Tag Archives: animal suffering on factory farms

Not eating poultry – always in style! … An industry built on suffering

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They’re not chickens and they’re not dinner, but they’re lovely strutting before this cute little blue South Worcester home! Go, Worcester’s inner-city, go!!! pic:R.T.

By Dan Paden

What’s the backbone of the poultry industry?

Suffering.

And few touched by this industry escape unscathed.

Earlier this year, an Oxfam report found that workers at this country’s four largest chicken conglomerates are ignored, ridiculed or even threatened with being fired if they dare to ask for or take “unscheduled” bathroom breaks. Those who are unable to “hold it” are forced to urinate or defecate in place, while working the processing line—a demeaning and disgusting prospect. Some have resorted to wearing diapers while on the job.

Workers take additional hits in the form of ridiculously low wages and exposure to dangerous air conditions that may lead to asthma, bronchitis or other chronic respiratory illnesses. Those who work in slaughterhouses may lose fingertips—or even worse—to the machinery.

The poultry industry also turns a blind eye to the environment. Three of the top 15 U.S. waterway polluters are chicken companies, and poultry producers suck up clean water at an alarming rate. Chicken farms pump harmful bacteria and other pollutants into the air, potentially sickening nearby communities. And ironically, the current industry trend toward organic chicken—which produces smaller animals—exacerbates environmental decay: Raising smaller chickens means that the number of birds has to go up in order to meet demand, which, in turn, means more water wasted and hundreds of thousands of extra tons of manure to cope with (not to mention a larger number of suffering individuals).

In light of its complete disregard for its own workers and even the very air we breathe, it’s no surprise that the poultry industry condemns chickens, too, to widespread suffering. These inquisitive, clever animals are raised in filthy, windowless sheds, crammed in by the thousands, with virtually no opportunity to engage in natural forms of behavior, such as dustbathing and roosting. At slaughter time, they’ll be crammed into open-air trucks in the dead of night and transported through all weather extremes to the slaughterhouse. Some birds will die along the way, succumbing to dehydration, heat exhaustion or freezing temperatures or crushed under the weight of their cagemates.

The survivors will have their legs forcibly jammed into shackles, and as they hang helplessly upside-down, their throats will be cut by a spinning blade. But not all will die immediately: Each year, nearly 1 million birds will still be conscious when they are immersed in scalding-hot water so that their feathers can be removed.

Even at birth, chickens are shown little kindness. A recent PETA exposé of a massive North Carolina hatchery operated by Sanderson Farms, Inc.—also one of the companies cited by Oxfam’s damning report—documented that chicks who hatched later than expected were often left to suffer in barren plastic crates. These hours-old babies—deprived of warmth, comfort and mothering—are seen gasping for air, some too weak to stand or lift their heads. Discarded but still-living chicks were dropped into a giant grinding machine called a macerator—but some fell to the side and were simply left alone to languish and die.

Perhaps what’s most shocking is that in the poultry industry, it’s standard practice for unwanted chicks to be ground up alive, just as it’s standard practice to confine older birds for their entire lives to windowless sheds. None of this everyday suffering is illegal in the many states whose anti-cruelty statutes exempt “normal” factory-farming practices.

Most consumers, though, have no idea that when they buy eggs, chicken, other types of meat or even dairy foods at the grocery store, they are financially supporting institutionalized abuse. Investigations by PETA and other concerned groups into the abuse that occurs out of the public eye are crucial for consumers to understand where their foods come from. But across the country, anti-whistleblower laws (commonly referred to as “ag-gag” laws)—which block people from documenting and exposing cruelty to animals—threaten these vital investigations. Such laws protect abusers, never the abused.

All those chicken fingers, buffalo wings, rotisserie-roasted breasts—every single purchase contributes to suffering. Every single purchase declares your support for the abusers rather than for the abused. Stick up for the abused: Go vegan!

Are meat-eaters selfish?

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Tropical veggie bean burger and mac salad. By eating less meat you help curb global warming.

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. 

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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.

Memo to the FDA: Label ‘unhealthy’ foods

By Heather Moore

Should we all pitch in and buy the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a dictionary? Apparently, the agency is looking for the modern definition of “healthy.” It seems to have no idea what the term means — or should mean — and it’s planning to ask the public for input.

Here’s my suggestion: Forget about “healthy” labels on food packaging. More people will pay attention if the government plasters “unhealthy” labels on packages of meat, eggs and dairy products.

There’s no doubt that federal officials need to catch up with current ideas about what’s healthy — and what’s not. For example, the government still allows “pink slime” — bright pink ammonia-treated meat — to be used as filler in ground beef and permits schools to count pizza as a vegetable if it contains at least two tablespoonfuls of tomato paste. When it isn’t trying to determine whether vegan mayo counts as mayo without the inclusion of artery-clogging eggs, it’s making nutty demands about snack labels. Last year, the FDA warned a manufacturer of fruit-and-nut bars to stop using the term “healthy” on its packaging because the heart-healthy fats in nuts don’t meet the current labeling criteria. While that warning was recently rescinded, the fiasco reportedly prompted the FDA to review its antiquated “healthy” labels.

