Paul Shapiro presents: Animal News You Can Use! »
It’s Paul Shapiro's Animal News You Can Use! Yay!
I’m honored to be on CNN Headline News this weekend with the great Jane Velez-Mitchell discussing progress for pigs and HSUS’s latest undercover investigations into gestation crate factory farms. Check it out.
In a new piece about HSUS, the editor of Pork Magazine calls us “well organized, well funded and relentless.” Always nice to be able to agree on something…
NPR did a nice piece on Morning Edition this past Friday about the federal effort to ban barren battery cages and require “eggs from caged hens” labeling on egg cartons. While we’re on the topic of NPR, Marketplace had a great piece by the awesome Mark Bittman about why Americans are eating fewer animals.
Want to read a new interview with Wayne Pacelle about his campus dining hall advocacy when he was in college? Your wish = my command.
But wait, there’s more!
Compassion Over Killing this morning released a new undercover investigation at a gestation crate factory farm in Iowa, a state where big ag interests are currently trying to ban such exposés with an “ag-gag” bill. Check it out and share.
The media coverage on our announcement that McDonald’s is moving to end gestation crate confinement in its US supply chain was significant. There’s too much to include here, but just a few selected excerpts:
CNN Money: “McDonald’s said it will get its pork suppliers to phase out the use of immobilizing cages for pregnant pigs, a move that was applauded by the Humane Society of the United States, but not the pork industry.”
MSNBC: “Earthquake in the pig business: McDonald’s to end use of restraining crates”
NY Times: “The buying power of McDonald’s adds a significant new dimension to the war on the practice.”
Chicago Sun-Times editorial board: “Now let’s ban those torture pens for pigs in Illinois.”
NY Times blog: “In the world of big-time meat supply, there are two kinds of producers: those who sell to McDonald’s and those wish they could.”
Chicago Tribune: “By setting the process in motion, McDonald’s could be providing the tipping point to change in the $97 billion pork industry.”
Lincoln Journal Star: “In calling for phasing out gestation crates for pregnant hogs, the world’s largest restaurant chain will put much more pressure on pork producers than any state ever could.”
Video of the week: I’ve been shocked by how many people actually cared to watch my winning contribution to a Super Bowl party food contest, but here you go:
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]
Say hello to the cruelty of the egg industry. Canadians for Ethical Treatment of Food Animals (CETFA) documented the lives of 22,500 egg-laying hens at one facility in Canada. You’d think that would take a long time but guess what! It’s only 13 months. After that, the hens’ egg-laying declines and they get sent to slaughter. Yeah, eggs are super vegetarian. Here’s the story:
The hens’ entire lives were carefully recorded from the first moment they were overloaded into the battery cages to their brutal catching 13 months later and their transport to slaughter.
What we learned during this investigation was shocking. Not only was the suffering of the animals much worse than we ever imagined, the absolute filth of the eggs was sickening. In particular, many of the eggs were laid directly in contact with excrement without a protective hard shell because the hens were too calcium-depleted to provide one. Yet, these dirty eggs were collected and sold to the liquid egg carton industry and as bulk liquid eggs to a large cake manufacturing company.
To learn more about what’s really behind the eggs we buy, please visit our new website Get Cracking Cruelty Exposed.
Meanwhile, an estimated 98 percent of Canada’s egg-laying hens are kept in battery cages. Fucking awesome.
Eggs are going DOWN! According to a study from the egg industry, says Mercy for Animals. It seems to be similar to egg sales in the late nineties though. I’m guessing it’s pre-Atkin’s craze and post-Atkin’s craze? What do you think?
Here’s some more info from the study that’s good to know:
First of all: “Presently, there are 65 egg producing companies with 1 million plus layers and 14 companies with greater than 5 million layers.” And the top five egg producing companies accounts for 50% of egg production. So yeah, hello factory farms!
Second of all: “For 2009-2010, cage-free production is 3.7 percent of the total U.S. flock size of 10.5 million birds. Of this, 1.8% is organic and 1.9% is other.” So basically none of the eggs people are buying are organic or cage-free. Kudos, egg-eaters.
If you need a good reason to celebrate this trend downward, here’s a handy video for you.
Sneak preview: The Vegg!!! »
I don’t even know where to start with this, but I need it. I miss fried eggs, for real—the way I could mop up the still-liquid part of the yolk with my toast and cover the whites with pepper. Sorry for grossing you out.
