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Vegan Is Love: Author Ruby Roth on Telling Children the Truth About Animals

Vegan children’s book author Ruby Roth discusses the harm we do to children by involving them in violence toward animals they would never choose to support. “We can’t afford to wait for the next generation to grow up before teaching them to live consciously. Sugarcoating or avoiding truths only hinders what children are actually capable of— psychologically, spiritually, and physically. And hindering their capabilities delays the potential we have to green our society, improve our health, and do best for all living things.” Continue reading

Animal Slavery and Other Comparisons: Who Should Be Offended?

Some people seem to cringe at calling framed animals slaves, And even though animal slavery is different than human slavery in a number of ways, how is animal slavery not a form of slavery? Are not animals legal property — literally? Are not animals literally bought and sold? Is not farmed and captive animal reproduction forcefully controlled through breeding? If I have taken an animal as my property and taken their very liberty and life as my own to create products out of their carcass, how is that not a form of slavery? Continue reading

Burning Pig Effigy Protests Factory Farm on Former Nazi Camp

November 17th in Prague, an effigy of a burning pig was paraded down the street to protest a pig factory farm in Lety on the site of a former Nazi concentration camp. The occasion was the Czech state holiday called the Slave of Race (Otrokem Rasy). The spectacle suggests that the pigs are viewed — not as innocent victims of another atrocity — but, callously, as a nuisance and an insult to the dignity of a past human atrocity Continue reading

Bikini Turkeys and Prostitute Chickens: The Sexualized Death Wish

This short video piece featuring Carol Adams, author of The Sexual Politics of Meat, provides a very powerful snapshot of how chickens and turkeys are sexualized by popular culture, linking the oppression of women and animals, and exposing the cultural myth that animals want to be consumed in the same manner that women want to be exploited and used as sex objects. Continue reading

Where the Buffalo Roam (and Have Their Throats Slashed for Profit)

The icon of American culture that was once hunted to near extinction has now been bred for one of the trendiest new flesh products. Broken Wagon Bison Farm outside of Chicago offers visitors a chance to pet and feed gentle and friendly bison and then visit their store where they can stock up on bison flesh products and fashion apparel made from their skins and bones. Here you have yet another variation on the Orwellian fantasy of animal husbandry. Continue reading

The Language of Normalizing Animal Commodities

The modern animal-using industries and the scientific research engine behind it celebrate the biological and genetic manipulation of chickens and other animals for the sole purpose of rendering their eggs, secretions and flesh more marketable and profitable. In comparison, the only permissible form of genetic manipulation of humans — which remains controversial — is for life-saving medical advancements. Their key messages are that 1. their use of animals is a “win-win,” good for the animals and us; 2. technological innovations in animal science serve the greater good by feeding the world’s growing population. Continue reading

Happy Chicken Puppets Stoked about Becoming AHA Certified Meat

In stark contrast to Ganzert’s pious performance in the informercial, this new Foster Farms happy chicken commercial portrays chicken puppet characters that are just ecstatic about the AHA humane certification program. The marketing gimmick reminds us of the Tyson Foods commercial depicting chickens in front of a dressing table and mirror, as if getting dolled up to go out on the town. In both cases, humor and denial are powerful tools used to mask the violence and oppression at the core of animal agriculture. Continue reading

Are Chickens Smarter Than Toddlers? A View of Cross-Species Comparisons

Allied with the attempt to place nonhuman animals in a cerebral hierarchy – who is smarter, a lizard or a lion, a penguin or a parrot, a chicken or a chimpanzee? – is the effort to compare cognitively intact nonhuman beings with incompetent human beings, such as children, who are mentally undeveloped due to their age, and people suffering from mental disabilities. This type of cross-species comparison has attracted animal advocates as a way of gaining public sympathy and support for nonhuman animals by placing them in the light of defenseless humans requiring legal protections, which of course includes all of us living in societies that, without laws to protect the weak and vulnerable, do bend toward justice. Continue reading

The Happy Chicken Farmer Fantasy

By allowing his chickens to live 5 weeks longer than those raised on factory farms and by allowing them a few hours a day to forage on a pasture, the farmer interviewed in this video claims that he raises “happy chickens.” He is cheered on by enthusiastic YouTube followers who are naively seduced into believing that chickens are simple-minded animals who can actually have fulfilling lives when raised on a bucolic-looking family farm. Continue reading

Pig Adventure Is a Misadventure: McWilliams’ Open Letter to Fair Oaks Farms

Last week I asked esteemed journalist and agricultural history professor James McWilliams to write an open letter to the Northwest Indiana Times regarding their sensationalized coverage of the new Pig Adventure at Fair Oaks Farms. I want this letter to coincide with Pig Adventure’s highly-publicized grand opening on August 5th. The McWilliams letter, which is posted below, will soon be available online for those who would like to sign on and add their comments. We will deliver the signatures and comments posted to this open letter to both NWI as well as Fair Oaks Farms Communications Director, Jed Stockton. Continue reading

Overcoming Our ‘Egg-Industry’ View of Chickens

As someone who rescues, raises and advocates on behalf of chickens, one of the biggest challenges I face is getting people to see the chicken BEFORE the egg. Even many of those who are fond of chickens and keep them in their backyards, see them first as egg-laying machines, as if to ovulate on a daily basis were their primary purpose for existence. Our perceptions are heavily distorted by egg-industry marketing that has relentlessly “dumbed-down” the chicken’s identity since the 50s. Continue reading

Deconstructing the Dairy Is Natural Myth in 14 Steps

The dairy industry has most people believing that cow’s milk, and the cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream and other products derived from it, are “natural” for us to consume. But if they are indeed so natural, then why does the dairy industry have to use such extremely unnatural practices to extract the mammary gland secretions from cows? Check out our list of 14 bizarre, cruel and extremely unnatural practices used even by the allegedly “humane” dairy farms. Continue reading

The Spell of Culture: If Chicken Meat Why Not Dog Meat?

Most Americans think that making dogs suffer for food is wrong, yet they’ve given little to no thought about paying someone to do this to other animals that are at least if not more conscious than dogs. Why is that? I think the answer is culture. Culture shapes society’s belief systems over time so that eventually we stop questioning whether these beliefs make sense or not and just do as culture and tradition tell us. Continue reading

Meet Your ‘Responsibly-Raised’ Meat

Humane washing takes many forms. On the smallest micro level, it sometimes crops up in your local farmer’s market. That’s where I found a new vendor in between the mushroom stand and the dainty little baskets of fresh berries at my local outdoor market that claims to sell “responsibly-raised” lamb, veal, chicken — all animals that are killed as infants. Why is killing babies responsible? Continue reading

“I Like Them To Stay Standing Up”: Why Luiz Antonio Won’t Eat Animals

When I saw this video, I cried. Apparently I’m not the only one; every other comment I’ve seen from viewers expresses the same reaction. In the video, a toddler in Brazil explains to his mother why he will not eat his octopus pasta. Originally uploaded to YouTube on May 15, 2013, within 2 weeks the video of little Luiz Antonio had over 1 million views; but it could only be understood by those who knew Portuguese. So when Raffaella Ciavatta, a Brazilian-born vegan activist and certified translator living in NY, saw the video, she knew she had seen something extraordinary, and contacted the mother to ask for permission to translate it into English. Continue reading