July 2013 Archives


VIV_cover_10x10_72.jpgRuby Roth, author of popular children's books Vegan Is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action and That's Why We Don't Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things, is inspiring the next generation with her message of compassion for all animals. We recently sat down with Ruby to talk about her new book, V Is for Vegan: The ABC's of Being Kind. Ruby also shared her tips for addressing veganism with children.

Tell us more about your new children's book, V Is for Vegan: The ABC's of Being Kind.

V Is for Vegan is the first ABC book of its kind for the youngest of little herbivores. It's simple, bright, funny, and contains all the main tenets of veganism written in rhymes that kids will definitely remember (see the letter "E"!). They'll be learning and laughing! It's a great confidence booster for kids about to enter school, a resource for sensitive older kids, and a fun adult novelty book too. I suggest keeping it on your office desk, coffee table, or in your waiting room for people who might not pick up Food Revolution, but will leaf through this book out of sheer curiosity. It's veganism in 26 sentences!

What inspired you to write children's books about veganism? Did you start writing kids books before you were vegan?

I had planned on an art career since childhood, but throughout high school and college, I was also interested in social justice and politics. I was teaching art in an elementary school when I decided to combine my interests. I had been vegan for years already and it wasn't long before the kids noticed that I wasn't drinking the milk they were served. They were totally enthralled by what I told them. I tried to find a book that would explain more, but each was about talking animals or vegetables, which I felt took away from both the rich emotional lives of animals and the children's intelligence. I decided to create the book I wanted to read--a gentle, but honest look at the facts. I knew they could handle it.

Your books do an amazing job of balancing the bleak reality faced by animals raised for meat, dairy, and eggs with an upbeat, kid-friendly, and even humorous tone. How do you manage to strike this balance?

Thank you! I try and keep my tone easygoing but frank--the way I would speak to my students. If you're ambivalent and dance around the issue, kids pick up on that fear and may mimic it. But if you're confident and forthright, they really pay attention. They feel like they're being let in on a secret. Most adults speak to kids at a level far below their capabilities because they fear kids can't handle the problems or the solutions! I think I've been successful in presenting the serious motives behind veganism to kids because veganism itself offers solutions to the problems. On every page of my books, there is an affirmation about what we can do to help. My message is that we don't have to fear anything we have the power to change.

What kind of feedback do you get from parents and children? Can you share your most memorable interaction with someone who's read your books?

I learn that adults are having deep and meaningful conversations with kids using my books as a springboard. During a reading, a fourth-grade girl told me that factory farms reminded her of slavery, which she was studying in history. Parents have reported that their little boy's confidence and pride in veganism has been bolstered, and that their four-year-old is taking the message to heart--treating all people, animals, and plants with kindness. One mom told me her boy was so inspired that he asked for a folder to collect research he could share with friends. That's more confidence than a lot of adults have! That tells me that kids are moved to action by this information and need to be included in the conversation.

You've discussed your books on Fox News, CNN, and NBC and have been met with opposition. Why do you think some health professionals, television hosts, and industry representatives feel threatened by your books?

It's multilayered, but it comes down to fear, ignorance, and industry collusion. I wrote a lot about it afterwards. It partially has to do with the media's interest in creating sensation. They want to feed the audience a fight, not a revelation--and people eat it up. It also has to do with media sponsorship, the doctors' lack of nutritional knowledge, and prevailing educational theory and the concept of childhood, with industry collusion between big pharma, big ag, and health practitioners. It has worked together in the past to discredit veganism, but we've all started to chip away at the cracks in the logic. I actually enjoyed the "controversy" because it was so revealing! The media was admitting that what we do to animals is scary--too scary to talk about with kids! On some level they know what's going on. All of our activism has spread the word and it's just going to grow.

When and why did you adopt a vegan diet?

I've been vegan for a decade! It started as a health experiment 10 years ago, a challenge by my now-boyfriend, who also pointed out that, as someone interested in social justice, my eating habits did not match my morals and values. That blew my mind! I tried it for a few months and was thriving immediately on all aspects of the lifestyle...and then I saw Earthlings. I never went back! It was like taking off a heavy jacket and starting to run.

