Tag Archives: animal welfare

NZ stops live animal exports

New Zealand is taking a step in the right direction for animal well being, although there’s still a long way to go. Agriculture minister Damien O’Connor has announced a permanent halt to live animal exports by sea, effective next year 2023. We’ve said before that while there’s cruelty in factory farming and at the slaughterhouse, there’s also cruelty in transportation, with decades of repeated evidence of suffering and death.

New Zealand banned the export of livestock for slaughter in 2008, but has, until now, continued to allow the export of livestock for breeding or dairy production purposes. New Zealand SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen recalled that her organization has campaigned against live exports since 1985. “It’s just barbaric to be doing this to animals” Midgen said. World Animal Protection New Zealand executive director Simone Clarke called O’Connor’s decision to halt livestock exports by sea a “significant moment in our history for animals, one which other governments around the world must now follow.

But let’s remember that exporting for breeding still results in the animal’s slaughter. Ultimately, the answer to the suffering of farm animals is the plant-based diet. That’s something we can all do now and something that doesn’t require us to wait for changes in government policy.

The humane-washing of chickens

Chicken industry giants like to tell the public they are moving towards humane and ethical poultry farming, but behind the humane labels and promises to guarantee better practices, most poultry companies have actually cut corners to save money at the cost of animal welfare and our health.

“Free range” is one of the most potentially misleading labels because of the discrepancy between what it implies and what is required to make the claim. The “free range” claim on a label suggests that the animals were able to range freely outdoors. However, the claim does not have to be verified through on-farm inspections, and producers can make the claim on a label as long as the animals were given some access to an outdoor area of unspecified size.

The USDA’s definition for “Free Range” is that birds must have “outdoor access” or “access to the outdoors.”  In some cases, this can mean access only through a “pop hole,” with no full-body access to the outdoors and no minimum space requirement. Chicken and eggs labeled “free range” therefore do not necessarily come from birds that ranged freely outdoors.

Upon entering one of these “chicken factories” you can be hit by a “wall of ammonia” from the “sea of white” chickens. There are tens of thousands of birds defecating on the ground and the ammonia, which causes the strong smell, also causes burns to the chicken’s chests and pads of their feet. Over the past 50 years, chickens have been bred to be bigger and bigger, exposing many to injury, heart attacks, disease, and death. In addition to the impact on the animals, all this ammonia also causes pollution of our waterways.

The conditions for battery caged chickens are even worse. But either way, the chickens wind up in the slaughterhouse. Working in the slaughterhouse is horrible and often very abusive. And, this all to produce unhealthful food.

The solution to all this suffering by humans and chickens is simple: to give up eating chickens, and choose a plant-based diet!

Cruelty to turkeys

Another instance of horrific cruelty has been caught on video. Thanksgiving is a holiday that turkeys are anything but thankful for. Every year 300 million turkeys are raised and slaughtered for food, and 46 million of those will be eaten on Thanksgiving alone.

Being slaughtered is bad enough and, as some have often said, “if slaughterhouses had glass walls we’d all be vegetarian.” But worse things can happen than slaughter: deliberate animal cruelty. The abuse, uncovered and caught on video, at Plainfield farms is so horrific that we won’t go into specific details but you can take our word for it that it was not only cruel in the extreme, but it was sadistic as some of the workers seem to actually enjoy it. Not only were some turkeys tortured, but there were instances of sexual abuse.

Plainville Farms boasts on their website that “humane treatment is the heart of our business.” Humane? Some people consider this consumer fraud.

What can we do about it? Perhaps one of the most powerful things you can do is stop eating turkeys. With Thanksgiving coming up soon, we recommend the many turkey substitutes that are now widely available. That’s how we can all make a difference.

Caring for the animals

http://www.yourtimetravels.com/blog/?p=830

If you care about the animals and value their lives and welfare, you’re not alone. Caring about animals has never been more popular in America.

According to a poll conducted by the ASPCA, 94% of Americans agree that animals raised for food deserve to live free from abuse and cruelty. Yet the majority of the nearly 10 billion (yes 10 billion) farm animals raised each year in the U.S. suffer in conditions that consumers would not accept if they could see them. Most of our meat, milk and eggs come from industrial farms where efficiency trumps welfare—and animals are paying the price. Read more

Do dairy and eggs result in animal suffering?

The following is an excerpt from our book “Say No to Meat“, a book to guide the new vegetarian on ditching meat and going veg! Written in question and answer format, it addresses key issues along with practical and social aspects of being a vegetarian.

