Michael Pollan, Pea Plant Communication and the Ethics of Eating Plants Versus Animals

Adam Merberg, a Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at University of California, Berkeley, where Michael Pollan is a professor of journalism, has posted a blog entry called Should communication between pea plants raise tough issues for vegetarians? where Merberg provides an extremely thoughtful analysis of Pollan’s New York Times piece about a new study of pea plants and Pollan’s assertion that the findings should compel vegetarians to consider the ethics of eating plants. Continue reading

Suzanna, a Pekin Duck Rescued from Chicago Animal Control

This month we found ourselves fostering an orphaned duck for three days we named Suzanna who comes from Chicago Animal Control. Within 48 hours, she went from fearing us to friending us. And we quickly realized what a deeply sensitive, intelligent and affectionate bird she is. We knew nothing about ducks before we met Suzanna. I did some research and found that she was a Pekin duck, a species commonly raised as a meat commodity. Continue reading

Speciesism the Movie: Questioning Our Power Over the Powerless

Speciesism is a term coined by Richard Ryder in 1970. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines specieism as “prejudice or discrimination based on species; especially discrimination against animals.” Ryder pointed out that all such prejudices are based upon physical differences that are morally irrelevant. He held that the moral principle of Darwinism is that all sentient animals, including humans, should have a similar moral status. If all organisms are on one physical continuum, then we should also be on the same moral continuum. In other words, speciesism defies evolution. So how did our judgment become so clouded? Continue reading

John Sanbonmatu’s Letter to the New York Times Editors

If it’s so natural and normal and necessary, why does the New York Times try to defend meat eating and the meat industry with many elaborate, convoluted and often bizarre arguments from its panel of “experts” in its recent forum on the subject? Philosophy professor John Sanbonmatsu of Worcester Polytechnic Institute submitted the following amazing letter to The New York Times Magazine incorporating the concerns that many of us felt about the contest and its judges: Continue reading

What Are Leading Nutritional Studies Telling Us about How Vegans Compare to Meat Eaters?

In this video presentation, Jack Norris RD compiles highlights from the leading scientific studies that provide a comparison of vegan and non vegan, meat eating diets. The findings can be at times quite surprising and unexpected, breaking through the misconceptions and conjecture that plague discussions of vegan nutrition. Norris focuses particular attention to health conditions and deficiencies where vegans may find themselves more vulnerable than non vegans, providing clear and straightforward advice for avoiding them. This video can help empower vegans with science-based facts and recommendations to optimize their health in the long term. Continue reading

UK Pig Farm Investigation Exposes Horrific Suffering in High Welfare Facilities

Animal Equality has carried out an undercover investigation into East Anglian Pig Company, which is the third largest pig meat producer of the UK. EAP is a member of Freedom Food and is audited and monitored by Assured Food Standards (AFS). Over 120 hours of footage and recorded conversations, as well as 281 photos, provide a truly shocking insight into the so called high standards of the British pig industry. Continue reading

How to Respond to ‘Veganism is Extreme’

How many times have you heard the dismissive phrase veganism is extreme? What is extreme is not veganism but its polar opposite, carnism, which remains largely invisible and unexamined. What is extreme is the fact that a species of 7 billion kills 120 billion land and aquatic animals every year for a food source that is not necessary for survival or health. Continue reading

Animal Science, Public Universities and the Business of Animal Exploitation

In Melody Petersen’s new piece in The Chronicle Review entitled, As Beef Cattle Become Behemoths, Who Are Animal Scientists Serving?, Petersen questions the influence of Big Pharma working against the interests of Big Ag. I thought these two worked pretty well together to destroy our environment, limit our food choices and monopolize taxpayer subsidies, but apparently Petersen makes a pretty good case for how animal scientists working for major public universities are unduly influenced by Big Pharma, thereby compromising their allegiance to Big Ag? Hmmm. Okay. I can’t seem to find the empathy for this argument. Continue reading

Facing Animals: A Dutch Documentary about Our Wildly Conflicting Perceptions of Animals

Why do we look away from millions of animals in industrial farms while pampering and humanizing others? Such is the fundamental question posed by a fascinating new documentary film by Dutch photographer and filmmaker, Jan Van Ijken. “The film takes the perspective of the animal, but actually is about man who in his inscrutable wisdom labels one animal as a cheap piece of meat, and the other as an interesting research object, beauty ideal, pest, pathetic creature or partner/mate/child. In Facing Animals, I give the hidden animals in the industrial farms a face. I invite the viewer to think about the value of an animal,” writes Van Ijken. Continue reading

United Egg Producer’s President Backs New Battery Cage Law, Sees Higher Profits for the Industry

Gregory describes a long history of failed negotiations with HSUS which he describes as a vegan organization intent on putting the egg industry out of business. Gregory sells the idea of the new legislation that would phase out battery cages over nearly two decades time and replace them with negligibly larger “enriched colony cages” as a way to finally take control of the debate over eggs and animal welfare and once and for all put an end to their biggest threat: the animal advocacy movement. Continue reading

HSUS New Egg Exposé: The Reality Behind Modern Egg Production

If you want to help hens, don’t purchase eggs and don’t support campaigns like the proposed battery cage ban (H.R. 3798, the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012), that will doom birds to cages for decades to come with no opportunities to change the laws. Birds do not belong in cages… period. Continue reading

Cow Escapes Slaughterhouse, Swims Across River, Flees Police

A young steer who broke out of a slaughterhouse in northern New Jersey, swam across a river, ran through city streets and was even struck by an animal control pick up truck. Fortunately he is now being taken Wednesday to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in New York. Stories like this one prove how deeply these animals’ lives matter to them, just as much as our lives matter to us. Continue reading

The Backyard Chicken Reality Check: Problems and Recommendations

The backyard chicken movement is in full swing, and shelters are filling up with unwanted and abandoned chickens all over the country. While the media continues to romanticize backyard chicken keeping, would-be chicken keepers are learning only half truths about keeping and caring for chickens. We thought it was time for a reality check. This live recording from Karen Davis, President of United Poultry Concerns, provides a very authoritative and comprehensive review of the most common problems and recommendations for the urban chicken movement. Continue reading

Examining Temple Grandin and the Humane Slaughter Paradox

Browsing Temple Grandin’s official website is a puzzle of ideas and positions on animals in agriculture that could leave you more confused about her conclusions than when you started. For instance, her position on what she calls “humane slaughter” and appropriate methods of slaughter begins, not with an explanation of the benefits to the animal, but to its economic / legal compliance advantages: Continue reading