Tag Archives: meat

This holiday season keep in mind: There’s no such thing as humanely raised meat

By Dan Paden

Just how humane is “humanely raised” meat?
 
If you’ve been to a natural foods store or upscale restaurant lately, you’ve likely seen signs proclaiming that at least some of the meat came from “humanely raised” animals.

But what exactly does that mean? As a new PETA investigation has found, “humane meat” labels are often worth less than the recycled paper they’re printed on.
 
This summer, a PETA eyewitness worked at a Pennsylvania farm that claims to produce “humanely raised pork” and is a supplier to Whole Foods.

The farm is certified as a “Step 2” pig farm by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), a group spearheaded by Whole Foods with the goal of “improving animal welfare,” and is ranked higher and considered more animal-friendly than the majority of GAP-certified pig farms.
 
If you’re envisioning bucolic scenes with lush pastures, in which animals roam freely and breathe fresh air, think again.
 
Far from being free-roaming, the pigs on this farm spent almost all their time crammed into crowded sheds on concrete flooring. They never even touched the farm’s lush green grass, and the only time they were ever outside was when they were trucked from one shed to another, put on a scale to be weighed or sent to slaughter. Some pigs were kept in virtual darkness deep inside a barn.
 
Pigs had straw in the sheds, as required by GAP standards, but little other “enrichment.” Even though GAP requires that pigs’ “thermal comfort” be maintained at all times, on hot days, hundreds of pigs had access to a single water sprinkler.
 
On one day when the heat index exceeded 90°F, more than 20 pigs were tightly packed into a metal trailer more than 24 hours before they were hauled to slaughter—just because the manager didn’t want to wait another day to pull straw out of a pen. They had no choice but to stand or sit on top of each other for much of that time. On another day, several pigs were left on a trailer with no protection from heavy rain and approximately 60 mph winds.
 
Whole Foods’ standards require that sick or injured pigs be promptly euthanized if necessary, but PETA’s eyewitness saw obviously sick and injured pigs’ condition worsen for days or even weeks.

If a veterinarian did provide these animals with care, the observer never saw it, despite more than two months of working full-time at the farm. One pig ran an intermittent fever for about a month before finally being shot in the head and killed.

Another pig whose apparent neurological ailments caused her to go lame was left for eight days until she, too, was shot. Other pigs with grotesque rectal prolapses—as large as an orange and dripping with blood—were allowed to suffer in that condition without adequate care for up to 24 days.
 
The eyewitness documented the actions of a manager on the farm who grabbed and lifted pigs weighing over 70 pounds by their sensitive ears in order to vaccinate them. The manager also hit pigs being loaded for slaughter with a hard plastic board. Agitated, frustrated pigs bit each other’s tails, sometimes causing bloody wounds.
 
It’s understandable that consumers want to avoid supporting cruelty to animals when they shop, but it’s time for us to admit that “humane meat” is an oxymoron. Sparing animals some marginal cruelty in factory-farm practices is not the same thing as being “humane,” and it never will be. Even on farms that follow “humane”-certification standards to the letter, animals may still be castrated, branded and dehorned without painkillers; starve and become dehydrated because of lameness; be held in intensive confinement in unnatural conditions; and end up being scalded to death.
 
The only “humane meat” is vegan meat, which you can find in any well-stocked supermarket — including Whole Foods.

Just how humane is “humanely raised” meat?

By Dan Paden
 
If you’ve been to a natural foods store or upscale restaurant lately, you’ve likely seen signs proclaiming that at least some of the meat came from “humanely raised” animals. But what exactly does that mean? As a new PETA investigation has found, “humane meat” labels are often worth less than the recycled paper they’re printed on.
 
This summer, a PETA eyewitness worked at a Pennsylvania farm that claims to produce “humanely raised pork” and is a supplier to Whole Foods. The farm is certified as a “Step 2” pig farm by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), a group spearheaded by Whole Foods with the goal of “improving animal welfare,” and is ranked higher and considered more animal-friendly than the majority of GAP-certified pig farms.
 
If you’re envisioning bucolic scenes with lush pastures, in which animals roam freely and breathe fresh air, think again.
 
