A new study published in the Journal of Oncology shows that consuming high amounts of soy products may help women with lung cancer live longer. Lung cancer is a leading cause of death among women worldwide. The study group was comprised of women living in China. The research found that women who consumed about four ounces of soy per day in the years prior to being diagnosed with lung cancer lived longer than those who did not consume as much soy.
Dr. Jyoti Patel, an associate professor of medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, theorized that the isoflavones in soy can act like selective estrogen modulators (SERMS), similar to the breast cancer-fighting drug tamoxifen. "These SERMS may have a protective effect in lung cancer because we know that estrogen receptors are present in lung cancer and are important in lung development," Patel said.
Though soy is not typically a staple of Western diets, vegetarians have long since incorporated soy products into their regimens for their flavor flexibility and nutritional benefits, including hefty amounts of protein and calcium. They are also delicious and compassionate alternatives to meat.
For incredible recipes that feature soy foods, such as tofu, tempeh, and soy milk, visit ChooseVeg.com.
The Walmart Cruelty Tour launched by Mercy For Animals last year has now traveled to over 100 US cities urging Walmart to do away with horrible gestation crates. Armed with our ten-foot-tall inflatable pig, we've garnered media attention and raised awareness nationwide. With the second leg of the tour drawing to a close, we sat down with MFA's national campaign coordinator Phil Letten and campaign coordinator Nick Wallerstedt to get the scoop from the road.
You've made over 100 stops so far on the Walmart Cruelty Tour. What have been some of your favorite cities or small towns and why?
We both really liked New Orleans because of the unique culture there. We spent some time in the French Quarter and checked out Bourbon Street.
Austin lived up to its reputation of being the coolest city in Texas.
While in Denver, we went to a Colorado Avalanche game and went sledding with some local vegans.
For our protest in Jacksonville, we stayed in a small town just outside of the city called Atlantic Beach. It was a very relaxing weekend and we even got to go surfing with our hosts.
How many hours a day do you spend on the road? How do you pass the time?
It varies depending on what part of the country we are in. I'd say the average drive is about three hours. But we've driven as much as eight to nine hours at once. We pass the time by reading--when we're not in the driver's seat--and listening to podcasts and music on Spotify.
We've seen some of your on-the-go meals show up on the Mercy For Animals Instagram! Where do you usually eat while traveling? What have been some of your favorite meals?
We use VegGuide.org to find the best restaurants in the area that offer vegan options. We both really love thai food so we eat at thai restaurants a lot. If we're in a hurry on the road, we will hit up Taco Bell. We try to keep that to a minimum though.
On average, how many volunteers come out to protest with you? How can people find out when you'll be in their hometowns?
We've brought this tour to a very diverse range of cities from New York and Los Angeles to Midland, TX, and North Platte, Nebraska. The turnout varies and can be as many as fifty volunteers depending on the size of the city.
Your protests feature a ten-foot tall inflatable pig in a gestation crate. What has been the reaction by local media and residents?
The inflatable pig is a real head-turner. People take pictures of it with their cell phones and give us thumbs up and honks of support. We've even had people tell us they would never shop at Walmart again.
We've garnered mainstream media attention at almost every stop of the tour and have been covered by hundreds of media outlets. Each time we get press, tens of thousands of people are exposed to the sad fact that Walmart profits off of the extreme confinement of pigs in crates so small they can't even turn around.
Finally, we know you've seen some zany antics by locals. Can you tell us about the most memorable?
It is very unusual that we face any negative reactions. But during our protest in Birmingham, AL, a radio talk show host and his assistant showed up to the protest with a grill and hot dogs. They were antagonistic at first and set up the grill right next to us.
When doing activism, it's crucial that we don't let things like this get under our skin. We remained calm, professional, and focused on our mission. Within minutes the radio show host pulled a one-eighty and repeatedly declared that Walmart should stop using gestation crates.
Easter is a time of family and celebration, but unfortunately, it hasn't traditionally been a good day for animals. Millions of families celebrate the holiday by eating an "Easter ham" and decorating eggs for Easter egg hunts without considering the horrors of the factory farms where most of these things are produced.
