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.)


4,000 Piglets Die in Factory Farm Fire (alternate title: vegan girl writing this post drowns in a puddle of her own tears…)  »


Cute piglet from a Google search, hopefully safe and sound somewhere.

My friends, both vegan and omni alike, seem to be crazy for little piggies these days (BECAUSE HOLY CRAP THEY’RE ADORABLE!!!). My Facebook feed is wonderfully full of pictures and videos galore of these sweet babies, which, I believe, made this news even harder to bear. All I could picture in my mind’s eye when hearing about these piglets were all these adorable faces. Well, theirs’ and the glorious Esther

Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection of The Humane Society of the United States issued the following statement: 

“As tragic as this calamity is, what’s perhaps even more disturbing is that it was easily preventable. The National Pork Producers Council has fought tooth-and-nail to block commonsense rules that would require factory farms to install sufficient fire suppression systems like sprinklers. More than 400,000 animals have already died in American factory farm fires this year, and the lives of hundreds of firefighters have been endangered. The National Fire Protection Association has the opportunity—starting at a meeting this Tuesday—to implement meaningful rules that would help prevent these disasters in the future.”  After this fire killed nearly 4,000 piglets in a North Carolina factory farm, the National Fire Protection Association should require similar facilities to have ceiling sprinklers. (FREAKING DUH, PEOPLE!!!!)

I haven’t seen anyone else write about this news, besides The Humane Society, which makes me think that either people don’t think it’s really newsworthy, or that it’s been swept under the proverbial rug of news. Either of which is a bummer. 


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: having a pool pawty this weekend?  »

Have you ever wondered why there’s so much feces on chicken meat? Well, wonder no longer, as I discuss the issue in a Modesto Bee op-ed this week.

Speaking of California chickens, the long-awaited implementation of California’s landmark Prop 2 is just a few months away. You can watch a good news segment this week profiling one egg producer who is eliminating cage confinement from his operation to comply with the law.

The Worldwatch Institute put out a new report this week basically saying the planet’s cooked if we don’t cut meat consumption. And at least in Cleveland, Ohio, city officials are getting the message. They passed an HSUS-supported resolution this week urging residents to eat less meat and more plants.

And related to such an effort, today’s New York Times published a letter from HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle about the trend away from the most abusive factory farming practices and toward plant-based eating.

Video of the week: It’s hot out! Why not have a pool pawty?


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!

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