Animal News You Can Use: Progress for pigs and quacktastic news for ducks!  »


Yesterday, the New Jersey Assembly overwhelmingly passed a bill to ban pig gestation crates, sending it to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk. Moments afterward, Danny “Don’t Veto” DeVito issued a letter to the governor, telling him that signing the bill is a sure way to get him into the pearly gates.

This week also marked a major advance in the fight for farm animals. The  U.S. Supreme Court allowed California’s landmark law banning the sale of foie gras to stand, setting a further precedent that states can block the sale of products based solely on animal cruelty concerns, even if those foods were produced in other states.

While New Jersey and California may be moving in the right direction, some pork producers still defend locking pigs in tiny cages. My rebuttal to one of them is published in the MinnPost this week.

And the fact that some pork producers are still defending the indefensible left my coworker Josh Balk asking in a new opinion piece, is bacon the new veal?

P.S. Video of the week: Pit bull meets baby chicks.

P.P.S. Are you on Twitter? Did you know that for free you can “donate” your account to help occasionally get the word out about important farm animal protection efforts? I’d be grateful if you would—here’s the link!


Animal News You Can Use: No one’s a winner on a factory farm  »


Newspapers across the country celebrated last week’s massive litigation win for chickens, with the LA Times headlining that “Hens Win” and even Missouri’s Kansas City Star editorializing that the challenge to California’s hen protection law was “foolish.”

Though we can win battles against factory farms, no one’s a winner on the farms themselves—including workers. That’s why I’m proud to have jointly published this article with the United Farm Workers about the connection between farm animal abuse and farm worker abuse.

And speaking of having it bad, you may have seen the national headlines about the tragedy in California where some teens allegedly broke into a factory farm and clubbed hundreds of chickens. Of course, such violence is unconscionable, but it happens every day. Find out what I mean in my Huffington Post article.

With so much outcry over farm animal abuse, it’s no wonder plant-based foods are catching on so much—and if this start-up has anything to do about it, plant-based meats are about to get even better. The Wall Street Journal has the story.

P.S. Video of the week: Think cats are the only animals who like laser pointers? (Seriously, this is amazing.)


Animal News You Can Use: Major breaking news for chickens!  »


Six years after California passed Prop 2 to ban battery cages, our opponents are still suing over it and the subsequent law banning sales of shell eggs from hens locked in battery cages. Last night, a judge threw out a key challenge, bringing a major victory to chickens. Huge props to the awesome attorneys working on the case, including many of my coworkers.

Are you one of the unfortunate souls living in a state in which Chipotle hasn’t yet rolled out Sofritas? Good news! Your suffering will soon be over.

Did you hear the one about Butterball turkey getting a “humane” certification? No, for real. Mother Jones has the story, asking whether this a marketing stunt just in time for Thanksgiving.

Pigs won a big vote yesterday in New Jersey, with a key committee approving a bill to ban gestation crates there. More to come!

And finally, no, this isn’t from The Onion. Hundreds of people were recently poisoned at food safety conference from eating chicken there.

Paul Shapiro
Vice President, Farm Animal Protection
The Humane Society of the United States
Follow at  

P.S. Video of the week: If you’ve ever wondered what your party would be like with a cat DJing it, wonder no more.


Animal News You Can Use: Climate week, sloths, and Meatless Mondays.  »

Coinciding with Climate Week in New York, HSUS’s president, Wayne Pacelle, published a potent op-ed in New Jersey’s Star-Ledger, noting that “raising and slaughtering tens of billions of animals across the globe for food each year is right up there with coal-fired power plants in pumping heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.”

As well, the fallout from the Texas ag commissioner’s bashing of Meatless Mondays continues. Not only is Todd Staples resigning after a national backlash against his criticism of giving students meat-free meals, but the Dallas Observer pointed out this week that “the take away is that Staples is more interested in protecting big industries than he is protecting the citizens his organization was set up to serve.”

Finally, the Washington Post food editor published a powerful column this week about why he decided to become a vegetarian, noting that “my lifelong love for dogs and cats has made me want to extend that compassion to beings that used to show up on my dinner table.”

Have a good weekend!

Paul Shapiro
Vice President, Farm Animal Protection
The Humane Society of the United States
Follow at  

P.S. Video of the week: May your weekend be as relaxing as this sloth’s.


Animal News You Can Use: Congressman goes vegan, Mercy For Animals exposes cruel dairy!  »

Remember last week when Texas’ ag commissioner was embarrassing his agency by waging a witch hunt against Meatless Monday? Well, after the national rebuke, he announced his resignation.

Not all elected officials are in the pocket of the meat industry, though. Did you hear the one about the congressman who went vegan? No, for real

Proving that investigative journalism is alive and well, Reuters had a very potent story this week about the poultry industry’s routine drugging of chickens.

A new exposé by Mercy For Animals this week caught major dairy producers on video routinely beating and whipping cows, generating national media attention. Perhaps it’s not a surprise that some in the ag industry want to make it a crime to videotape their treatment of animals. My coworker Matt Dominguez has a new piece on the ag-gag issue this week.

Some good news to end your week: McDonald’s in Australia is dropping eggs from caged hens!

Paul Shapiro
Vice President, Farm Animal Protection
The Humane Society of the United States
Follow at  

P.S. Video of the week: Ever seen a chicken giving a dog a back massage?


Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use: The meat industry just despises Meatless Mondays  »


After working with HSUS, a school district outside of Austin, Texas, was one of many to implement Meatless Mondays this fall. While parents and students seemed pretty psyched about it, Texas Ag Commissioner Todd Staples — whose political campaign was bankrolled by the meat industry — didn’t exactly share their enthusiasm. He even penned a rant against the school district in the Austin American-Statesman this week. Today, the paper’s editorial board published an editorial of its own simply crushing that rant, noting that, “the near-comic rhetoric of Staples’ commentary stood as a refutation of its own argument.” You’ve really got to read the whole thing.

The San Francisco Chronicle also wrote this week about more California schools that HSUS helped implement Meatless Mondays programs.

The industry isn’t just lashing out in the school districts; it’s also doing so in the legislatures. I was glad to be on America Tonight this week discussing the meat producers’ attempt to silence whistleblowers with ag-gag bills.

And the good news is that nearly all ag-gag bills introduced in the last couple years have been killed, while more and more food companies require animal welfare improvements in their supply chains, as described in a new piece by my coworker Matt Prescott. As well, just this week, another major pork producer announced it’s abandoning gestation crates throughout its entire supply chain.

Video of the week: These pigs aren’t ready for summer to be over—they love their swimming pools!


Animal News You Can Use!: Which Star Wars villain did factory farmers compare HSUS to?  »

Big news from food giant Unilever this week, with the company announcing that it opposes the practice of grinding male chicks at egg industry hatcheries and will work to eliminate it.

Also big news from Dunkin’ Donuts, which is adding almond milk to its stores nationwide!

California’s landmark Prop 2 is coming into effect in just a few months. Some egg producers are going cage-free while others aren’t. Civil Eats has the story on what’s happening so far. And more info from HSUS at our site on the topic.

And speaking of California and eggs, San Francisco-based Hampton Creek made headlines this week by picking up a big name in the technology investing world. Read more about it in the NY Times.

Finally, in one of the more entertaining meat industry attacks on HSUS, this week one industry writer penned a column comparing us to the dreaded General Grievous of Star Wars infamy. :-)

Paul Shapiro
Vice President, Farm Animal Protection
The Humane Society of the United States
Follow at  

P.S. Video of the week: Summer’s almost over! Don’t you wish you were doing what this dog is?

P.P.S. Are you on Twitter? Did you know that for free you can “donate” your account to help occasionally get the word out about important farm animal protection efforts? I’d be grateful if you would—here’s the link!


Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use: Grand jury indictments for slaughterhouse officials!  »


A federal grand jury indicted four officials at a California slaughterhouse for allegedly concealing diseased cows by swapping heads of cows with eye cancer with healthy cow heads, cutting off USDA “condemned” insignias, and more. You can see HSUS’s response in this NBC segment.

HSUS won a big victory this week, prevailing in a lawsuit in which we represented rural neighbors of a massive gestation crate confinement facility. Check it out.

This week HSUS also announced our work with South San Francisco to implement a new Meatless Monday policy in the school district.

And in very major news, this week we announced that food giant Nestle is implementing a wide-ranging new animal welfare program aimed at ending the worst factory farming abuses and promoting more meat-free eating. You can read Wayne Pacelle’s comments on it, too.                                    

Finally, the Center for Biological Diversity has a new Labor Day-themed campaign called Extinction-Free BBQ recommending that we leave room on the planet for wild animals by leaving room on our plates for delicious veggie foods.

Video of the week: Need a pick-me-up? Check out Arnold the rescued pig in this new HSUS video!


Animal News You Can Use: Another ag-gag bill bites the dust!  »

Good news! This week marked the death of North Carolina’s ag-gag bill, which appears to be the final pending ag-gag bill in the country this year. You can also listen to a radio interview of mine this week on ag-gag and other animal protection topics.

It’s not all good news this week, however: alas, a ballot measure in Missouri aimed at protecting puppy mills and factory farms seems to have squeaked by voters with 50.1 percent of the vote (though the razor-thin margin means that a recount is likely). You can read Wayne Pacelle’s thoughts on it here.

In better news though, Congressman Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.) is promoting Meatless Monday. You can read about it my op-ed in the San Fernando Valley Sun. And the New York Times ran a compelling interview with the president-elect of the American College of Cardiology about his vegan diet.

Finally, in cool news: Did you know that fish remember events from a year ago?

P.S. Video of the week: Ever seen a cat taking care of a clutch of baby chicks?


Animal News You Can Use: The meat industry can’t stop whining  »


The meat industry’s leadership seems to be in a panic over how prevalent the term “factory farming” is these days. My coworker Matt Prescott takes them to task in a new Washington Post commentary, explaining that meat production is in fact far more factory than farm, and that it was the industry itself which helped coined the language used to describe these inhumane places.

They’re also complaining about California’s historic and humane law banning foie gras, even calling for the Supreme Court to nullify that law. One of them got into the ring with me this week on NPR’s Los Angeles affiliate to debate the issue. You can listen to our debate here, and read more about it in the LA Times.

What else do they complain about? The fact that some countries are concerned about American chicken products being soaked in chlorine. I discuss the issue in my new commentary, “Got Chlorine? Your Chicken Might.”

Finally, they love to complain about all the studies showing that eating less meat improves health. Well, the title of an article in Men’s Journal this week won’t make them happy: “Go Vegetarian, Live Longer.”

Have a wonderful weekend!

P.S. Video of the week: Think we’re the only species that likes to surf? Check out these black swans!

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