On factory farms, mother pigs used for breeding are typically kept in gestation crates so small they can barely turn around for nearly their entire lives. A Mercy For Animals investigation at a major Walmart pork supplier revealed horrific conditions that would ruin anybody's appetite, including workers slamming conscious piglets headfirst into the ground, and leaving sick and injured pigs with bleeding wounds to suffer without veterinary care.
The egg industry is just as appalling. An MFA investigation at one of the largest egg suppliers in the country revealed workers burning off young chicks' beaks without painkillers, hens mangled in cage wires and suffering from open wounds, birds crammed in filthy cages with less space than a standard piece of paper to spend her whole life, and hens decomposing in cages with birds still laying eggs for human consumption.
This is no way to celebrate a holiday!
This Easter, check out some of these delicious, fun, and compassionate alternatives:
Instead of decorating actual eggs, buy fun EggNots--vegan-friendly, ceramic eggs made for dyeing, or standard plastic eggs that can be painted, hidden, and reused each year. Click here for dye recipes.
The snow is melting, the days are growing longer, and the flowers are beginning to bloom. Spring is here! It's time to clean out your closets, get organized, and go outside. It's also the perfect time of year to transition to a clean, green, and tasty vegan diet. Need some tips to help get you started? Look no further.
First, don't panic. Adopting a plant-based diet is not only delicious, it's also easier than ever and the best choice you can make for your health, the environment, and the animals.
Next, find amazing recipes online that are super easy to make. Blogs like Plant Based on a Budget focus on meals that help save you cash as well. Also, don't forget to check out the plethora of veg cookbooks from your library or local bookstore.
Don't feel like cooking? No worries. Visit VegGuide.org to find all the restaurants in your area that have incredible vegan options. Remember, almost any restaurant can prepare satiating, plant-based fare.
If you need an extra hand on your journey, find a guide. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, author of The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, will send you inspiring emails every day with tips on staying veg.
Have fun! From Meetups to potlucks, vegetarians are everywhere. Expand your community and meet people who share your compassionate values. Relish in exploring new foods and flavors.
The hardest part of anything is getting started. Once you see how easy transitioning to a plant-based diet is, you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. For more information on going veg, including fantastic and fun recipes, visit ChooseVeg.com.
According to multiple news outlets, law enforcement in Australia is investigating allegations of sadistic animal torture caught on video at a major turkey slaughterhouse outside of Sydney. The shocking hidden-camera video footage anonymously turned over to an Australian animal protection group shows more than 130 acts of deliberate cruelty to animals, including workers stomping on birds and violently slamming them against walls and machinery.
In one instance, a worker repeatedly kicks a bird as she helplessly flaps around on the floor. The worker then picks up the turkey, slams her against a cage, and then proceeds to stomp on her head until she is no longer moving. In another scene, two workers appear to be celebrating after taking turns kicking and kneeing a bird as she hangs upside down in shackles.
Another MFA investigation at House of Raeford Farms, one of the largest poultry processors in the country, revealed workers routinely punching turkeys for "fun," forcefully shoving their hands into the vaginal cavities of live chickens, ripping the heads off live turkeys, and slitting turkeys' throats while they were still fully conscious. House of Raeford has a long record of illegal activity. In 2009, the company settled criminal charges by paying a 1.5 million-dollar fine for knowingly hiring undocumented workers, and the company was recently convicted on ten counts of violating the Clean Water Act.
Time and again, the meat 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 turkey and other animal products in favor of healthy and humane plant-based alternatives. Visit ChooseVeg.com to learn more.
Want to feel inspired? Look no further than Ari Nessel, founder and president of The Pollination Project. Ari and his team are on a compassionate mission. They give away $1,000 a day to change-makers around the world. We sat down with Ari to find out more about his amazing foundation.
Can you tell us a little bit about what The Pollination Project is and what motivated you to start it?
The Pollination Project is a new grant-making organization that gives $1,000 seed grants every day of the year to highly motivated, individual change-makers who have a practical vision for how to make positive social change in the world. Our focus is on projects that forward compassion in the world, but we accept applications from a wide variety of people across almost every issue area you can think of--environment, justice, art and culture, human rights, movement building, animal protection, and more.
