Tag Archives: American factory farming

Soul 🎼!

Show compassion for all Moms this Mother’s Day: Go veggie!

By Dr. Heather Rally, D.V.M.

What if your mother were artificially inseminated time and time again? What if you were taken from her shortly after birth? No nurturing, no love, no celebration. What if she cried out for you constantly but to no avail? You had already been slated to become someone’s dinner.

As a veterinarian who’s concerned about all animals, I hope you’ll keep cows in mind on Mother’s Day — and any other time you’re enjoying a meal with your family — and opt for dairy-free foods.

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Cool your jets this summer with vegan ice cream! Tastee! And it’s always for sale at Trader Joe’s, in Shrewsbury, Rt 9, right over the bridge!

Cows produce milk for the same reason that humans do: to feed their young. But on today’s dairy farms, they are kept almost constantly pregnant so that they’ll produce a steady supply of milk. Their calves are typically taken away from them when they’re only a few hours old.

Male calves are commonly raised for veal. They’re chained up in tiny crates and intentionally fed a formula that’s low in iron so that they’ll become anemic and their flesh will stay pale. They take their first weak, wobbly steps — to slaughter — when they’re between 3 and 18 weeks old.

Females are turned into virtual milk machines like their mothers. When their production wanes, they, too, end up at the slaughterhouse, bloodied, dangling by a hind leg with their throats cut.

Cows are like us in important and relevant ways: They’re made of flesh and blood.

They feel pain and love.

They form strong family ties and grieve when they’re separated from their loved ones.

In An Anthropologist on Mars, Dr. Oliver Sacks wrote of a trip that he and agriculture-industry advisor Dr. Temple Grandin took to a dairy farm — and of the bellowing that they heard:

“They must have separated the calves from the cows this morning,” Temple said, and, indeed, this was what had happened. We saw one cow outside the stockade, roaming, looking for her calf, and bellowing. “That’s not a happy cow,” Temple said. “That’s one sad, unhappy, upset cow. She wants her baby.”

As that mother cow demonstrated, all animals have thoughts, feelings and desires. Here’s an example of another basic need: Cows long to live in pastures. A study at the University of British Columbia recently found that cows want to get outdoors as much as they want food.

The researchers steadily increased the amount of force that it took for a cow to open a door leading to either food or pasture. Most of the cows studied pushed just as hard to get outside as they did to get to food.

The scientists speculate that this is because grass is softer than concrete, so outdoors, cows can move comfortably. Soft ground is better for their hoof health and reduces the likelihood of lameness. And they have a basic behavioral need to live in the grasslands, which are, of course, their natural environment.

Yet fewer than 5 percent of cows in the U.S. are allowed to spend time in pasture, and “80 percent never see a blade of grass,” according to researcher Marina von Keyserlingk.

Change is needed, and gradually it is happening. Surveys suggest that half of Americans now consume dairy-free milk. To those of you who still drink cow’s milk, please consider going vegan for Mother’s Day — and beyond.

If you have children, you’ll surely understand how traumatic it would be to lose a baby. And as we all have mothers, we should be outraged that any mother, human or not, would be subjected to a life of torment, as are cows in the dairy industry.

By choosing tasty vegan foods this Mother’s Day and all year round, you’ll be showing compassion for all mothers!

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Remember …

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🎵🎵🎻 to our souls!💛 and … Make your own Easter Yum Yums!🍰

From PETA.ORG:

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Why You Should Celebrate a Cruelty-Free Easter

As Christians remember Christ’s crucifixion as the final sacrifice and celebrate His victory over death in the resurrection, let us resolve to emulate His compassion in our own lives by showing mercy to animals.

There’s no better place to begin than the dinner table. As we break bread, let’s break ties with some of the most violent and ungodly places on Earth — slaughterhouses and factory farms.

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Before they become Sunday’s centerpiece, animals on factory farms are denied everything that God designed them to want and do. They never breathe fresh air, nurture their young, play with other animals, or do anything to live out the biblical concept that “God’s mercy is over all His creatures.”

For example, pigs spend their entire lives in filthy concrete pens, and cruelty is rampant, as witnessed by PETA investigators.

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PETA’s investigation of Belcross Farm, a pig-breeding facility in North Carolina, resulted in the first-ever felony indictments for cruelty to animals by farm workers in the U.S.

