Free From Harm Farmed Animal Rescue, Education and Advocacy Mon, 30 Nov 2015 11:06:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Turkeys Snuggling Like Cats and Dogs Will Touch Your Heart Mon, 23 Nov 2015 07:44:21 +0000 It seems that the more people spend time with turkeys, the more they are able to recognize them as individuals with unique personalities, emotions, and preferences, just like the cats and dogs we know and love. It's an instructive moment, and a good reminder that our job as advocates isn't just about helping people understand the suffering farmed animals go through, but also about helping them perceive these homogenized beings as individuals. Continue reading ]]> 0 Is An Excuse-itarian Diet Keeping You From Living Your Own Values? Mon, 02 Nov 2015 20:12:48 +0000 Colleen Patrick Goudreau's rousing talk, "From Excuse-itarian to Vegan," has reached nearly 100,000 viewers on youtube, and is a great tool for empowering others to live their own values of compassion and wellness. This inspiring, entertaining and information-packed lecture provides responses to everything from “I don’t have time to chop vegetables” and “I tried being vegetarian, but I just craved meat” to “I could give up everything, except cheese” and “Vegans don’t get enough protein.” Continue reading ]]> 4 I Visited A Small, Organic Dairy Farm to See If Animals Were Treated Better Mon, 26 Oct 2015 19:07:24 +0000 While passing a small dairy farm on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in the Point Reyes National Seashore in early October, I made an impromptu visit to a small, family-owned, pasture-based, grass-fed dairy farm that supplies milk to Trader Joe's. This is the true story about what I learned from the farmer and what I witnessed firsthand about the animals in his care. Continue reading ]]> 1 Do Different People Really Need Radically Different Diets? Thu, 22 Oct 2015 14:43:16 +0000 The concepts of personalized medicine and personalized nutrition have really taken off. People are eating according to their blood type, their metabolic type, their Ayurvedic constitution, and their genotype. Micaela Karlsen discusses that our species does have specific nutritional requirements all of which we can meet from a diverse plant-based diet. Continue reading ]]> 0 Why Plant Crops Don’t Kill More Wildlife than Pasture Raised Animals Mon, 19 Oct 2015 20:39:40 +0000 Picture this: You're a harvest mouse who lives in a wheat field. Being a mouse, you have excellent hearing and can easily pick up sounds that a human cannot hear. Thanks to your sensitive whiskers and small size, you're acutely attuned to vibrations caused by large machines. And to top that off, you have lightning reflexes and dash about at a top speed of 8 miles an hour. Continue reading ]]> 0 Rescue Exposes Free Range, Organic Hens Worse Off than Caged Thu, 15 Oct 2015 19:05:44 +0000 Tucked down a country road is a farm raising “pasture-based” hens for egg production. Peering into the field, it’s hard to see the pasture. I see acres of dirt and a sea of red hens. Presumably it is green when there isn’t a four-year drought. Chickens dart in front of our vehicles as we pull into the driveway. Continue reading ]]> 0 Volunteer Spotlight: Mihir Shah Wed, 14 Oct 2015 03:11:08 +0000 Mihir Shah is a custom jewelry designer and gemstone wholesaler from Chicago. He was born into a vegetarian (Indian Jain) family. Although non-violence is one of the main precepts of Jainism, like other vegetarians, Jains are generally unaware, and unwilling to concede to the cruelty inherent in dairy farming. Milk and milk products, therefore, remain a significant part of the Jain diet. Continue reading ]]> 0 Stop (Saying) Factory Farming Thu, 08 Oct 2015 16:17:26 +0000 Advocates fighting for farmed animals should be proud. We’ve come a long way in educating the public about the plight of farmed animals. However, “Factory Farming” has come to imply that only the conditions the animals are kept in are of importance, and that taking an animal’s life, the slaughter itself, is unproblematic. Continue reading ]]> 1 Book Review: The Chain by Robin Lamont Thu, 24 Sep 2015 14:32:43 +0000 Calvin Neufeld reviews The Chain by Robin Lamont. A fiction novel set in and around a commercial slaughterhouse. With a cover image, a title and a subject matter that would turn any reader away, this reader was hooked by the end of the first chapter. Continue reading ]]> 0 Time to Spread the Joy Thu, 17 Sep 2015 16:27:44 +0000 Between December 2014 and June 2015, more than 33 million chickens, turkeys and ducks were suffocated to death with firefighting foam and carbon dioxide in the Midwestern states of