As an entrepreneur myself, I am inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit that so many activists demonstrate. I wanted to match their hard work, creativity, and commitment with a little capital. We know $1,000 isn't a huge amount of money--and that is by design. We wanted to offer an amount that was just enough to get a seed project to start growing roots. Often our funding is used for groups to do activities that will help them build a sustainable support base. You will see we like to fund expenses like promotion, fundraising, social media, logo design, and filing for their nonprofit status.
The Pollination Project is still so young but has accomplished so much so quickly. What are some of the accomplishments you are most proud of so far?
The feedback we've been getting from applicants and others is that this is an idea whose time has come. We seem to have tapped into something that is much bigger than my team and I originally envisioned. In our planning stage last summer and fall, we had hoped to launch our daily grant-making on July 1st, 2013. Because of the excitement and demand for our grants, we ended up starting six months early on January 1st. Already we are on pace to receive over 2,000 applications in our first year. This just tells me that there are many people out there who have passion, vision, and commitment to changing the world. I feel inspired every time I get to read their applications on how they wish to be the change they want to see in the world.
The other accomplishment is seeing how much value we create for grantees beyond the $1,000. The money is just one piece. We've been able to get some great media attention for individual grantees. We've supported grantees with technical questions like applying or 501(c)(3) status, or fundraising strategies. But as important, our grant award is a validation of a person and a project, and in many cases, the grantee has taken the announcement of our grant and used it to leverage media attention, additional fundraising support, and important new partnerships. We are proud that each grant has become so much more valuable than $1,000.
You have been vegan and a supporter of Mercy For Animals for a long time. Why is vegetarianism and farmed animal advocacy so important to you?
Years ago, I was blessed to be the beneficiary of the work of another animal rights activist named Jewels (whose name I only found out many years later). As a result of his efforts, I had an insight about how the choices I made could lead to great suffering of others or instead to healing and connection. Since then, I have sought to water the seed of compassion within me. Veganism is a manifestation of that seed. Three times each and every day I have an opportunity to exercise kindness and make choices that have integrity with my values. I may be against war or capital punishment or guns, but how often can I take some sort of action that aligns my life with these morals? And more importantly, what other actions could I personally take, or encourage others to take, that would reduce as much killing and suffering as eliminating meat from one's diet?
One of my favorite quotes comes from holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer. He said, "To be a vegetarian is to disagree, to disagree with the course of things today. Starvation, world hunger, cruelty, waste, wars: we must make a statement about these things. Vegetarianism is my statement. And I think it is a good one." Amen!
You have participated in a lot of veg activism over the years. Can you share some highlights?
The most recurring highlight for me is when I find out secondhand or years later about someone I influenced to adopt a plant-based diet. It's remarkable how many people I have influenced to make such a change and had no idea at the time. Sometimes when that happens, I run the numbers in my head about how many animals were spared egregious suffering as a result of my influence on that person. These opportunities encourage me to continue to be a voice for animals, and they validate my intention to not waste my privileges and precious time toward superfluous goals.
What are some of The Pollination Project grants related to vegan advocacy or promoting compassion for farmed animals that have been given out?
Even though we just started our daily grant-making operations three months ago, we have funded many projects in the area of animal protection, animal rights, and vegan advocacy. Several of these have come out of the MFA network directly. These include:
An animal rights oral history project spearheaded by Carolyn Mullin and the National Museum of Animals and Society;
Adam Sugalski and Carrie LeBlanc's CircusProtest.com project that educates Ringling Brothers audience members about the cruelty of the circus; and
Jodie Wiederker's Center for Ethical Science, an advocacy group working to educate the public about invasive animal research and testing.
You can also go to our website and search on the word "vegan" or "animal" to find a much larger list of grants we've made in this area.
What advice do you have for animal lovers who want to do more to help, and how can they apply for a Pollination Project grant?
