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: 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!
Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, animals!
What a week!
First, the dangerous and notorious King amendment in the farm bill was, well, let’s just say humanely euthanized.
Third, California’s landmark law banning the sale and production of foie gras was upheld as constitutional.
Fourth, the New Jersey legislature is again working to ban gestation crates, and our bill to do just that unanimously passed out of committee yesterday.
Fifth, Kathy Freston’s petition asking McDonald’s to add a veggie burger is making headlines, including in the Wall Street Journal.
Finally, Fox News did a great story on the future of animal product alternatives. In fact, meat reduction efforts in Sweden are so effective that desperate meat industry reps have taken to passing out free burgers to kids outside of schools!
P.S. Video of the week: This gorilla would totally own any mosh pit.
ALDF and Regal Vegan have victory in “humane” foie gras case! »
Update!: I’m late to the party as usual: ALDF dropped their suit when Hudson Valley Foie Gras removed all mentions of “humane” from their site!
ALDF is waging a groundbreaking war against foie gras producer Hudson Valley Foie Gras and had a nice victory last week!
Today ALDF won a major victory in the false-advertising case against New York-based producer Hudson Valley Foie Gras (HVFG). The U.S. District Court of Northern California denied HVFG’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit which alleges that HVFG, the largest foie gras producer in the nation, violated the federal Lanham Act and California’s False Advertising and Unfair Competition Laws, by claiming to be “the Humane Choice.”
ALDF’s co-plaintiff, Ella Nemcova, operates a Brooklyn-based company, The Regal Vegan, which produces a legitimately humane, plant-derived foie gras alternative called “Faux Gras.” HVFG’s manipulative marketing tactics unfairly encourage consumers to buy its force-fed foie gras instead of cruelty-free products like The Regal Vegan’s. ALDF’s lawsuit also marks the first time a humane competitor has brought forth a federal case, using false advertising laws, alongside an animal protection group.
Today’s victory dismissed challenges to the legal standing of The Regal Vegan as a humane competitor and agreed that the groundbreaking case is actionable. While the court denied ALDF’s standing as co-plaintiff its other claims may go forward.
A foie gras company calling itself the humane choice? I don’t even know what to say about that except that terrible people say ridiculous things, I guess.
As the above states, Ella Nemcova is a plaintiff—she’s the creator of vegan crack, also known as faux gras. You know I love that stuff! I got an email from Nemcova a few weeks ago with some more info on the case:
Now, ALDF is planning to add sizzle to their case, in court and the public arena, by bringing in Temple Grandin, the animal science expert who created the more humane slaughter house and who was profiled in award-winning 2011HBO biopic.The foie gras lobby has used Temple in the past, claiming she assisted with certifying the product as humane. But now, she is setting the record straight. In a first-of its-kind statement provided to ALDF Grandin made clear her opinion of the product:
“Regarding foie gras production, force feeding is a procedure which is highly questionable from an animal welfare standpoint. If the bird’s metabolism is sufficiently overloaded with force fed grain, death losses will increase. One of my biggest concerns in animal welfare is biological system overload. This occurs when an animal’s physiology is pushed to a point where it starts to break down and the animal develops metabolic diseases and other problems that can severely compromise welfare such as lameness, heart stress, loss of body condition, death losses, mobility problems or abnormal behavior.”
California court rules selling banned foie gras isn’t “free speech” »
Turns out that selling foie gras products in California after the state ban took effect last July is still illegal. Or at least it’s totally not free speech, as La Toque restaurant in Napa unsuccessfully argued. Per our pals at Animal Legal Defense Fund:
In a ruling by the Napa County Superior Court, the Sonoma County-based ALDF successfully defeated La Toque’s anti- SLAPP (a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion which aimed to allow their continued illegal sale of force-fed foie gras products as a “protest” protected by the freedom of speech. The court denied La Toque’s motion and agreed that illegally selling foie gras is not protected by the freedom of speech.
Despite the state ban, ALDF’s undercover investigations have revealed that La Toque routinely sells foie gras, the enlarged livers of force-fed birds, in clear violation of California Health and Safety Code § 25982. The lawsuit alleges that La Toque aims to circumvent the law by calling its actual sales of foie gras “gifts.”
Nonsense! And now they have to stop. It’s been fully 13 years since the ban passed and a year since it was implemented, and people are still crying about it. Like there aren’t 10 million other meals to make out of tortured animal bodies. Come on, you whiny babies.
Your Vegansaurus of course thinks the Regal Vegan’s Faux Gras is tops, but none of us has ever even tasted overstuffed goose liver—because we’re not total jerks. Foie gras is banned in California! Accept it and move on!
[photo of Périgord geese by JanetandPhil via Flickr]
PETA President Bound and ‘Force-Fed’ During Protest »
Hi everybody, did you hear about this recent PETA UK demo? I’m interested in what you think about it. Details:
PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk caused enough of a scene outside British retailer Fortnum & Mason to make Britons drop their brollies in a colourful protest for PETA UK.
