August 2013 Archives

Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 1.39.06 PM.pngAs another school year rolls around, more and more schools are adopting healthy lunch programs, and incorporating Meatless Mondays to combat our nation's high obesity rate.

Earlier this year, elementary Public School 244 in Queens, N.Y., became the first public school in the country to implement an all-vegetarian menu for its cafeteria.

Also this year, L.A. Unified, the nation's second-largest public school district, decided to stop selling meat in its cafeterias on Mondays, and San Diego Unified school district soon followed suit.

As students become aware of the devastating impact that modern animal agriculture has on animals, the environment and human health, many are choosing to put their ethics on the table by choosing healthy and humane plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy and eggs.

Want more meatless meals at your school? Here are some helpful tips for veganizing your cafeteria:

  • Write a letter to your principal or foodservice director. Explain why providing meatless meals is important to you. Be sure to mention the growing number of schools that have made the switch!
  • Write an op-ed for your school paper. This will give fellow students the opportunity to chime in with their support!
  • Offer suggestions to lunch room staff on how to promote veggie options. Ask them to help sing the praises of veg eating around your school.
  • Bring a bagged lunch. From old-school classics like peanut butter and jelly to new twists on old favorites like Tofurky sandwiches, packing a vegan lunch is a simple way to stay vegan at school.
Veganizing your cafeteria is just one of many steps you can take to transition to a healthy and compassionate vegan diet this school year. Visit for free recipes, nutritional information and more.

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4302435030_5f4db4c04c_o.jpgA 63-year-old South Korean woman got quite a shock recently when she took a bite of her semicooked squid meal. After experiencing an initial "severe pain in her oral cavity" and then a lingering pricking sensation, a medical examination brought to light that the dead squid had actually inseminated the woman's mouth.

Medical experts explained that even though the squid was technically dead, the sea animal's sperm sacks were still very much alive. The sacks forcefully released the sperm and a "cement" which allowed the sperm to attach themselves to the mucous membrane of the woman's tongue, cheek and gums.

While this horrifying episode is probably enough to scare some off of seafood, the truth behind fishing and fish farming is even more terrifying. Mercy For Animals conducted the first-ever undercover investigation inside a fish slaughter facility and documented deplorable cruelty, including workers cutting, skinning, suffocating and dismembering live and fully conscious catfish--excruciatingly painful practices harshly condemned by veterinarians.

While it is now widely accepted that fish feel and process pain in much the same way mammals do, science now also tells us that crustaceans, such as lobsters and crabs, experience pain as well.

The best way to ensure that sea creatures are not tortured to become food is simply to leave them off our plates. To learn more about transitioning to a cruelty-free vegetarian diet, visit

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mean-crab.jpgWhile preparing to cook live crabs for dinner, Texas woman Lois Domangue was pinched, resulting in a tiny cut. Mere hours later, her wrist began to swell. After seeking medical attention, Lois learned that she'd contracted Vibrio vulnificus, an often lethal flesh-eating bacteria.

Extremely dangerous and aggressive, Vibrio vulnificus can cause cellulitis, sepsis and death if not treated immediately. It's contracted by eating raw shellfish or by coming into contact with shellfish through open wounds.

Whether it's salmonella in chicken, E. coli in beef or Vibrio vulnificus in seafood, animal-based foods are riddled with pathogens. In fact, a recent report from the FDA revealed that a whopping 81 percent of ground turkey tested was tainted with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. After conducting its own tests, the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System revealed that antibiotic-resistant bacteria was present in 69 percent of pork chops, 55 percent of ground beef and 39 percent of chicken.

The best way to safeguard your health and protect animals from unnecessary abuse is to adopt a humane vegan diet. For more information, visit

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-4.jpgIt's that time of the year again! "VegNews" magazine has opened the polls for its 2013 Veggie Awards, recognizing the best of the best of all things vegan! Mercy For Animals is nominated in two categories: "Favorite Nonprofit Animal Organization" and "Favorite Website."

