USDA Seeks Public Comment for Better Animal Welfare Act Standards

Below is a press release on a Rulemaking Petition submitted to the USDA promoting the psychological well-being of all primate species in labs that is consistent with new NIH standards for chimpanzees held for research. The comment period is now open.

"USDA promulgating clear standards is critical to giving all primates in laboratories protections for their psychological well-being that they are already entitled to under federal law. The law, absent clear, specific and enforceable accompanying regulations, allows laboratories to interpret to their convenience. The regulations proposed in our Petition go far further in assuring primates are afforded protections they desperately need."
-NEAVS President Theodora Capaldo, EdD

The petition was submitted by the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS), the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA), the Laboratory Primate Advocacy Group (LPAG), and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).




Theodora Capaldo
617-413-0611 / 978-352-8175

Megan Backus
707-795-2533 x1010

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Seeks Public Comment for Better Animal Welfare Act Standards to Promote the Psychological Well-Being of Primates in Labs

May 1, 2015 (Washington, D.C.) – Today the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced in the Federal Register that it will solicit public comment on a Rulemaking Petition that was submitted by the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS), the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA), the Laboratory Primate Advocacy Group (LPAG), and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to adopt stronger standards under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to promote the psychological well-being of primates used in research. The Petition was submitted to the USDA almost a year ago. It seeks to have the agency adopt, for all primates, enforceable standards that are consistent with recommendations recently accepted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for “ethologically appropriate environments” for chimpanzees held for research. If accepted by the agency, the new standards would apply to all facilities conducting research on all species of non-human primates.

The requested standards are based on scientific evidence and support from leading world primate experts. Such clearly defined standards would require all research facilities to provide for the psychological well-being of primates by requiring primates be housed in social groups, promoting environmental enhancement, requiring access to outdoors, and providing opportunity for choice and self-determination – all vital to primates’ psychological well-being. Further, the co-petitioners seek to assure that primates showing signs of psychological distress are given defined special considerations to alleviate their suffering.

The AWA was amended in 1985 to require the USDA to issue “minimum standards” for a “physical environment adequate to promote the psychological well-being of primates.” However, since then the USDA has failed to promulgate enforceable standards and has instead allowed research facilities to develop their own “enhancement plans” that are not even required to be approved by the USDA and are not made available for public scrutiny. For years, the agency’s own enforcement personnel have complained that the current standards are far too weak and unenforceable.

On behalf of the animal protection organizations that filed the rulemaking petition, NEAVS President Theodora Capaldo, EdD, explained, "USDA promulgating clear standards is critical to giving all primates in laboratories protections for their psychological well-being that they are already entitled to under federal law. The law, absent clear, specific and enforceable accompanying regulations, allows laboratories to interpret to their convenience. The regulations proposed in our Petition go far further in assuring primates are afforded protections they desperately need. It is now up to the caring public, animal welfare and sanctuary communities, and primate experts to let USDA know how important clear rules and regulations are for laboratories to follow, inspectors to enforce, and the tens of thousands of monkeys in U.S. labs."

The USDA will receive public comment on the Petition, Docket No. APHIS-2014-0098-1, until June 30, 2015. To submit comments, visit the Federal eRulemaking Portal at!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2014-0098.

The petitioners are represented by Katherine Meyer of the public interest Washington D.C. law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal. A copy of the Psychological Well-Being of Primates Rulemaking Petition can be found at


Founded in 1895, the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS) is a Boston-based, national animal advocacy organization dedicated to ending the use of animals in research, testing, and science education. Through research, outreach, education, legislation, and policy change, NEAVS advocates for replacing animals with modern alternatives that are ethically, humanely, and scientifically superior.


veganuary   A global campaign known as Veganuary asks people to make a New Year’s pledge to give up all meat, eggs and dairy for the entire month of January. The movement is the brainchild of British husband and wife team Matthew Glover and Jane Land. Inspired by Movember, a viral campaign that asks men to grow facial hair to raise awareness for men’s health issues, the couple said they decided to start something similar last year to encourage people to go vegan.

“We wanted to do something organized that would support people in their efforts to go vegan and give them information they needed to do it,” Glover said.

