Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use: Could you handle this challenge?  »

Do you think *you* could handle our Great Crate Challenge? More than half a million other viewers have already watched our new video to see what it’s all about. Check it out and share!

My alma mater, George Washington Univ., was kind enough to profile me in its alumni magazine. Neil (the dog) makes my ears appear to stick out less compared to his…

Wondering what HSUS is doing for farm animals? Check out this cool new short video. Also, theAssociated Press had a fascinating story about HSUS’s 60-year history this week that’s well worth reading.

Finally, the NY Times published a potent cover story yesterday about the booming demand for meat-free meals and how delicious plant-based meats are now.

Have a rockin’ weekend, friends!

Paul Shapiro
Vice President, Farm Animal Protection
The Humane Society of the United States
Follow at

P.S. Video of the week: Think we’re the only species to play soccer? Ask these turkeys.


Compassion Over Killing exposes cruelty to turkeys at breeding facility  »

Can’t see the video? Watch it on

Happy turkey day, am I right?! 

From Compassion Over Killing:

Undercover Video Reveals Cruel and Filthy Conditions Inside a Minnesota Turkey Breeding Factory Farm

Starbuck, MN — Compassion Over Killing (COK), a national animal protection organization is releasing an undercover video filmed inside Hargin, Inc., a turkey breeding factory farm in Starbuck, Minnesota where an estimated 25,000 female turkeys are locked inside filthy, overcrowded sheds.

These hens will spend their lives being artificially inseminated over and over again — a frightening and violent process — to continually lay eggs that will hatch young turkeys to be raised and slaughtered for food, including Thanksgiving dinners. Some of the eggs from this facility will be sold to Minnesota-based Willmar Poultry, the nation’s largest turkey hatchery previously exposed for inhumane treatment of newly-hatched birds.

As our video shows, hens routinely become entangled in the dilapidated and poorly-maintained mechanical nests used to collect eggs. In an effort to free themselves, these birds often endure severe, bloody injuries on their wings, feet, or necks — some will suffer so severely, they’re unable to survive.

There are no federal laws in the United States protecting turkeys (or other birds raised for food) from such cruelty, and as is standard in the industry, sick and injured birds are typically left to suffer without any veterinary care.

Turkeys are smart, social and inquisitive birds with unique personalities. They’re devoted mothers who, given the opportunity, are inseparable from their babies. At breeding factories like Hargin, however, these hens will never get a chance to even see their young.

“Consumers are increasingly discovering the sad reality that animal cruelty is standard practice in the meat industry,” said COK’s executive director Erica Meier. “That’s why this Thanksgiving, a growing number of Americans are choosing to celebrate with a vegetarian meal that everyone, including the turkeys, can be thankful for.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, turkey production is projected to drop 5 percentcompared to 2012 — and that would bring it to its lowest point in 10 years.

For more information, including investigative footage, visit:


Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

It’s Paul Shapiro’s weekly dose of all things animals! Yes!

It’s almost Thanksgiving…Wondering how most turkeys are treated? Check out the newly-released Mercy For Animals investigation documenting appalling abuse of turkeys raised for Butterball.

(You may also want to take a look at this week’s NY Times’ major feature on vegetarian Thanksgvings.)

On that note, Los Angeles became the biggest city in the country to official start promoting Meatless Mondays. (Even the Today Show covered it!)

Finally, if you’ve got some time and want a fascinating read, here’s Washington Monthly’s new feature, “Obama’s Game of Chicken.” As they bill the story: “The untold story of how the administration tried to stand up to big agricultural companies on behalf of independent farmers, and lost.”

Video of the week: Not quite the lion and lamb laying down, but at least the dog and the fawn…



Right now, the rescued turkeys of Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary are enjoying their very official “After Party” of the SOLD OUT! 2012 Toast to the Turkeys Celebration. Have a wonderful Sunday evening!

Did you go to this year’s Toast to the Turkeys? Did you commune with these majestic/terrifying/ridiculous creatures in the ochre November sun and rededicate your life to promoting turkey welfare?


Right now, the rescued turkeys of Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary are enjoying their very official “After Party” of the SOLD OUT! 2012 Toast to the Turkeys Celebration. Have a wonderful Sunday evening!

Did you go to this year’s Toast to the Turkeys? Did you commune with these majestic/terrifying/ridiculous creatures in the ochre November sun and rededicate your life to promoting turkey welfare?


Mercy For Animals makes history! First-ever cruelty to animals FELONY conviction!  »

MFA made history last week, when Brian Douglas of Butterball factory farm pleaded guilty to felonly cruelty to animals on August 28th. It was the MFA undercover investigation at the farm in Hoke County, North Carolina that sparked what is believed to be the “first-ever felony cruelty to animals conviction related to birds used for food production in US history.” Douglas will serve 30 days in jail, followed by 42 months of probation, for the horrifying violence towards the butterball turkeys he executed. On August 31, Butterball employee Rueben Mendoza also pleaded guilty to felony identity theft and misdemenor cruelty to animals. He faces a “consolidated sentence of a minimum of 8 months, and a maximum of 19 months, in state prison”.

I can’t watch the undercover video at the Butterball Factory farm. But it’s up on MFA’s site if you can stomach it. To show my advocacy however, I like to sport my MFA “Not Cool” t-shirt around town. If you get one too, we’ll be twins! We can start a club! Maybe wear them to Vegan Drinks so we’ll know to schmooze with each other? If the merch doesn’t appeal to you, you can always donate to the cause as well! Man, I love Mercy for Animals, and the incredibly difficult work they do on the behalf of animal rights.