From our groundbreaking undercover investigations and cutting-edge website to tabling and leafleting at festivals across the country, Mercy For Animals never stops advocating on behalf of farmed animals. If you believe in our work, please take a minute or two and vote for MFA.

Here are some voting suggestions:

  • Mercy For Animals for Favorite Nonprofit Animal Organization
  • for Favorite Website
  • for Favorite Blog (Go ahead and type it in the "Other" field.)
Need an extra incentive to vote? All submissions will be entered into a grand prize drawing for a chance to win a vegan Caribbean cruise, among other exciting prizes. Entries must be received by September 1.

Click here to vote!

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A satellite photo of a monstrously large cesspool attached to a commercial cattle feedlot horrified the Reddit community when a user posted it just a few days ago. In the disturbing photo, which seems to be from Google Images, the behemoth waste lagoon appears gruesomely red and dwarfs every feature of the surrounding environment.

wb9Fu77.jpgWith over eight billion animals raised and slaughtered on today's factory farms each year, waste is not only a grave environmental concern, but a major public health hazard. Communities near factory farms have complained of farmers spraying feces and urine into the air, a method employed to "dispose of" animal waste. In addition to jeopardizing human health, this practice can contaminate local rivers, streams and soil. Waste lagoons can also overflow or leak toxic material into surrounding areas.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, "People who live near or work at factory farms breathe in hundreds of gases, which are formed as manure decomposes. For instance, one gas released by the lagoons, hydrogen sulfide, is dangerous even at low levels. Its effects--which are irreversible--range from sore throat to seizures, comas and even death."

While factory farms continue to pollute our environment and endanger public health, the animals crammed by the thousands inside their windowless, football-field-sized sheds endure appalling abuse merely to become someone's breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Leaving animals off our plates is the best way to take a strong stand against environmental abuse and cruelty to animals. Transitioning to a healthy and humane plant-based diet has never been easier or more delicious. For tips and recipes, visit

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walmart.jpgWalmart is back in the news and once again it's not pretty. This time the corporate behemoth is being fined over $100 million for violating environmental regulations by disposing of fertilizer, pesticides and bleach in sewage systems across the country.

Pleading guilty to six counts of violating the Clean Water Act, Walmart admitted to disposing of hazardous chemicals in sewage systems and trash receptacles at over 4,000 retail locations.

This certainly isn't the first time the retail giant has found itself in hot water. For well over a year, Mercy For Animals has been putting the heat on Walmart to phase out its sale of pork from farmers who employ torturous gestation crates. A slew of Walmart's competitors, from Target and Costco to Kmart, have agreed to end their sale of pork from cruelly crated pigs, but Walmart refuses to budge.

If you'd like to send a message to Walmart that gestation crates need to go, visit and sign our petition. You can also share this short video narrated by television legend Bob Barker on all your social media channels.

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Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 9.13.30 AM.pngAccording to scientists, eating dairy products such as yogurt, ice cream or cheese could increase the risk of mortality by 50 percent for women with breast cancer. It is believed that estrogen, a hormone found in full-fat milk products, which is known to encourage tumor growth, is to blame.

Among 1,500 California-based breast cancer patients in a recent study, the dairy products most commonly consumed were ice cream, yogurt, cheese, full-fat lattes and hot chocolate. Scientists discovered that the women who consumed just one portion of any of these products daily were 50 percent more likely to die from breast cancer within 12 years. This is the first study to show a strong link between dairy products and death from breast cancer.

The study also determined that most milk consumed by the public comes from cows who are pregnant, noting that such milk is particularly high in estrogen.

Along with human health risks, dairy consumption involves horrific animal abuse. Dairy cows live a life a misery and deprivation on factory farms. Mercy For Animals undercover investigations inside dairy facilities have revealed the tragic truth behind milk production.

Ditching dairy is an easy way to be healthier and take a strong stance against cruelty to animals. For tips on delicious and compassionate plant-based versions of milk, cheese, ice cream and yogurt, visit

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qene366.jpgMaine state police are investigating the shooting death of a worker at a Moark egg factory farm in Turner. According to the Associated Press, the worker was shot by another worker who was using a rifle to kill stray chickens inside the facility. The unnamed human victim died on the way to the hospital.

This wasn't the first time the Maine state police were called to this facility. In 2009, a Mercy For Animals investigation at this egg factory farm revealed hens suffocating in trash cans, chickens kicked into manure pits to drown in liquid feces, and workers whipping birds around by their heads in cruel attempts to break their necks. The investigation led to a raid by state police and the facility owner was ordered to pay more than $130,000 in fines and restitution after pleading guilty to 10 counts of cruelty to animals.

At the time of MFA's investigation this factory farm was owned by Austin "Jack" DeCoster, an egg tycoon with a long history of endangering public health and abusing animals. His 30-year criminal rap sheet also includes charges of indenturing migrant workers and exploiting young children, and he has been deemed a "habitual violator" of state environmental laws.

Here is the footage from the 2009 undercover investigation:


The good news is that simply leaving eggs off your plate and replacing them with cruelty-free vegan alternatives is a powerful way to take a stand against the notoriously cruel and violent egg industry.

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88162528-39315c1835e2d5ebb9fb13c1075cc4ea2074ff9f-s6-c30.jpgAccording to a new study from the American Society for Microbiology, milk and beef could be responsible for a deadly MRSA pandemic.

A genome analysis of MRSA, an evolved infectious disease that has developed resistance to antibiotics, showed a connection between the sequence found in humans and the sequence found in cattle.

Study author Ross Fitzgerald had this to say: "Bovine strains ... were closer to the root than the human strains. This led us to conclude that the strains infecting humans originated in cows and that they had evolved from bovine to human host jumps."

This is certainly not the first time a dangerous pathogen has crossed the species barrier. It is believed tuberculosis originated in cattle and jumped to humans thousands of years ago. More recently, swine flu infected millions of people back in 2009 after emerging on a pig farm.

The best way to help stave off a worldwide pandemic is simply to stop supporting the industries that market diseased and abused animals. For information on healthy and humane vegetarian fare, visit

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water-crisis.jpgAccording to a report by "Forbes" magazine, a new study authored by 14 researchers from the Nature Conservancy and several departments at the universities of Virginia and Minnesota revealed that more than 90 percent of fresh water depletion in many major cities is due to agricultural water usage.

Except in California, most of the land farmed in the U.S. is used to produce corn, soy and grains. Most of these crops end up as feed for animals raised on factory farms. Because grain takes so much water to grow and because animals need to consume so much of it, animal agriculture is currently our nation's biggest "water suck." In fact, animal agriculture accounts for nearly half of all fresh water used every year in the U.S., with a withdrawal rate of about 1.8 billion gallons per day.

With natural resources such as the Colorado, Yellow and Murray-Darling rivers running dry, it's high time that unnecessary and cruel meat production be called out.

The best way to help safeguard our nation's water supply while also taking a stand against horrific animal abuse is to transition to a delicious and healthy vegetarian diet. To learn more, visit

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ScaleAndTitle4.jpgOpening in New York City on September 18, Mark Devries's debut film, "Speciesism: The Movie," is a tour de force that's certain to change hearts and minds. I recently sat down with Mark to discuss his experience working on this moving documentary.

What inspired you to make this film?

It started innocently enough, when I happened to come across some PETA demonstrations, which piqued my curiosity, so I decided to learn more about the issues. Once I found out about factory farming, I decided to look into it firsthand. This involved everything from crawling through the bushes that hide factory farms to flying overhead in a propeller plane, and even convincing a factory farm owner to let me inside (the trailer at provides a first glimpse of all this). During these adventures, I discovered the bigger issue, speciesism.

How do you define "speciesism," and how did making this film change your outlook?

The term "speciesism" describes an unreflective assumption that the interests of nonhuman animals, such as an interest in not suffering, are less important than the interests of humans. A growing number of prominent individuals are questioning this assumption. I met and spoke with the people at the cutting edge of this philosophical discussion, and the more I learned, the more it seemed like they were really onto something. If they are correct that speciesism is an unjustifiable bias, it would mean that what happens to animals on factory farms is one of the most important ethical issues in history.


What was the most shocking experience you had while making this documentary?

It's hard to pick just one. Here is an example: In rural North Carolina, factory pig farms cram thousands of animals into each building, and then flush all of the manure into gigantic, open-air cesspools the size of football fields. Sometimes the neighbors can hardly breathe. Even worse, while they were ostensibly fertilizing fields, I also observed these farms spraying the manure straight up into the air, where it turns to mist, and the wind carries it into surrounding neighborhoods. And of course, if they treat their neighbors this way, just imagine what happens to the animals.

Was there a particularly interesting moment in your dialogue with others about speciesism?

It was fascinating to speak with everyday people about why they believe human interests are more important than the interests of nonhuman animals, and to challenge their thinking and arguments. For example, I spoke with the head of the biology department at a major university, who told me all about the intellectual and emotional similarities between humans and other animals, and then admitted that he had never thought about the idea that those similarities might have ethical implications!

What has been the audience reaction?

It has been extraordinary. I never anticipated a reaction like this. Over and over again in sneak previews, audience members who had walked into the theater with no prior knowledge or interest in the subject told me afterwards that the movie completely changed their thinking about animals. People have even contacted me months later to tell me that the movie changed their lives.

Where can people see Speciesism: The Movie?

The world premiere will be in New York City on September 18, followed by regional premieres in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, DC. The tickets have just gone on sale along with a limited number of DVDs available for pre-order.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I am thrilled over the reaction to this movie, and I will do everything I can to make sure it reaches as many people as possible. But I can't do that alone, so more than anything else, I thank everyone who has helped or who plans to help spread the word. Please visit the film's website for more information and to contact me. Click here to see if "Speciesism: The Movie" is playing in your area. For more information on the film, visit SpeciesismThe

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Last fall, an underwater photographer discovered amazing designs 80 feet below sea level. At first it was a mystery as to where they'd come from, but it turned out they were actually created by male pufferfish to attract female mating partners.

ku-bigpic.jpgThe circles help females find their way to the males along the dark ocean floor. Once the pair mates, the female lays her eggs in the center of the circle. The shell pieces with which the males decorate the circles are believed to provide vital nutrients for their offspring.

ku-xlarge.jpgFish are sensitive and curious creatures. Science now shows that fish are emotional, highly intelligent animals with complex social structures.

ku-xlarge1.jpgSadly, this scientific knowledge hasn't yet transformed consumer attitudes toward fish slaughtered for food. In 2009, Mercy For Animals conducted the first-ever undercover investigation inside a fish slaughter facility. Our investigator discovered fish being skinned and dismembered all while still fully conscious and feeling pain.

ku-xlarge2.jpgThe best way to ensure fish don't suffer for food is simply to leave them off your plate. For tips, tricks and recipes that will help you transition to a compassionate vegetarian diet, visit

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gardein_frz_ult_BflsBrgr-300x262.jpgMintel, a Chicago-based research company, released surprising numbers relating to purchases of meat alternatives at the supermarket. While only 7 percent of all shoppers surveyed identified as vegetarians, 36 percent said they bought meat alternatives on a regular basis.

One-third of consumers said they bought meat alternatives because they believed they were healthier, while approximately the same number of people said they were trying to reduce their overall meat consumption.

Additionally, since 2011, vegan advertising claims have surpassed vegetarian claims on food products and the "no animal ingredients" claim saw the strongest growth between 2008 and 2012, with a 200 percent increase!

Beth Bloom, Mintel food and drink analyst, had this to say: "This data suggests participation in the alternative meat category stretches far beyond necessity, and creates an opportunity for future growth based on the products' ability to meet general consumer food interests, such as health, price, variety and convenience." She added that the "bottom line" is that "vegetarians and vegans aren't the only people eating 'fake' meat; meat eaters are also exploring this newfound protein superpower."

While per capita meat consumption continues to decline, companies like Gardein, Beyond Meat and Field Roast are creating meat alternatives that taste like the real thing without the environmental degradation, negative health effects and disturbing animal abuse inherent in meat production and consumption. To learn more about going vegetarian and for a slew of meat alternative ideas, visit

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tcbychocolatalmondyogurt.jpgOn the heels of Chipotle's highly successful launch of its vegan Sofritas, another behemoth food chain is getting in the vegan menu option game. TCBY, the nation's largest retailer of soft-serve frozen yogurt, announced that it's introducing its first-ever vegan frozen yogurt flavor.

Teaming up with Silk, the number one vendor of almond milk in the country, TCBY has formulated an almond-based chocolate flavor that will now be offered nationwide.

"We are excited to let our customers enjoy this new, innovative and revolutionary product," said TCBY CEO Neal Courtney. "Silk Chocolate Almond is the result of collaboration and development between TCBY and Silk in order to provide our customers with a delicious flavor experience unlike any other currently on the national market."

TCBY is further promoting the new plant-based option by hosting a contest through its social media called "The Perfect Match." Winning prizes include iPads and trips to the Caribbean!

Mercy For Animals has conducted several undercover investigations inside dairy farms that revealed horrific animal abuse. The only way to make sure frozen yogurt and ice cream are not the result of cruelty is to choose humane, plant-based versions.

For information on living dairy-free, visit

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There's no question about it--"The Ghosts In Our Machine" is one of the most arresting documentaries we've seen in years. Showcasing Jo-Anne McArthur's superb and haunting photography, "Ghosts" takes us behind the curtain and shines a light on the animals industry exploits for profit.

We were thrilled to be able to chat with both Jo-Anne McArthur, featured prominently in the film, and Liz Marshall, the film's director.

Fanny_on_her_rescue_day.jpgFirst, I just have to say that "The Ghosts In Our Machine" is beautifully shot. The cinematography is gorgeous! Tell us how you were able to so stunningly capture images of animal suffering.

Liz: The lensing of the film was a collaboration. Jo-Anne's photographs are intercut with naturalistic documentary footage shot by three of Canada's finest cinematographers: John Price, Iris Ng and Nick de Pencier. I shot about 20 percent of the film. I always co-shoot films that I direct. In essence, the outcome is a seamless visual world that ebbs and flows between Jo's arresting photographs and the intimate, primarily handheld footage of her and the animals throughout the film.

I chose the cinematographers based on their abilities and my relationship to them, but also based on their innate sensibility to be able to translate Jo's eye, and importantly, to be extremely sensitive to the issues explored in the film. Audiences love the look and feel of the film; it is consistent feedback. Creating a poetic experience for people was the intent--animal sentience is at the heart of the film, and it was paramount to try to illuminate and elevate the animals through sound and picture. I believe we achieved this. Editing and sound design and music have a lot to do with this as well. I am proud to work with a stellar team, many of them for years now, and for years to come.

2012-07-20_110228.jpgJo-Anne: It's definitely a balance, making beautiful photos of cruelty and suffering, but one that is necessary to engage the viewer and keep them looking instead of turning away. A lot of animal rights photography is gruesome, necessarily and rightly so; it is simply telling the truth. But if we can get close, connect with the animals who are suffering and show their point of view, show their situation, the images become more engaging. I don't want to turn people away, I want to draw them in, enabling them to experience a fraction of what the animal experiences. If I achieve this, it's a way of tapping into people's compassion and further to that, making them look inward to their role in that suffering.

Jo-Anne, when did you decide that you were going to use your incredible talent to document the plight of animals? Was there a moment when it just clicked?

Jo-Anne: Thank you. There was a series of events that led me to follow this path as an animal rights documentary photographer. I was well on my way to becoming a documentary photographer. I love to travel, I'm ever curious about the human condition and sought to photograph different aspects of that. My mentor, Magnum photographer Larry Towell, gave me some good advice during that time. He told me to shoot what I knew, and to shoot what I loved. I loved animals. I always felt a great empathy towards them and community with them. I'd always had a concern for them.

It also slowly became apparent to me that I saw our treatment and use of animals differently than other people saw them. For example, the viewing of animals on display at zoos and aquaria seems a humiliation to both them and us. Nothing was gained except the furthering of speciesism and the objectification of nonhuman animals. I was in Ecuador in 1998 and there was a monkey tied to a window sill, trained to pick the pockets of passersby. People were taking his photos because it was cute and funny. I took the same photos because I wanted to document the shame in this.

2013-02-08_143222-1.jpgHow did you both meet and how/when did you decide to embark on this project?

Liz: Jo and I met in 2005 through my partner Lorena Elke. I had been developing a film about animal issues for a few years, and took notice of Jo's photography in 2008. The ideas were on the back burner until the fall of 2010, at which time I cleared my slate and decided to actively develop a concept, with the intention of reaching a broad audience. Jo's photos were a point of inspiration for me but I quickly realized that she would make an accessible entry point into this big issue. My previous documentary, "Water On The Table," had just made a splash in Canada, and so it was the perfect time for me to forge ahead. The epic process began, in earnest, in 2010. It has been full immersion ever since!

2012-01-20_162733.jpgWhat parts of the documentary were the most challenging, emotionally or physically, to film?

Liz: The fur investigation, both emotionally and physically. It was difficult to bear witness to those poor creatures trapped in those cages in those industries. There's really no words to describe it, which is why, in part, the scene has very little talking. I planned that investigation for four months with "Marcus," needing not only to do a series of investigations but also a very professional shoot for the film. He was an excellent person to collaborate with. Physically it was hard because we were shooting at night and then sleeping sporadically for 2-3 hours and then up and at it again. Our sense of time was upside down and we were tired. I would say that overall, undertaking a feature-length documentary with a global focus is challenging because it becomes your every breath. It is both rewarding and exhausting!

Can you both tell us about the reaction the documentary has received from audiences?

Jo-Anne: Overall, the positive feedback and buzz has been wonderful. People want to see this film and are excited to share it as well. This mass of excitement is created by individuals, and many of them write to me, talking about how the film has changed them or their consumer habits, how they plan on showing it to others. I see the change played out over and over again. Some of the people who've seen the film are now attending Toronto Pig Save vigils. Others have gone vegan, and write to me to tell me all about it! It's pretty amazing. The film is timely. I think people are ready for it.

Liz: The reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. The film is hitting its mark in that it is attracting a diverse audience; we are reaching beyond the choir. People are very impacted and moved to see animals differently, to examine their consumer choices and to make changes. This is the goal of the film. It's also challenging because the film is not "entertainment"; it is a tough subject, one that many people would rather not confront. That said, the feedback is amazing. People are thanking us for making a film about the animal issue that is not filled with graphic violence. It has many peaks and valleys: joy, levity and beauty is intercut with haunting, eye-opening scenes. It is not just an "issue" film; it's a story with a beginning, middle and end.

2012-07-02_044838.jpgWhere can people see 'The Ghosts In Our Machine'? Are there plans for a theatrical release?

Liz: We have been making our way across Canada since April. Our next stop is the U.S.! Yeah!

We are now focused on bringing "Ghosts" to you in the U.S. this fall! Our social media metrics tell us that the U.S. is our #1 fan, so we are that much more determined and excited to bring the film to a diverse U.S. audience. People can help us out by donating to our U.S. Release Campaign. We will conduct an Oscar-qualifying theatrical release this fall and we need financial support to make this a reality. You can watch a very brief video of me telling you all about it on our Indiegogo fundraising page.

What I know to be true: There is an undeniable wave of consciousness emerging about the animal question, and about the horrors and insanity of the industrialized system, which has reduced billions of animals annually to bits and parts--tools for production. "The Ghosts In Our Machine" is part of this zeitgeist.

For the ghosts.

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The largest gathering ever of vegan muscle on a bodybuilding stage recently took place at Austin's Naturally Fit Super Show thanks to the PlantBuilt team--a group of vegan athletes who have joined forces to show people that building a strong, healthy body from the inside out is best done without harming animals.

1000524_279629352176127_904768522_n.jpgFounded a little under a year ago, PlantBuilt is a nonprofit, competitive fitness group that seeks to buck the notion that eating animal products is the only way to achieve success in the world of bodybuilding.

At its debut competition in Austin, the plant-based powerhouse took home four overall championships and five first-place wins!

996560_279628388842890_1043545326_n.jpgSo what's ahead for PlantBuilt? Co-founder Giacomo Marchese of had this to say: "This is an all-inclusive team and we will consider new teammates who are serious about representing veganism in the best light possible." The team plans on competing again, with more than 30 athletes, in the 2014 Naturally Fit Games. For now, look for PlantBuilt's exclusive feature in the upcoming special collectors' edition of Vegan Health & Fitness magazine.

1016427_280500435422352_1767600493_n.jpgWant to get started on your own path to a healthy, plant-powered lifestyle and save animals in the process? Check out for helpful tips and recipes.

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Tampa, Florida, is now home to a new eye-catching MFA pro-vegetarian digital billboard that is sparking discussion and urging commuters to choose compassion over cruelty at each meal by adopting a vegetarian diet. The thought-provoking ad features an adorable puppy and a loveable piglet sitting side-by-side and asks, "Why love one but eat the other?"

digital75Northbound 031.jpgThe campaign spotlights the simple reality that farmed animals experience joy and pain in much the same way as the dogs and cats we know and love. Yet in our nation's factory farms and slaughterhouses, pigs, cows, and chickens are confined in cages so small they can hardly move, are mutilated without painkillers, and are mercilessly slaughtered--often while still fully conscious.

Running until the end of September, the powerful ad aims to inspire thousands of daily commuters along I-75 to widen their circles of compassion to include all animals by choosing vegetarianism.

digital75Northbound 033.jpgMFA has run similar pro-vegetarian billboard and transit ad campaigns nationwide.

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to help us fund even more billboards.

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salad452.jpgPlant-Based Research, a website promoting a healthy vegan diet from a scientific perspective, has made its debut! An organized collection of peer-reviewed, scientific journal articles on plant-based nutrition, Plant-Based Research is a one-stop resource for anyone interested in learning about the relationship between animal-based foods and some of the most common and crippling diseases afflicting Americans.

Micaela Karlsen, founder of Plant-Based Research, has been stirring public and academic interest in plant-based nutrition for years. Karlsen formerly served as executive director of the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, and is a contributor to Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, a New York Times best-seller based on the brilliant documentary Forks Over Knives.

Of the new website Karlsen exclaims: "We have an exciting opportunity today to provide valuable public education as well as promote serious research on plant-based nutrition. Interest from laypeople is rising quickly, many health practitioners have begun using plant-based nutrition in their practices, and the academic community is just beginning to turn their attention to it!"

New content will be added to the website weekly, including commentary on the featured studies. Visitors can search the library, submit questions about nutrition, and sign up to be part of a recruitment list for future studies! Visit Plant-Based Research to learn more.

Adopting a diet free of meat, dairy, and eggs is not only good for our health, but for every person who adopts a plant-based diet, over 30 animals per year are spared from a lifetime of suffering. For delicious vegan recipes and tips on making the switch, visit

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Labgrown1.jpgThe first lab-grown hamburger made its debut in London this week, paving the way for a future in which animals are not raised and slaughtered for meat.

The burger, created in a petri dish from cultured stem cells, was cooked like any other and served up to Chicago-based author and food writer Josh Schonwald and Austrian food researcher Hanni Rutzler. "There is quite some intense flavor," said Rutzler, adding that the "look was quite similar to meat" and the burger had "quite a bite."

The hamburger comes with a price tag of roughly $330,000 and years of scientific research. Google co-founder and entrepreneur Sergey Brin funded the effort, citing animal welfare as his motivation. Scientists are confident that within 10 to 20 years, an affordable version of their lab-grown burger could be brought to market.

This is exciting news for those of us like Brin who care about farmed animals. Meat grown in labs requires zero animal slaughter. It would also eliminate the harmful environmental effects of raising animals on factory farms. Think of all the water and land that would be saved and the tons of toxic animal waste that would no longer be produced.

With animal agriculture accounting for an overwhelming number of greenhouse gas emissions and the daily suffering of billions of animals on factory farms, lab-grown meat has enormous potential to foster positive global change.

But you need not wait for lab-grown meat to come to a grocery store near you. From Gardein and Field Roast to Beyond Meat and Upton's Naturals, humane, vegan meat alternatives are widely available and taste incredible.

To be even more inspired to choose a compassionate plant-based diet, visit

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The Nation, the oldest weekly magazine in the U.S., slammed ag-gag legislation this week in a gripping online article that included a video featuring Amy Meyer, the first person ever charged with violating Utah's ag-gag law.


Highlighting the dangerous nature of such laws, the article observes that in some states, such as North Carolina, ag-gag bills attempt not only to squelch animal rights activists, but to silence whistleblowers in any industry.

Undercover video footage from inside factory farms is one of the best tools animal activists have to expose the sad and despicable conditions farmed animals endure. It has forced the animal agriculture industry to institute policy changes, helped pass animal protection legislation, and inspired countless people to leave meat off their plates completely. As Matt Rice, MFA's director of investigations, comments in the article, "Once you see them, you can't unsee them."


Want to take a stand against ag-gag laws? Subscribe to MFA's email list for action alerts and check our blog regularly for the latest news. And remember, the best thing we can do to help animals who suffer miserably on factory farms is simply to stop eating them. Visit for tips and recipes.

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doctor_apple013.jpg Doctors in New York City are prescribing healthy vegan food (fruits and vegetables) instead of pharmaceuticals to help patients combat obesity.

Launched by New York's deputy mayor Linda Gibbs and health commissioner Thomas Farley, the newly minted Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program encourages doctors to give "health bucks" to their obese or overweight patients. The health bucks can be redeemed at any of the over 140 farmers' markets in New York City for local produce.

"This is really an investment for the future," explained Dr. Shefali Khanna, chief of pediatrics at Lincoln Medical Center. "And we hope we have a whole generation of kids who benefit from this, and reaches adulthood at a healthy optimal weight."

Indeed, encouraging people to choose healthy vegan foods over animal-based ones is a great start. In fact, recent studies have revealed that vegetarians not only have lower body mass indexes but lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk of type 2 diabetes.

Whether you're looking to improve your health, help safeguard the environment, or take a strong stand against unnecessary animal abuse, transitioning to a delicious vegan diet is simple and fun. Visit and get started!

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August 1, 2013

Plant-Based Prez!

bill2.pngFormer president Bill Clinton extols the benefits of his healthy vegan diet in the latest issue of AARP The Magazine. After a fierce battle with heart disease, Clinton is no doubt inspiring countless people to explore a plant-based diet. The ex-prez explained (over a vegan lunch journalist Joe Conason observed Clinton relished with every delicious bite): "I just decided that I was the high-risk person, and I didn't want to fool with this anymore. And I wanted to live to be a grandfather. So I decided to pick the diet that I thought would maximize my chances of long-term survival."

Clinton attributes a 30-pound weight loss and newfound boundless energy to his veganism, saying he "feels great." At 66 years of age, Clinton also boasts that many of his decades-younger staff members have a hard time keeping up with him.

Now Clinton is paying it forward. Through his Clinton Foundation, he is promoting far and wide a healthy lifestyle, including a big push for plant-based foods, which he also notes help safeguard the planet from climate change and environmental destruction.

Want to feel great and protect farmed animals in the process? Visit today for tips, tricks, and recipes that make transitioning to a vegan diet a snap!

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