V Is for Vegan: The ABC's of Being Kind is available to purchase starting August 6th. 

To learn more about Ruby Roth and join her mailing list, visit www.WeDontEatAnimals.com.

Visit ChooseVeg.com for helpful tips on transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle.

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Executives of Amazon.com became the target of an animal cruelty demonstration last Tuesday, when Mercy For Animals activists held an eye-catching demonstration outside the online retailer's corporate headquarters.

BannerPicNews.jpgDemanding that the company end its sale of foie gras--the diseased livers of force-fed ducks--MFA activists wielded signs and banners bearing heartbreaking images of ducks with metal pipes rammed down their throats. The provocative signs boldly declared: "Amazon Supports Animal Torture" and "Delete Cruel Foie Gras."

ProtestGroupShot.jpgThe protest came on the heels of a Mercy For Animals undercover investigation at an Amazon foie gras supplier that exposed ducks with bloody wounds, workers slitting the throats of fully conscious ducks, and workers violently grabbing ducks by their wings and necks and then shoving metal pipes down their throats to force-feed them.

Appalled by the systemic and intentional torture of ducks at this Amazon foie gras supplier, thousands of compassionate people have already signed the petition calling on Amazon to immediately end the sale of foie gras.

SarahCamera1.jpgIn the past, Amazon has stopped selling other products, including whale meat, shark fin soup, and animal fighting videos, due to their inhumane production methods. It's time for Amazon to stop ducking this important issue by implementing an ethical and humane policy banning the sale of foie gras too.

Take Action:

  • Take a personal stand against cruelty to animals by choosing a healthy and humane vegetarian diet.

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cut2_0.jpgRepresentative Steve King is, without a doubt, the most anti-animal member of Congress. He led efforts to block legislation that cracked down on the barbaric practices of dogfighting and cockfighting. He sponsored an amendment to legalize arsenic in chicken feed and has come out in favor of horse slaughter. Rep. King even voted against a bill to include companion and service animals in disaster planning.

Now, the King of Cruelty has his sights set on farmed animals with a dangerous amendment to the Farm Bill. If passed, the "King Amendment" would wipe out virtually every state law protecting farmed animals from even the most horrific cruelty and suffering. The amendment is so overreaching that it could also preempt state laws relating to alcohol and tobacco, child labor, and environmental protection.

Recently, MFA's executive director, Nathan Runkle, spoke with Jane Velez-Mitchell on her nationally syndicated news program to urge Americans to contact their representatives in Congress and ask them to remove the cruel King Amendment from the Farm Bill.

Watch the interview here:

 

Please, take 30 seconds to contact your representatives in Congress today and tell them you oppose the King Amendment to the Farm Bill. Click here to take action now!

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natgeo1.jpgDon't miss the July 31 episode of National Geographic Channel's new series Inside: Secret America as Peabody Award-winning journalists Mariana Van Zeller and Darren Foster go undercover with Mercy For Animals investigators into some of the country's largest farms.

Titled "Animal Undercover," the episode features MFA investigators "Pete," who worked at a Burger King dairy supplier in Idaho, and "Jane," who worked at a Butterball turkey factory farm in North Carolina. Both of these landmark investigations exposed abuse so horrific that multiple workers were charged and convicted of criminal cruelty to animals.

Van Zeller and Foster also interview Matt Rice, MFA's director of investigations, about the factory farming industry's un-American efforts to silence whistleblowers and keep its criminal activities hidden from public view.

Check out these exciting preview clips from the episode:

 



Available in over 143 countries and viewed in more than 160 million homes, National Geographic Channel is perhaps the most well-known and respected source for documentary films. By going behind the closed doors of America's factory farms, this episode is sure to open the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world to the plights of farmed animals.

Click here to support MFA's brave investigators and their work to expose and end animal abuse. Donate by July 31st and your gift will be matched, dollar-for-dollar.

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piggies1.jpgIt's official! Every one of the 11 ag-gag bills introduced in 2013 has been defeated. Today, the North Carolina legislature adjourned without passing its version of ag-gag. Earlier this year, Tennessee govenor Bill Haslam vetoed his state's ag-gag bill citing constitutional concerns and saying the bill would make it "more difficult to prosecute animal cruelty cases."