PETA’s undercover investigation at Seaboard Farms, Inc. has resulted in the filing of felony cruelty-to-animals charges against a former manager at the facility.

Easter is also no celebration for hens on egg farms, who suffer constant confinement to tiny, filthy wire cages. Male chicks are killed — often through suffocation — since they don’t produce eggs, and female chicks have their beaks painfully seared off to keep them from pecking one another.

Cows on dairy farms are kept continually impregnated, and their calves are snatched away just after birth so that their mothers’ milk can be consumed by humans.

At the end of their short, miserable lives, these animals are crammed into trucks, with little protection from the elements, to suffer the ultimate terror of the slaughterhouse, where workers hang them upside-down and slit their throats.

What You Can Do

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Plant-based foods can be found in supermarkets (editor’s note: check out TRADER JOE’S in Shrewsbury, Rt 9, just over the bridge) and on the menus of many chain restaurants.

Since eating vegan is easier than ever, there’s simply no reason for any animals to end up on our plates!

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Homemade Vegan Easter Eggs!🐰🐰

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There are a variety of places online where you can order vegan Easter candy, and finding vegan chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs, or jelly beans — just like those you remember filling your Easter basket with as a child — is no longer difficult. However, if you’re like me and you’ve waited until the last minute to plan for the sugar fest that often comes with the holiday, finding these goodies won’t be quite as easy.

But don’t fear! Those of us who tend to procrastinate — or are just super-crafty — can go the homemade route!

Below is a recipe for basic chocolate eggs, which you can then turn into a variety of designs.

🌷💙Chocolate Eggs💙🌷

1 8-oz. package nondairy cream cheese, softened at room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Decorations, e.g., chopped nuts, unsweetened cocoa, toasted flaked coconut

Beat the nondairy cream cheese in a mixing bowl until it is smooth.

Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until it is well blended.

Add the melted chocolate and vanilla and mix well.

Refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls or egg shapes and roll them in the nuts, cocoa, or coconut.

Store the finished chocolates in the refrigerator.

Makes approximately 5 dozen chocolates

🌷🌼Some “eggs-traordinary” ideas!!🌼🌷:

Roll egg-shaped chocolate in chopped nuts.

If you can find a cute Easter-themed mold, simply fill it with the chocolate and refrigerate.

Allow the chocolate to cool in a thin layer, then cut out your favorite shape with Easter-themed cookie cutters.

Decorate egg-shaped chocolate with dyed coconut. I recommend adding a few drops of food coloring to water and then adding your coconut. Allow to soak for a few minutes in the water, then remove and allow to dry completely before using to decorate.

Use plastic Easter eggs to get your desired shape, scoop out the center, and fill with peanut butter, nuts, or another favorite candy.

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Close the plastic egg and refrigerate until both sides are firm and have joined together.

Cover egg-shaped chocolate with holiday color foils or ribbons.

Cover egg-shaped chocolate with vegan nonpareils or another small vegan candy.

You can shape and decorate the chocolate any way you’d like, so get creative with it!

Enjoy!🐰🐰🐰🐰

How I Saved Money by Going Vegan

From PETA.ORG:

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By Shekalia

Back in the day, I wasn’t necessarily swimming in cash. I was a student, so you can imagine how empty my pockets were. When I found out that animals suffer miserably on cramped factory farms for our food, I was determined not to let my financial situation deter me from going vegan. But I was surprised to learn how affordable vegan foods are and that I could actually save money by ditching animal-derived foods and planning my meals.

I created a budget and became a money-saving ninja. And now I’m here to pass on what I’ve learned. Here’s how I saved money by going vegan:

Brainstorm Meal Ideas Before Making Your Grocery List

Some folks make the mistake of creating a shopping list without actually thinking about what they’re going to cook. Don’t do that. Instead, sit down and think, “What dishes do I want to make?” By doing this key first step, you’ll avoid overspending at the store and start saving money.

Here are some ideas for meals that are cheap and easy to make:

Stir-fry: This can be made up of anything, and it only takes one pot. Just chop up your fave veggies, heat up some oil, and start frying. Add some cooked noodles and tofu.
Pasta: You can buy pasta for as little as $1—and pasta sauce is just as cheap. Add veggies like onions and mushrooms for texture.