Veganism is one of the strictest forms of vegetarianism. The practice does not allow for eating any food of animal origin including fish, eggs, milk, honey or animal gelatin. Leather, wool, fur, and silk are also off limits, as are any soaps, cosmetics, toiletries and household goods derived from animal products. Glover said there are lots of reasons someone might want to go vegan. He and Land decided to do it after watching a PETA video on the mistreatment of cows and chickens.

Veganism is also better for the planet, Glover asserted. Research shows vegans have a carbon footprint that is less than one-third of someone who eats the average American diet, he added.

And then there is the weight-loss aspect. Research shows that people who eat vegan tend to weigh less on average. But registered dietitian Cynthia Sass of New York said that only holds true if you don’t practice junk food veganism. “The aim is to eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day plus lots of whole grains plus a good plant-based protein like beans or lentils with every meal,” Sass advised. Glover said 3,300 people from all over the world signed up for the pledge last year, with half saying they would continue with the plan after the month was up. To make it easier for the 7,000 people who’ve already made the pledge this year, Glover said the Veganuary website acts as a hub for practical information. “We found that people didn’t necessarily want to know more about why they should go vegan. They wanted more information on how to do it,” he said. Rachel McChrystal, the program director for New York’s Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, a Veganuary sponsor, said the campaign has done a great job helping guide people to veganism. But there's nothing like getting to know the animals that usually wind up as a food source to convince people to give up their carnivorous ways, she added. “Being hugged by a turkey is pretty much the best vegan conversion anyone can have,” she said.   source:

Alison Eastwood and Team up to Help Chimpanzees Retired from Biomedical Research

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - September 4, 2014 - Actress and director Alison Eastwood is lending her star power to help 110 chimpanzees from a biomedical research laboratory get a new start.

The chimpanzees have a new home at Keithville, LA-based Chimp Haven, following their retirement from the New Iberia Research Center. Eastwood and nonprofit crowdfunding platform have created a campaign to enlist the public to raise funds needed to provide lifetime care.

"We owe them," said Eastwood. "These self-aware, social animals sacrificed so much for the benefit of humans. They deserve the best possible care during retirement, both physically and emotionally."

Chimp Haven is an independent nonprofit organization that serves as the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary for federally owned chimps no longer involved in studies. While the CHIMP Act approved by congress in 2000 - and amended in 2013 - earmarks partial funding for their care, approximately $600,000 per year in additional public support is needed to support the Sanctuary's 110 newest arrivals.

The chimps range in age from two-year-olds to senior citizens of 50, and many carry infectious diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C, which adds to the cost and complexity of their long-term care. After a transition phase to assess their health and behavior, chimps are housed in large social groups with the freedom to determine on their own how they will spend their days.

By creating a crowdfunding campaign, donors know that even small contributions make a big difference. takes no percentage of donations, so all funds go directly to Chimp Haven. The user-friendly site also makes it simple for donors to find projects that serve their favorite animals or projects in their own state or region.

Visit the campaign and learn more at

To view a video by Eastwood about the campaign please see

For additional press materials, photos, etc., please see

About Alison Eastwood
Alison Eastwood is an actress, film director and producer but most importantly an animal advocate. She grew up in Carmel, California where she spent her childhood riding horses, which instilled a deep love and respect for animals and nature. She combined her passion for helping animals, and knowledge of film and TV, by helping create and co-hosting "Animal Intervention" for the Nat Geo Wild Channel. She recently founded the animal welfare and rescue nonprofit, Eastwood Ranch Foundation, to rescue dogs and cats from high-kill shelters in Southern California, along with raising awareness for animal rights. For more information, visit

About Chimp Haven
Chimp Haven, The National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, is currently home to 210 residents and is located in Keithville, Louisiana, about 22 miles outside of Shreveport. It was founded in 1995 by an alliance of professionals from research, animal welfare, and the pharmaceutical industry who saw the need for humane, cost-effective social housing for unwanted chimpanzees. Chimp Haven opened its doors to its first two residents in 2005. Since then, 299 chimpanzees have called Chimp Haven home.