Showing what geese on Fortnum & Mason’s foie gras farms endure, a man bound Ingrid with ropes and pretended to shove a pipe down her throat. The pipe was attached to a funnel packed with grain, and fake blood oozed down her face to represent the mouth and neck wounds that geese sustain when they are gouged by the pipes.
In order to fully replicate how foie gras is produced, Ingrid would have had to be force-fed several times a day for weeks, until her liver had swelled to up to 10 times its normal size, when it would then be sold as a “delicacy.”
Until Fortnum & Mason stops the goose abuse, PETA UK vows not to stop the grotesque protests.
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! »
It’s Paul Shapiro's Animal News You Can Use! WOOHOO!
Good news: A judge has rejected the foie gras industry’s attempt to put a hold on California’s new law banning the force-feeding of ducks (and selling products from force-fed ducks).
More good news: North America’s largest foodservice distributor, Sysco, is the latest food giant to come out against gestation crate confinement of pigs.
In response to the gestation crate debate, the National Pork Producers Council’s communications director was seriously quoted in the National Journal this week saying: “So our animals can’t turn around for the 2.5 years that they are in the stalls producing piglets…I don’t know who asked the sow if she wanted to turn around.” (No, this isn’t a quote from 30 years ago—it’s July 24, 2012. Seriously. Yes, I know.)
Amazingly, USDA put out a newsletter this week including a mention of the health and environmental benefits of Meatless Monday. This of course drew immediate outrage from the meat industry and its allies in Congress (Rep. Steve King from Iowa tweeted that it was “heresy”), prompting USDA to immediately remove the newsletter and announce that it wasn’t properly vetted. Lots of coverage on this, though the national AP story put it best when it aptly concluded, “The USDA often promotes the beef industry by encouraging Americans to eat meat.” (NPR and NY Times had good coverage, too.)
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! »
It’s Paul Shapiro's Animal News You Can Use! Yay!
Ag industry trade journal Feedstuffs had a nice look at our campaign that’s getting big food retailers to call for an end to gestation crates for pigs, noting: “As HSUS and other activist groups gain momentum and credibility with food distributors and retailers, the pork industry seems to be stuck in a rut.”
I was glad to be on CNN Headline News this week with the always-fantastic Jane Velez-Mitchell discussing both the victory in Rhode Island (we just passed laws there banning veal/gestation crates and cattle tail-docking) as well as the federal hen protection bill. (Speaking of JVM, did you know you can meet her in person at the Taking Action for Animals conference in DC?)
NPR’s had a fascinating series on meat and America this week, including the release of a new poll showing that nearly 40 percent of Americans are eating less meat than three years ago, and more than half of those people cite animal welfare and/or the environment as a reason for their cutback.
Finally, this Sunday, the long-awaited law banning force-feeding ducks for foie gras (and the sale of it) takes effect. The LA Times editorial board has a good message for the chefs whining about not being about to sell products from force-fed birds: “Get over it.”
Video the week: Not as funny as normal, but a good reminder of how amazing the world can be.
The California foie gras ban finally takes effect (after eight years of fruitless searching for a “humane alternative” to gavage) in less than a week! Dana Goodyear wrote a brief post for the New Yorker about a protest of one of those creepy last chance foie gras dinners chefs are putting on here, this one in Los Angeles; the quote is from Mark Peel of Campanile and it is rich.
Did you know that foie gras protesters are actually victimizing people who eat foie gras? Victimizing! Is there anything more ridiculous than a defensive omnivore? Yes: an omnivore getting defensive about a nonsensical, disgusting luxury food.
But don’t worry, California foie gras-lovers; chefs can still serve your precious food, as long as they don’t sell it, which Bloomberg reports some chefs are totally planning to do. Or they might charge a preparation fee to customers who bring in their own foie gras! FREEDOM!
Paul Shapiro presents: Tyson Foods exposed and Safeway gets on the humane train! »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay!
Greetings from Denver, where I just conducted one of three HSUS press conferences today announcing the results of our latest factory farm investigation (the fourth agribusiness facility HSUS has exposed in 2012 so far).
This investigation reveals truly appalling cruelty to pigs at a Wyoming gestation crate confinement operation that supplies Tyson Foods. Please watch and share this important new exposé.
This comes on the heels of the joint announcement by Safeway and HSUS just yesterday that the country’s second largest grocer is now formulating plans to eliminate gestation crates from its supply chain.
(And BTW, did you hear that? No? It sounded to me like the sound made when the legislative leadership in California delivers a smack-down to those who want to keep force-feeding ducks for foie gras legal in the state.)
You didn’t share that investigation link yet? Do me a favor and please do…pigs will thank you.
P.S. Video of the week: Yep, you guessed it.