This is certainly cause for celebration! This victory is due in large part to the compassionate MFA supporters who called and emailed their legislators, and the behind-the-scenes efforts of a broad coalition of national groups, working together to stop these shameful attempts by pro-factory farming legislators to criminalize undercover investigations.

One need not look very far to see what the factory farming industry is trying so desperately to hide from the American public. The following are just a few of the undercover investigations into North Carolina factory farms and slaughterhouses that would not have been possible if the ag-gag bill had been in effect.

 

MFA's investigator secretly filmed workers at the House of Raeford Farms throwing, punching, kicking, and ripping the heads off of live birds. The investigation also exposed workers slitting the throats of conscious and thrashing turkeys--revealing the horrific reality faced by farmed birds, who are exempt from the federal Humane Slaughter Act.
 
 

Our undercover investigation at a Butterball turkey factory farm in North Carolina led to arrests and convictions of multiple workers for criminal cruelty to animals, including the first-ever felony conviction for cruelty to farmed birds in U.S. history.

 

Less than a year after an MFA investigation led to criminal animal cruelty convictions of Butterball workers, a new investigation at multiple turkey factory farms in North Carolina shows that animal abuse continues to run rampant at Butterball. Workers were caught on video kicking and throwing turkeys, violently slamming them into tiny transport crates, and allowing sick or injured birds to slowly suffer and die without proper veterinary care.

Recognizing that their cruel and often illegal animal abuse can't stand the light of day, factory farmers worked hard to keep cameras out of their facilities this year. But Americans stood united against this multi-billion-dollar industry and the corrupt politicians that do its bidding and said: "No to Ag-Gag!"

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July 26, 2013

Real Men Eat Tofu

bill-clinton.jpgThe ridiculous idea that "real men eat meat" is dead. A new article in Business Insider highlights how nowadays some of the most powerful men in the world are purposely choosing to leave meat off their plates for good.

From former President Bill Clinton and Mayor Cory Booker to ubersuccessful businessmen Steve Wynn and Biz Stone, men in high-profile positions of power are recognizing that plant-based diets help improve health, stave off disease, and promote vitality.

As more game changing athletes and famous personalities speak out about their vegetarianism, awareness spreads and change happens for men and women. Just a few months ago, Hollywood veteran actress Michelle Pfeiffer appeared on CNN to discuss how she went vegan after learning about Bill Clinton's success on a plant-based diet.

Whether you're concerned about climbing to the top, doing right by the planet, or taking a strong stand against animal cruelty, there has never been a better time to adopt a vegetarian diet. For tips to get you started, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 9.50.32 AM.pngNever underestimate the power of good vegan food. After introducing "Sofritas"--a tofu option braised with chipotle chilies, roasted poblanos, and a blend of aromatic spices--to its menu at just seven northern California locations a few months ago, restaurant chain Chipotle plans to expand it statewide due to its wild popularity. According to Steve Ells, Chipotle's founder and co-CEO, additional markets are also being considered. The chain currently has over 1,400 locations in the United States.

With meat consumption steadily declining and more people expanding their diets to include vegan fare, it's no wonder Chipotle's newest menu item is all the rage and now accounts for about 5 percent of Chipotle's sales in California. Quite a few MFA staff members here in Los Angeles have tried Sofritas and think it totally lives up to the hype.

Thinking about venturing into veganism? Check out ChooseVeg.com and discover all the ways you can help protect the environment, safeguard your health, and reduce animal suffering just by leaving meat off your plate.

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ofe.jpgAccording to the Wall Street Journal, Cal-Maine Foods, the largest egg producer in the country, will pay $28 million to settle federal antitrust claims. The "egg cartel" is accused of conspiring to increase egg prices by killing off young chicks and egg-laying hens in order to artificially reduce egg supply.

This is not the first time Cal-Maine has been in trouble. In 2010, a shocking undercover investigation exposed rampant animal abuse at one of the company's battery-cage egg facilities. The investigation revealed overcrowded hens suffering from broken legs and other injuries, birds trapped in cage wire unable to reach food or water, and chicken corpses left to rot in cages with hens still producing eggs for human consumption.