It is easy to apply for a grant from The Pollination Project. Click on "Apply" from our website, and you will see the links to funding guidelines and the qualifying questionnaire that helps you figure out if you fit our guidelines. It takes two weeks before our board reviews an application, but we try to make a decision quickly. In most cases, applicants will have a yes or no answer within three to four weeks of applying.
We definitely have a special place in our heart for anything that has a vegan or animal rights bend to it. In fact, I would love for a much higher percentage of our grants to be focused on such efforts. It is my hope that we can encourage many more animal rights advocates to figure out what special opportunities they have for outreach in the world and that they will apply for a grant.
Animal rights is not a philosophy, it's a way of life. To me, "compassion" is a verb!
In response to a spate of undercover investigations that have uncovered horrific animal abuse and shocking food safety problems in meat, dairy, and egg production, the factory farming industry has been furiously lobbying to pass "ag-gag" laws designed to keep its cruel and unsanitary practices hidden from public view. But that effort seems to be backfiring, as scores of media outlets nationwide are throwing back the curtain on Big Ag and shining a bright light on the industry's sickening practices.
In Wyoming, Kerry Drake with the Casper Star Tribune writes: "When it comes to protecting animals from abuse, I've seen lawmakers in this state do some incredibly stupid things." Drake decries the state's ag-gag bill as "shameful," and a "new low" for Wyoming. "Criminalizing undercover investigations at such farm operations would effectively tell the owners that they can do anything they want to their livestock."
Steven Maviglio from the California Majority Report says: "Even in states dominated by agriculture, the bills have had trouble; even conservatives are wary of the threat to free speech."
And the Indianapolis Star editorialized: "Secret cameras have exposed numerous instances of unhealthful, inhumane and illegal conditions on farms and in other businesses over the years, often leading to highly beneficial corrective action. ... When government fails to fulfill its watchdog duty, citizens, especially but not exclusively in the news media, must take on that role."
Ironically, as the factory farming industry more desperately tries to hide its cruel practices, the more they are exposed.
What You Can Do to Help:
Expose Factory Farm Cruelty - Please share this video with as many people as you can and help expose the cruel and corrupt practices of factory farming industries.
Choose Vegetarian - Each time we eat, we can choose kindness over cruelty. Adopting a diet free of meat, dairy, and eggs is the single most powerful action you can take to prevent needless cruelty to farmed animals. Visit ChooseVeg.com for free recipes, tips on making the switch, and more.
Google Trends is the inspiration behind a lively, animated map created by Compassion Over Killing that illustrates how vegan searches have gone through the roof over the last few years. The map starts in 2008 and ends with present-day figures:
Whether Americans choose to go veg out of concern for their health, the environment, or the plight of farmed animals who suffer horribly on factory farms, the trend towards vegetarianism shows no signs of slowing down.
For vegan recipes, tips, and a wealth of information on transitioning to a plant-based diet, visit ChooseVeg.com.
A new law introduced in Congress would put a stop to horse slaughter for human consumption in the United States and also outlaw the transport of horses for slaughter to Canada and Mexico. The law has garnered bi-partisan support.
In 2011, a federal law that banned horse slaughter lapsed, allowing horse slaughter facilities to open their doors. But even while that law was in effect, thousands of horses were shipped across the border every year to kill floors in Canada and Mexico.
The new law, Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, comes after the widely publicized horsemeat scandal in Europe and asserts that horsemeat is toxic. It seems that lawmakers are concerned that horses may be treated with drugs that could be harmful to humans if their meat is consumed.
Like horses, farmed animals in the United States are regularly fed controversial drugs that are banned in other countries over similar fears. Perhaps as people become more aware of this, as well as of the horrible conditions on factory farms, they'll choose not only to pass laws protecting these animals, but also to leave them off of their plates. For information on how to transition to a meat-free diet, visit ChooseVeg.com.
Nathan Runkle, executive director for Mercy For Animals, appeared on ABC's Nightline last Friday to discuss attempts by factory farm interests to pass ag-gag legislation--laws that criminalize hidden-camera investigations by animal protection organizations, silencing whistleblowers and shielding animal abusers from public scrutiny.
