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Melanie Joy Presentation: Speaking Truth to Power

In April of 2013, Free from Harm helped organize what would be remembered as a very special, unforgettable event, featuring social psychologist and author Melanie Joy, who spoke to a group of 75 people in Chicago on the subject of social justice activism. In this eloquent talk, Joy introduces the Quaker expression, “Speaking Truth to Power” as a metaphor for activism and social change, and she opens by explaining how the movement to end the oppression of women relates to the movement to end the oppression of animals. Continue reading

After Learning These Parts of A Chicken, You May Never Want to Eat One Again

The parts of a chicken most people tend to know are the ones that end up on their plates: “cuts of meat” from a depersonalized carcass that involve creepy descriptors like “boneless,” “skinless” and “split breast.” But the parts of a chicken extend far beyond the degrading diagram of a butcher’s cuts. The will to live, the wish to be loved for who you are… these too are parts of a chicken. Continue reading

Vegan Activist Put To Shame By World’s Happiest Cow

This is a cow called Fiete. He was rescued from slaughter and lives on a sanctuary in Germany. Hearing him, I am ashamed because he says better in 30 seconds what I have been trying to say for over a decade as a vegan activist. How beautifully and how irrefutably he answers the question: “Why vegan?” But I have another question once you have listened to Fiete. Continue reading

Farmed Fish: 9 Things Everyone Should Know

The aquaculture industry is like a whale on steroids, growing faster than any other animal agriculture segment and now accounting for half the fish eaten in the U.S. As commercial fishing operations continue to strip the world’s oceans of life, with one-third of fishing stocks collapsed and the rest headed there by mid-century, fish farming is increasingly seen as a way to meet the world’s growing demand. Continue reading

Sexing Chicks: Normalized Cruelty in the Egg Business

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. Continue reading

Live and Let Live: German Documentary Explores Veganism

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. Continue reading

Help Stop the Practice of “Live Sushi,” and Make the Connection

Today I learned of the barbaric practice taking place in restaurants in Japan. A practice called “Live Sushi,” a ‘delicacy’ that involves eating frogs while they are still alive and fully conscious. The lower half of their body is severed, skinned and they are served on a plate, with eyes blinking and body twitching and twisting, while they are slowly eaten alive. This barbaric, vulgar and unnecessarily cruel practice is truly a shame on the Japanese people. Continue reading

“I Like Them To Stay Standing Up”: Why Luiz Antonio Won’t Eat Animals

When I saw this video, I cried. Apparently I’m not the only one; every other comment I’ve seen from viewers expresses the same reaction. In the video, a toddler in Brazil explains to his mother why he will not eat his octopus pasta. Originally uploaded to YouTube on May 15, 2013, within 2 weeks the video of little Luiz Antonio had over 1 million views; but it could only be understood by those who knew Portuguese. So when Raffaella Ciavatta, a Brazilian-born vegan activist and certified translator living in NY, saw the video, she knew she had seen something extraordinary, and contacted the mother to ask for permission to translate it into English. Continue reading

Damien Mander’s Journey from Sniper to Animal Rights Activist

Meat-eating is strongly associated with cultural perceptions of masculinity and power. The idea that meat-eating and killing are “manly” is constantly reinforced through advertising and other forms of cultural narrative that tell us who we are. This macho mythologizing of meat helps explain why women are more than twice as likely as men to be vegetarian. Continue reading

My Visit to a Local Live Poultry Market

This short, non graphic video documents my visit to a live poultry market in Chicago. I posed as someone interested in having a business like theirs and asked if I could take some photos. They agreed. I then just let the video roll. What I found was even worse than I would have imagined. The only way to describe this place is a squalid hell on earth with a level of suffering I had never seen before. Shops like this are marketed as the “buy local,” “sustainable,” “free range,” “pasture-raised” and “organic” alternatives to factory farming. Continue reading

The Spiked Nose Ring: A Symbol for All Dairy Cruelty

Voltaire once wrote, “If we believe absurdities, we will commit atrocities,” and nowhere is this principle seen more clearly than in the billion dollar lies and bizarre cruelties of the dairy industry. It is a testament to the power of dairy advertising that otherwise intelligent adults can be made to believe that it is not only natural, but necessary to drink the breast milk of another species. In trying to expose this absurdity, one encounters even more absurd defenses and practices. This video is a perfect example, demonstrating the heartless cruelties visited on animals in the dairy industry. Continue reading

A Farmer’s Change of Heart about His Chickens

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. Continue reading

Francione on Bridging the Gap between Belief and Action

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.” Continue reading

Father Mann’s Journey to Embracing a Vegan Vision of Christianity

Father Frank Mann’s own journey has been inspired by visionaries such as Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, who have shown compassion and moral leadership in the face of injustice. He recently had a deep personal awakening to the plight of animals, and has since incorporated the values of being vegan and animal rights into his spiritual life and vision of a more just and peaceful world. Continue reading

The Silence of the Lambs

No, this is not about the infamous fictional horror movie that has spooked many and given others feverish nightmares. This is far worse, far more premiditated, far more methodical and far more insidious than the movie. And worst of all, it’s all really happening right now, particularly around this time of year to celebrate the Easter holiday. The latest Animal Equality undercover investigation exposes the transport and slaughter of young lambs in Italy, a typical scene depicting standard industry practices (most likely for “humane” labeled products) rather than some isolated and egregious act of cruelty. And it proves how the everyday, “normal” exploitation of animals is perhaps the most disturbing reality of all. Continue reading

La Mirada Circular (The Circular Glance): All Violence Is Connected

La Mirada Circular (The Circular Glance) is an award-winning short Spanish film from directors ván Sáinz-Pardo, Dirk Soldner and Jim-Box that draws perhaps the most startling connection yet between human and non human animal exploitation. Two young children appear to be kidnapped and hauled around in an animal transport truck. They are taken to a slaughterhouse to find animals being hauled out of another truck and sent into the slaughterhouse. But is this all part of a child’s imagination? You’ll have to get to the end to find that out. Continue reading

Dr. Richard Oppenlander: Why Eating Local, Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work

In this video recorded at the March 2013 McDougall Advanced Study Weekend, leading sustainability activist Dr. Richard Oppenlander makes a compelling case for how the transition to a plant-based diet is the most practical, effective and sustainable solution to our most serious environmental problems as well as debunking the most popular misconceptions about sustainability. Continue reading

TURLOCK the movie: Biggest Rescue Story in California History

Turlock is the incredible story of the rescue of 4,460 starving hens from an egg farm in Stanislaw County, California in Spring, 2012, managed by Animal Place. Turlock the movie is released one year after the rescue effort to commemorate the date. While tragic, the story is ultimately an immensely-inspiring testament of the human will to help and defend the lives of animals who are the hidden casualties of the industries that profit from their suffering. Continue reading