For the past six years I’ve been hurting for a fried egg substitute. I’m gonna give you more info as soon as I get it, but the world needs to know about this sooner rather than later. You should sign up and like that shit on Facebook and donate (at press time, they had only raised $2,080 of an $8,000 goal toward the Vegg’s patent) in order to convince the Vegg people to move it along now.
I will serve this shit up with the vegan waffles I made today and some freakin’ smoky tempeh strips, or perhaps make Veggs-in-a-frame and start a vegan brunch cafe and have the most friends ever. What do you think?
[Photo credit: Vegg’s Facebook page]
An undercover video of McDonald’s egg suppliers by Mercy for Animals. Shit is fucked!
From Mercy for Animals:
The organization is urging McDonald’s’ CEO to implement a new animal welfare policy prohibiting the sale of eggs from hens confined in cruel cages – something the company has already done in Europe.
The undercover footage recorded at Sparboe Egg Farms in Iowa, Minnesota, and Colorado reveals:
· Hens crammed into filthy wire cages with less space for each bird than a standard-sized sheet of paper to live her entire miserable life, unable to fully stretch her wings, or engage in most other natural behaviors
· Workers burning off the beaks of young chicks without any painkillers
· Rotted hens, decomposed beyond recognition as birds, left in cages with hens still laying eggs for human consumption
· A worker tormenting a bird by swinging her around in the air while her legs were caught in a grabbing device
· Chicks trapped and mangled in cage wire – others suffering from open wounds and torn beaks
· Live chicks thrown into plastic bags to be suffocated
“In my opinion, the treatment of the birds at this facility is unconscionable,” veterinarian Dr. Lee Schrader said after viewing the footage. “The unnecessary violence, unskilled killing, and especially the extreme confinement and deprivation of the most minimal and basic needs of the hens cannot be allowed to continue.”
Confining hens in battery cages is so cruel that the entire European Union and the states of California and Michigan have banned their use. Additionally, leading food retailers, such as Whole Foods, Hellmann’s, and Wolfgang Puck, and hundreds of colleges refuse to use or sell eggs from hens subjected to the inherent abuses of battery cages.
“McDonald’s’ secret ingredient in every Egg McMuffin is horrific cruelty to animals,” said MFA’s Executive Director Nathan Runkle. “Consumers would lose their lunch if they saw how McDonald’s’ rotten egg suppliers crammed hens into tiny, filthy cages where they couldn’t freely spread their wings, burned off their beaks without painkillers, threw them, and broke their necks.”
View the undercover video at www.McDonaldsCruelty.com
“McDonald’s’ secret ingredient in every Egg McMuffin is horrific cruelty to animals,” damn! Tell it! There is that one nice part in the video though where the employee laments the treatment of the chickens. That gives me a little hope that all people aren’t evil. Just a lot of people.
The McDonald’s Cruelty site says that McDonald’s is the biggest egg purchaser in the U.S., if they changed their ways, that would make a big difference. Bigger difference: if people stop eating eggs! Yay! But people love eggs. People are gross. And McDonald’s! Good lord! Get a conscience! We already know about the cruelty behind the McRib, now the Egg McMuffin. Is nothing sacred?!
Backyard chickens: resourceful or evil? (comic included below!) »
I don’t eat eggs, but I’ve always said that if I did eat eggs, I’d want them to be from chickens that I had the chance to get know. You know, the kind of chickens that live in your backyard. That way, I’d be sure they weren’t suffering and creating an environmental apocalypse like those poor factory-farmed chickens. Once, before I was vegan, I even lived in a house with chickens in the yard, and they seemed to be all zen about their lives.
But maybe that’s not good enough.
I started thinking about this whole issue this week because of a listener-submitted Perspective on KQED radio. I was minding my morning business, falling over trying to put on pantyhose, when this lady comes on the radio all sad about how her neighbor didn’t like the noise her chickens made. In order to keep the peace, she gave them to a good home. She says she’s now buying her eggs from Trader Joe’s.
How’s a vegan girl to feel about this? Not all bads are created equal, and eggs from your yard seem to have a lot going for them that eggs from Trader Joe’s don’t. I respect omnivores who are making conscious choices about their food and trying to do better than the shudder-inducing status quo. These people should be our allies, right?
Then again, backyard chickens aren’t exactly zero-impact. But as an April Treehugger post by Sami Grover points out, no-impact is not an option for any of us. Tofurky, Daiya and even cashews and kale aren’t zero-impact either.
While I was mulling it over, an awesome comic on the subject by former UC Berkeley student Alfred Twu showed up in the Vegansaurus inbox. He makes some really good points I didn’t know about, like that chickens stop producing many eggs after a few years and then what do you do with them?