Will consuming eggs and dairy still result in animal suffering?

Those who have cut out meat but still consume eggs and dairy products because they do not directly kill the animal are well intentioned. At one time, it was not that hard on an animal to supply eggs or milk, but with factory farming that is no longer the case. Unfortunately these days, dairy and egg production cause a lot of animal suffering. The objective of a dairy or egg farmer is to produce as much milk or as many eggs as possible for the least possible cost, so farmers give very little thought to caring for the animals, except to ensure that they continue to produce. Dairy cows and egg-laying chickens have miserable lives and end up in the slaughterhouse just like their meat-producing relatives.

Read more

Farm animals need our help

Farm AnimalsIn polling, 94% of Americans agree that animals raised for food deserve to live free from abuse and cruelty. Yet the majority of the nearly 10 billion farm animals raised each year in the U.S. suffer in conditions that consumers would not accept if they could see them. Most of our meat, milk and eggs come from industrial farms where efficiency trumps welfare—and animals are paying the price.

A factory farm is a large, industrial operation that raises large numbers of animals for food. Over 99% of farm animals in the U.S. are raised in factory farms, which focus on profit and efficiency at the expense of animal welfare.

While most Americans expect our laws to protect farm animals, the reality falls far short. Animals raised for food are among the least protected class of animals in our nation. Farm animals are not the only ones suffering because of these unnatural, inhumane conditions. Human health, the environment and farmers are being hurt by the intensive farming systems employed on factory farms.

The best way to help farm animals is to follow a plant-based diet. There’s never been more foods to choose from and saving the animals never tasted so good.

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.

The Secret Life of Farm Animals

 

Secret life of petsThere’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 Veal calvesconditions. 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.

Fish in netLet’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.

Farm AnimalsWe’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.

Court Battles for Animals and the Environment

Caged chickensFrequently these days, people who care about the plight of farm animals are taking their case to court. Thanks to a number of laws passed with the support and backing of groups such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), those concerned with animal welfare are able to use the legal system to protect the farm animals.

A federal appeals court has ruled California can keep in place its ban on selling foie gras. A Los Angeles court will still hear the case against the ban, but in its decision, the ninth US circuit court of appeals expressed doubt that opponents of the law would be successful. The law bars state farmers from force-feeding ducks with a tube, the procedure used to produce foie gras. It also bans sales of the delicacy. The legislature concluded tube-feeding ducks and geese to engorge their livers is cruel. Read more

HSUS Challenges False Pork Advertising – and wins

PigsPigs are some of the smartest animals on Earth. Highly social, intelligent, and curious, they engage in complex tasks, form elaborate, cooperative social groups and feel fear, pain, and stress. Studies show that they are more intelligent than dogs, and scientists have demonstrated that pigs are capable of playing simple video games, learning from each other, and even learning names.

Most breeding pigs in the U.S. are confined in “gestation crates” for virtually their entire lives. For several years, they’re confined to crates that nearly immobilize them, enduring a cycle of repeated impregnation. These individual cages are approximately 2 feet wide — so small the animals can’t even turn around or take more than a step forward or backward. Due to the duration and severity of their confinement, these pigs’ suffering is among the worst of all factory-farmed animals.

Following The Humane Society of the United States’ legal complaints to the Federal Trade Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission over false and misleading animal welfare statements made by Seaboard Foods, the nation’s third-largest pork producer, Seaboard has been forced to alter its online advertising around the hot-button topic of animal welfare throughout its operations.

Unfortunately, the company continues to use inhumane animal care practices at its farms, such as the extreme confinement of breeding pigs in small gestation crates.

“While we are pleased that Seaboard has been forced to abandon its misleading online advertising, it would be better if the company had changed its actual practices,” says Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president for animal protection litigation and investigations for The HSUS. “Seaboard is still confining animals in small cages where they can’t even turn around, contrary to good science, common sense and consumers’ desire for better treatment of animals.”

The complaints followed a 2011 HSUS undercover investigation that documented inhumane treatment of animals at a Seaboard facility. The investigation revealed pigs confined in tight gestation crates barely larger than their own bodies, preventing them from even turning around, and workers hitting animals, duct-taping their legs to their bodies and jabbing their eyes.

Seaboard’s lofty claims about animal care were in stark contrast to the findings in the investigation. Seaboard had claimed that the company uses “the most humane practices throughout the animal’s life…” In response to an FTC investigation triggered by the HSUS’ complaint, the company removed this false and misleading statement about its commitment to animal care.

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