Chili: All this dish requires is beans, veggies, and spices, and voilà—you’re done! You can’t beat this simple go-to meal, plus chili can be used in a variety of ways: Put it on fries, on Fritos, on nachos—the list goes on. If cooking isn’t your thing, most grocery stores carry “vegetarian” chili that’s actually vegan. Just check the label to make sure that it doesn’t contain animal-derived ingredients.

Don’t Forget the Staples — and Buy in Bulk

Food is usually cheaper when you buy it in large quantities — and if your kitchen is always stocked, you won’t be tempted to order expensive takeout when cravings hit. Stock up on staples like beans, grains, nuts, and frozen fruits and veggies. (I like to buy quinoa in bulk because it can be more expensive in smaller amounts.) Sometimes, I prepare a large portion of beans and rice to eat with other dishes that I cook during the week. This saves me time and brain power, as I don’t have to come up with a meal from scratch.

Shop Sales

We all love a good deal. Plan your grocery shopping around when stores and markets have sales. And don’t skip the dollar store — most stores carry staples like beans, rice, pasta, and frozen produce as well as other vegan options. Go to your local dollar store and browse the aisles — you never know what you may find.

Cook!

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I started cooking when I was 6 and was quite the little chef — although it involved mostly meat-based dishes. When I went vegan, I realized that preparing meat-free meals is far simpler. Cooking your own meals saves you money, too, while sparing your body the negatives effects of eating unhealthy takeout.

While cooking at home will save you money, there’ll be moments when you need to grab a bite to eat on the go. Taco Bell, Subway, and other vegan-friendly fast-food places have meals that’ll fill you up for just a few bucks!

Try Mock Meats and Tofu

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Mock meats like those made by Gardein and Tofurky are great sometimes. Don’t focus on replacing meat with mock meat, though. Instead, concentrate on eating more whole foods — and don’t forget about our friend tofu. One block can cost as little as 99 cents, it’s extremely versatile, and it’s also a better, cheaper substitute for meat that can be found at pretty much any grocery store.

By going vegan, you’ll be able to eat well for cheap and you won’t contribute to animals’ suffering. Knowing that piglets’ tails are cut off without painkillers, male chicks are ground up alive, and cows are separated from their calves inspired me to change my lifestyle — and as a result, I was able to cut my spending in half. I no longer buy meat, dairy foods, or eggs, which accounted for most of my budget in the past. I now buy and prepare affordable, nutritious plant-based foods. What could be better than saving money and being kind to animals and my body?

Your health and animal rights – always in fashion!

But first …

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Rise in colorectal cancer in young people should be a wake-up call

By Heather Moore

The new American Cancer Society report showing that there’s been a sharp increase in colorectal cancer in people in their 20s and 30s might just be the kick in the pants that young people need to eat more vegan foods and less red and processed meats, which are linked to colon and rectal cancers.

According to the report, which compared different generations at similar ages, people born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer of those born in 1950 when they were the same age. Experts aren’t sure why the rates have been rising, but they are confident that people can reduce their risk for colorectal cancer by eating lots of fiber-filled fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

In October 2015, the World Health Organization announced that bacon and other processed meats cause cancer and that red meat, including beef, pork and lamb, is probably also carcinogenic.

Soon afterward, scientists from Oxford University reported that eating one steak a week increases one’s risk of colorectal cancer by more than two-fifths and that people who eat meat twice a week have an 18 percent higher risk than do vegetarians.

This wasn’t exactly new news — a number of previous studies had shown that eating meat could raise one’s risk of colorectal cancer — but it caused an uproar anyway. Some people defiantly insisted that they weren’t going to change their unhealthy eating habits no matter what — a peculiar reaction considering that colorectal cancer can cause abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, diarrhea and other unpleasant symptoms.

Changing your diet can be daunting — I know. But in the end, it comes down to this: Would you rather undergo surgery, chemotherapy and other costly medical treatments or eat tasty vegan foods? Many physicians believe that colorectal cancer is nearly 100 percent preventable if you follow healthy living recommendations. According to Kim Robien, an associate professor in the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at George Washington University, “It is absolutely recommended to decrease — if not completely eliminate — processed meat intake to prevent cancer.”