I’m going to present the comic in its entirety below, so just a few more thoughts before I do.
Obviously based on my life choices I think it’s best to abstain from chicken products of any kind. But I’m also really loathe to foist my choices on others, and as I said, I admire the thought and can-do spirit that often accompanies the decision to raise chickens.
So what do you think, readers? Deluded bourgeois cruel slavery? Well-intentioned but misguided? Better than the alternative, just like vegetarian is better than not? Let’s talk this shit out!
Also read the comic because it’s AWESOME. Alfred made it
in response to at a time when an ordinance being considered in Oakland, and his a group has a petition against the ordinance you can sign if you want.
Ok, without further ado, the COMIC! Don’t forget to discuss in the comments section. It’s like homework but awesomer.
Chicken image at the top used under CC license via Lost Albatross on Flickr.com
Gross meat germs cost us billions in healthcare dollars annually! »
I get a lot of questions about being vegan:
Q. Do you actually like tofu?
Q. Don’t you miss steak?
Q. How did you get to be so beautiful?
A: I’ll never tell.
One of the most irritating questions is, “Isn’t veganism crazy expensive?” and I’m all, “How much did that carton of free-range eggs cost you?” Now science can back me up: Some study ranked pathogens found in food according to how much they cost society, and more than half, including the top three, are found in meat products.
Guess what was at the very tip-top? A food contaminant called Campylobacter, which is found in the nastiest of factory-farmed products: chicken! Campy, as it shall be affectionately known henceforth, sickens 600,000 people and costs society $1.3 billion per year in terms of medical care, missed work, chronic health problems, and even death. DEATH, Y’ALL. Could this all be fixed, as the article suggests, by overhauling the USDA? Probably not—they be in the pockets of the meat and dairy industry, yo!
In conclusion, while veganism might sometimes cost me slightly more money right off the bat (assuming I choose to eat exclusively processed faux meat products) than eating burgers and chili dogs, it saves me AND society money in the long run!
What to Eat: The Environmental Impacts of our Food voiced by Jason Schwartzman. That damn Schwartzman is all kinds of sexy. You heard me! I’d totally tap that. I might even make him tofu scramble in the morning. If I let him sleep over. Men are so clingy!
The video appears to be part of Farm Sanctuary’s Plate to Planet project:
Small decisions we make every day about what we eat can make a huge difference. Going vegan may be a big step, but simply lessening our meat consumption still goes a long way. If we all pledged to eat meat-free meals throughout the week, we’d not only be healthier individuals but our planet would benefit too.
Plus, did you know that 50,000 pigs on a factory farm create as much waste as Salt Lake City! That’s crazy! And so depressing! The site is pretty great and has lots of tips for your average omni to become more veggie friendly. This video is kind of cute, not amazing. If Schwartzman weren’t voicing it, I prob wouldn’t post it. What are your thoughts? I think it’s cool to offer a view of your average American family man and how you can make a change just for one day and it’s not going to ruin your life.
Humane Society investigates Cal-Maine battery cage farm: surprise, it’s a hellscape »
This is absolutely the least disturbing photo of the 12 released today by the Humane Society as part of its 28-day undercover investigation at a Cal-Maine factory farm in Texas. Each hen is allowed “67 square inches” of space in which to live and die; the cages are stacked on top of each other; and there are approximate 1 million hens laying eggs at this place.
The investigation showed dead hens left in cages with living hens. It showed hens covered in manure from the hens in the cages above them. It showed hens with massive wounds left untreated. It showed eggs covered in the hens’ blood and manure. Eggs: “nature’s perfect food!”
Cal-Maine recalled “24,000 dozen,” which is to say 288,000 eggs on Friday, Nov. 5, because one of its suppliers had had its eggs test positive for Salmonella Enteriditis! This supplier, Ohio Fresh Eggs, LLC in Croton, Ohio, presumably still keeps its hens in battery cages, as the agreement reached in January of this year prohibits the building of new battery cages. Looking at the photos of the Cal-Maine facility in Texas, it’s not hard to see how naughty Salmonella might hop from the hens’ excrement to their eggs. California’s egg-eaters and its chickens are so lucky for Prop. 2, right? Except that one of the recalled brands sells eggs all over California, ha ha ha.
The detailed report from HSUS [pdf] is a very good, if nauseating read. It’ll be nice/depressing/appalling to see the omnivorous (food) world’s reaction to this. Meanwhile, anyone for a nice cruelty-free dessert? Or maybe wait a little while until you’ve recovered from that horror show.