That same year, Cal-Maine recalled 288,000 eggs that it had purchased from supplier Ohio Fresh Eggs after a test showed deadly salmonella at the facility. An investigation by Mercy For Animals in 2004 exposed the disease-ridden conditions at Ohio Fresh Eggs, including hundreds of thousands of egg-laying hens with broken, damaged, and feces-covered feathers packed into battery cages so small they couldn't spread their wings.

Watch MFA's investigation at Ohio Fresh Eggs here:

 

Sadly, abusing animals and consumers is just business as usual for the egg industry. The good news is that simply leaving eggs off your plate and replacing them with cruelty-free vegan alternatives is a powerful way to protect yourself and animals from being cheated by the rotten egg industry.

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PBS's Frontline recently aired a hard-hitting documentary that's sure to raise awareness and hopefully spark change. "Rape in the Fields" is a harrowing look inside the sexual abuse, including frequent rape, of undocumented immigrant farm workers in the United States.

Highlighting a DeCoster egg facility, the documentary exposes not only the sexual assault of farm workers, but horrific animal abuse.
 

Watch Rape in the Fields on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

In 2009, Mercy For Animals conducted an undercover investigation inside Quality Egg of New England, a DeCoster egg facility. Our investigator documented abuses so appalling the Maine Department of Agriculture raided the facility. What resulted was a landmark civil settlement. Quality Egg pleaded guilty to 10 counts of animal cruelty and paid over $130,000 in fines and restitution.

While the victims and the abuses are different, one does not need a magnifying glass to see the connections between sexual abuse and animal cruelty. The rampant sex crimes against undocumented workers speak volumes to the cruel and violent culture that characterizes today's factory farms. Like these farm workers, animals on factory farms are vulnerable and scared, but unlike these brave women who've come forward, animals have no voice.

The most powerful stand we can take against needless animal suffering is to leave meat, dairy, and eggs off our plates. To learn more about adopting a humane vegan diet, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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Check out this amazing blog from MFA volunteer extraordinaire, Kevin O'Connor!

Over 40 Mercy For Animals supporters and nearly a dozen of their children visited Sunrise Sanctuary, a safe haven for approximately 170 rescued animals, for an afternoon of cleaning, maintenance, and bonding with the resident animals.

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IMGP5528.JPGMFA featured Sunrise Sanctuary in our award-winning documentary, Fowl Play, and honored founder Mindy Mallet with MFA's Hope Award in 2009. Mindy was thrilled to have so many people from around the state come and help with her "children" for a day. Volunteers cleaned out the barns, replaced a wall of one of the bird enclosures, and of course, groomed any of the animals that were interested in the attention.

IMG_2830.jpgIMGP3176.JPGIn between cleaning tasks and after the work was done, the MFA crew enjoyed interacting with the wide variety of sanctuary animals, which ranged from rabbits, chickens, and turkeys to pigs, sheep, and horses. For many volunteers, this was their first chance to meet a cow or a pig and they left with a new understanding of the creatures they speak up for so often in their daily lives.

IMG_2898.jpgIMG_2860.jpgAmong the most amazing and charming experiences was watching best friends Wesley, a rescued "veal calf," who now weighs over 2000 pounds, and Chance, a pit bull, play together. Desh Rain, a Cincinnati volunteer, summed up the day nicely: "What a beautiful place, people, and souls."

IMGP4161.JPGIMGP5519.JPGFeeling inspired? Check out MFA's events pages to learn about happenings in your area. For more information on volunteering with MFA, click here.

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chicken.jpgThe Dodo is coming back! Perhaps not as an unusual, flightless bird, but as a new website that will explore the relationship between humans and nonhuman animals.

Ken Lerer, co-founder of The Huffington Post, chairman of BuzzFeed and Betaworks, and founder of Lerer Ventures, plans to launch the DoDo this fall. Kerry Lauerman, former editor in chief of Salon.com, and Lerer's daughter, Isabel, will jointly run it.

Of the new business venture Lerer remarked: "Our thinking is that the topic of animals, animal rights and the relationship between animal and people is an issue that's on the cusp of exploding. Look at the front of the New York Times--they have a significant animal story on the front page every week. It's our plan to launch a site to try to own that topic."

