About Robert Grillo

Robert Grillo is the founder and director of Free from Harm, a non profit animal rescue, education and advocacy organization. Robert is the author of over 500 articles on Free from Harm and is particularly interested in the advocacy of chickens and turkeys who collectively represent 99% of the animals exploited for food. He shares his life with a flock of rescued hens and a rescued homing pigeon. You can email Robert at robert@freefromharm.org. And you can find him on Google+ and Twitter.

What Vegans Could Learn from the Apple Brand

In a recent talk on how popular culture shapes our food choices, I introduced myself to the audience by admitting that, over the course of my 20 years working in branding, I had become an outspoken critic of the industry for its distortion of truth and lack of transparency and for promoting ideas and practices that are destructive to animals, the environment and our well being. At the same time, I feel that this same industry can teach us something about how ideas spread as a general matter Continue reading

Backyard Chickens: Expanding Our Understanding of ‘Harm’

Backyard chicken keepers often describe their relationship with their chickens as “symbiotic.” They provide them with a great life and in return their chickens provide them with eggs. There are at least two problems with this position. First, it ignores the fact their eggs exist only because of the systematic testing, manipulation and re-engineering of the hen’s reproductive system to produce an unnatural and unhealthy amount of eggs. And we say we already oppose the industry responsible for this. Continue reading

Meat Logic: The Book that Examines Our Rationalizations for Eating Animals

While much animal advocacy justifiably focuses on our emotional connections to animals, Meat Logic: Why We Eat Animals by author Charles Horn, reveals that many rationalizations for eating animal products are actually based on appeals to reason or logic and therefore may not be effectively addressed with emotional appeals alone. This includes the many naturalistic fallacies and pseudo-scientific claims such as “we have evolved to eat meat,” “eating animals is the basis for our higher consciousness and/or more advanced brains,” … Continue reading

Ezra The Rooster: The Little Chicken Who Could!

Everyone has been asking about Ezra the rooster! It’s been more than two months since Ezra’s life-saving rescue and emergency medical treatment at Niles Animal Hospital. As some of you know who have been following his story, Ezra the rooster lost his feet and a portion of one of his legs to gangrene and frostbite. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the circumstances under which Ezra was found, please check out his incredible rescue story first. Continue reading

Chicken Rescue Alert: Give to Lucinda in Her Time of Need

Please help us raise $750 for our Chicken Rescue Fund to cover Lucinda’s medical care. Lucinda was the fragile little hen we rescued in the Summer of 2012 from the brink of starvation — with a severe beak deformity and infested with biting lice — who miraculously bounced back to health over the course of the months to follow and has been enjoying a good life in our care. But the other day, we discovered she faces a new and urgent health crisis. Lucinda is producing very large eggs that are too big to pass through her small pelvis. Continue reading

Esperanza: Story of a Rescued Broiler Chicken

This 2-minute video features our latest rescue, Esperanza. Esperanza is a Cornish Rock hen raised for her flesh. We believe she escaped or fell of a transport truck on her way to the slaughterhouse and found herself stranded in a forest preserve where she was discovered, being chased and tormented by a cat on a cold winter day. Since we later learned that she could barely walk, it’s all the more amazing that she survived all of this. 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

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 Matrix of Carnism

While most of us are preoccupied with what everyone else is doing and thinking, the message of the Matrix mirrors what Sophocles also taught millennia ago: think for yourself. The only way out of the mental prison of the Matrix is to question what you’ve been taught. Overcome denial and face the truth. And then stop supporting slavery in all of its manifestations because it is the very reason why the Matrix got you under its spell in the first place. Continue reading

Chickenjustice.org Has Nothing to Do with Justice for Chickens

Having discovered a website called chickenjustice.org, I was eager to determine the organization behind it. But what I discovered there had little if anything to do with chicken advocacy. Instead I discovered some strange twists and turns in their campaign that claims to “save chickens” and help poultry slaughterhouse workers, and I felt compelled to write the following letter to the organization’s executive director, Kim Bobo. Continue reading

A Chicken Journey to Safety Rather than Death

When a sanctuary spends $50,000 of its hard-earned donations to transport 1,150 “spent” egg-laying chickens who have seen nothing but the inside of a battery cage across the country to give them a second chance at life, some people say things like, “it should be illegal,” or “what a waste of resources” or “are these people crazy?” But when the poultry industry spends millions shipping live chicks in the mail and makes a big profit on their lives to boot, no one has a problem with that. Continue reading

Meat: Our Language of Objectification

“Meat” is the language of objectification — an attempt to turn a “someone” into a “something.” By referring to an animal as “meat,” the meat industry seeks to create a moral vacuum in the minds of consumers, a complete disconnection between the animal’s identity and their flesh product. “Meat” is their packaged commodity, presented just like all the other products on the store shelves, divorced from the living individuals they once were Continue reading

You Would Never Choose the Life of Sheep

Don’t look back. Don’t look forward. If you imagine living the life of a sheep born in 2013, your short life was marked by encounters with callous and desensitized humans who had a price tag on your head before you were even born. Humans bred you artificially into existence. University geneticists meddled with your genes to “optimize” your body’s fleece production. Farmers broke up your family and stole your children. Your fleece was sheered by machines that bruised and cut your skin, and then sold for profit. Continue reading

Sanctuaries Teach Us What Farms Can’t

Visiting a sanctuary is a vastly different experience than visiting a farm. Farms value animals to the extent that they produce a profitable product via their flesh, mammary gland secretions or ovulation. Visiting animals on farms does not produce any “breakthrough” in our understanding of animals. On the contrary, most people simply walk away from a farm reaffirming what they have been taught: animals don’t object to being used as “resources.” It’s natural and sanctified by ancient traditions. 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

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