We’d like to take a moment to zero in on the most powerful way you can help us grow in 2014: help us hire Ashley Capps as our full-time writer, researcher, editor and social media coordinator. Ashley’s recent work for Free from Harm has brought a record volume of traffic to our website, resulting in more than one million additional visitors in the last six months alone. By bringing her on full-time we can attract millions more to our educational website, as well as reach millions on Facebook!
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.
Many of you have no doubt heard that the latest form of “putting animals to sleep” with CO2 gas is completely humane. Temple Grandin praises gassing as well. But this rare video footage inside of a gas chamber, that actually shows what pigs go through as they are being gassed to death, reveals just what a horrific way to die this really is, contrary to what the meat industry would like you to believe. The video appears to have been recorded inside of a testing laboratory at the University of Zurich.
Domestic turkeys have been bred to be so large, they cannot mate naturally, so hens are forcibly “inseminated” several times. Males are masturbated to get their semen. A “milker” at a turkey breeding facility in Missouri describes his job: “I have never done such hard, dirty, disgusting work in my life: 10 hours of pushing birds, grabbing birds, wrestling birds, jerking them upside down, pushing open their vents, dodging their panic-blown excrement and breathing the dust stirred up by terrified birds.”
In this undercover investigation, workers at a slaughterhouse in Maine are seen ripping live crabs and lobsters apart limb from limb. Some are dumped, still alive, into boiling water, while others are left in bins to die in agony. Workers tear off live lobsters’ claws and then use metal pipes to pry their heads from their bodies. Tails and claws are saved while the remaining parts of the lobsters’ bodies are trashed, still alive and able to feel pain.
Sexing chickens involves a staggering level of cruelty, forcing the internal sex organs of newborn chick to protrude out so the sexer can sort females from males. To hear the helpless chirps and screams of these animals is horrifying. Male chicks will be killed through suffocation. Eggs are cruel for many many reasons, starting with the horrific cruelty of the hatcheries that sell birds to egg farms and backyard chicken keepers alike.
Louise is Free from Harm‚’s latest hen rescue. We responded to a call from Chicago Animal Control and Care who found her on the streets of Chicago. She has a beak deformity from having been debeaked earlier in her life. She has already been successfully treated for an upper respiratory infection and biting lice. She’s active, alert and eating well, though still frail, underweight and may have a crop (digestion) issue that the vet will need to check on.
Many people are very concerned that farmed animals will go extinct if everyone goes vegan. What they don’t realize is that commercially-raised farmed animals exist because of artificial insemination and highly controlled breeding environments, not through natural mating. In the case of chickens we annually breed approximately 9 billion birds that will go “extinct” in 42 days (just in the U.S).
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.
Live and Let Live is a feature documentary by German director Marc Pierschel that examines our relationship with animals, the history of veganism, and the ethical, environmental and health reasons that motivate people to go vegan. The film follows the lives of six people who tell their stories on becoming vegan and also includes interviews from some of the best-known ethicists and sociologists, including Melanie Joy, Gary Francione, Peter Singer and Tom Regan.
In 2011, Congress removed wolves from the federal endangered species list in five states – Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Utah – primarily to satisfy the interests of cattle ranchers. This opened up a war on wolves. Ranchers were upset with the government for reintroducing wolves. Ranchers had expanded their use of land for grazing cows since wolves had been gone for 25 to 30 years after being hunted to near extinction.
The most important voice is also the one conspicuously closed out of the debate. The voice of the animal victims themselves is missing because they don’t speak our language. And because we place such immense importance on language, we’ve done a pretty good job of ignoring their plight. But that doesn’t mean they don’t communicate with us in a variety of complex ways, that is, if we choose to use our large brains and much-touted claim of superior intelligence to look and listen more carefully.
First, a few disclaimers. I am not a nutritionist. I am not gluten-intolerant. I am not, according to the University of Chicago Hospital, part of the roughly 1% of the population that has Celiac Disease. I fully understand that wheat processed into highly-refined products like white flour are empty calories no better for us than any other source of simple carbohydrates. But what’s happening in food marketing today is not a common-sense campaign to single out simple carbs. Instead we’re seeing an all-out war on “carbs,” taking down with it even the complex carbohydrates, like whole wheat and other whole grains, that have sustained civilizations for millenia with a cheap and plentiful source of protein and other essential nutrients.
We believe it is vitally important for people to connect with living, happy animals who have been rescued from commercial farming. Seeing these animals in a sanctuary environment allows people to understand the animals’ true natures and to observe them as individuals who lead rich and complex lives, when permitted to thrive. In short, witnessing animals in a sanctuary setting “re-sensitizes” and “reprograms” our minds. In the process, we rediscover the wonder and empathy we had for animals as children, before we were taught not to care.
Lucinda, our latest rescue found last month on the brink of starvation, has been rehabilitating at the home of one of our rescue heroines, Melissa Summer Pena. Lucinda’s getting stronger and healthier each day, and as she progresses, her personality is really starting to blossom. She’s taken quite a fondness for Melissa, following her all around the house and talking to her all the while. And she’s even taken to one of Melissa’s dogs, Travis!
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.
This video from Dr. John McDougall provides a clear explanation of how and why dairy products are thought to trigger type 1 diabetes in children and young adults, in addition to allergies, asthma, and other autoimmune diseases. Dairy consumption not only causes completely unnecessary suffering and death for millions of cows every year in the U.S. alone, but it’s also harmful for the humans who consume it.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the oldest and foremost authority on diet and nutrition in the U.S.) and the American Academy of Pediatrics both endorse vegan diets for children — even infants and toddlers. Nearly twenty-five years ago, Dr. Benjamin Spock, one of the most influential pediatricians of all time, made a radical revision to the seventh edition of his globally best-selling book, long considered the Bible of child-rearing: The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care. In that edition, he recommended that children be raised on a vegan diet.
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.