Here’s why meat, eggs and dairy products should never receive the stamp of approval: Animal-based foods contain cholesterol and saturated fat, which can build up inside the coronary arteries, putting a person at risk for a heart attack. Meat and other animal-based foods can also cause cancer, diabetes, strokes and other life-threatening illnesses.

A new study by the Mayo Clinic in Arizona shows that you can increase your life expectancy by about four years — and probably enhance your quality of life, too — by eating plant-based foods rather than animal-based ones. Researchers analyzed six studies involving more than 1.5 million people and, among other conclusions, determined that processed meat significantly increases the risk of mortality and that people who eat little to no meat may be up to 50 percent less likely to die prematurely than people who eat a lot of meat. Other studies suggest that people who eat plant-based foods live up to 10 years longer than meat-eaters and that vegans are less likely to suffer from debilitating diseases.

In March, the Netherlands began officially advising people to eat significantly less meat — no more than two servings per week — and instead to eat plant-based foods, including beans and nuts. The United Kingdom also recently encouraged its residents to replace several servings of animal protein with healthy vegan foods.

Isn’t it time the U.S. did the same?

In 2012, the government began putting nutrition labels on certain types of raw meat so that shoppers could see how many calories — and how much fat, cholesterol and sodium — are in chicken breasts, steaks, pork chops and other types of meat. It was a good start, but labels proclaiming, “Warning: Consumption of this product can cause heart disease, cancer and other diseases that can lead to premature death,” would be much more effective.

I’ll settle for “unhealthy,” though. It’s concise and easy to understand. And while I won’t hold my breath waiting for the government to require labels reminding shoppers that each package of meat contains the decaying flesh of a dead, dismembered animal, that would make a difference, too.

Thankfully, we don’t have to wait for government labels in order to make healthy, humane choices. We can just do it ourselves. If you care about your health—as well as animals and the environment — just choose wholesome vegan foods. Nowadays, no one needs a dictionary to know what “vegan” means – not even the FDA.

Very cool!

From THEGUARDIAN.COM:

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Wildlife underpasses not only reduce the number of animals being hit by cars but also preserve movement and gene flow for the animals on both sides of the road.

The movement of genes occurs when an animal born on one side crosses the road and breeds on the other.

The three young cougars being led through this culvert by their mother will be accustomed to using it and are likely to look for mates on either side.

Photograph: Tony Clevinger/Johns Hopkins University Press

Want more great national and international pics, news and feature stories? Go to our big yellow finger on this website AND CLICK ON THE GUARDIAN LINK! You will get this – CLICK HERE!

Enjoy great stories, photos, videos from a terrific news media organization – theguardian.com !  – R.T.

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Cool vegan cook book you can give Mum this Mother’s Day! Zero animals killed/tortured!

BETTY GOES VEGAN – R.T.

Great NYT column!

WE NEED LAWS THAT WILL ENSURE MASS AND US FARM ANIMALS ARE HOUSED/TREATED HUMANELY!   – R.T.

Animal Cruelty or the Price of Dinner?

By Nicholas Kristof

THIS month a man in Orlando, Fla., dangled a dog by the scruff of its neck over a second-floor balcony, threatening to drop it 12 feet to the ground.

Onlookers intervened and tried to rescue the dog. Someone posted a video of the dangling dog on Facebook, and the clip went viral. Galvanized by public outrage, the police combed the area and on Tuesday announced that a 23-year-old man named Ransom May II had been arrested on a charge of cruelty to animals. The arrest made news nationwide.

Meanwhile, in the United States this year, almost nine billion chickens will be dangled upside down on conveyor belts and slaughtered; when the process doesn’t work properly, the birds are scalded alive.

Hmm. So scaring one dog stirs more reaction than far worse treatment of billions of chickens.

Look, I don’t believe in reincarnation. But if I’m wrong, let’s hope you and I are fated to come back as puppies and not as chickens.

CLICK HERE to read the entire column!

Protect our history with every bite

By Jennifer Bates

Boston, Massachusetts. St. Augustine, Florida. Jamestown, Virginia. The events that took place at these sites helped write our country’s history. But now our gluttony could erase them forever.

Our seemingly unquenchable appetite for meat, dairy foods and eggs condemns billions of sentient animals annually to miserable lives in squalid pens and jam-packed cages followed by deaths that are terrifying and painful. But it is also fundamentally altering our landscape. Widespread animal agriculture is responsible for up to 51 percent of the global greenhouse-gas emissions that are heating up the planet at an alarming rate. Warmer air means that glacial ice—and giant hunks of it—could disintegrate in just a few decades. If the West Antarctic ice sheet melts, it could raise sea levels by 12 feet or more, and if that happens, the physical record of our country’s early history along the East Coast will literally wash away.