In addition to serious stories dealing with animals rights, endangered species, and factory farming issues, the Dodo will feature fun and entertaining animal-related posts like those that are currently all the rage on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

If you'd like to stay in the know about issues affecting farmed animals, make sure to follow The MFA Blog. And remember, the best way to spare animals from suffering on factory farms is simply to leave them off your plate. Visit ChooseVeg.com to learn more about adopting a delicious and cruelty-free vegan diet.

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July 17, 2013

Heartthrob with a Heart

Ryan.jpgHollywood star Ryan Gosling has sent a strong message to Canadian pork producers in an opinion piece published in the Globe and Mail. It urges the National Farm Animal Care Council to close the loopholes in its care standards that allow farmers to confine pigs in cruel gestation crates.

Gosling writes, "Pigs in tiny crates suffer beyond anything most of us can easily imagine. They are unable even to turn around for weeks at a time, so that their muscles and bones deteriorate. And these extremely social and intelligent animals lose their minds from being denied any social or psychological stimulation at all."

A recent Mercy For Animals Canada undercover investigation at one of the country's largest pork producers, Puratone, revealed shocking animal abuse: baby piglets being slammed headfirst against concrete, pigs having their testicles ripped out without painkillers, and pigs too sick to stand or walk being slapped, kicked, and pulled by their ears.

Only weeks after the release of the undercover footage, the Canadian Pork Council and the National Farm Animal Care Council reached an agreement to phase out gestation crates by 2024.

The best way to spare animals from daily suffering on factory farms is simply not to eat them. For tricks and tips on transitioning to a delicious vegan diet, check out ChooseVeg.com.

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shutterstock_69916885.jpgFish oil could be harmful to your health. According to a startling new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, scientists have discovered that men who consume the most fish oil have up to a 71 percent higher risk of high-grade prostate cancer, the kind most likely to spread and kill.

The study also warned that consuming too much fish in general may pose the same health hazards for men.

Although fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, those same nutrients can be found in plant-based sources such as walnuts and flax seeds. When researchers studied men who consumed plant-derived omega-3s, they found no increased risk of prostate cancer.

The best way to safeguard yourself from unnecessary health risks and to take a stand against egregious animal cruelty is to leave animals off your plate. For information on transitioning to a delicious vegan diet, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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Beyond Meat.jpgEating a compassionate diet has never been easier! A recent Reader's Digest article touts the benefits of the many new, healthy alternatives to animal-derived foods, pointing out that these products are free of the saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal cruelty inherent in meat, dairy, and eggs.

Bill Gates, founder and ex-CEO of software giant Microsoft, agrees that the future of meat is on a dwindling path. As more and more people move towards a healthy plant-based diet, food producers are satisfying their customers' demands for compassionate food choices by expanding their product lines to include more cruelty-free alternatives to traditional American fare.

Companies like Beyond Meat and Kite Hill have changed the game for the food industry, creating alternatives that boast taste and texture nearly identical to those of the animal-based products they imitate. Beyond Eggs, another venture, has created an egg-free mayonnaise that is not only equal in flavor to original mayonnaise, but is cholesterol-free and 18 percent less expensive.

Substitutes for meat, dairy, and eggs have so improved they are now fooling renowned food critics, adversely impacting the meat industry, and prompting venture capitalists to venture into veganism. Whether it's to safeguard your own health, preserve the environment, or take a stand against the extreme abuse animals suffer on factory farms, there's no doubt that transitioning to a plant-based diet has never been simpler or more timely.

For delicious vegan recipes and tips on making the transition to a compassionate plant-based diet, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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ribeye steak raw 2012.jpgIn a recent study, the American Cancer Society examined the eating habits of 184,000 Americans. A total of 2,315 of these participants were diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer.

Researchers found that the incidence of cancer was highest in participants who frequently ate red meat, which contains many cancer-promoting elements, including excessive amounts of fat, protein, and iron, and heat-induced mutagens.

Past studies corroborate the correlation between meat consumption and an increased risk of colon cancer. However, this new study found that those who regularly ate red meat had an increased risk not only of developing colon cancer, but of dying from it compared to those who ate less meat.