Study after study has shown that ditching meat is an effective way to ward off colorectal cancer. A 2015 Loma Linda University study involving more than 77,000 men and women, for example, suggests that a plant-based diet can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by at least 22 percent.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine asked 20 African-Americans in Pittsburgh and 20 rural South Africans to “switch diets” for two weeks. At the end of the swap, they performed colonoscopies on all of the study participants. Those who had eaten the traditional African-style diet, which includes lots of fruit, vegetables, beans and cornmeal — and very little meat — had less inflammation in the colon and more of a particular fatty acid that may protect against colon cancer, while those who had eaten the typical American diet, high in meat and cheese, showed changes in gut bacteria that are consistent with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Just this month, a study in the journal Cancer Science revealed that Japanese men who eat lots of meat in general, and specifically red meat, are 36 percent and 44 percent more likely, respectively, to develop colorectal cancer than those who don’t eat much — or any — meat.

No matter what your age, race or nationality, you can reduce your risk for colorectal cancer—not to mention heart disease, stroke and other serious health problems—by eating plant-based foods rather than animal-based ones.

And since March is National Colorectal Cancer Month, it’s the perfect time to ditch unhealthy animal-based foods and start eating delicious vegan meals instead.

We crucified the Lamb of God — Why do we still slaughter sheep?

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By Dan Paden

As I read Exodus and Leviticus this Lent, the ritual sacrifices of lambs, oxen and other animals strike me. Imagining how the offerings of these slaughtered animals looked, sounded and smelled fuels powerful meditations on the death of Jesus, the “Lamb of God.” It also makes me wonder: Why do the faithful still have countless lambs and sheep — among other species — killed so violently for us?

Christ’s death, after all, made animal sacrifices obsolete. According to Saint Paul, because of Jesus’ sacrifice, no one else — including lambs and other sheep — need die for our sins. But need they die for us at all? God put animals’ fate into our hands only after He lamented our ancestors’ wickedness and flooded the Earth. This likely left Noah’s family with little to eat and wear but animals. That’s a bleak position to be in: Kill, eat and cover oneself with God’s creations — or perish.

I don’t face such desperation. Very few readers do. We don’t need to eat lamb — hundreds of healthy, happy Trappist monks and nuns across the U.S. can attest to that — or wear wool.

And yet, in a nation where more than 70 percent of the population self-identifies as Christian, around 37,000 lambs and older sheep are slaughtered every week at federally inspected plants. Nearly 190,000 lambs and sheep were killed on U.S. farms from 2014 to 2015.

In Colorado, my friend documented a shearer who twisted one such victim’s neck, breaking it, and then kicked her headfirst down a chute, where she died.

That horrible treatment cannot be considered an isolated incident. In 2014, another colleague of mine documented that workers in Argentina cut the throats of conscious lambs and started to skin some of them while they were still kicking. Months earlier, PETA had revealed that in Australia, workers beat sheep while shearing them.

All that pain and agony was inflicted on God’s creations here and elsewhere simply so that someone could buy a lamb chop or a pair of socks made of wool. The U.S. produced more than 25 million pounds of wool — and imported millions of pounds more — in 2015.

So we must ask ourselves: Are the sheep and lambs who are slaughtered today dying because of our sins?

Sin “is an offense against … right conscience … caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods” (Catechism of the Catholic Church). If we wouldn’t slit a conscious lamb’s throat or break a sheep’s neck ourselves, can our conscience rightly accept having others do so on our behalf?

Isn’t it only our stubborn attachment to mere taste preferences — whether for a particular dish or a certain sweater—that keeps us buying lambs’ flesh or wool in the face of such endemic cruelty?

I confess that I once cherished the wool sweaters that my grandparents gave me each Christmas. But when I learned of the agony woven in with that yarn and the blood washed out of it, I could no longer in good conscience wear them or any wool. To do so would be to support all the terror and suffering that exist in the interconnected wool and sheep-flesh industries.

This Lent, as we strive especially hard to turn away from sin, may we also take up Christ’s instruction to “proclaim the gospel to every creature.” We can start to bring His good news to all creation by leaving lambs and sheep off our plates and their skin and fleece off our backs.

For the faithful — and indeed, for all kind people — our choice is simple but stark: We can work toward God’s peaceable kingdom to come, in which no animal will be harmed or destroyed — or pay others to harm and stab these docile, fellow living beings on our behalf.

Which will you choose?

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This Valentine’s Day, show some serious love to animals! Pledge to go vegetarian – or eat way less meat! Drop the fur – forever! Bannish wool from your closet! Fight for ALL animals (even the ones you don’t think are cute)!💙

From PETA.ORG. Some sweet – and arresting – images. – R.T.