But our relentless drive for foods made from animals will decimate more than cultural landmarks. The animal-agriculture industry fouls everything that it touches as it oozes across the planet. It churns heavy metals and other poisons into our water and spews toxins such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia into the air. It sickens and chokes human communities unfortunate enough to be in its suffocating shadow and eliminates entire species as it clear-cuts huge swaths of forest.

What will future generations think of us when they learn that they can’t explore Boston or see a glacier up close because our generation valued the pleasure of the palate over the environment and its diverse life forms? We will lose everything to our expanding waistlines—our clean water and fresh air, our healthy communities and national treasures—if we do not make a change, and soon.

Earth Day is a good time for us to make that change. Every year, more than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities like composting or choosing to buy locally grown produce. But what if those participants—one-seventh of all humanity—also went vegan? Billions fewer animals would be raised and slaughtered for fleeting meals, and the domino effect would be astounding. The dramatic reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions would slow the rising of oceans. Water previously channeled into factory farms would instead be used for human consumption. Oceanic dead zones—areas where little life can survive, thanks to pollutants from farm runoff—could begin to rebound, as could ecosystems damaged by rampant overfishing.

Fewer animals would also mean more crops for human consumption. As things stand now, we grow enough food for every human on the planet. But much of what we grow is diverted into feed for cows, chickens and other animals so that the populations of rich countries can eat animal flesh and eggs and drink animal milk—an inefficient system that is as unjust to the world’s poor as it is cruel to animals.

So on this Earth Day, don’t settle for small actions. Make the choice that will help preserve humanity’s past, protect its present and ensure its future: Go vegan.

Strike out cancer! Go vegan!

By Heather Moore

April is Cancer Control Month.

It’s also the official start of baseball season.

Every year, Major League Baseball (MLB) partners with a national cancer charity to show support for those who have been touched by cancer. Each season, during the All-Star Game and the World Series, MLB invites players, coaches, umpires and fans to “stand up to cancer” by holding up signs bearing the names of loved ones who are battling the disease.

I always get choked up during these events, especially since my mother and a close friend are breast cancer survivors. But then I remember that many of the foods sold in baseball stadiums — like hot dogs and hamburgers — can cause cancer, and the initiative suddenly seems incongruous.

Selling meat at stadiums where people are encouraged to take a stand against cancer makes about as much sense as serving booze at a benefit for MADD or taking doughnuts to a Weight Watchers meeting.

While it’s fun to see players swinging pink bats to raise awareness about breast cancer or wearing blue wristbands to call attention to prostate cancer (the second most common cancer among men), it would be far more effective for MLB to warn fans about the connection between cancer and meat — or better yet, for all MLB stadiums to stop selling carcinogenic foods.

In April 2015, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council sent out a news release estimating that baseball fans would eat more than 18.5 million hot dogs and nearly 4.2 million sausages — enough processed animal flesh to stretch from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia to Chase Field in Phoenix — during the 2015 Major League season. But six months later, the World Health Organization made headlines when it published a report announcing findings that processed meats cause cancer and that red meat is probably carcinogenic, too.

Then in March, a study published in Cancer Causes & Control found that Latinas who eat a serving of processed meat per day about the size of a strip of bacon have a 42 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer than those who don’t. Another recent study, this one by Loma Linda University Health, shows that vegan men are a third less likely than nonvegan men to develop prostate cancer.

And according to a recent Oxford University study, if everyone stopped eating animal-based foods, this could save 8.1 million human lives a year — not to mention billions of animals. The study’s researchers believe that if we all went vegan, the combined numbers of deaths per year from cancer, heart disease, strokes and diabetes would decrease by 19 percent.

I’m hoping fans will eat considerably less meat this season, and that stadiums will offer more vegan options. I’m seeing promising signs so far. This March, Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota — the springtime home of my beloved Baltimore Orioles — began offering veggie dogs in addition to veggie burgers, which have been available for several years now. And this season, there will be a vegan food cart at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, which will feature vegan nachos, vegan jerky, vegan spinach wraps and other vegan options. Almost makes me want to root for the Rangers!

Many other major league stadiums, including Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park; Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles; Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.; and U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, have scored spots on PETA’s annual listing of vegetarian-friendly ballparks. And I don’t just mean for their popcorn, peanuts and Cracker Jacks, either — some offer vegan cheesesteak, vegetable sushi, black-bean burgers and other vegan items. That’s really something to cheer about.

So, let’s take a stand against cancer and other diseases — as well as against cruelty to animals — by choosing vegan fare at the ballpark and beyond. And if MLB does its part by continuing to increase vegan offerings at stadiums, it will actually help strike out — instead of perpetuating — cancer.