Adopting a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle is not only good for your health, it's good for animals and the planet. For more information, delicious recipes, and tips on transitioning to a plant-based diet, please visit ChooseVeg.com.

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Primer Impacto.jpgMillions of people were exposed to the horrors of factory farming when Univision, the third-most watched television network in the United States, profiled MFA's groundbreaking undercover investigations on its hit news program Primer Impacto. The comprehensive piece, which featured MFA's investigation into a Butterball turkey factory farm in North Carolina and an interview with Matt Rice, MFA's director of investigations, aired throughout the United States and across Central and South America.

Primer Impacto is the highest-rated Spanish-language daily afternoon news program in the United States, outperforming syndicated English-language counterparts Inside Edition, Extra, and Insider in the 18-34 age demographic.

The more people are exposed to the inherent cruelties involved in raising and killing animals for food, the more they are leaving them off their plates in favor of healthy and humane vegetarian alternatives. In fact, according to a study by economists at Kansas State University, consumer demand for all types of meat is significantly reduced when media attention is given to animal welfare issues.

Interested in cutting back on meat after watching MFA's undercover investigations? Here are some helpful tips to get you started on a path toward a healthy and compassionate vegan lifestyle.

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moyers1.jpgAward-winning journalist and public commentator Bill Moyers takes a bite out of ag-gag legislation on his popular blog What Matters Today. A broadcast journalist for more than four decades, Moyers has received more than thirty Emmys, two prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, nine Peabodys, and three George Polk Awards.

In a comprehensive video outlining the efforts of the American Legislative Exchange Council to introduce model legislation designed to silence whistleblowers, Moyers harshly criticizes these bills that protect animal abusers and erode American civil liberties. The video prominently features numerous investigations by Mercy For Animals, including undercover footage exposing horrific animal abuse at Butterball turkey factory farms and Sparboe egg farms.

Watch the powerful video commentary here:

 

The silver lining to ag-gag legislation is that it has resulted in extensive mainstream media coverage of factory farming issues, throwing back the curtain on Big Ag and shining a bright light on the industry's sickening practices. And with the advent of social media and video sharing, there are fewer and fewer shadows for the animal agriculture industry to hide its criminal activities.

Here's How You Can Help Stop Big Ag Abuses:

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.

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petapig1.jpgA new undercover investigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals shows the extreme cruelty and suffering pigs endure before being killed for hot dogs, sausage, and bacon. The shocking video footage was taken inside a Southern Quality Meats slaughterhouse in Mississippi, which has been awarded more than six million dollars in taxpayer funds to supply meat to schools in Mississippi.

The video exposes workers sadistically electro-shocking terrified pigs in their stomachs and genitals for no apparent reason. According to the investigator, some of the pigs were tortured like this for up to thirty minutes before being hung upside down and having their throats slit open.

Watch the undercover investigation here:

 

MFA's own investigations reveal that the lives of pigs and other animals raised and killed for food are filled with misery and deprivation. They are routinely confined in cages barely larger than their own bodies, mutilated without painkillers, and denied proper veterinary care. Sadly, as this recent pig slaughter video shows, their deaths are often equally horrific.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Every time we sit down to eat we can cast a vote against needless cruelty and violence by choosing vegetarian alternatives to meat, milk, and eggs. Visit ChooseVeg.com for helpful tips and cruelty-free recipes.

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1000704_10152348276478484_1724800991_n.jpgLast week, MFA's campaigns manager, Eddie Garza, reached hundreds of thousands of Hispanic-American viewers when he was featured on Fox News Latino demonstrating how simple it is to adopt a healthy and humane vegetarian diet. The segment, which aired nationally on the Fox affiliate, dispelled common misconceptions about plant-based eating and touted the vast health benefits of transitioning to a vegetarian diet.

According to co-host Carlos Anaya, Hispanic Americans are many times "more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic whites" and as a result, "Latinos are now following a vegan or vegetarian diet." Anaya also revealed that after he adopted a vegan diet, he lost forty pounds.