At the sanctuary, chimpanzees live out the remainder of their lives in large habitats where they develop close relationships in complex social groups. They have the freedom, many for the first time in their lives, to make choices about how they will spend each day. They receive full-time veterinary care, nutritious diets, daily enrichment activities, and compassionate husbandry. Chimp Haven's mission is to provide humane, lifetime care for chimpanzees no longer used in biomedical research, as pets or as entertainers; and to educate the public on the needs for conservation in the wild and protection in captivity.

About Love Animals
Launched in early 2013, is the only nonprofit crowdfunding platform dedicated to helping all species of animals including pets, farmed animals, wild animals, and aquatic animals. The nonprofit uses innovative technology to increase donations to animal welfare and wildlife conservation groups, which currently receive only two percent of all giving.

At Nonprofits can easily showcase their projects most in need of funding; Animal Lovers can run crowdfunding campaigns to support their favorite causes or raise money for veterinary care of pets; Donors can have a fun and interactive giving experience where they can choose from a wide array of projects and control how their donations are spent. At, donors can take a few minutes, give a few dollars and have a big impact for animals. is free to use. It takes no percentage of donations raised through the platform, which means more money directly helps animals.

Twitter: @loveanimalsorg

Skin layer grown in lab could replace animal testing

Skin layer grown from human stem cells could replace animals in drug and cosmetics testing

An international team led by King’s College London and the San Francisco Veteran Affairs Medical Center (SFVAMC) has developed the first lab-grown epidermis – the outermost skin layer - with a functional permeability barrier akin to real skin.  The new epidermis, grown from human pluripotent stem cells, offers a cost-effective alternative lab model for testing drugs and cosmetics, and could also help to develop new therapies for rare and common skin disorders.

The epidermis, the outermost layer of human skin, forms a protective interface between the body and its external environment, preventing water from escaping and microbes and toxins from entering.  Tissue engineers have been unable to grow epidermis with the functional barrier needed for drug testing, and have been further limited in producing an in vitro (lab) model for large-scale drug screening by the number of cells that can be grown from a single skin biopsy sample.

The new study, published in the journal Stem Cell Reports, describes the use of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) to produce an unlimited supply of pure keratinocytes – the predominant cell type in the outermost layer of skin - that closely match keratinocytes generated from human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and primary keratinocytes from skin biopsies. These keratinocytes were then used to manufacture 3D epidermal equivalents in a high-to-low humidity environment to build a functional permeability barrier, which is essential in protecting the body from losing moisture, and preventing the entry of chemicals, toxins and microbes.

A comparison of epidermal equivalents generated from iPSC, hESC and primary human keratinocytes (skin cells) from skin biopsies showed no significant difference in their structural or functional properties compared with the outermost layer of normal human skin.

Dr Theodora Mauro, leader of the SFVAMC team, says: 'The ability to obtain an unlimited number of genetically identical units can be used to study a range of conditions where the skin’s barrier is defective due to mutations in genes involved in skin barrier formation, such as ichthyosis (dry, flaky skin) or atopic dermatitis. We can use this model to study how the skin barrier develops normally, how the barrier is impaired in different diseases and how we can stimulate its repair and recovery.'

Dr Dusko Ilic, leader of the team at King's College London, says: 'Our new method can be used to grow much greater quantities of lab-grown human epidermal equivalents, and thus could be scaled up for commercial testing of drugs and cosmetics. Human epidermal equivalents representing different types of skin could also be grown, depending on the source of the stem cells used, and could thus be tailored to study a range of skin conditions and sensitivities in different populations.'

Notes to editors
For further information, please contact Jenny Gimpel, PR Manager at King’s College London, on 0207 848 4334 or email 
For further information about King's visit the 'King's in Brief' pages
‘3D in vitro model of a functional epidermal permeability barrier from hESC and iPSC’, by Petrova et al, is published in the journal Stem Cell Reports on 24 April 2014.
This work was supported by US National Institutes of Health grants AR051930 and R01AG028492 (TM); the Research Service, Department of Veterans Affairs; UK Medical Research Council grant G0801061 and a DEBRA fellowship for A. Petrova (
The iPSC in the study were generated at King’s using non-integrating non-viral synthetic modified mRNA custom made by AmsBio (Oxford).