Far from being free-roaming, the pigs on this farm spent almost all their time crammed into crowded sheds on concrete flooring. They never even touched the farm’s lush green grass, and the only time they were ever outside was when they were trucked from one shed to another, put on a scale to be weighed or sent to slaughter. Some pigs were kept in virtual darkness deep inside a barn.
 
Pigs had straw in the sheds, as required by GAP standards, but little other “enrichment.” Even though GAP requires that pigs’ “thermal comfort” be maintained at all times, on hot days, hundreds of pigs had access to a single water sprinkler.
 
On one day when the heat index exceeded 90°F, more than 20 pigs were tightly packed into a metal trailer more than 24 hours before they were hauled to slaughter—just because the manager didn’t want to wait another day to pull straw out of a pen. They had no choice but to stand or sit on top of each other for much of that time. On another day, several pigs were left on a trailer with no protection from heavy rain and approximately 60 mph winds.
 
Whole Foods’ standards require that sick or injured pigs be promptly euthanized if necessary, but PETA’s eyewitness saw obviously sick and injured pigs’ condition worsen for days or even weeks. If a veterinarian did provide these animals with care, the observer never saw it, despite more than two months of working full-time at the farm. One pig ran an intermittent fever for about a month before finally being shot in the head and killed. Another pig whose apparent neurological ailments caused her to go lame was left for eight days until she, too, was shot. Other pigs with grotesque rectal prolapses—as large as an orange and dripping with blood—were allowed to suffer in that condition without adequate care for up to 24 days.
 
The eyewitness documented the actions of a manager on the farm who grabbed and lifted pigs weighing over 70 pounds by their sensitive ears in order to vaccinate them. The manager also hit pigs being loaded for slaughter with a hard plastic board. Agitated, frustrated pigs bit each other’s tails, sometimes causing bloody wounds.
 
It’s understandable that consumers want to avoid supporting cruelty to animals when they shop, but it’s time for us to admit that “humane meat” is an oxymoron. Sparing animals some marginal cruelty in factory-farm practices is not the same thing as being “humane,” and it never will be. Even on farms that follow “humane”-certification standards to the letter, animals may still be castrated, branded and dehorned without painkillers; starve and become dehydrated because of lameness; be held in intensive confinement in unnatural conditions; and end up being scalded to death.
 
The only “humane meat” is vegan meat, which you can find in any well-stocked supermarket — including Whole Foods.
 

People who buy “humane meat” are kidding themselves

By Michelle Kretzer

At dinner with a friend the other night, it became glaringly obvious to me how ubiquitous the “humane meat” movement is becoming in our food culture.

As we perused the menu at a quaint, locally owned Italian restaurant, we were struck by the prominently placed reassurances that the chicken was “free-range” and “all-natural.” Our server was well versed in “humane meat” vernacular, rattling off phrases such as “small, sustainable farms” with the same quick recall with which she could recite chardonnays.

The growing demand for meat labeled “organic” and even “humane” and raised “according to the highest animal-welfare standards” is a response to our collective distaste for the factory farming of animals.

People are disgusted, and rightly so, by the intense confinement, deprivation and mutilation that animals endure, followed by what is often a violent and painful slaughter.

But when author, historian and Texas State University professor James McWilliams took a closer look at the claims of “humane meat” and the farms that supply it, he found that behind the “agrarian myth, bucolic marketing, media hype, and self-interested rationalizations” are more torment and abuse of animals.

In his new book, The Modern Savage: Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals, McWilliams exposes the pervasive cruelty even on so-called “humane” farms and examines the hypocrisy of claiming to care about animal welfare while still “supporting the very products that allow agribusiness not only to stay in business, but to thrive.” And he convincingly presents the only real solution to the problem of industrial animal agriculture: We must stop eating animals.

Simply removing animals from the industrial setting usually doesn’t change people’s view or treatment of them. Even on so-called “humane” farms, animals are still commodities to be processed and turned into profit. McWilliams writes about a dairy farmer who names each of his cows but still slaughters them when their milk production starts to wane. Farmers of grass-fed cattle heartlessly tear calves away from their loving mothers and sell them to industrial farms for “cash flow.” Pigs have septum rings clipped to their snouts to stop them from rooting. A sow has each of her babies wrenched away and sold, “squealing and shrieking,” and the males are castrated without painkillers. Chickens—heavily medicated and denied veterinary care—die of disease, extreme weather and attacks by other animals.

