It’s Paul Shapiro’s weekly Animal News You Can Use!  »

Want to read a great AP story about the proponents of anti-whistleblower “ag-gag” bills getting part of their bodies (I’ll let you be the judge) handed to them at a legislative hearing in Nebraska yesterday? Also, the ag-friendly Bakersfield Californian editorial board slammed the supporters of a similar California bill this week, saying how they’re “amazed by the audacity of the cattle industry.”

Good week in statehouses for farm animals, with a New Jersey ag committee passing a bill to ban gestation crates and a Colorado committee doing the same on a bill to ban dairy cow tail-docking. We’ll continue working hard to further advance these bills.

There’s a fascinating story out today about a meat industry front man who admits he created a fake Facebook profile posing as an animal activist in order to criticize HSUS and encourage other animal activists to do the same.

After extensive dialogue with HSUS, Bob Evans is the latest food giant to announce it wants to phase out gestation crates. And the National Pork Board did a survey with promising results about the changing attitudes of pork producers to the gestation crate issue.

Think you’re the only one who finds promise in plant-based products? These billionaires are with you.

Finally, students! If you want “Skinny Bitch” Rory Freedman, VegNews editorial director Elizabeth Castoria, and HSUS’s Kristie Middleton to read your essay, enter HSUS’s Meatless Monday essay contest now!

Video of the week: Justin Timberlake on SNL singing about vegan eating. Words can’t describe how great it is.

Photo of the week: My cats enjoying their catio!


Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »


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

Want to see the future of food? BusinessWeek had a great feature yesterday on the amazing Hampton Creek Foods.

Mom-to-be Hollywood star Kristen Bell cares about other moms-to-be, including pregnant pigs! That’s why she sent a letter this week to the National Pork Producers Council asking that they stop supporting gestation crate confinement. And just this past week alone, MarriottGeneral MillsAu Bon Pain, and IHOP/Appleby’s all announced that they’re shifting their pork supply chains away from gestation crate confinement.

In response to the introduction of an anti-whistleblower bill that was just introduced in Wyoming, the opinion page editor of the Casper Star-Tribune blasted the sponsor, saying the “shameful bill is a new low for Wyoming.”

Video of the week: If you think mice can’t play fetch, basketball, or track and field, this stunning video is for you.


Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »


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

You may be interested in HSUS’s new fully wrapped bus ads rolling around DC and Des Moines with a message that gestation crate defenders are sure not to like, and while you’re at it, here’s the Des Moines Register’s coverage of it.

National Hog Farmer this week lamented the progress we made in 2012 against gestation crates, noting our early successes getting large food companies on “the anti-stall bandwagon [set] in motion for others to hop on, much to the glee of the pork industry’s nemesis — the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)….Even more disturbing is it has empowered HSUS and their ilk to target other common pig management procedures.” (Note: Einstein Bagels and Arby’s this week became the latest companies to announce plans to phase out gestation crates…)

Meat industry analysts (and owner of the Dow Jones Index) CME Group report this week that demand for meat in the US fell again this year, and conclude: “But it is obvious that there have been no banner years for at least the three largest species since 2004.” Perhaps more people are seeing pieces like this one from this week about the benefits of Meatless Monday.

Happy holidays!

P.S. Video of the week: Want to be inspired by some cool things that happened for animals this past year? Check this one out. (Bonus blog of the week: Some cool things specifically for farm animals that happened.)


Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

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

To all my Arizona peeps out there who worked so hard on Prop 204 six years ago (the ballot measure banning veal and gestation crates), the historic law you helped enact takes effect in a couple weeks. The state’s largest paper editorialized this week telling you how awesome you are for ushering in this important law—check it out.

The Wall Street Journal had a large feature this week about the fact that US milk consumption has declined nearly 30% since 1975, and how the industry is responding.

I’ve got a couple new online pieces this week, one for a sustainable ag site about the need to reduce per capita meat consumption and another on the Civil Eats site about the pork industry’s Onion-like defense of indefensible animal abuse.

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. (Related: Yes, it exists, and yes, we sell it.)


Animal News You Can Use!  »

Paul Shapiro weekly dose of all things animals! Yes!

Especially the week after Thanksgiving, it’s good to remind ourselves of the undeniable fact: demand for meat continues to fall in the US. Check out my friend Harish’s latest post on the topic.

In that vein, here’s a cool piece about the Hunts Point Alliance for Children (in NYC) working with HSUS to implement Meatless Mondays.

In last week’s post, I mentioned an interview in Forbes about our work in China. This week, check out this hopeful article in China Daily about the very nascent farm animal protection movement there.

And in that vein, Temple Grandin has some advice for US pork producers still defending their immobilization of pigs in tiny cages. She argues in this interview: “For example, look at sow-gestation stalls. So many companies have stopped using them, and others are moving away from it, but you have those people out there who are still defending it. It’s going away, it needs to go away, let it go away.”

Video of the week: Caught on tape—breaking undercover video clandestinely shot just yesterday of my felines.


It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

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

We started last week’s email with a good court ruling about California’s Prop 2, and now this week, a federal judge told foie gras producers what time it is in ruling that California’s ban on force-feeding ducks for foie gras will remain intact. In response to the ruling, the LA Times had a nice smack-down of the chefs fighting for force-feeding.

Speaking of smack-downs, the Wall Street Journal had a pro/con debate in the paper this week entitled, “Would We Be Healthier With a Vegan Diet?“ T. Colin Campbell represented the “yes” side.

In case you’ve not yet read your latest issue of Meat & Poultry…there’s a good article about the success of HSUS’s gestation crate campaign. The conclusion: “This is no longer a debate about the viability of gestation crates in hog production, but rather a discussion about how producers will respond to meet expectations.” (And check out this op-ed on the topic in Pennsylvania’s second largest paper.)