Cowspiracy? Why environmentalists won’t advocate for veganism

COWSPIRACY official trailer + Indiegogo from First Spark Media on Vimeo.

The film trailer above is for COWSPIRACY, a sfsfsfffs. The makers of this film are seeking $54,000 to allow themselves to properly market and distribute the film to a large audience. If you are interested making a contribution, here's a link: indiegogo.  If you want to learn more about this film, read the information below.

COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret

COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret, is a groundbreaking feature length environmental documentary, following an intrepid filmmaker as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today and investigates why the world's leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it. 

This shocking yet humorous documentary will be as eye-opening as "Blackfish" and as inspiring as "An Inconvenient Truth" .

We have been working tirelessly on this film for more than a year, and we are almost done!* We have met major challenges virtually every step of the way because of how controversial this subject is and the secrecy surrounding it, yet we have overcome each hurdle.

We have created this film all on our own, with no support from grants, sponsors, funders, or financial backers. We've put in countless hours researching, investigating, planning, filming, and editing to get to where we are, and spent tens of thousands of dollars of our own money to produce it, but without your help we can only go so far.

Now we need your help in getting the film and its message to the world.

Join us in this campaign and you will be supporting the absolute most important part of this film: getting it seen by the world.

We need you to help us tell the truth about the absolutely devastating environmental impact large-scale factory farming has on our planet. No other industry compares to the destruction caused by industrialized animal agriculture, yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged.

We as a community of conscientious people cannot allow the Earth's ecosystems to be ravaged by this industry’s insatiable appetite for resources. We must take a stand against this massive environmental destruction, even if the large environmental organizations are too afraid to do so themselves.

Together we aren't just creating a movie, we are creating a movement!

What We Need & What You Get

In order to have this film seen by as many people as possible, we need to raise $54,000 to cover the costs of promoting and distributing it. We can create an amazing film (which we have) but unless we can get people to see it, it does us and the planet little good.

Your contribution to this campaign pays for:

-Multi-city theatrical release

-Mastering a Digital Cinema Package (needed for theater screenings) 

-An aggressive PR strategy

-Online target marketing 


-Events to raise awareness

-DVD production


-Legal counsel**

The more we can raise, the further we can promote this important film and ultimately influence change on a mass scale.

“Turlock: the Documentary” Will Make You Want to Hug a Hen

animal place

The documentary film Turlock the documentary ( chronicles the rescue of chickens from the largest animal neglect case in U.S. history. When Northern California animal sanctuary Animal Place ( found out an egg farm in nearby Turlock had closed, and more than 50,000 hens had been abandoned and left to die without food or water, Animal Place’s team and volunteers leaped into action to save thousands of lives. Despite considerable odds and a dramatic standoff with local authorities, the heroic rescuers know they could not leave these fragile beings behind to suffer even if it meant risking their own freedom.

Turlock: the documentary raises timely questions about how we view non-human animals and modern industrial egg farming, a living nightmare for hundreds of millions of hens in the U.S. alone. Whether caged, cage-free, or free-range, these quirky, social, loving animals are denied all natural behaviors, experience fear and stress, and suffer from diseases. The film also introduces several chickens lucky enough to be adopted into happy homes, where their unique personalities are allowed to blossom.


We spoke to Marji Beach, Animal Place’s education director, about the rescue and the documentary film:

Animal Place, one of the oldest and largest sanctuaries for farmed animals in the U.S., provides refuge to hundreds of neglected farmed animals. But nothing can compare with the experience in Turlock.

The Turlock rescue was extreme in its scope and scale, as the largest rescue of farmed animals in California history and the second largest in U.S. history. Approximately 20,000 of those hens had already starved before we even knew they existed.

It was emotionally and physically extreme. We saw firsthand the treatment of the animals on that egg farm – and knew that was standard treatment for more than 250 million hens.

It would take hours of negotiations (executive director Kim Sturla never gave up) while we felt indescribable helplessness watching birds being gassed before our eyes.