As PETA noted in a complaint filed last November with the Federal Trade Commission, even deliberate abuse of animals, including kicking and throwing them, does not necessarily cause a company to fail the “humane” certification process.

And the idea of “humane” farming is built on a glaring, inescapable paradox: The animal is killed, but death is never mentioned. It’s what McWilliams calls a clever “sleight of hand” trick that allows “humane meat” purveyors to convince consumers that because the animals may have had one or two small improvements to their living conditions compared to conditions in factory farming, their deaths are somehow immaterial.

Most “humanely raised” animals are killed in the same slaughterhouses used by factory farms. McWilliams quotes a farmer who talks about a “kind,” “gentle” pig: “I will never forget the way she looked back at me as she walked through the slaughter chute.” A goat farmer laments, “To watch a sentient being gasp for air and to look into his eyes filled with fear and to see the blood coming from his neck―it’s the most heart-wrenching, awful thing.” A self-proclaimed “humane farmer” admits that “out of the corner of your eye, in the blurry periphery of your vision, something dark, and something evil lurks: It is the truth: meat is indeed murder.”

We are of course outraged by industrial animal agriculture. But the appropriate response isn’t the rhetoric of “humane meat.” We can do better. We can show genuine compassion to animals and let them have the only thing they would ask for: simply to live in peace.

Top 10 reasons not to eat turkey this Thanksgiving

From PETA.ORG.       – R.T.

PETALiving-social-10-reasons-to-not-eat-turkeys-v1

Pardon me, pilgrim! This Thanksgiving, how about ditching the dead bird? In today’s farming system, beautiful, inquisitive, intelligent turkeys endure lives of suffering and painful deaths. Here are 10 good reasons to carve out a new tradition by flocking to vegan entrées, along with some scrumptious holiday cooking tips and recipes—and thankfully, none of them require stuffing anyone:

1. Personality Plus
Turkeys are “smart animals with personality and character, and keen awareness of their surroundings,” says Oregon State University poultry scientist Tom Savage. The Atlantic article “Consider the Turkey” reports that researchers “have found that when an individual turkey is removed from his flock, even in domesticity, he’ll squawk in obvious protest until reunited with his posse.” They relish having their feathers stroked. They dance when reunited with a person they recognize. Anyone who spends time with them at farm sanctuaries quickly learns that turkeys are as varied in personality as dogs and cats.

Wild Turkey

2. Let Them Give Thanks, Too
The natural life expectancy of turkeys is up to 10 years, but on factory farms, they are slaughtered when they’re just 5 months old. In nature, young turkeys stay with their mothers for the first few months of their lives. Since Thanksgiving is a time to take stock of our lives and give thanks for all that we have, let turkeys give thanks, too, by keeping them off your plate.



Read more: http://www.peta.org/living/food/top-10-reasons-eat-turkeys/#ixzz3JPvDn0J2

The whole country is eating no/less meat!!! HOORAY!

Excellent article from the Wall Street Journal!! What we’ve been telling you for years! Eating meat wrecks the planet, your waistline, your cholesterol level, your heart … To read entire story, CLICK HERE!     – R.T.

Meat on the Side: Modern Menus Shift the Focus to Vegetables

Anchoring a plate with a massive hunk of animal protein is so last century. But let’s face it: Vegetarianism isn’t for everyone. Increasingly, chefs like Jody Adams in Boston, Michael Solomonov in Philadelphia and Alain Ducasse in Paris are finding delicious ways to strike a balance between health and hedonism

 

What are you eating, really?

By Paula Moore

What are you eating, really? If you’ve been following the news about Europe’s horsemeat scandal — and how could you not, with new developments springing up seemingly every day — you know that consumers who thought that they were buying beef and pork have actually been buying horseflesh. Authorities have found horsemeat in everything from burgers and frozen lasagna to Swedish meatballs.

But that’s Europe’s problem, right? Not so fast. A similar food-labeling scandal is brewing here at home, this one involving fish. It’s raising red flags — and it should make all of us think twice about what, or whom, we are putting on our plates.

