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!


Go to Sacramento next Tuesday (free transportation!) to support biggest animal protection bill of the year!  »

This is from the good people at HSUS! There’s still time to plan this into your schedule so please come to Sacramento to help bears and bobcats!

Just a reminder that on Tuesday April 24, one of the biggest animal protection bills of the year, Senate Bill 1221, is up for a vote in committee. This bill would prohibit the cruelty of bear and bobcat hounding—an unnecessary and unsporting practice where packs of hounds chase down bears and bobcats. This cruel practice is still legal here in California, despite the fact that it is criminalized in the majority of states. We really hope that you’ll be able to attend this hearing to show your support for this important bill! The fate of bills like this one can literally be decided by the number of people who show up to a hearing. We’re sure the opposition will be there; we hope you can be there.

The hearing will be held at the State Capitol 11th and L Streets Sacramento, CA 95814. If you need help with transportation from the Bay Area, please contact Elise Traub at Elise is organizing carpools and rides to Sacramento. The hearing will be from 7:30 AM - 10:30 AM, and if you can attend, please RSVP.

If you can’t attend the hearing, please call ALL members of the Senate Natural Resources committee BEFORE APRIL 24 and urge an AYE on SB 1221. You can say “Hi, my name is _____________ and I live in California. I know Sen ______ is going to be voting on SB 1221 in committee soon and I want to urge him/her to represent the view of 83% of California voters by supporting SB 1221. Thank you.” It’ll only take a few minutes!

If you happen to live in any of these Senator’s districts (find out here!), be sure to emphasize that you are a constituent.

Senator Fran Pavley (Chair) (916) 651-4023 
Senator Doug La Malfa (Vice Chair) (916) 651-4004 
Senator Anthony Cannella (916) 651-4012 
Senator Noreen Evans (916) 651-4002 
Senator Jean Fuller (916) 651-4018 
Senator Christine Kehoe (916) 651-4039 
Senator Alex Padilla (916) 651-4020 
Senator Joe Simitian (916) 651-4011 
Senator Lois Wolk (916) 651-4005

OK! Everyone call and/or go! Let’s do this for the animals!!!


Gestation-crate ban, interspecies love, and Chick-fil-A sues a vegetable: It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

It’s time for the next installment of Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! This week, it’s the Crazy Edition! Because the whole world is NUTS! Next week, we’ll have a graphic and it’ll BLOW YOUR MIND. For now, take it away, Paul!

In an article about HSUS’s efforts to ban gestation crates and veal crates in Massachusetts, the Farm Bureau made it quite clear where it stands. About veal crates, their president argued, “I don’t know how a calf feels about it. We put kids in car seats and kids scream, but there is a safety factor. Is that inhumane?”

If that’s not crazy enough for you, this one may as well be an Onion article. If only it were. Chik-fil-A is suing a guy in Vermont for hand-stenciling t-shirts that read “Eat More Kale.” Consider me buying kale today.

Another crazy idea: banning photography of factory farms. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune had an important article about “ag-gag” efforts by the agribusiness industry to ban undercover investigations of factory farms.

Finally, do you think it’s crazy to invite a Jew to speak at the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship about faith and farm animal protection? Well, here you go: a video of my speech there last week. If you can stand listening to me for an hour or want to subject any of your family or friends to that, have fun!

Video of the week: Want to see two piglets and a dog playing in a living room? You’d be crazy not to.


Paul Shapiro Presents: Animal News You Can Use!  »

It’s time for the next installment of Paul Shapiro's Animal News You Can Use! Take it away, Paul!

I’ve got an op-ed in Capital Press (an ag trade publication) about why it might be a good idea to let farm animals turn around. Yep, this is still a debate.

AP has a good article about our work in California. Take-away line: “’Of all the animal organizations, HSUS has the money and the political savvy to be problematic for my clients going forward,’ said Michael Boccadoro, a poultry industry lobbyist. ‘They are on another level.’”

In the shocker of the year, Smithfield is refusing to give HSUS details about its plans to stop using gestation crates to confine breeding pigs.

Do you like getting massages? So do fish. Pretty cool. Also cool (and feels better than a massage): This national AP story about vegan celebrities and billionaires.

Finally, if you live near Grand Rapids, I hope to see you in a few days!

P.S. Video of the week: Piglets Gone Wild, courtesy of my good friends at Animal Place.