Eddie explained that as a result of the rise in obesity in the United States, "people are becoming more aware of where their food comes from and how it's being produced." Noting that obesity is not just a vanity issue, Eddie discussed its link to some of the leading causes of death in the United States, including heart disease, strokes, and diabetes, and added that "vegetarians are shown to have much lower rates of obesity in this country."

Eddie also described just how easy it is to make the switch to a plant-based diet: "It's actually never been easier to follow a vegetarian diet. There are vegetarian alternatives to just about every food imaginable. And there are major restaurant chains that carry vegetarian options like Taco Bell, Subway, Denny's, and countless others."

Eddie also showcased some delicious vegan dishes from ChooseVeg.com's "Build-A-Meal" section that only took minutes to prepare. By the look of it, Eddie's Tex-Mex burrito, Tofurky club sandwich, Gardein chicken wrap, and vegan chocolate tart were sure to be devoured right after the segment ended.

  

As Eddie demonstrated, there are plant-based versions of virtually any food you could think of.

For delicious recipes and tips on transitioning to a vegetarian diet, visit ChooseVeg.com. Click here for your free Vegetarian Starter Guide.

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lateline.jpgAccording to the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC), the Australian factory farming industry is working to introduce ag-gag legislation to silence whistleblowers who dare to expose animal cruelty or other crimes at farms or slaughterhouses. Efforts in Australia to introduce ag-gag legislation are inspired by similar efforts in the United States.

ABC's Lateline, which has been described as "an unmissable current affairs program that almost certainly creates more headlines in the next day's newspapers than any other TV show in the country," profiled a Mercy For Animals undercover investigation into a Butterball turkey factory farm in North Carolina that led to the first ever felony conviction for cruelty to farmed poultry in US history. The investigation and conviction illustrate the role of undercover investigators as often the only true watchdogs farmed animals have.

Sadly, rather than pass stronger laws to protect animals, pro-factory farm legislators in some US states, and now in Australia, are resorting to desperate measures to shield animal abusers from public scrutiny and legal liability.

Watch ABC's coverage of the issue here:

 

These despicable efforts by factory farmers to sweep evidence of animal abuse under the rug should make people wonder: What is the factory farming industry trying to hide? 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.

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Mercy For Animals volunteers hit the streets in full force last month, bringing their message of social justice to fourteen major cities by participating in annual gay pride parades. Around the country, activists marched behind a striking MFA logo banner bearing the message "No one is free when others are oppressed."

1009135_487789751296439_162917805_o.jpgCombined, volunteers from New York City to Chicago to Columbus, Ohio, distributed over 60,000 pieces of literature, including our hot-off-the-press Veg Out brochures, urging compassionate people to act on their values of justice and equality by choosing a compassionate vegetarian diet. A total of over 250 people marched with MFA, many waving large MFA logo flags and rainbow flags.

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Thumbnail image for DSC_3940.JPGProud and compassionate volunteers also opened the eyes of thousands of individuals through our Paid-Per-View exhibit. Participants watched a four-minute clip of MFA's hard-hitting documentary Farm to Fridge in exchange for one dollar enclosed in our new Vegetarian Starter Guide.

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IMG_1367.JPGViewers were shocked to learn about the cruelty to animals on today's factory farms, and nearly 3,000 individuals eagerly signed up for our newsletter and future volunteer opportunities.

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DSC_4670.JPGThis was MFA's eighth year marching in pride parades. Since MFA's inception over thirteen years ago, the parallels between the gay equality, animal rights, and other social justice movements have been an important theme in our philosophy and message.



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



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veggie-stir-fry.jpgVeganism is on the rise! The reason? People are realizing the impact their food choices have not only on animals, but on their health and the environment.

In a recent Public Radio International segment, Chinese pop singer Long Kuan delved into the reasons behind the increasing vegetarian population and argued that more people should adopt a plant-based diet. Kuan became vegetarian after reading a United Nations report that blamed meat production for generating more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the cars, planes, and other forms of transportation combined.

China once praised a meat-inclusive diet as one of success and prosperity, but vegetarianism is growing in popularity as more people recognize the health benefits and become more eco-conscious. Although China's vegetarian population is 3-4 percent of its total population, this consists of about fifty million people. This represents a huge change from as recently as ten years ago when vegetarianism was a novel concept and very few restaurants offered meat-free dishes.