Iowa, Minnesota and elsewhere in the United States in response to the avian influenza outbreaks that began on poultry farms in 2014. Continue reading ]]> 1 Is a Concern for Animals “First World”? Tue, 08 Sep 2015 13:00:47 +0000 In the Q & A at one of my recent presentations, someone pointed out that they've heard a concern for animals criticized as "first world." Aside from the obvious prejudice in the use of terms such as first world and third world, for our purposes, let's just focus here on its implication that advocating for animals is a frivolous issue compared with much bigger global problems and one that only affluent people have the luxury to think about. Continue reading ]]> 0 When I Look Inside the Trucks, I Look With My Heart Tue, 01 Sep 2015 18:32:19 +0000 Each day that I wake up with the thought of bearing witness in mind, I feel that same knot in my chest anticipating how much suffering I will see during my visit to the slaughterhouse. But still I go. To at least be present at the scene of another’s pain and suffering, even when I cannot stop it, feels important; to be there sending empathy and compassion to as many individuals as I can connect with while the death trucks idle. Continue reading ]]> 1 They Are All Cecil Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:40:37 +0000 "It may be hard for most to admit, but killing and using animals for food today is needless. Just like trophy hunting is needless. Both are done for pleasure and enjoyment and tradition, not necessity. You can’t rationally vilify one and condone the other." — guest writer, Lorelei Plotczyk Continue reading ]]> 0 Veganism Defined by Lee Hall Thu, 20 Aug 2015 18:41:35 +0000 Lee Hall presents a poignant, yet simple, definition of what veganism means. "Veganism is a social movement. It’s based on the principle that human beings should live without exploiting animals." Lee penned the "Vegetarianism" entry for the Encyclopedia of Activism & Social Justice and blogs at Vegan Place. Continue reading ]]> 0 Baby Hen Found Near Death Off Busy Street Mon, 17 Aug 2015 21:42:38 +0000 Rosa is a tiny little red hen only a few months old who a kind young lady named Jessica found lying motionless off of the side of a busy city street, dangerously close to cars whizzing by her. She took Rosa home and contacted us for help. When I saw the photo Jessica sent of Rosa that day, I immediately thought she was dying Continue reading ]]> 0 Preventing Ex-Vegans: The Power of Ethics Mon, 27 Jul 2015 20:55:13 +0000 "Helping people go vegan is great. But it’s meaningless if we can’t help them stay vegan." Plant based dietitian Virginia Messina discusses the power of ethics in preventing ex-vegans, citing several studies of vegan recidivism. Two big reasons people abandon vegan diets: they lose faith in its benefits and don't understand the ethics behind it. Continue reading ]]> 1 Duckling Couple Rescued and Provided a Forever Home! Mon, 20 Jul 2015 13:48:56 +0000 Early this month, an animal control officer spotted a duckling couple who had been abandoned in a retaining pond in a suburb of Chicago. She named them John and Grace. We found them a forever home. Read their story and please give a gift before the end of July to cover the costs of their rescue. Continue reading ]]> 0 Severed Heads of Mothers Found in Dumpster: Story & Video Tue, 14 Jul 2015 06:42:13 +0000 As uniquely grisly as these images are, (and as singularly cruel as halal slaughter may seem), it’s important to realize that even in the best of circumstances, under the most humane labels, the dairy industry is an inherently violent and destructive industry, no matter how small, local, family-run or organic the farm. Continue reading ]]> 1 Fictions, Facts and Food Choices: A Presentation by Robert Grillo Tue, 07 Jul 2015 22:55:48 +0000 We are what we eat, but what are the powerful forces shaping our food choices? This is the key question explored in Robert Grillo's presentation, Fictions, Facts and Food Choices. This visually-engrossing presentation reveals how the powerful forces of popular culture shape our beliefs and manipulate the food choices that stem from those beliefs, often without our knowledge. Continue reading ]]> 0 The Blind Chick and Her Guardian Angel Thu, 02 Jul 2015 20:51:34 +0000 A few weeks ago I learned about a blind chick in need of a new home. After a few email exchanges, I discovered that the chick’s caretaker lived only about five minutes from me. So I stopped by to take a look. The caretaker explained that he had separated the blind chick from the others and placed her in a small aquarium. Continue reading ]]> 0 What’s the Point of Keeping a Hen Who Cannot