The segment featured MFA's Bettencourt Dairies investigation, which uncovered abuse so disturbing it led to criminal animal cruelty charges.
Watch the full report here:
It doesn't take the luck of the Irish to create an amazing, plant-based St. Patrick's Day feast. Cruelty-free versions of traditional recipes are delicious and a snap to make. Skipping meat is not only a compassionate choice, it's also great for the environment. So this St. Patrick's Day, forgo animal products and truly embrace the color green!
Famous NBA basketball player Glen "Big Baby" Davis, currently of the Orlando Magic but known for being an important part of the championship Celtics team in 2008, has joined the ranks of professional athletes who have adopted a vegan diet.
Like New York Knicks superstar Amar'e Stoudemire, who went vegan while rehabbing an injury to give himself the "best opportunity to remain healthy," Davis has turned to veganism "to find ways to stay healthy." He is also rehabilitating an injury, having fractured a bone in his foot, and is seeking to trim down--"the lighter the better for less pressure on that foot," Davis explained.
More and more people, including professional athletes, are eating less meat and recognizing the health benefits of a vegan diet. Not only does transitioning to a vegan diet significantly reduce your risk of heart disease (the country's biggest killer) and cancer (the second-biggest killer), but vegan foods can actually act as medicine in curing chronic diseases. Plant-based diets have also been shown to benefit men looking to slim down, as vegan men have lower weights and body mass indexes, as well as reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Davis joins a long list of elite athletes from many sports who have explored a vegan diet--from star football player Arian Foster to former NBA star John Salley to 100-year-old marathoner Fauja Singh, who set the record for the oldest person to ever complete a marathon.
A new study conducted by scientists across 10 European countries found that consuming high amounts of processed meats, such as bacon and sausage, can increase your risk of premature death by up to 44 percent. Pointing to the high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat, which are abundant in these products, the study warns people of dangerous coronary disease, as well as cancer.
Americans, on average, consume 4.5 ounces of meat a day, of which over 20 percent is processed. So, it should come as no surprise that heart disease is the number one illness, and the number one killer, in our country.
A healthy, vegan diet is not only great for your heart, it's also the most compassionate decision you can make to help animals who live miserable lives on factory farms. For more recipes and tips on going veg visit ChooseVeg.com.
Today, Walmart shoppers and executives woke up to the second full-page ad taken out by Mercy For Animals in the Benton County Daily Record in Bentonville, AR--headquarters of the world's largest retailer. MFA's provocative ad gets right to the point, asking readers, "Do you support cruelty to animals?" and then declaring, "Walmart does."
The ad focuses on the inherently cruel practice of confining pregnant pigs in narrow gestation crates--metal enclosures barely larger than the animals' own bodies and so restrictive the animals can't turn around, lie down comfortably, walk, play, or engage in other natural behaviors. Sadly, the inhumane practice is common on factory farms supplying pork to Walmart stores.
As the largest retailer in the world, Walmart has the power and the responsibility to phase out this outdated and abusive practice. Yet, Walmart is one of the few major retailers that have yet to implement a policy requiring its pork suppliers to phase out the cruel practice. More than 50 major food providers, including Walmart's greatest competitors Costco, Target, Kroger, and Safeway, have committed to phasing out gestation crates.
Sadly, Walmart's refusal to improve animal welfare should come as no surprise. Recently, a new report by Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare deemed Walmart one of the worst offenders when it comes to how the animals in its meat supply chain are treated.
See for yourself what life is like for pigs raised and killed for the pork sold in Walmart stores:
Please join MFA's Walmart campaign today and ask the company's executives Mike Duke, Bill Simon, and Doug McMillon to stop supporting cruelty to animals. Get involved at WalmartCruelty.com.
As if rampant animal abuse weren't reason enough to ditch meat, now chicken-eaters have another serious reason to adopt a vegan diet: salmonella.
According to the Food Poisoning Bulletin, "Health officials in Oregon and Washington have identified Foster Farms brand chicken as the most likely source of the 95 infections in those states. The company has not issued a recall."