The Chinese aren't the only ones embracing a compassionate vegetarian diet. School districts and cities all over the United States, and celebrities and athletes worldwide are making the change!

The transition to a plant-based diet has never been easier or more tasty, with cruelty-free alternatives to traditional meat, egg, and dairy products widely available. To learn more about making the switch to a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle, visit ChooseVeg.com. Click here for your free Vegetarian Starter Guide.

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259752_613677056067_7689959_o.jpgIn addition to volunteering as a Mercy For Animals Chicago outreach coordinator, Mickey Kudia works as a humane education instructor for HEART in Chicago, teaching young people about animal protection, human rights, and environmental ethics. He's currently working on his master's in education from the Institute for Humane Education, and is looking forward to cofacilitating a workshop on service-learning at the "Educating for a Just, Peaceful, and Sustainable Future" conference in New York this September.

What first inspired you to become a vegan?

When I was in high school, I had a close friend who was vegan. At first I thought she was crazy and I would even make fun of her for it. She was very patient with me and my stupid jokes. Over time, I learned a lot about veganism and how animals are treated on factory farms from talking with her. So in my senior year of high school, I decided to become vegetarian. The following year I went away to college and I adopted a vegan diet because it seemed like the logical next step.

Tell us about your favorite foods.

Most of the meals I cook are simple. I'll usually make a veggie stir-fry or a stew with beans. However, when I go out to eat, I love to get vegan pizza or any of the fake meat sandwiches from The Chicago Diner or Native Foods.

Why did you choose to volunteer with MFA?

When I moved from the suburbs back to Chicago, Mercy For Animals was the most active animal protection group in the city. It was easy to volunteer with them because every week they organized tabling and leafleting events throughout Chicago. I also believe that through their undercover investigations and pro-vegan outreach, Mercy For Animals is one of the most effective animal protection organizations in the country and I was excited to be part of their important work.

DSC_4918.jpgWhat do you like most about volunteering with MFA?

Volunteering with Mercy For Animals has been an incredibly rewarding experience. If you're reading this, you are probably passionate about protecting animals. What's great about volunteering is that you're able to share that passion with other people and inspire them to make choices that help animals. You also get to meet and volunteer with like-minded people. I've met and befriended a lot of great people through volunteering with Mercy For Animals.

What is the key to your success as an activist?

I think the key to being a successful activist is just finding what you're good at and what you like doing. I like talking with people. So I enjoy volunteering at tabling events where I get to talk to hundreds of people about animal protection. However, there are lots of other ways people can use their interests and skills to help farmed animals.

264183_139460312798574_7213406_n.jpgCan you offer any insight for others interested in becoming involved with animal rights activism?

Just try it and stick with it. Don't worry about being perfect or knowing everything. Through experience, you'll learn everything you need to know about activism.

Feeling inspired? Click here to learn more about volunteering with MFA.

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July 1, 2013

The M Word

35547428001_1498296536001_Pink-slime-x-large.jpgIt seems the word "meat" doesn't have quite the same appeal as it used to. According to Infegy, a company that analyzes user-generated content on blogs, social media accounts, and other online sources, around 43 percent of online conversations about meat were negative and included words such as "bad," "concerns," and "problems."

This should come as no surprise. In just the past couple of years, several major scandals have rocked the meat industry, from pink slime and the horse meat fiasco in Europe to dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria rampant on today's factory farms.

The growing aversion to meat has garnered some nominal changes in the food industry. Taco Bell recently announced that it's nixing "meat" in the names of some of its newer menu items in favor of "protein." According to Infegy, "protein" showed only a 6 percent negative association across the board. Sadly, "protein" still refers to chicken and beef in Taco Bell's menu items.

The truth is that protein is abundant in plant sources, from beans to quinoa. And for those who desire a meatier texture, there is a wide range of plant-based meat analogues that taste incredible and have all the protein of meat, but none of the antibiotics, hormones, fecal contamination, or horrific animal suffering.

For easy-to-follow recipes that will impress even the most ardent meat eater, or for fantastic meat substitutes, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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