Lay Eggs? Thu, 25 Jun 2015 07:25:35 +0000 A few years ago, I adopted a hen about whom I knew very little except that a farmer did not want her anymore because she had stopped laying eggs. The rest of her past was a mystery, but clearly her life before we adopted her had not been a good one. For one thing, her physical condition was harsh. Her feathers were scant and coarse to the touch. She had been badly debeaked at some point, making it impossible for her to pick up seeds from the ground. Continue reading ]]> 3 Galliano: Our Little Bantam Rooster Rescue Fri, 19 Jun 2015 19:16:44 +0000 I brought home our rescue Galliano, and for the next four weeks, he was my closest companion, following me everywhere around the house, perching on my arm or shoulder while I worked, napping peacefully on my side while watching TV, and even calling out to me from the bottom of the staircase and then climbing the stairs to find me! Continue reading ]]> 1 Should Vegans Have Vegan Dogs and Cats? Mon, 15 Jun 2015 07:50:23 +0000 The question of vegan dogs and cats is one that is frequently framed in the form of the objection, But you feed your dogs and cats meat; that's not vegan! Elsewhere it arises among vegans themselves who, by definition, seek to eliminate the use of animal products wherever possible, but who find themselves confronted with a difficult dilemma when it comes to what to feed the companion animals in their care. Continue reading ]]> 1 Seeing Yourself as Good Might Make You a Terrible Person Mon, 08 Jun 2015 16:35:13 +0000 “So you’re saying if I eat a piece of chicken, I’m a bad person?” Many of us have probably heard this question or a variation of it before in discussions on the morality of eating and exploiting animals. It’s fascinating how a discussion on a societal injustice can become so quickly refocused into the feeling of being judged as a person in totality. Continue reading ]]> 0 A Young Mother’s Plea to Mothers Everywhere Fri, 05 Jun 2015 07:50:47 +0000 On the day of my daughter’s birth, I marveled at the billions and billions of living souls before me whose bodies had heaved and rolled through labor. On hands and knees, my body pulsed and contracted on my bedroom floor, and I pushed my daughter out into the hands of my midwife’s assistant. I felt connected to all of the other animals in this world — human or otherwise — who had ever endured this grueling, bewildering, humbling process. It was during these early days of nurturing Melody’s life that I was hit with an acute sense of grief for dairy cows. Continue reading ]]> 3 Shooting the Messenger: Animal Advocates under Attack Wed, 03 Jun 2015 01:58:40 +0000 If you care about animals and feel compelled to defend them, chances are you’ve come across knee-jerk accusations claiming you are “pushing your agenda,” forcing your ideas down their throat,” or “spreading propaganda.” So, why don’t other social justice advocates face the same accusations? Continue reading ]]> 0 Meat: The Meaning Behind the Word Fri, 29 May 2015 14:11:27 +0000 Shortly after fostering two beautiful young ducks, a mated couple we named Ginger and Fred, I was on a bike ride running some errands and passed a barbecue restaurant with smoked Pekin ducks displayed in the storefront window facing the busy street. Continue reading ]]> 1 Are Farm Animals “Better Off” Than They Would Be in Nature? Wed, 27 May 2015 20:07:00 +0000 "Farm animals have a much better life than they would in nature" is a claim we commonly encounter. Fans of this line of thinking often present an either/or situation: either the animals we eat die a horrible death in nature after a difficult existence, or they have a comparably “easy” life and a better death on farms. Continue reading ]]> 0 Jay Quigley’s TED Talk on Overcoming Speciesism Thu, 21 May 2015 22:32:06 +0000 Jay Quigley’s TED Talk provides a great primer on speciesism, a pervasive form of discrimination against animals that permeates all animal eating cultures, and shows how it fuels the socially accepted commodification and killing of billions of famed animals. He also provides hope and practical advice on how to end their suffering and bring our food choices more in alignment with our values. Continue reading ]]> 2 Ginger and Fred: Two Lucky Ducks! Fri, 15 May 2015 17:59:11 +0000 In the first week of May, Red Door Animal Shelter notified us that they had rescued two Pekin ducks, a bonded couple, who were now in need of a permanent home. Red Door found the pair as tiny little ducklings, wandering the city streets shortly after Easter. They spent about three weeks at the shelter and were examined by the avian vets at Midwest Exotics. Continue reading ]]> 1