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Go, Lettuce Ladies, go!!!

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PETA’s Lettuce Ladies have toured the world — from England to India, and beyond — with their vegan message, helping countless folks turn over a new leaf.

They’re culturally conscious advocates who encourage people everywhere to ditch meat by offering them free, delicious, plant-based meals, …

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… vegan starter kits and leaflets bursting at the seams with information about how our choices affect animals.

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Lettuce Ladies embody empowerment! Our advocates are all volunteers. Lettuce Ladies choose to turn heads to protect animals, improve people’s health, and help fight climate change.

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They know that, unlike themselves, millions of animals suffering and dying on factory farms and in slaughterhouses are never given the chance to consent. Cows, pigs, chickens, minks, foxes, and all other animals exploited by the food and fashion industries have no say in what happens to their bodies, so our Lettuce Ladies use their own to call attention to the plight of these living beings.

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Today, in a society that uses scantily clad models to sell everything from cars to cheeseburgers, those who use their bodies as a political or an emotional statement to call for justice and compassion — as our Lettuce Ladies do — are a breath of fresh air!

Early voters! All voters! – Please VOTE YES on QUESTION 3

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Rosalie asks you to Vote YES on Q 3 – for the animals!

Question 3 – Humane Conditions for Farm Animals

Question 3 “would prohibit any confinement of pigs, calves, and hens that prevents them from lying down, standing up, fully extending their limbs, or turning around freely.”

PLEASE VOTE YES ON QUESTION 3!

By Rosalie Tirella

Don’t believe the fear-mongers!!! A YES vote on Question 3 helps the Mass. economy! Especially our local Worcester County farmers, all of whom farm with wisdom and compassion! A YES vote means an economic boost for our local farmer guys and gals! A YES vote means you are supporting our LOCAL biz folks – mostly small biz folks. Many of whom are third/fourth generation farmers…

Egg, pork and veal suppliers from other states who “factory farm” – an innocuos-sounding phrase that only hints at the cruelty/neglect that is never-ending when raising farm animals in gargantuan, miles-long warehouses, “animal-factories” where pigs, chickens and calves are treated like widgets/assembly line parts and not like animals – will have to make improvements. Animals that need sunlight; space in which to turn around, walk around, stand up, fully extend their limbs; caregivers who don’t kick, stomp, punch or fling them will at least be given “the right” to turn around in their crates and cages, lie down, turn their heads, stand up. So basic!!! This is all Q 3 asks for!

Factory farms that truck their “product” “produced” by animals living in factory farm animal-hells will be prohibited from selling their “product” in Massachusetts. Their pork, eggs, veal will not be accepted here until their farm animals are housed more humanely. Just like the way McDonald’s and Wal-Mart treat their egg suppliers: If you house your chickens in animal hell, these multi-billion dollar global corporations tell the factory farms, then we don’t buy your eggs – do business with you!

OUTSTANDING! VISIONARY!

The ABUSE of farm animals in America on factory farms MUST STOP! LIKE ALL AMAZING animal/human (the two are intertwined!) RIGHTS crusades, A NEW AND BETTER WORLD FOR FARM ANIMALS needs to start somewhere. Why not in beautiful Massachusetts, once home to the abolitionists and suffragettes and now home to climate-change visionaries and women’s rights crusaders? Suppliers will get the message and, for love of the holy BUCK$$$, they WILL MAKE the necessary improvements. They will make THEIR HUGE FACILITIES MORE HUMANE so they can once again sell their “product” in Massachusetts. Like Woody sang: It’s all about the do(ugh) re me!

If all 50 of our great states had a Question 3 on their ballots election day what a wonderful America it would be! And if it was voted in, millions of farm animals would be able to literally breathe more freely, cry out in pain and fear a little less often, physically ache not as intensely … stand, turn around, move their heads in their cages/crates, fully extend their limbs! This is all we ask! To alleviate some of their suffering! 

Slavery in the U.S. was once called “good business” by millions of “good” people in this country!

Child labor was once labelled “good business,” too!

Circuses with performing elephants were “business” as usual all over the world.

But times change. People evolve – our hearts grow bigger. We see the light.

SEE THE LIGHT this election season! EARLY VOTERS and NOV. 8 VOTERS – please Vote YES  on Question 3!

Thank you!