And then word came down that we could save birds. Magical words, really.

While the rescue took its toll emotionally and physically on our staff and volunteers, we took from it the knowledge that large-scale rescues are not beyond the realm of possibility.

In fact, a year after Turlock in 2013, Animal Place rescued 3,000 hens from a commercial egg farm in California. A generous donor funded an air transport of 1,150 of the hens to east coast sanctuaries. In the last few years, we have rescued more than 12,000 former egg-laying hens.

Chickens are the most exploited and abused species in the world and hens on egg farms suffer immensely. It doesn’t have to be that way. By making compassionate choices, all of us have the ability to make a difference. And in our view, the kindest and most just choice we can make to help other animals is to simply stop eating them or their by-products, like eggs.

"Turlock: the documentary" is available for grassroots groups, meetups, clubs, and individual activists who want to host screenings in their communities. Whether it’s a public event at the local library, or a small gathering at home, we want as many non-vegans as possible to see it and connect in some small way to the chickens and rescuers in the film.

Inviting people to watch a film is effective and easy. (What's easier than getting people to show up for movie night?) We are also sending out literature, vegan food coupons and information, and other goodies to help hosts plan a successful screening. See to participate.


Where’s the Beef? McDonalds Moving Toward Sustainability?

OK, yes, this is a vegan blog about vegan related subjects, but McDonalds and sustainable beef is an interesting topic.

Our friends at Green Biz have written the first of a three part series about how McDonalds intends to move towards buying only beef grown from sustainable farms. McDonalds has indicated that, starting in 2016, they will begin purchasing verified sustainable beef.

“Our vision is to buy verifiable, sustainable beef in the future for all of our beef,” said Bob Langert, McDonald’s vice president, global sustainability. “We have achieved internal alignment and energy around that aspirational goal, which is a big task,” he told me during a November visit to the company’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill.

Clearly McDonalds is hearing people's concerns about sustainability.  sustainable farmingBut what is sustainable beef.

Rachel Tepper writes for The Huffington Post, “Earlier this month (edit: back in 2011), McDonald's Corp.'s sustainability vice president Bob Langert addressed the issue of sustainable beef and the difficulty defining it. His concerns come more than a year after the company pledged to move toward sustainability. Langert's comments bring up pointed questions. McDonald's defines ‘double green’ as plans and actions that ultimately benefit society and business growth, but how easy is it to make a business sustainable -- particularly fast-food businesses that rely heavily on beef -- and what does beef sustainability even mean?

“Interest in sustainability has skyrocketed among major players in the food service industry in recent years, mirroring conversations in the broader green and food communities about the agriculture industry's role in serious environmental challenges.

“Bryan Weech, director of livestock agriculture for World Wildlife Fund (WWF), told The Huffington Post that ‘there is no one, universally accepted definition’ for beef sustainability. Weech also represents the WWF on the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, one of several groups working toward a definition.


The definition of this term appears to be open for interpretation. The cynic in me is remind of free range chickens.

The vast majority of eggs produced and consumed in the United States come from conventional, large-scale battery cage operations. Hens spend their entire lives with up to eight other birds in wire cages as small as 67 square inches, a space about the size of a single sheet of letter-sized paper.


Here's an interview that Green Biz had with McDonalds:

A really good question is whether or not the meat eating public will even care...

How all this plays out in the McDonald’s global restaurant empire remains to be seen. And the road from here to sustainable Big Macs is rife with unknowns. Among them: Will the company and the GRSB be able to enlist a critical mass of the global beef industry to engender a tipping point in production techniques? Will Burger King, Wendy’s, Arby’s and other beef-centric fast-food chains join in? (And what about higher-end restaurants?) Will regional variations of the standard meet the tough scrutiny of activists and local stakeholders? Will all of this happen within acceptable costs so as not to drive up the cost of beef or burgers unacceptably? How will sustainable beef be perceived in the face of other pressing sustainability and reputational issues facing the fast-food industry, such as obesity and fair wages for employees?

And, not insignificantly: Will the meat-eating public even care?