Have a nice weekend. If you live near me, I hope to see you at the DC VegFest tomorrow!

P.S. Video of the week: Pig saves goat!.

(Bonus video: HSUS works with Project Empower in teaching kids about Meatless Monday.)


It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

It’s Animal News You Can Use from Paul Shapiro! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals! Yay, Everyone! AND HAPPY LABOR DAY WEEKEND TO ALL!! (Except for the terrible, terrible meat industry, who can go to hell.) 

Reuters had a good national story yesterday about HSUS’s new stock purchases of financial firms that invest heavily in the pork industry (as a means of making further progress on the gestation crate issue).

Speaking of gestation crate progress, since last week’s email, SubwayCampbell’s Soup and Harris Teeter all announced that they plan to eliminate gestation crates from their supply chains. (And Sodexo made a similar claim on laying hens.)

And speaking of progress, BBC had an interesting story about the increase in the number of folks reducing their meat consumption.

And finally, speaking of meat consumption, the head of the Meat Industry Hall of Fame (yes, it exists) had a surprising column placing the blame for the cruelty seen in Compassion Over Killing’s latest investigative videosquarely on the dairy industry.  And while on the topic of investigative videos, this week we saw guilty pleas in Mercy For Animals’ cruelty case regarding abuse of Butterball turkeys.

Video of the week: When the lion lays down with the lamb. (Or the cat with the rat…)


Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

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

First and foremost, don’t miss last night’s ABC World News feature on the new undercover investigation by Compassion Over Killing that led USDA to shut down a major California slaughter plant this week. Impressive.

Also, this week New Jersey’s largest paper officially endorsed the state’s bill to ban gestation crates for pigs, even citing in its endorsement the op-ed referenced in last week’s email. Boom.

Speaking of pigs, food service giant Aramark announced with HSUS that it will require its pork suppliers to end their use of gestation crates. Bring it.

Finally, five years in a row, VegNews readers have voted HSUS their favorite animal protection group. You can help make it six by voting for us in this year’s Veggie Awards! [Ed.: Vote for Vegansaurus for favorite blog and Ask Laura for favorite column, too, if you want xoxoxoxoxo!]

Video of the week: when cats get caught barking…


This gets the Graphic as Fuck rating. Very hard to watch, I won’t blame you if you don’t (unless you eat pigs, in which case you should be forced to watch it a million times). This video was released by Mercy for Animals last month, documenting cruel conditions for pigs in Walmart pork suppliers’ factories. 

Mercy for Animals is encouraging people to contact Walmart and tell them these conditions are horrible and unacceptable. So I drew attention to this campaign on our fb, which I guess means I don’t believe all animals should ultimately be free? That’s at least the conclusion one vegan came up with. 

The truth is, I do think all animals should be free to live life undisturbed by humans. I don’t think we should kill them to eat them. But what I do think is that while we work towards that ultimate goal, we should also be doing whatever we can to improve the lives of animals that are currently suffering in extremely horrible conditions. 

One fundamental issue may be that I don’t think death is the worse thing to ever happen. I think a life of pain, suffering, and misery is far worse. While I don’t want any animals killed for food, yes—I would rather a pig live the highest quality of life possible before they are killed, rather than suffering their whole lives and then being killed. I know conditions sans gestation crates aren’t anywhere near the highest quality of life, but it’s better, and what I’m really addressing is the underlying philosophy.

I also think it’s very self-important to decide that helping animals that are suffering right now isn’t worth it. They’re immediate comfort does matter and helping to alleviate their pain to any degree doesn’t mean we can’t also work towards complete freedom for all animals. It’s like the people who oppose “welfarism” have decided these animals should be left to suffer as a sacrifice to our cause. Like I’ve said in the past—tell that to a chicken being trampled on the bottom of a battery cage. Did they agree to this martyrdom?

I know the argument that promoting “happy meat” is somehow detrimental to our cause because then that 1% of people who actually eat “happy meat” will think it’s ultimately OK to eat meat. I disagree. When you really get down to it, I would rather have people eat “happy meat” than factory farm meat if it means less suffering for millions of animals. But to the point, I think anytime you make people actually consider maybe animals shouldn’t be tortured for food, you are awakening them to animal rights. You’re also awakening them to the idea that food choices are about more than what tastes good. And as we’ve seen, though many of us remain “welfarists” as they like to call us, meat sales are falling. Promoting improved living conditions for suffering animals hasn’t skyrocketed meat consumption.


How the ag industry’s hate brings positive attention to HSUS, and more!  »

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

NPR had a recent important look at the vigorous efforts of the pork and beef lobbies to kill federal hen protection legislation. Amusingly, in the piece, the president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association calls HSUS “the devil.”

Speaking of what the agribusiness groups think, the always-insightful Counting Animals blog did a fascinating write-up and graphical illustration on the increasing attention the ag industry trade press is giving to our movement.

My colleague Matt Prescott’s got some sage advice on the CNN site about how folks can help reduce cruelty to farm animals. Check him out.

Expect a big fight in the Congress over Rep. Steve King's (seriously, click through) crazy amendment that’s been added to the House ag committee version of the farm bill that would undo numerous animal protection laws.

And last but certainly far from least, since last week’s installment, even more major pork buyers have come out saying they’ll rid their supply chains of gestation crates: Sodexo, Kmart, and Heinz. And speaking of the pork industry, as if its leadership couldn’t sink to a new low, it’s now lobbying to keep pigs at greater risk of perishing in factory farm fires. Seriously.

P.S. Video of the week: Speaking of the devil, here’s some death metal for Maru the cat while he enjoys his boxes.

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