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10/10/2014

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

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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.)

10/03/2014

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

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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 http://twitter.com/pshapiro  

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.

10/02/2014

First-Ever “Sonoma County Chicken Save” Event to Be Held Today!
Food Empowerment Project announces the first-ever Sonoma County Chicken Save event on Thursday, October 2, from 11:30am to 6:30pm. Sonoma County Chicken Save will have a peaceful vigil to remind the public of the suffering that takes hidden from view.
It will be held outside of Petaluma Poultry Processors at 2700 Lakeville Highway in Petaluma, California. Animal advocates from throughout the Bay Area will be gathered in front of the plant, using signs and literature to interact with passersby and educate them about the plight of chickens raised for “meat.”
“Today is World Day for Farmed Animals, and it seems like the perfect day to start our awareness effort to remind people that animals are being killed behind these walls every day,” said Lauren Ornelas, executive director of Food Empowerment Project. “No matter how the chickens are raised, they all suffer an inhumane death at slaughterhouses.”
“Save” movements are spreading around the world to help remind the public of the suffering that farmed animals endure inside slaughterhouses. Individual Save events may focus on an individual species, such as pigs or chickens, or on all farmed animals. The first of its kind in Sonoma County, the Sonoma County Chicken Save seeks to remind the public of the horrific abuses and suffering that chickens raised and killed for “meat” endure.
“The slaughter of animals for food occurs behind closed doors, so almost no one sees it,” Ornelas said. “It is important for us all to recognize what is happening here, and we’re proud to be speaking out on the chickens’ behalf.”
Begun in 1983, World Day for Farmed Animals is a day of global demonstrations and observations on behalf of animals raised for their flesh. Activists around the world gather on or about October 2 (the birthday of Mohandas Gandhi) in solidarity and remembrance of their suffering.

For more information on Sonoma County Chicken Save, please visit: http://www.foodispower.org/sonoma-county-chicken-save/
Guest post by Rick Kelley! Thanks, Rick!

First-Ever “Sonoma County Chicken Save” Event to Be Held Today!

Food Empowerment Project announces the first-ever Sonoma County Chicken Save event on Thursday, October 2, from 11:30am to 6:30pm. Sonoma County Chicken Save will have a peaceful vigil to remind the public of the suffering that takes hidden from view.

It will be held outside of Petaluma Poultry Processors at 2700 Lakeville Highway in Petaluma, California. Animal advocates from throughout the Bay Area will be gathered in front of the plant, using signs and literature to interact with passersby and educate them about the plight of chickens raised for “meat.”

“Today is World Day for Farmed Animals, and it seems like the perfect day to start our awareness effort to remind people that animals are being killed behind these walls every day,” said Lauren Ornelas, executive director of Food Empowerment Project. “No matter how the chickens are raised, they all suffer an inhumane death at slaughterhouses.”

Save” movements are spreading around the world to help remind the public of the suffering that farmed animals endure inside slaughterhouses. Individual Save events may focus on an individual species, such as pigs or chickens, or on all farmed animals. The first of its kind in Sonoma County, the Sonoma County Chicken Save seeks to remind the public of the horrific abuses and suffering that chickens raised and killed for “meat” endure.

“The slaughter of animals for food occurs behind closed doors, so almost no one sees it,” Ornelas said. “It is important for us all to recognize what is happening here, and we’re proud to be speaking out on the chickens’ behalf.”

Begun in 1983, World Day for Farmed Animals is a day of global demonstrations and observations on behalf of animals raised for their flesh. Activists around the world gather on or about October 2 (the birthday of Mohandas Gandhi) in solidarity and remembrance of their suffering.

For more information on Sonoma County Chicken Save, please visit: http://www.foodispower.org/sonoma-county-chicken-save/

Guest post by Rick Kelley! Thanks, Rick!

Terrible person bashes 920 chickens to death, meat-eaters condemn the massacre before they head to KFC  »

imageLittle Miss Sunshine is more introspective than your average meat-eater.

A few sites reported this awful story yesterday: an unknown sick and/or terrible person broke into a poultry facility and killed 920 chickens with a golf club. This is horrible and disturbing, but the public reaction is a blatant example of the bizarre cognitive dissonance we see with meat-eaters. This is a poultry factory. What the fuck do they think happens at a poultry factory? There are definitely more cruel ways than others to kill chickens, but I can guarantee you the way chickens are killed at a poultry plant is not going to be in a Disney movie. And it’s reported this plant, Foster Farms, houses* 21,000 chickens. What kind of quality of life do people think 21,000 chickens in a factory have?

Foster Farms is miraculously certified humane. Apparently you can be totes humane with 21,000 chickens living in warehouses. From their site:

Foster Farms poultry is neither “caged” nor “free-range.” Our chickens and turkeys are grown in large poultry barns designed to protect the birds from environmental extremes…

Yes, totally protected from environmental extremes…LIKE THE SUN. Here’s a screen grab from their “how we earned it” video about being certified humane:

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Again, there are worse ways to live (for example, the way most hens used for egg production live), but are you kidding me? This is awful enough for me. 

And what’s really telling, the company, which called the killings an “unconscionable act of animal cruelty,” is offering a $5000 reward** for info leading to the arrest of the perpetrator/perpetrators. Guess why they chose that number? Because the estimated loss to the business from the chicken attack is $5000. I know putting a price on the value of a being is sad, but if we have to, that’s so fucking low. 920 chickens are only “worth” $5000? And I’m sure that figure includes property damage, so it’s not even $5000. But also, tell me how this is about animal cruelty? And not profit loss? It’s all so despicable. 

Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a terrible thing to have happened. But I also think the poultry industry is a terrible thing to have happened. Yet, meat-eaters condemn this cruelty, while chomping down on a chicken club. It’s just absurd. These people are so confused. Like this SF Gate piece, they call it a “bloodbath” and refer to the assailants as “killers.” Wait, are you trying to say meat is murder?! You crazy animal rights wackos! 

Also, I just learned they’ve made an arrest. I heard the cops are celebrating over chicken parm. 

*The Gawker post says “holds” instead of houses—a nice example of the subtle distancing through language we get when discussing animals used for food. 

**The Animal Legal Defense Fund is offering a $5000 reward, but many news sites said Foster Farms was doing the same. I’m a bit confused, but Foster Farms is offering some kind of reward and I think it’s $5000. Another point of confusion: I definitely think whoever did this should be prosecuted and I think ALDF is great but why are they offering a reward amount that is the same as the monetary loss to the business? Seems to affirm the chickens are just a commodity. 

05/19/2014

Virtual Reality for factory farm chickens, would they be better off?  »

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Austin Stewart, an assistant professor in Iowa State University’s College of Design, is getting a lot of attention for his recent project Second Livestock. The project proposes fitting factory farmed hens with devices to give them a “virtual free range” experience. Apparently it’s a joke, or rather a “social experiment” as sites like TechCrunch are calling it. Stewart did an interview with the Ames Tribune on the project, stating, “The goal of the project is to raise that question of how do we know what’s best, or what is humane treatment, and also to look at how we treat ourselves. We’re living in these little boxes, just like chickens.”

I can’t tell if he’s trying to sound dumb or if they just aren’t going about quoting him very well. But the Second Lifestock site is very thought-out, so I wonder if he’s not just fucking with his interviewer to keep the whole thing vague. I suspect, or hope, that the project is actually a satire of the lengths people will go to to maintain industrial farming. However, at the moment, Stewart doesn’t shed much light on the realities of factory farming. Maybe that’s to come?

What are your thoughts? 

03/26/2014

Stop eating eggs! For Little Miss Sunshine’s sake!  »

Meet Little Miss Sunshine from Animals Australia.

Animals Australia has a funny campaign, "That ain’t no way to treat a lady" about egg-laying hens. It’s a cute little play on gender roles. You can see the commercials on the link above but I like this sweet video about Little Miss Sunshine! Look at her looking in the mirror! So silly! I love her!

So what do you say, omnis and vegetarians? Maybe a living being is more important than breakfast?

03/12/2014

1,800 Hens Need Homes in Northern California! You Can Help!  »

imageAnimal Place is trying to save a whopping 1,800 hens! But they need homes ASAP! From Animal Place:

Animal Place is ready to spring into action and save 1,800 hens from an egg farm going out of business! We have until April 4th to find as many homes as possible. To do that we need YOUR help!

This rescue is different than others. Because of staff limitations, we can only rescue as many hens as we can place into pre-approved adoptive homes. We have three opportunities to save hens – Friday March 21st, Friday March 28th, and our last date Friday, April 4th. Over those weekends, we’ll host adoption events for approved adopters.

The hens are 8-12 mos-old red girls. Sassy, sweet, and inquisitive, they are great additions to anyone’s flock!

If you can adopt, that would be so awesome and you’d get a new chicken friend!!! If you can’t adopt, please share share share until all the hens have homes! 

Go here for more info and adoption form

01/31/2014

Turns out the chickens are the real losers at the Super Bowl! From the ASPCA:

More than 1 billion chicken wings will be eaten on Super Bowl Sunday—that many wings could form a line from CenturyLink Field, the Seattle Seahawks’ home stadium, all the way to MetLife Stadium…30 times over! Nearly all of these wings came from chickens raised in dirty, cramped quarters who were bred to grow so big, so fast they can hardly walk. But it doesn’t have to be that way: Chickens deserve better, and so do we. Check out the ad [above], then share it on Facebook and Twitter. And if you haven’t already, make sure you stand up for healthier, more humanely raised chickens by signing our petition at TruthAboutChicken.org.

They have a giant screen set up outside MetLife stadium playing this chicken spot and this short spot about puppy mills

As I’ve said in the past, the ultimate goal is to have all chickens totally free, chilling on the range or wherever, safe from ever being eaten. BUT until that happens, I would love to see an improvement in the way chickens are treated currently. And this is such great exposure! I hear this Super Bowl is quite popular. 

12/11/2013

Here’s a sweet little vid from Animal Place of some former battery caged hens experiencing snow for the first time. They are totally like, “WHAT THE CLUCK?!”

If you want to support Animal Place (and I know you do!), click here!

10/25/2013

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, animals!

You may remember that HSUS was suing because the Raleigh Transit Authority refused to run our gestation crate bus ads. Well, now they’ve agreed to run them! HSUS also announced the filing of a new lawsuit this week challenging poultry giant Perdue’s advertising of its chicken as “humane.”

Want to know what’s happening in New Jersey on the gestation crate front in a nutshell? Here’s my latest Huffington Post piece.

Scientists are saying chickens are smarter than young humans, leading Nick Kristof to take up the issue in the NY Times, concluding that the only thing “bird-brained” about chickens is our rampant abuse of them.

Speaking of chickens, you should check out this extremely potent national Canadian news coverage of Mercy For Animals’ latest investigation into the egg industry. Seeing this will make you even more grateful for the path-breaking work of Hampton Creek, as featured in Forbes this past week.

Video of the week: Two ferrets; one box of Styrofoam peanuts…

Photo of the week: Thanks to those who clean trash from creeks! You make the mornings of marathon aspirants like me much more scenic!

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