To that last question, Langert thinks they will. “From the research we do, consumers really care about where their food comes from,” he told me. McDonald’s has done private consumer research with the firm GlobeScan. “What comes through very strong is high expectations for companies like McDonald’s across the board in CSR and sustainability.

There certainly are those people who are trying to "do the right thing" (in their opinion) and only eat meat grown on sustainable farms. However, I suspect that there is not a very large crossover between the people interested in only eating meat grown on sustainable farms and those people that eat at McDonalds. If McDonalds only offered meat grown on sustainable farms would that convince the "do the right thing" crowd to eat at McDonalds? I suspect not. However, if McDonalds completely transitions over to sustainable farms, I would suspect that most farms would change over as well.

If you are interested in reading the rest of the story, there's a link to the article below.


The Humane Society Accuses College of Mistreating Dogs

The L.A. Confidential star signed on to narrate the short film for The Humane Society of the United States, whose campaigners captured undercover footage at a facility run by Georgia Regents University over the course of three months. In the film, dogs allegedly purchased from dealers are used for exploratory operations, after which they are often killed.

"Dogs like Shy Guy, along with others, who may have been family pets, were all used for unnecessary dental experiments. Their teeth were pulled out and replaced. It's very painful, just look into their eyes. This is a glimpse of what happens behind closed doors at GRU. These dogs were killed for this little sample of their jaw bone.

"Each year in the United States, 65,000 dogs are used in labs. Let's start by protecting dogs like Shy Guy from the hands of unscrupulous dealers and unnecessary suffering."

Animal rights campaigners are hoping the expose will put pressure on GRU officials to stop buying innocent dogs from unlicensed dealers, known for animal welfare violations, and urge them to halt the painful pet experiments once and for all.

The experiments were being done to compare a dental implant that was invented by Georgia Regents researchers with one that was developed by a competitor, Twining said.

Dogs that were provided to the university were collected by a Random Source Class-B Dealer, Twining said. She said these types of dealers are allowed to gather animals from various sources — including auctions, online and shelters — and resell them to research facilities.

University Senior Vice President for Research Mark Hamrick said in a statement that researchers at the Augusta school use protocols that are regularly reviewed by the United States Department of Agriculture, and that the university adheres to local, state and federal guidelines.

The school doesn’t frequently use dogs for research and all projects involving animals are reviewed by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Hamrick said.

“The research being done with dogs is neither frivolous nor unnecessary, as alleged by the investigation, and is performed in order to develop safe, effective dental procedures for people,” Hamrick said. “As an institution, we are committed to research that will provide a direct benefit to patient lives by restoring function to damaged and diseased organs and tissues,” he said.

The Humane Society of the United States has filed legal complaints with the USDA and the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, Twining said.

source: and Washington Post


Factory Farming

M0207DAIR_SU_C_^_SUNIQHere's an article from   on factory farming:

Traditionally, many Americans are brought up eating meat as the main course in each meal. Most of us probably don’t think about where the food we eat actually comes from so I conducted some research which has made me think twice about wanting that next serving of meat. One of the first things that needs to be acknowledged is the fact that our portion sizes have grown so much that it is undoubtedly the cause of many of our health problems. For instance, in 1950, the standard size for a hamburger was about 3.9 oz whereas today the average has tripled to 12 oz. of meat.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study that compared meals from the 1950?s to today. The results showed that the typical meal at an average restaurant is over four times larger than it was in that time period. Larger portions also means bigger pants sizes because adults, on average, weigh 26 pounds more today due to such enormous portions.

Larger pants is a size effect that no one wants, but let’s take as step back and look at the bigger picture. If we are consuming four times more food per meal than we were in the 1950?s, then that means we have to kill that many more animals in order to keep up with the demand. Most of us have heard of factory farming but probably have no idea how awful it actually is. These are not the type of rural homes that have chickens running around and cows out in the pasture. Unlike the farms that many people associate with the “good old days”, these animals are living a torturous life in order to supply someone with a bigger hamburger or steak.