A study just released by the ocean-conservation group Oceana has “uncovered widespread seafood fraud across the United States.” One-third of the more than 1,200 fish samples that Oceana bought from restaurants, supermarkets and sushi bars and DNA-tested were found to be mislabeled. According to the study, premium red snapper is almost never red snapper. “White tuna” is more often escolar, a species that has garnered the unforgettable nickname the “Ex-Lax fish” (more on that in a minute). “Wild” or “king” salmon is often actually cheaper farmed Atlantic salmon.

This pervasive fish fraud affects more than consumers’ purses and palates. It also poses a real health risk.

In what Oceana calls “one of the most egregious swaps,” tilefish—a species that often contains dangerous levels of mercury—is substituted for halibut and red snapper. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns pregnant women, children and other vulnerable populations not to eat tilefish.

High levels of mercury in the body can cause symptoms as diverse as fatigue, depression, difficulty concentrating and headaches. In severe cases, neurological damage can result. A study released in January by Maine’s Biodiversity Research Institute found that fish flesh from around the world is regularly contaminated with mercury levels that exceed human-health guidelines. But because both mercury pollution and fish supplies are global—90 percent of the seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported—and because, as we now know, mislabeling is common, how can consumers avoid eating tainted fish?

Oceana’s study also revealed that 84 percent of all “white tuna” samples were really escolar. This fish, a deep-sea bottom-feeder, is full of wax esters (similar to castor or mineral oil) that are not digestible by humans, and eating it can cause severe gastrointestinal distress. Think explosive, oily diarrhea distress. There’s a reason why it’s called the Ex-Lax fish. Escolar has been banned outright in Italy and Japan, and several other countries, including Canada, require that it come with warning labels.

But for the fish, none of this really matters. Whether they are tuna or tilapia, farmed or wild-caught, “sustainable” or not, all fish feel pain and they suffer horribly on the journey from sea to supermarket.

When fish are dragged out of their ocean homes in huge nets (along with “non-target” victims such as dolphins and turtles), their gills often collapse, their eyes bulge out of their heads and their swim bladders burst because of the sudden pressure change. Farmed fish suffer from stress, infections and parasites as a result of crowded, filthy and unnatural living conditions. And since many of the most popular species of factory-farmed fish are carnivores, fish must still be caught in the wild to feed fish on farms.

Since the horsemeat scandal broke, many consumers in Europe have stopped buying meat altogether and have switched to eating vegetarian meals. Anyone concerned about their own health (or animal welfare) should do the same, no matter where they live. Going vegetarian reduces your risk of cancer, heart disease, obesity and many other ills. And while consuming mislabeled meat or fish can put you at risk, you’re in little danger if you mistake a kumquat for a kiwi.

 

 

Gifts for pets … and a song

By Deb Young
Sixty-two percent of U.S. households have pets, according to a 2011 survey by the American Pet Products Association. Many of these furry friends also will get a little something extra under the tree this holiday season.
All though they may not be able to unwrap presents with their paws,something special is guaranteed to earn you extra kisses and snuggles.
No matter the dog breed, these dog gift ideas are always a hit.
The basic idea: choose something that benefits the dog and the dog owner. Because happy dogs make happy owners (and vice versa).
Some gift ideas:
1. No pull Harnesses, If you have a dog that likes to pull on walks, it might be time to try . Theyare favorites of professional dog trainers around the world.
Your walks will be more enjoyable and in turn, you’ll probably end up walking your dog more often.
2. Doggles , Protective eyewear for dogs ,Whether he’s riding on the back of a bike or in a boat, make sure Rover’s eyes are properly protected.
3. Kongs are great for mental stimulation , Remember, don’t make it too hard for dogs who are soft. Keep the stuffing to their levels, or they will get frustrated and not try.
4. Clothes for dogs,  If you are still on the fence, consider this: Sure, dogs come equipped with their own external layering system, but some dogs have lighter layers of fur than others, and some are not genetically suited to the environments in which they find themselves transplanted. So your dog may in fact be extremely uncomfortable with the winter temperatures , as uncomfortable as you would be if you went outside without clothing.
5. Home made treats, The fact is, dog treats can be expensive. Plus, the ingredients in them aren’t always best for your dog. Commercial dog treats can have preservatives, food coloring and other things that you may not want your dog to eat.

