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
A 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.
Kudos 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!
Voters 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!
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. Read more
When 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
There’s a popular kids movie out at the moment called “The Secret Life of Pets.” It’s about the adventures and the misadventures of our pets, when we’re not around to see what they’re up to. It’s cute. However, it would be very different if this movie were for adults, and if it were about the lives of farm animals that we don’t see.
Farm animals also lead lives that are secret from most of us. They’re secret because the livestock industry worries that their sales would drop like a ton of bricks, if we all knew how most farm animals really have to live. Most farm animals today are raised on factory farms, where they are treated as if they were objects in a factory. This results in very harsh conditions, including extreme overcrowding, and other unnatural and unsanitary conditions. Chickens are packed into cages so tightly that they can’t even turn around much less spread a wing. Veal calves are chained by the neck so they can’t move around, and are deliberately fed a bad diet so that their meat will taste different. Pregnant pigs are kept in a cage so tight they can’t move. They also suffer in cramped trucks on the way to the slaughterhouse, with no food or water. When they arrive at the slaughterhouse, it gets even worse. We’ll skip the gory details, but we can assure you this is no cute children’s movie, so the details are kept from public viewing.
Let’s also not forget about fish. Most commercial fishing vessels use very long nets, sometimes as long as a mile or more. When the fish get caught in the nets, at first they experience being crushed as the net is brought into the ship, and then they are left to suffocate until they die. Making the situation worse is the fact that these long nets also catch other fish which have no commercial value, plus sea mammals such as dolphins and porpoises, all of which are needlessly killed. Aquaculture, or fish farming, results in massive overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and the suppression of almost every natural instinct a fish might have. This is another movie not meant for children.
We’re not naïve. We know nature can be tough, but we’ve created a situation on factory farms much harsher than nature would ever provide. But it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s time to make a new, happier movie with a good ending, suitable for people of all ages. This happier movie has a happy diet associated with it. That diet is a plant-based one. If we followed a plant-based diet, the animals could live more natural lives and we could live much longer lives in a more sustainable environment.