Our heroine, Melissa Summer Pena, rescued Lucinda today from Chicago Animal Control and Care (a kill shelter), describing her as the sickest looking bird she’s seen. In addition to being severely underweight, emaciated, drooping her head and eyes closed, she has a terrible biting mite infection. She’s been treated with mite powder and needs to see the vet in the morning. Lucinda’s beak has also been amputated, a common practice by egg farmers.
“I do what I do simply because I cannot go back outside to the sanctuary and look them in the eye without conveying the information that I feel they would want me to convey: that using them, for any reason, harms them. Irretrievably in most cases. There is no humane use of another.” — Sandra Higgins of Eden Farm Sanctuary
Ada, the anxious new milking cow at Wagner Farm, a taxpayer-funded working farm and museum, is featured in this video, where we see Rubenstein trying to calm her to no avail. Bellowing like this is a sign of distress, and Ada’s vocalizing raised a lot of concern and consternation in the Wagner Farm visitors who witnessed it. Parents and children alike were asking why Ada was so agitated and unhappy.
I continually marvel at how chickens observe and sometimes follow what we do. On her third day with me, Edith the Cornish Rock chicken hen who was recently salvaged from a trash bag, comes to me when I gesture or call to her. But even more remarkable, Edith climbed her first flight of stairs to join me at the top, but only when I encouraged her to do so. On the other hand, when I did not call or gesture to her to climb the stairs, she remained below.
My personal opinion and that of people I know who have rescued enriched colony caged hens is that there is no difference in health between the battery and colony caged hens. I also believe from evidence I have seen that there is not much difference between barn versus free range hens either. Because of the laws, free range hens can be kept indoors in barns with not much room to move around (like broiler chickens), and this is marketed as “free range.”
Breeding pigs, or “hogs” as they are known in the trading of futures, is big business. So when an incurable virus is discovered in the country’s leading pig producing state, Iowa, you better believe that the nation’s top ranking USDA staff, veterinarian experts and pig industry officials will be on the case (paid for by your tax dollars).
While vegans often hear from non vegans that the vegan lifestyle is “not for them,” the new leader of a company that sells vegan products to at least a majority vegan customer base should be held to a higher standard and perhaps a more thoughtful and courageous assessment of what veganism is all about. Instead Bate’s makes a transparent appeal to the majority, a majority that is grossly misinformed about the true ethical and ecological impacts of their food choices.
This a moving, non graphic video that tells the magnificent story of one farmer of caged egg laying chickens who apparently had a change of heart and released them to Edgar’s Mission farm sanctuary in Australia. For the first time in their lives, the rescued chickens in this video are getting an opportunity to exhibit their natural behaviors. The video highlights some of the chicken’s most basic pleasures in life: stretching and flapping their wing, sunbathing, dustbathing, scratching in the earth and forming social bonds with others in their flock.
Professor Tibor Machan, a leading opponent of animal rights, cites the example of a mother tiger eating her cubs as evidence of the absence of morality in animals (1). And he claims that rights don’t exist for animals because of their lack of morality. He could have just as easily cited a number of other examples where animals show a high level of empathy toward one another, like a mother cow licking her calf.
Danita displays a strong interest in protecting her flock. Her actions would seem to reflect that she has a sense of moral duty to her flock. But the way she acts to protect her flock is not based on instinct or the carrying out of a repetitive and thoughtless action. On the contrary, the way she responds to a perceived danger to the flock varies in each situation that she is presented with. It also varies based on her disposition that day. It seems reasonable to conclude that she is making executive decisions based on a variety of circumstances unique to each situation.
In this short and concise video clip, Francione astutely describes the root of our problem with animals which is also the basis for his theory of animal rights. We say we believe that animals should not be harmed unnecessarily and yet 99% of our use of animals can only be described as unnecessary and pleasure-based. “The best justification we have for inflicting pain, suffering and death on 10 billion animals a year is that they taste good. I regard that as moral schizophrenia.”
“Animal agriculturalists, chefs, and consumers desperately want to believe the myth that animal products labeled organic, humane, and sustainable are morally and ecologically defensible. They promote the washings as cover for their beliefs. They choose not to see the abusive and unsustainable nature of meat, dairy, and eggs. They pledge allegiance to an adjustment to factory farming, nothing more.”
Lee Hall, the Vice President of Legal Affairs at Friends of Animals, provides a great answer to the question, why care about animal rights? Hall’s clip is part of series called Exploring Rights for Animals by Gooseberry Productions. Hall is the author of On Their Own Terms, Capers in the Churchyard: Animal Rights Advocacy in the Age of Terror and Dining with Friends: The Art of North American Vegan Cuisine. You can follow her on twitter at VeganMeans or visit the Friends of Animals vegan website by the same name.
For me, it was important that the book taught about being vegan through compassion, not fear, and not anger. There’s enough negative emotions like that in the world, and I didn’t want to contribute to it. Parents seemed to like the message the book portrays. It educates the concept of being a vegan, without pushing “being a vegan” on people.
The town of Glenview, IL has a tax-paying resident who has stood up for what she believes is the right thing to do for the animals at Wagner Farm (a public working farm in Glenview) for 12 years now, even while confronting a relentless barrage of criticism, ridicule and even villianization for standing her ground, defending the animals and attempting to save their lives from slaughter. Even against these great odds, Debby Rubenstein, president of Wagner Farm Rescue Fund, has managed to rescue 82 animals from Wagner Farm and find them forever-homes where they can live out the rest of their lives.
“Why do you think people should not eat meat?” That was one of the many questions I was asked during a recent interview. My initial response was that in order to eat meat we must believe in a set of absurdities about animals that I outlined in an earlier article. But there is another way to respond to this question that occurred to me after the interview was over. While I would typically avoid answering a question with another question, in this case it seems appropriate. My response might be, “With all the great reasons to choose a plant-based diet, what keeps you from considering this for yourself?” Or “If we can live healthy lives without harming or killing animals, why wouldn’t we?
Whole Foods Market’s new “Earthling” marketing campaign is a great example of how corporate brands create modern myths from age-old legends that continue to inspire awe in us. “We are Earthlings” reinforces fantasy over reality about how animals live today on modern farms and, predictably, only depicts scenes of friendly and caring interactions between “Earthlings” and the animals in their care.