Vegan Leafleter Wins Philadelphia Court Settlement for Illegal Arrest Case

The city of Philadelphia has agreed to pay $15,000 to Edward Coffin, an animal rights activist who was illegally arrested and held for two hours for handing out fliers on a public sidewalk outside a Whole Foods store. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit on Coffin’s behalf in December 2011. Continue reading

The River of Blood That Flows from Dallas, TX to Koscierzyna, Poland

The coincidence of finding the same kind of story in two completely different parts of the world on the same day seems uncanny. Or is it far more common than we care to know? On the same day, I found two news stories surface, one about a river of pig blood coming from a slaughterhouse in a small town in Poland called Koscierzyna and the other, about pig blood flowing down a river in Dallas, TX. Continue reading

Bearing Witness: The First Stage in Changing the Paradigm for Animals

If you are an animal advocate or just someone who is concerned with animal issues, the first most important task we have is to find creative ways to get people to bear witness to the suffering of animals for food and other uses. You can’t have a meaningful conversation with someone who has not yet been exposed to the reality you too have witnessed. The act of witnessing forms the basis of a constructive dialogue about our impact on animals and what we can do about it. Continue reading

Beyond the Struggle to Survive: The Study of Pleasure in Animals

“Happy, healthy animals are beautiful to behold. They make us smile, and there’s value in that. But pleasure has deeper meaning and significant implications for humankind’s relationship with other animals. Pleasure adds intrinsic value to life – that is, value to the individual who feels it regardless of any perceived worth to anyone else. Pleasure seekers have wants, needs, desires, and lives worth living. They can have a good quality of life. If we let them.” Continue reading

Farm to Fridge: Help Expose the Truth Using the Power of Video

Narrated by Academy Award-nominee James Cromwell, this 12-minute, powerful film takes viewers on an eye-opening exploration behind the closed doors of the nation’s largest industrial poultry, pig, dairy and fish farms, hatcheries, and slaughter plants – revealing the often-unseen journey that animals make from Farm to Fridge. Continue reading

Natalie Portman Working on a Vegan Documentary Based on the Book ‘Eating Animals’

Natalie Portman took a break from her career after the release of Black Swan to have a child with fiancé Benjamin Millepied, whom she met on the set of her movie, but she’s now back to work, this time on a documentary project based on the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran-Foer which she claims led her to a veganism a few years back. Continue reading

Martha Stewart Denounces Factory Farming in New Video

Martha Stewart denounces factory farming in a new video recorded by Farm Sanctuary. The interesting thing here is that the focus is only on factory farming which is simply the result of a mindset that views certain animals as commodities to satisfy human pleasures. She does not denounce eating animals on principle because doing so reduces their value to mere commodities. And yet it is precisely this belief—that animals are here for our use—that is the justification and catalyst behind a system of food production that uses animals as resources on a scale of mass production that we have come to know as factory farming. Therefore, to denounce factory farming without providing a solution, leaves her audience wondering, what should I do? Look for humane products? Go vegetarian, vegan? The answer is unclear.
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The Meat of the Issue: Normal, Natural and Necessary?

In the last 24 hours, I’ve had an earful of reasons why people eat meat. Most of the reasoning centers around health. Many say when they tried to be vegetarian their health declined. Others say eating animals is part of the “circle of life.” Still others believe that some animals were somehow born into this world to serve us as food. Having come out of a Melanie Joy’s vegan empowerment workshop last night, I am inspired by her insights about why people believe they need to eat animals and how to best communicate with them about the issue.
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The Ghosts in Our Machine

Animals are hidden within the shadows of our highly mechanized world. That is the message of a new documentary project by Liz Marshall featuring the life and work of animal rights photographer Jo-Anne McArthur, a woman who has equal parts bravery and empathy for non-human animals trapped inside of a cold and mechanized world which reduces their identity down to mere commodities. Continue reading

Legal Action Taken Against Santa Cruz Chicken Hatchery Based on 2010 Animal Abuse Investigation

Newly released undercover video footage, taken by a Compassion Over Killing investigator working inside Cal-Cruz Hatcheries, reveals shocking abuse of newly-hatched chicks. As described in the lawsuit, this video documents numerous routine abuses—including acts amounting to felony animal cruelty—that are in violation of the California law. Among the atrocities documented are: Continue reading

The New Cheese Addiction Guide Book to Recovery

On Free from Harm we’ve published a few wildly popular posts about cheese and its scientifically-documented addictive properties. Now there’s a new book out called Cut the Cheese: Quit Your Cheese Addiction to Transform Your Life by author Cathleen Woods. Woods make a solid case for what makes cheese addictive, what chronic diseases are associated with cheese consumption and why dairy production is so inherently cruel to the cows and their offspring. Continue reading

How Huffington Post Promotes Animal Exploitation

At least once per week I come across a story in the Huffington Post Food section about how to raise or hunt and kill your own animals for food. One week it was a story about how to salvage road kill and turn it into a tasty meal. Another week it was an amateur urban chicken “farmer” intent on having her first chicken slaughter experience but didn’t have the heart to kill her own hens so she went out and found a wandering hen who had escaped from a live market which she brought home and slaughtered for a meal. The stories of these so called “conscious” people who are taking the journey to trace where their food comes from seems to have an endless stream of variations on the same theme. Yet the underlying premise of all of them are predictably consistent: these animals are here for our use, for us to raise, kill and eat as we see fit, because they have no other value or meaning in life other than to be our food. Continue reading

The Invisible and the Innocent 10,153,000,000 Victims of the US Food Industry in 2010

FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement) has released its report on animals killed for food in the US in 2010 based largely on the USDA’s own data. Of all the findings, perhaps the most mind numbing statistic is this: Of the 10,153,000,000 land animals systematically killed across the country, 875,000,000 of these animals died lingering deaths from disease, injury, starvation, suffocation, maceration, or other atrocities of animal farming and transport. Assuming that all of these practices were perfectly legal, we have an industry that exploits and abuses animals with impunity and a flagrant disregard for their most basic needs as sentient beings. Continue reading