, yet so simple seven layer dip or some killer nachos.
  • Hummus is another perfect staple for dipping. Try some with homemade pita chips.
  • Don't forget about the hot dogs! Vegan frankfurters from Field Roast are insanely delicious. Having beer or wine? Check out Barnivore for vegan selections.
  • Finally, to really seal the deal on savory, spicy, sweet, smoky, and satisfying, serve Robin Robertson's Finger-Lickin' Tempeh Fingers from her book Party Vegan. Then everyone will be a winner!
While football can be a ruthless sport, we can make tasty, compassionate food choices without supporting cruelty toward animals. So, this Sunday, whether you're rooting for the Ravens or the 49ers or are just looking to spend some time with your friends and family, make sure to enjoy the big game vegan style.

For hundreds more recipes and tips on delicious vegan eating throughout the on-season and off, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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