The little chick in the stomach is saying “Not Cool”. I love, love, love it!

Of course there always needs to be a naysayer, doesn’t there? plays that role well with this article which I think screams, THANKS A LOT CAPTAIN OBVIOUS AND BY THE WAY, MFA IS A VEGAN NON-PROFIT. Rachel touched upon all the same points, about the injustices that the workers must face on on these farms, back in Febuary. I think she covered this issue in a much more compassionate and well-informed (I’m not biased!) way. Thoughts? I noticed there’s nowhere to leave comments, but that might be a good thing considering the comments section usually makes me want to throw myself off a building sick.

ANYWAY. No more turkeys for holiday feasts, or sandwiches OR ANYTHING. Why eat an animal when we can have delicious vegan turkeys???? RAINBOW please order more this season; I did not get one last year and it gave me a case of the sads. Actually no, because I made this delectable tart, but I want both this year!

[Photos via]


Sunday: Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary Barn Bash! Help the Turlock hens!  »

We know how much you love the Turlock hens. That’s how we know you’ll be at Harvest Home on Sunday, June 3, for a barn dedication celebration! The Turlock hens got an entirely new barn to live in following their rescue this spring, where they cohabitate with other rescued birds.

Harvest Home wants to thank you for your support in the construction of the barn, as well as show it off, so they’re throwing a little party from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. You’ll eat and drink (vegan-ly, of course), and meet the birds as well as the amazing Harvest Home workers. All ticket sales directly benefit Harvest Home, and this event marks the beginning of the organization’s fundraising campaign for the future “Sanctuary Avian Medical Barn.” Awesome, right? Right!

Buy tickets here, and go party with the birds in their new, wonderful home on Sunday!

[photo courtesy Harvest Home]


Where did your holiday dead turkey come from? Mercy for Animals knows! Tastes so good with extra side of abuse! Yum, yum. Oh, and if your turkey wasn’t Butterball, just know that this abuse happens anywhere animals are treated like a commodity. I know I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, just like pretty much everything I say does. Now, I’m gonna go eat a veggie dog and cry in a corner. Now, I’m gonna go eat a veggie dog and cry in a corner.


Paul Shapiro Presents: Animal News You Can Use! (Thanksgiving Edition!)  »

It’s time for the next installment of Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! This time, it’s THANKSGIVING-STYLE, boooy! Take it away, Paul! I’m thinking we might need an adorable graphic for this? Anyone want to make us one? In return, I will give you a gigantic Thanksgiving high-five! What a feeling!

Well, if you’ve been living under a rock, you may not have heard about Mercy For Animals’ potent new investigation at Sparboe Foods, one of the sole egg producers in the country lobbying against the federal effort to ban barren battery cages. In the wake of the investigation, both McDonald’s and Target dropped Sparboe as a supplier.

MFA’s investigation resulted in massive news coverage, including a powerful 20/20 segment along with much other ABC News content (including a couple minutes of me hanging out with chickens talking about battery cages). Amusingly, a spokesman for the egg company claimed the video was “staged,” only to have the company later publicly correct him, asserting they have no evidence of that.

The NPR affiliate in DC sat down with me for lunch to talk about veg eating and Meatless Monday. You can listen to the six-minute segment here.

Finally, the headline says it all: “Talking Turkey: 9 out of 10 retail turkey samples contaminated with fecal bacteria.”

Have a nice holiday… :-)

P.S. No, the above video of me with chickens isn’t the video of the week. This cow playing with a ball is.


Harvest Home Sanctuary’s Toast to the Turkeys was AWESOME: A photo essay!  »

Last weekend’s Harvest Home Sanctuary's Toast to the Turkeys event was pretty much the greatest and if you missed it, that’s just inexcusable. Oh well, there’s hope for you, yet! You can go to another Thanksgiving with the animals event, they’re still happening all over! so GET ON IT because you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a turkey eat a cranberry. It’s a turkey! Eating a cranberry! Jesus Christ. 

A PHOTO ESSAY OF THE EVENT AND ITS GREATNESS, brought to you by me and Jonas and Ian (check out all of Ian’s great photos!):



Turkeys doing it UP!

Get down on that grape, girlfriend!!


My Life as a Turkey! Anyone seen it??  »

Has anyone seen My Life as a Turkey? It’s a documentary about this guy, Joe, who raises wild turkeys from hatchlings to adulthood. My friend Staci sent me an email about it last night and was all, “OMG AMAZING!!” but then also, “I didn’t see the whole thing.” STACI! Anyway, the full thing is on PBS’s Nature site, so uh, anyone want to watch it and tell me whether or not to tell Staci to watch the whole thing? 

I just love the guy who does the voice over. “And became their turkey mother,” is probably my favorite. Or, ”The journal Joe kept of his life as a turkey ultimately became a book.” SO THAT’S HOW YOU GET A BOOK DEAL! Someone bring me a bowl of turkey eggs, I can do this. Also, I’ve got a feeling that this documentary is chock full of quotable tidbits. I wonder if Joe eats turkeys? Or did? Or still does? Also, does he successfully learn to talk turkey? Because I’m dying over here.

Here’s Joe and one of his turklets:

One more thing, when I was in Sea Ranch last year, I saw some wild turkeys flying and that shit was amazing. They are so fat! And yet they get major air! It gives me hope.

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