Many people have one or more pets in their home which is why I think it is important to ask a few questions to gain some perspective. Would you eat your dog? – Your cat? What if you knew that your four-legged family member was living in a facility where they were being fed food specifically to make them get bigger in a very short amount of time? Not only are they much larger in this setting, in many places they are crammed together with hundreds of other animals to the point where they can’t do anything except stand in the same spot. Since they are unable to move around, they are covered in the fecal matter and urine of all the surrounding animals in their room or pen. Does this sound like a humane way to keep an animal?

For some reason family pets are treated as family but cows and chickens are simply food. What if “Fido” didn’t have a name but instead was simply another number? My point is that in many counties there are guidelines for proper animal care that state you must provide the basic necessities for the animal. Food, water, and a shelter which protects the animal from the elements are typically what constitutes for a minimum standard of living for the house pet. When it comes to the animals we eat however, in some places the animals do not get the proper care that they should. There isn’t the same standard for cattle and chickens as there is for our dog or cat but this is simply inhumane.

According to the MSPCA, there are old traditions that need to be changed in order to properly care for animals that we intend on consuming. We still brand with hot iron, contain and leave cattle outside in all types of weather, and the injured or ill animals don’t always get seen by a veterinarian.

Unfortunately, there have been cases of animal abuse where the workers on a factory farm have been reported to conduct many heinous acts towards the animals. There are so many cases to report that I have provided one source that contains a list of various types of animals which humans consume with their individual stories.

The undercover footage provided for these multiple instances of animal abuse reveal how cruel workers at some factory farms can truly be – “Undercover footage from this factory farm – which raises over 10,000 calves for use on dairy farms – documented workers bludgeoning calves with pickaxes and hammers, burning out their horns without painkillers, standing on their necks, pulling them by their ears, and leaving them to suffer without veterinary care.” – ( VIDEO Texas, 2011)



Regardless if the animal is going to be consumed by people, why should anything deserve this type of treatment? Just because we choose to eat animals does not mean that they should be tortured. We don’t actually need to eat meat nowadays but we have grown accustomed to having it included in the majority of our meals so we continue to eat it. Protein is not only found in meat, there are many alternatives that don’t require a cow to be senselessly beaten with a hammer.

Does anyone really need a Triple Baconator or a Triple Whopper? We have been driven by commercials and advertisements to consume the “bigger burger” but there should be a rational limit. Why can’t we just eat one piece of meat instead of three?

Fido and Whiskers don’t have to suffer the fate of the cattle, pigs, and poultry of factory farming. We give them names, let them sleep in our beds, and in some cases they are like our children. Can’t we be reasonable and acknowledge that we probably shouldn’t be such gluttons when it comes to having to kill animals for a product? I am not telling everyone to stop eating meat altogether because that is your right to choose what you want. Instead, I am advocating that we just eat less meat and perhaps choose to get the free range alternative. Not only will less animals need to suffer the torture of factory farming, but you will actually live longer if you cut down on meat. Can’t we all just be humane?


Better Pig Pens For McDonalds

pigs mcdonaldsMcDonalds is now telling its pork providers that they need to use better pig pens. Recently, we had written about the animal cruelty with regards to McDonalds chickens. Now McDonalds is telling its pork providers that gestational stalls are too small.

These pens are usually only two feet wide. This is hardly enough room to allow the pigs to move around. There seems to be a trend in the fast food industry to (at least make the appearance) that they are treating animals humanly.

During the Grammy awards, the fast food chain Chipotle (who was formally partially owned by McDonalds) ran an ad campaign which criticized those companies that allow their pigs to be kept in very small cages. We are somewhat skeptical that conditions for these animals will improve all that much. After all, the term "free range" as it applies to chickens does not really afford the chickens all that much room to roam.


Here's the two minute video from Chiptole which tries to show a back to former practices approach to farming. Again, we are skeptical that these types of changes are taking place. After all, demand for these types of products continues to grow.

There are thousands of sows whose "job" it is just to give birth. These two foot cages do not even allow the pigs to turn around. Since the public is upset, the retailers are trying to show them that they are sensitive to their concerns.

Better pig pens is a step in the right direction, but it's not surprising that the retailers are trying to have the government keep its distance.