Paul Shapiro presents: Animal News You Can Use!  »

This is from the mighty and awesome Paul Shapiro, the senior director of the Farm Animal Protection wing of the Humane Society of the United States. Paul is not only the raddest and very hilarious and kind and good and a fucking force to be reckoned with, but he’s always a wealth of animal news. We’re gonna publish his updates so that you’re as blessed with new information as we are. YOU ARE WELCOME. Now, pass this info on to all you know, and be better informed, smarter, and more good looking for it. BAM:

I’ve got a piece on the Atlantic site about foie gras and the myth that farm animals love to be abused. Please feel free to leave a comment on the site, since it seems like those of, let’s say…a different view don’t appear to be shy about leaving their own comments!

The LSU paper has a nice story about HSUS’s Meatless Monday efforts. (Remember that awesome video you loved?)

The DC ABC news affiliate had a cool segment about Bill Clinton’s near-vegan diet.

The U.S. Supreme Court had a hearing yesterday on the California downer law that was passed in the wake of HSUS’s exposé at a Southern California dairy cow slaughter plant. You can read Wayne Pacelle’s thoughts on the hearing at this link.

P.S. Video of the week: Dog and pig wrestling. Yep, that’s right.


The Humane Society takes on Smithfield and the McRib  »

The Humane Society of the United States has filed a complaint against Smithfield Foods, who supplies the pork for the McVom, in reaction to a series of videos HSUS says are misleading. You can read the whole complaint in PDF form. The Atlantic has great coverage for you but if you want to watch the videos in question, here’s a pretty great one about gestation:

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on!]

I know it’s supposed to show you how great they treat these pigs but does anyone else find this video super-disturbing anyway? And this is what it looks like when you try to sugar-coat it? Jeez louise, that’s messed up. Speaking of messed up, here’s the HSUS’ undercover footage from Smithfield Foods last year:

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on!]

You can see how much Smithfield is committed to animal care, right? Well if you have any doubts, Smithfield will clear that right up for you! Here’s my new favorite site: It’s pure comedic genius (I love deadpan). This part is great:

The animals we raise are the core of our business. Their well-being is pivotal to our success, and we do all we can to ensure their safety, comfort, and health. Indeed, our entire operations revolve around sound animal care.

See, I thought CASH MONEY was the core of their business. Because really, C.R.E.A.M. But all this time, it’s actually been pigs. I find that a little confusing though because where does the slaughtering part fit into a pig’s wellbeing? Whether you think animals should be killed for meat or not, you have to admit there’s a bit of a discord there. They should really say something like, “we do all we can to ensure their safety, comfort, and health, except for the part where we kill them and eat them.” There you go, just tack that little bit on the end and it’s much less of a lie. I know I definitely feel more comfortable now. 

And how many veterinarians did that promo video say they have? Like 17? That doesn’t sound like that many when you read this:

 As the world’s largest producer of pork, Murphy-Brown LLC, our hog production independent operating company (IOC), and its subsidiaries, own approximately 460 farms and contract with about 2,135 contract hog producers in the United States alone. Smithfield’s meat processing operations also receive pigs from numerous independent hog producers, whose numbers fluctuate depending upon market conditions.

We’re supposed to believe that a handful of well-paid industry vets can account for the wellbeing of the pigs at all those farms? As we know from what I wrote previously, Murphy Brown can’t even ensure its employees’ safety, but somehow they can care for millions of pigs? 

Smithfield wrote a response to the complaint but there’s nothing really worth mentioning from it. It’s just kind of whiney. 


The Humane Society of the United States released this adorable Meatless Monday video and so I am sharing it with you because I’m a giver. IN BED. (Have been doing the IN BED thing lately so get ready) (IN BED)


Wayne Pacelle sounds smart on KQED’s Forum!  »

Wayne Pacelle, our favorite greasy-haired smooth talker (sorry, Gavin!), president of the Humane Society of the United States, and hero to animals and those who love them (quite a title!), is in town promoting his new book The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them 

You can meet him Friday, Apr. 15, at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park, or on Saturday, Apr. 16, at Reader’s Books in Sonoma. On Facebook, you can also RSVP and check out other places around the country where he’ll be speaking!

Also, he was on KQED’s Forum this morning, talking with that weirdo Michael Crasney about how awesome animals are. It’s definitely worth listening to as he sounds very smart, and regulates idiots who ask stupid questions.

Sometimes that idiot is Crasney, and for that Pacelle gets extra points. He’s also good at speaking to an audience who might not already know about certain animal and food issues, without being a condescending prick or a preachy mansplainer. I’d totally have a crush on him if it weren’t for that g-d hair

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