That being the case, making your own homemade dog treats can be one of the best ways to not only be sure of what you are feeding your dog, but it can actually save you money too. Thousands of recipes can be found online.

For felines..
1. Thermal cat cushion, this is a comfy, cozy place for your cat to sleep. As kitty curls up in it, the cushion is warmed by his own body heat.
2. Expandable Cat Tunnel, Cats love to play and this multi-colored tunnel is great for hide and seek.
3. Feline “Greenies” , nothing is better or easier in promoting good dental care. These are textured treats that will also help scrape away tarter and cats love them.
4. Cat Cottage,This is top of the line! A 2-story decorated cottage, extra strong, accommodating cats up to 20 pounds. Includes two top floor lookouts, four hide and seek windows and two bottom level entry doors.
5. Laser light, You can get one at Wal-Mart, Petco, or probably any store that sells cat toys and supplies for under $10. This is a good way to engage your cat in interactive play with you.

**************************

And for 2013 … try to eat way less meat … or go veggie! A song by one of our fave vegetarians (you thought we were gonna pick Paul McCartney, didn’t you?) Click on link below. – R. Tirella

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL5spALs-eA

Don’t let the drought dry up your wallet

By Heather Moore

Dry enough for you? No one needs to be reminded that the nation is experiencing the worst drought in half a century, with nearly two-thirds of the continental U.S. suffering from drought conditions. The dry, hot weather is fueling wildfires, scorching lawns and sending food prices soaring—especially for people who eat meat, eggs and dairy products.

If you’re concerned about your grocery bills—or your health—now would be a good time to start buying vegan foods instead of animal-based ones.

Farmed animals are fed more than 70 percent of the grains grown in the U.S. It takes 4.5 pounds of grain to make just 1 pound of chicken meat and 7.3 pounds of grain to produce a pound of pork. Now that many corn, wheat and soybean crops have been damaged or destroyed because of the drought, feed prices are soaring. It’s so bad that some meat companies, including Smithfield Foods, have even started importing corn from Brazil. Guess who’s going to foot the bill?

Meat-eaters can expect to see a spike in prices in the coming months. Consumers who eat cheese will probably also have to pick up the tab for all the calves who died from heat stress on Midwestern dairy farms in July.

Shoppers will likely see higher prices at the chicken counter first, though. The birds are fed mostly corn, and since chicken farmers engineer them to grow unnaturally fast, chicken flesh tends to reach the market quicker than beef or pork.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts that chicken and turkey prices will rise 3.5 to 4.5 percent and that egg prices will likely climb by as much as 4 percent. Beef prices are also expected to rise between 3.5 and 4.5 percent this year and then by 4 or 5 percent in 2013. Pork will cost more in the coming year as well.

It’s cheaper, not to mention healthier and kinder, to eat grains and soybeans—and all the foods that can be made from them—directly rather than funneling them through farmed animals to produce animal products. The amount of feed needed to produce one 8-ounce steak would fill 45 to 50 bowls with cooked cereal grains. And while shoppers will see a spike in milk and meat prices, they probably won’t see a significant increase in the cost of corn on the cob, cornflakes or other plant-based foods sold in supermarkets. The corn that consumers buy at the grocery store is grown differently from the corn that’s used to feed animals and isn’t as severely affected by drought conditions.

Whole grains, beans, vegetables and other wholesome plant-based foods are even more of a bargain when you factor in the medical bills that you might rack up if you eat lots of fatty, cholesterol-laden meats, eggs and dairy products.

Of course, choosing vegan foods isn’t just a good way to save animals or money at the supermarket. It’s also an easy way to help conserve water—you can save more water by not eating 1 pound of meat than you can by not showering for six months. Even a collaborative rain dance likely wouldn’t make that much of a difference!

Whether you’re watching your budget, your waistline or just the weather channel, it’ll pay to go vegan. But if you need some extra exercise, feel free to do a rain dance anyway.

Fight cancer with food

By Jonny Imerman

This week is Men’s Health Week — a good time for men of all ages to kick-start healthy habits. In my 20s, I survived two bouts of testicular cancer. Since that time, I’ve helped create a one-on-one cancer support organization, Imerman Angels, that connects someone fighting cancer with a person who’s been in the same shoes and survived. It gives me so much joy to give back. However, for years my own body didn’t feel its best. Last year, I went vegan, and I’ve never felt better.