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The yes on Question 3, Citizens for Farm Animal Protection (www.citizensforfarmanimals.com) state on the Secretary of State’s ballot information mailer:

• “A YES vote prevents cruel treatment of animals in Massachusetts by ending the practice of cramming farm animals into cages so small they can’t turn around or stretch their limbs, and will remove inhumane and unsafe products from the Massachusetts marketplace.”

• “Endorsed by the MSPCA, Animal Rescue League of Boston, The Humane Society of the United States, and 400 Massachusetts veterinarians because no animal should be immobilized in a cramped cage.”

“Endorsed by the Center for Food Safety and Consumer Federation of America because cage confinement increases food safety risks, and a YES vote protects Massachusetts consumers.”

“Endorsed by Massachusetts family farmers and the United Farm Workers because proper treatment of animals is better for farmers. From McDonald’s to Walmart, retailers are switching to
cage-free eggs—the right thing to do at the right cost.”

VOTE YES ON 3!!!!

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From PETA.ORG:

Factory Farming: Misery for Animals

On today’s factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy, windowless sheds and stuffed into wire cages, metal crates, and other torturous devices. These animals will never raise their families, root around in the soil, build nests, or do anything that is natural and important to them. Most won’t even feel the warmth of the sun on their backs or breathe fresh air until the day they’re loaded onto trucks headed for slaughterhouses.

The factory farming industry strives to maximize output while minimizing costs—always at the animals’ expense. The giant corporations that run most factory farms have found that they can make more money by squeezing as many animals as possible into tiny spaces, even though many of the animals die from disease or infection.

Animals on factory farms endure constant fear and torment:

They’re often given so little space that they can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably. Egg-laying hens are kept in small cages, chickens and pigs are kept in jam-packed sheds, and cows are kept on crowded, filthy feedlots.

Antibiotics are used to make animals grow faster and to keep them alive in the unsanitary conditions. Research shows that factory farms’ widespread use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria that threaten human health.

Most factory-farmed animals have been genetically manipulated to grow larger or to produce more milk or eggs than they naturally would. Some chickens grow so unnaturally large that their legs cannot support their outsized bodies, and they suffer from starvation or dehydration when they can’t walk to reach food and water.

When they’ve grown large enough to slaughter or their bodies have been worn out from producing milk or eggs, animals raised for food are crowded onto trucks and transported for miles through all weather extremes, typically without food or water. At the slaughterhouse, those who survived the transport will have their throats slit, often while they’re still conscious. Many remain conscious when they’re plunged into the scalding-hot water of the defeathering or hair-removal tanks or while their bodies are being skinned or hacked apart.

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VOTE YES ON QUESTION 3!

China is leading the way on climate change, and the U.S. should be ashamed

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Rosalie’s kitchen table this a.m.: More corn please! pic:R.T.

By Jennifer Bates

China will soon surpass the U.S. to become the world’s largest economy.

And now it is poised to overtake this country by yet another metric: environmental protection.

In an unexpected development, China – known for its choking urban pollution and notorious Three Gorges Dam – has introduced new dietary guidelines that seek to cut its meat consumption in half.

If this sounds familiar, it might be because you remember similar guidelines proposed in the U.S. in 2015 — which were promptly rejected by officials on the grounds that dietary guidelines aren’t an “appropriate vehicle” for addressing sustainability concerns.

But what we eat is directly tied to the environment, and large-scale animal agriculture is destroying our planet. You probably know that this industry spews climate-changing greenhouse gases into the air, but animal agriculture’s adverse effects don’t end there. Because the industry relies on water-intensive crops and uses enormous amounts of water to clean out filthy enclosures, provide animals with drinking water and more, the average meat-eater indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day more than someone who just eats plant-based foods.

One pig produces as much fecal matter as 10 humans, and that waste has to go somewhere. Often, the toxic stew finds its way into our rivers and oceans, poisoning aquatic life. Meanwhile, countless acres of rainforest are cut down every day to create more grazing lands or to plant crops intended solely to feed farmed animals.

This industry is also hell on the animals raised for human consumption, who are violently abused and traumatized from birth to death. Male pigs and cattle are castrated without painkillers. Farmed fish are kept in crowded, filthy enclosures full of their own waste. And each year, nearly 1 million chickens and turkeys are still alive and conscious when they’re immersed in the scalding-hot water of feather-removal tanks.