Industry journal Meating Place states: "A Salmonella outbreak linked to chicken produced by Foster Farms has sickened 128 people in 13 states, according to the latest information from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most of the cases are in Washington (56) and Oregon (39), a total of 32 people have been hospitalized."
As victims of salmonella poisoning suffer from diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and sometimes death, meat industry giants continue to threaten human health, the environment, and animal welfare.
The best way to protect your health and prevent needless cruelty to chickens and other animals is to transition to a compassionate, vegetarian diet. To learn more, visit ChooseVeg.com.
L.A. Unified, the nation's second-largest public school district, has decided to stop selling meat in its cafeterias on Mondays. This comes just months after the Los Angeles City Council passed a Meatless Monday resolution and represents a significant shift in attitudes toward meat.
Rising cost, environmental degradation, and concerns over animal welfare are all fueling a growing, national conversation about the ethics of meat production. Introducing school children to vegetarian fare is a great way for them to learn about healthy and inexpensive plant-based meal options.
From college campus cafeterias to restaurant chains, veg options are becoming more widely available. To search for restaurants in your area that offer vegan items, visit VegGuide.org. For recipes and tips on going vegan, check out ChooseVeg.com.
Quorn, the UK's leading vegetarian ready-meal brand, saw a huge surge in revenue following the discovery of horsemeat in product sold as hamburger. Sales have more than doubled since mid-February.
Fry's, a South African vendor of veggie sausages and pies in Europe, has seen sales rise by 30 percent. Lisa Drummy, who heads up Fry's import to the UK, said she's received numerous orders from supermarkets that had previously turned down its products.
Kevin Brennan, the chief executive of Quorn, remarked that the horsemeat scandal highlighted the rising cost of meat. Indeed, it's largely the reason that cheaper horsemeat was being used in place of hamburger. According to Brennan, "Over time beef is going to become more of a luxury. People probably won't continue doing what they are right now but I do think there is genuine potential that they could shift away from meat."
But perhaps the most interesting aspect of this whole fiasco is the psychology behind eating animals. Why do we put horses on such a pedestal while relegating cows to the horrors of the slaughterhouse?
Mercy For Animals sheds light on this issue with our "Why love one but eat the other?" campaign. All animals, from dogs and cats to horses, pigs, and cows, experience pain and fear.
The only way to be certain that no animals suffer for food is to forgo eating them. For information on becoming vegetarian, visit ChooseVeg.com.
According to the Guardian, Professor Mark Sutton, a lead author of a recent UN Environment Programme (UNEP) study on agriculture and the environment, is calling for a 50 percent reduction in the consumption of meat throughout the Western world, to lessen the effects of meat production on climate change.
UNEP warns: "Unless action is taken, increases in pollution and per capita consumption of energy and animal products will exacerbate nutrient losses, pollution levels and land degradation, further threatening the quality of our water, air and soils, affecting climate and biodiversity."
Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy production, accounts for over 90% of water depletion, and according to Assessing the Environmental Impact of Consumption and Production, a 2010 report from the United Nations, 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of total land use, and 19% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Vegetarian foods, on the other hand, only take a fraction of the water and other resources needed to sustain meat-based diets.
Whether you're concerned about environmental destruction, animal suffering on factory farms, or the quality of your health, your food choices hold tremendous power. Instead of reducing meat consumption by 50 percent, imagine if everyone went completely meat-free! Visit ChooseVeg.com for hundreds of delicious vegan recipes, along with tips on adopting an animal-friendly and eco-friendly diet.
Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy For Animals, appeared on HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell this past Friday to discuss the convictions of four employees at a Butterball facility in North Carolina.
An MFA undercover investigation at Butterball exposed turkeys being kicked, thrown, and horribly neglected by farm workers. It resulted in the first-ever felony charges for abuse to factory-farmed poultry.
During Velez-Mitchell's interview with Runkle, she noted that these turkeys were not so different than the dogs and cats we lived with. Runkle added: "Birds suffer pain the same way. ... They deserve consideration and respect. As a civilized society, we should not be subjecting any animals to inhumane treatment."
Check out the full interview below: