Category Archives: Animals

Mercy for Animals spotlight

17760220_10155392682712262_155660471774844749_nMany people have noticed the dedicated people who volunteer at the many animal welfare organization booths at Vegfest. One of them is Mercy for Animals. Mercy For Animals is one of the largest and most effective international charities focused exclusively on preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies.

It has often been said that if slaughterhouses had glass walls we would all be vegetarians. Outraged by witnessing the abuse of a baby pig, 15-year old Nathan Runkle founded Mercy For Animals and devote his life to advocating for animals. Eighteen years later, with a staff of over 100 and thousands of dedicated volunteers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, India, and China, Mercy For Animals is a global force for changing hearts and diets, and winning corporate policy and legal victories on behalf of billions of cows, pigs, chickens and other farmed animals.

According to Mercy for Animals, many farm animal abuses, which would warrant felony level cruelty charges if inflicted on a dog or cat, are sadly perfectly legal when inflicted on cows, pigs, or other farmed animals. While the challenge is significant, the tide is turning. Mercy for Animals is winning victories and improvements for farmed animals that were once thought impossible. By taking a pragmatic approach and creative strategies, Mercy For Animals is transforming laws, policies, and eating habits across the country and around the world.

Mercy For Animals has conducted more than 60 eye-opening undercover investigations of farms, slaughterhouses, and hatcheries across North America. These investigations have led to sweeping animal welfare policy changes by the world’s largest food companies, including Nestlé, McDonald’s, and Walmart.

Mercy For Animals’ corporate outreach has led scores of major food companies, including many of the largest grocers and restaurants in the US, Canada, Brazil and Mexico, to end the worst abuses in their supply chains. Collectively, these policy changes will reduce the suffering of over one billion animals each year across 90 countries. Many of these corporate policy changes were prompted by pressure generated from our hard-hitting undercover investigations.

By reducing the demand for animal products, Mercy For Animals’ education work has spared tens of millions of animals each year from a lifetime of misery on factory farms. Our team has inspired school districts and other major institutions to reduce their use of meat, motivated many people  to go vegetarian and provided personal support to hundreds of thousands of individuals to help them change their diet.

Grass-Fed Beef – bad for us and for the planet

Recently, some people have been touting grass-fed beef as eliminating all the problems associated with meat, or as an equivalent alternative to going vegetarian. Don’t fall for it. Grass-fed beef is still bad for us, the environment and, of course, the cows.

Let’s take a look and see what some leading veg-authors have to say on the subject and then make a few observations of our own. Read more

Pigs in need of compassion

pig-save-feeding-waterA Toronto Canada woman faces criminal charges for giving water to pigs on a truck headed to slaughter. Anita Krajnc, 49, is charged with mischief and faces jail time or a maximum $5,000 fine, for providing water through the narrow openings of a metal trailer to the pigs as they were headed to Fearman’s Pork Inc. in Burlington on June 22, 2015.

Anita says, “I just find it unfathomable that someone would be charged for giving thirsty animals water,” she said, while also testifying that she had no idea she could be charged for what she was doing. In the three years we’ve given water to pigs, police have been present, so we took that as an endorsement.”

Anita is a member of Toronto Pig Save, an animal rights group that regularly demonstrates outside Fearman’s slaughterhouse and other meat processing plants. Partly inspired by this incident, a worldwide movement has been organized called the Save Movement. The Save Movement comprises groups around the world who bear witness of pigs, cows, chickens and other farmed animals en route to slaughter. Their goals are to raise awareness about the plight of farmed animals, to help people become vegan, and to build a mass-based, grassroots animal justice movement.

The Save Movement started in December 2010 with the inception of Toronto Pig Save. Today there are close to 100 groups in Canada, the U.S., U.K., Australia and elsewhere. Look out for their booth at Seattle’s Vegfest 2017.

100-year old Lobster set free

100-year-old-lobsterKudos to the Canadian vegan who forked over $230 to the Alma Lobster Shop in southern New Brunswick, Canada, in order to liberate “King Louie,” a massive 23-pound lobster that was caught by a fisherman. Catherine MacDonald, the shop’s co-owner says the four foot long crustacean was likely a century old.

“It’s beautiful,” MacDonald said. “For a lobster to be 23 pounds and to be that large, there was nothing else that was going to be a predator – except man.” “This is a big, big lobster,” added MacDonald. And as of Tuesday, the big, big old guy was back home in the bay. “It went full circle,” she said. “It was released on a vessel out in the Bay of Fundy in front of the village.”

Somewhere in the cool depths of Canada’s Bay of Fundy, a gigantic lobster nicknamed “King Louie” is breathing a huge sigh of relief. On a fishing vessel similar to the one that picked him up, the King was returned to his underwater throne. King Louie is free. Long live the King!

 

Farm animals win on election day!

Farm AnimalsVoters in Massachusetts voters just passed a far reaching law to protect farm animals from extreme confinement. Even the governor, Charlie Baker, voted for it.

The ballot measure targets practices that severely constrain animals for virtually their entire lives, including the use of veal crates for baby calves, gestation crates for mother pigs and battery cages for egg-laying hens. Eleven states have passed laws banning one or more of those practices. The Massachusetts measure would prohibit all three, and then go further. It would also ban the sale of meat and eggs produced using those methods, even if the animals were farmed outside the state.

The measure passed by a wide margin, reflecting the increasing upset that voters feel when they are made aware of farm animal suffering under the harsh conditions of large scale industrial farming. While several agribusiness groups opposed the initiative, they spent little to campaign against it, since presumably they knew of the moral outrage of the voters.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court approved this ballot initiative proposing that Massachusetts prohibit breeding pigs, calves raised for veal, and egg-laying hens from being held in confined spaces. The initiative prohibits the sale of eggs, veal, or pork of a farm animal confined in spaces that prevent the animal from lying down, standing up, extending its limbs, or turning around.  The measure proposes a maximum fine of $1,000 for each violation which could add up very fast on a factory farm.

Of course, even with this law the animals can hardly be said to be living natural lives. The bill may remove the worst excesses, but conditions will still be harsh and the animal will still end up in the slaughterhouse.  The best thing we can do for the animals is still to go veg!

How to Save a Thanksgiving Turkey

Of course the best way to save a Thanksgiving turkey is by having a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner. Every year 300 million turkeys are raised and slaughtered for food, and 46 million of those will be eaten on Thanksgiving alone. Every vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner will reduce the number of turkeys slaughtered for the dinner.

Fortunately, there are better options to be eaten and enjoyed than turkey. The northwest is home to two of the most popular and best tasting Thanksgiving turkey alternatives around. Field Roast features its somewhat sophisticated Celebration Roast, with an intriguing blend of herbs and spices, that’s getting rave reviews coast to coast. If you’d like to have a bit of fine dining at home, Celebration Roast is a gourmet choice. Try the Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute for something more sophisticated.

With Tofurky you’ll get a turkey-like look, taste and texture, that comes with both stuffing and gravy. While Tofurky is traditional in style, there’s not an ounce of any animal products in it.

If you enjoy cooking and would like to make your own holiday fare, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve assembled some of our favorite recipes for you to try this Thanksgiving.  See our popular Veg-Feasting Cookbook for even more delicious recipes to try.

But what if you want to save even more Thanksgiving turkeys? We suggest participating in one of the many adopt-a-turkey programs around the country. One that has particularly impressed us is Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt-a-Turkey Project.  Since 1986, Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt-A-Turkey Project has encouraged people to save a turkey at Thanksgiving, through sponsorships that help them rescue animals and provide care for them at their sanctuaries, as well as educate and advocate for turkeys, and other farm animals, everywhere. As the 2016 Adopt-a-Turkey spokesman, Alec Baldwin, says, “turkeys deserve better.

For a one-time donation gift of just $30, anyone can sponsor a turkey which will then live out its life at one of their shelters. As a turkey sponsor, you will receive a special Adopt-A-Turkey certificate with a color photo and fun details about your new friend. Turkey sponsorships also make perfect gifts, so make an even greater impact this holiday season by sharing the love with others. For a gift of $180, you can sponsor the whole flock and have adoption certificates sent to family and friends. Please visit http://www.adoptaturkey.org/  to learn more and participate in this wonderful program.

The High Price of Pork

transport pigWhen it comes to pork, there’s a high price to be paid by the workers, by the environment, and perhaps worst of all, by the pigs themselves. The scale of the problem is enormous. We raise 120 million pigs each year in the US, and many millions more are raised around the world.

The environment pays a high price for concentrated factory-style pig farming. Factory pig farms produce huge amounts of manure – much more than can be used as fertilizer. This manure is stored in lagoons that can leak or break open after a good rain, and cause massive amounts of water pollution as the runoff enters the lakes and streams. This results in massive fish kills and food chain disruption. Methane, a greenhouse gas much more damaging than carbon dioxide, is given off from these lagoons, contributing to global warming, and the intense smell reduces the air quality in the surrounding neighborhood to an often unbearable degree. Read more

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