I’m not here to lecture. I ate meat and dairy products for years, so who am I to judge? We cancer survivors should never judge regardless; we’re happy just to be here still. But I hope that by hearing about my experience, you’ll feel a little more empowered to take your health into your own hands.

One of the turning points that helped me decide to go vegan was listening to leukemia researcher Dr. Rosane Oliveira—herself a vegan—from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign speak about how dietary changes can help people lead healthier lives. I learned that research has linked the standard American diet—full of cholesterol and saturated fats—with serious illnesses, including cancer, while vegetarians have been shown to have a much lower cancer risk.

Animal proteins and saturated fats found in meat promote the growth of cancer cells and increase our risk for certain types of cancer. Cornell professor T. Colin Campbell’s China Study concluded that proteins from animal foods are the most cancer-causing substances ingested by humans. The study also found that casein, the primary protein in cow’s milk, “turns on” the growth of cancer cells. A link has even been discovered between dairy products and testicular cancer, which makes me even more confident in my decision to dump dairy.

Vegan foods, in contrast, help fight cancer. A study of men diagnosed with prostate cancer found that a diet rich in plant foods can slow or even halt the progression of the disease. Dark, leafy veggies like spinach and kale and fruits like blueberries are loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants, and beans, whole grains, and other fiber-rich foods help rid your body of excess hormones that can contribute to cancer growth.

Vegan eating has other benefits, too. Following my treatment, I felt so tired and beaten down—my immune system was rattled. Now, even though I regularly meet and shake the hands of many people, I haven’t been sick once (and for people with cancer, an immune system boost can make all the difference). I feel great, I’m strong in the gym and my energy levels are high.

I also love animals, and it feels good knowing that the food I’m eating doesn’t contribute to their suffering. Another turning point for me was watching the video that Sir Paul McCartney narrated for PETA, “Glass Walls,” which includes undercover video footage showing how animals are slaughtered, suffering and in pain. There seems to be a great synergy between cancer survivors, who value their lives and health so highly because they are lucky to be alive, and people who choose to eat compassionate and healthy vegan foods.

You don’t have to take my word for it about the advantages of eating vegan, though. Try it for yourself. Healthy vegan foods provide all the nutrients that we need, so there’s nothing to lose and plenty to gain.

Just got a nice note from Worcester School Committee member Tracy Novick …

By Rosalie Tirella

… She thanked me for the support I gave to her get-the-pink-slime-out-of-our-school-meat lunches crusade.

As you all know, we have taken ol’ Tracy to the wood shed for her not-so-smart (some would say brutal) crusade to fire WPSchools Superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone, Worcester’s first female African American superintendent. Dr. Boone cares about kids and knows her stuff.

But I digress … .

I want to say: When it comes to animals/factory farming/vegetarianism (and inner-city kids’ health), anyone who comes out in favor of the animals/kids, gets a thumbs up from us.

We have written (for a decade) about the brutal living conditions of cows, chickens, all “farm animals” often literally stacked in huge, concrete, sunlight deprived, fresh-air deprived, warehouses. Torture chambers – not farms.

The insanity must stop.

If WPS committee member Tracy Novick makes it her mission to create MEATLESS MONDAY’s in our public schools, reduces the amount of meat WPSchools students are eating, works to get our school buyers to work with organic farms where animals are allowed to roam freely in meadows, etc, before they meet their Maker, then she has our support.

If Novick can bring in vegetarian dishes – or at least get city leaders to see meat as a garnish, as opposed to a main dish – then she can run for President of the USA and we will give her free ads until she wins.

This issue is so dear to my heart!

So I say: Good job, Tracy Novick!

************** AND HERE ARE SOME GREAT STORIES ON ANIMALS  ….

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/us/death-and-disarray-at-americas-racetracks.html?_r=1

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/16/isle-royale-gray-wolves_n_1352568.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/17/aqueduct-horse-track-deaths-cuomo-letter-luck-hbo_n_1353724.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/16/alec-baldwin-peta-ad-elephant_n_1353790.html