The average Chinese citizen consumes about 128 pounds of animal flesh each year. But the average American? Two hundred and sixty-four pounds, more than twice the amount of our Eastern competitors.

By cutting its meat consumption, China will spare billions of sentient beings a terrifying death. Cutting back on meat will also be a tremendous boon to public health, because it will reduce not only air pollution but also diet-related illnesses such as diabetes and obesity. China seems to understand what the U.S. refuses to acknowledge — that the health of our planet and the health of our citizens are irrevocably linked.

Fifteen years ago, the U.S. dropped out of the Kyoto Protocol — the world’s first concerted effort to tackle climate change — with the argument that it was unfair to expect Western nations to curb emissions while exempting China. But now that China has fully signed on to the new Paris Agreement and has taken this important first step toward reducing its meat consumption, what’s holding back the U.S.?

It is a travesty that China acts while we sit on the sidelines refusing to address the most pressing issue of our time. Rather than bickering over “appropriate vehicles” while the planet melts and burns around us, we must respond. The only way to reclaim our status as world leader is by going beyond China’s measures.

First, the U.S. should drop federal subsidies for the animal-agriculture industry in favor of subsidies for plant-based foods. Next, we must lead on the development of in vitro meat, which generates 96 percent fewer greenhouse-gas emissions and whose production requires up to 99 percent less land, 96 percent less water and 45 percent less energy than “traditional” meat. Finally, we must all do our part as Americans by curbing our crippling addiction to animal flesh.

Go vegan, and the health of our environment — not to mention our status as a world leader — will follow.

Are meat-eaters selfish?

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Veggies and fruits available at the REC mobile farmers market van! (see schedule below) pic:R.T.

By Michelle Kretzer

We all ponder the question, “Am I selfish?” from time to time. And the answer is simple: Yes, probably. If you claim to care about the environment, animals, world hunger, skyrocketing healthcare costs or pretty much any of the major crises that we face today but are still eating meat, then yes, you are selfish.

Because we could drastically slow down climate change, feed the entire booming population, fix the broken healthcare system and save millions of lives right now if we wanted to. But we don’t. Not enough anyway. I mean, sure, we want to solve those problems. But … bacon.

Researchers from Oxford University’s Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food just published the results of their study on the impact of the meat industry on the environment and our health.

They found that if the human population made a global shift toward the dietary recommendations that we hear at least once a week about eating the minimum suggested amounts of fruit and vegetables, limiting red meat and sugar, and cutting overall calories, we could cut food-related greenhouse-gas emissions by 29 percent. That number jumps to 63 percent for a collective shift toward vegetarian eating. And if everyone on Earth went vegan, we could slash food-related greenhouse-gas emissions by 70 percent.

Simply following health recommendations to eat more plants and less meat could also prevent 5.1 million deaths by 2050. And if everyone chose vegan foods, we could save the lives of 8.1 million people. Healthy plant-based eating could save us $700 billion to $1 trillion every year on health care and lost working days. And the economic savings of significantly cutting our greenhouse-gas emissions could be as much as $570 billion.

Their results mirror the findings of pretty much every food study ever.

According to the filmmakers behind the documentary Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, “Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean ‘dead zones,’ and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged.”

The meat industry wastes a tremendous amount of water at a time when waging war over fresh water is no longer seen as a movie plot but as a very real threat. Animals raised for food are the primary consumers of water in the U.S., and if the rest of the world ate America’s meat-heavy diet, the Earth would have run out of fresh water 15 years ago.

Turning animals into meat is also a grossly inefficient use of other limited resources. It takes up to 13 kilograms of grain fed to farmed animals to produce just 1 kilogram of meat for the world’s wealthiest citizens. With 795 million people currently going hungry, the only way to produce enough food, according to Worldwatch Institute, is “to cut back sharply on meat consumption, because conversion of grazing land to food crops will increase the amount of food produced.”

Every day, one vegan saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forest, 20 pounds of greenhouse gases and an animal’s life.

By saving the Earth and animals, we also save ourselves. Numerous health studies have found that vegetarians and vegans enjoy lower rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, strokes, obesity and Alzheimer’s as well as lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and better overall health.

So, are you selfish? Think about it as you head off to fry some bacon … and the planet.

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Get your good-for-you goodies at REC’s Beaver Brook Park and Main South farmers markets and at the REC mobile farmers market van:

Farmers Market 1-1

Mobile Market-1