When you think about it…can you trust animal-based product labels?

Find vegan and vegetarian versions of popular foods at http://www.nhes.org/articles/view/588 .

Find vegan and vegetarian versions of popular foods on the NHES website.

We are bombarded by advertisements encouraging us to buy the latest and greatest, the biggest and best. Many of these products come with labels using words we think we understand but do we? For instance, when grocery shopping, do we know what “cage free” means when referring to eggs, or even what “humane” means when referring to farmed animals?

“Although USDA  [U.S. Department of Agriculture] regularly approves claims related to animal welfare, no legal definitions exist for the terms ‘animal welfare,’ ‘humane,’ or ‘animal care.’” So if there are no legal definitions, how are we as consumers to know how well, or ill, treated the animals are who produce food for our table? Sadly, we have no way of knowing.

We can, however, avoid the issue altogether. We can shop vegan. Vegans  eat no animal flesh or animal products thereby avoiding the issue of what exactly animal-based product labels mean. For, when you think about it…can you trust animal-based product labels?


Posted in When you think about it. Tags: , , , , , , . Comments Off on When you think about it…can you trust animal-based product labels?

Protect Investigators’ Rights

No Cameras AllowedSeveral state legislatures have introduced bills that seek to penalize undercover efforts meant to expose animal cruelty on factory farms.

Cruelty to animals must be exposed and dealt with and often that requires investigators have the freedom to gather information and document inhumane acts. By making illegal the right to investigate such activities, cruelty to animals is dealt a backwards blow and perpetrators are allowed to continue the abuse.

Animal cruelty poses a definite risk to a community and society as a whole. Intentional animal cruelty is of particular concern as it is a sign of psychological distress and often indicates an individual may be predisposed to committing acts of violence. Investigative reports exposing animal cruelty should, therefore, be of great concern to law enforcement and the judiciary and to all citizens of a community where such acts are perpetrated.

Mental health professionals and top law enforcement officials consider the blatant disregard for life and suffering evidenced by all forms of cruelty to animals to be an unquestionable warning sign. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association identifies cruelty to animals as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders; and the FBI uses reports of animal cruelty in analyzing the threat potential of suspected and known criminals.

Undercover investigations are a necessary piece of our democratic system and have been crucial in uncovering illegal activities. Uncovering animal cruelty regardless of its source and location is requisite to living a humane life; therefore, we do a disservice to our fellow human beings when we allow cruelty to animals to go unreported.

If you live in one of the states listed below, contact your legislators and urge them to oppose bills that limit uncover investigations of animal cruelty on factory farms. If you are not a resident of one of the states below, contact your legislators and let them know you oppose any efforts in the legislature to hamper undercover investigations of animal cruelty in factory farms in your state.

ArkansasSB 14
IndianaSB 373 and SB 391
NebraskaLB 204
New HampshireHB 110
WyomingHB 126

Posted in Action Letters. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Comments Off on Protect Investigators’ Rights

Enforce Animal Welfare Act


Many farm animals like goats die because of lies and information deliberately withheld from federal inspectors

According to a news story, Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc. (SCB) “has continued to flagrantly violate the Animal Welfare Act [AWA] – leading to more animal deaths – and deliberately withheld information from federal inspectors about the existence of a herd of 841 animals, many of whom suffered with significant illnesses.

“A scathing five page USDA report dated Oct. 31, 2012 reveals the existence of a herd of 841 animals at Santa Cruz Biotech (SCB). The report states that several SCB staff had lied to federal inspectors, denying the existence of these animals. This herd included a dozen animals with unreported and untreated illnesses.

“A later USDA report Dec. 18, 2012 discloses even more federal violations, multiple sick animals, and the deaths of two other animals.”

While we would all like to see an end to using animals in biomedical research, as long as animals are being used, they deserve to be cared for under the guidelines of the AWA.

Please write the secretary of Agriculture and urge him to enforce the provisions in the AWA and to fine SCB to the fullest extent for its violations of the AWA and to revoke the company’s license.

The Honorable Tom Vilsack
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250

Posted in Action Letters. Tags: , , , , , . Comments Off on Enforce Animal Welfare Act

When you think about it…farmed animals are getting justice albeit slowly.


The easiest way to help farmed animals is to adopt a vegan lifestyle.

Even just a few years ago, we would rarely if ever read about animal abuse on factory farms. After all, the animals were going to be killed, so why would we concern ourselves about workers abusing the animals beforehand. Yet, today, we find numerous cases of animal abuse being brought against workers at factory farms and slaughterhouses. And, in fact, one such case resulted in a $500 million settlement.

Some in the factory farm world want to stifle undercover investigations of their practices. They don’t want the abuse revealed. However, until we have glass walls on our factory farms and slaughterhouses, we must rely on first-hand experience of undercover investigators. Abuse of any animal is cause for concern as nonhuman animal abuse can lead to human animal abuse. In the book Slaughterhouse by Gail Eiznitz, she relates stories of slaughterhouse workers who beat and abused family members because they carried such rage from killing animals all day long.

When you think about it…justice for farmed animals is justice for all animals.

When you think about it…celebrating abuse should not be a Thanksgiving tradition.

Turkeys are very social animals, and roost in trees with their companions.

This Thanksgiving, millions of Americans will sit down at tables ladened with food. Will a dead bird be one of the items, maybe even the centerpiece, on those tables? Sadly, the answer is yes. How can we celebrate a day that bids us give thanks when we are systematically killing millions of animals, many of whom suffered inordinate pain and trauma during their short, factory-farmed lives?

Thanksgiving celebrations should be life-affirming and joyous. When giving thanks, we should reflect on our care and concern for the planet and all her inhabitants. Celebrating abuse and suffering just doesn’t seem festive. Few who follow a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle can rejoice when they see what is happening at factory farms around the country. Only when we embrace the true meaning of Thanksgiving, a time of fellowship and love—for all animals—will we be able to celebrate fully and completely.

Join many of us who will sit down to tables also ladened with food but not ladened with misery. Join the vegan/vegetarian movement. For when you think about, Thanksgiving should be about celebrating life, not devouring death.

Posted in When you think about it. Tags: , , , , . Comments Off on When you think about it…celebrating abuse should not be a Thanksgiving tradition.

Animal Cruelty Costs Company

Paws Up!
To the U.S. Department of Agriculture for fining Triple F Farms, a ferret farm in Pennsylvania, $44,000.

According to a news story, “A large Pennsylvania ferret farm that supplies animals to the Centers for Disease Control as well as pet retailers, has been fined $44,000 by the federal government for violating animal welfare and labor laws.

Ferrets and other small animals deserve our protection.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) fined Triple F Farms, Inc., in Sayre, $16,679 for violating at least eight regulations of the Animal Welfare Act, and the factory must pay employees $28,124.98 in back wages for 38 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act….”

Take Action: Send USDA a note of thanks for the actions taken in this case and urge them to continue to protect the animals of this country.

Dr. Gregory Parham
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
United States Department of Agriculture
4700 River Road, Unit 84
Riverdale, MD 20737-1234
Tele. No.: 301-734-7833
E-mail: ace@aphis.usda.gov

Read our initial post on this issue.

Goodbye to gestation crates

Paws Up!
To Safeway, Inc. and to Denny’s for announcing they will work with suppliers of their pork products to eliminate the cruelty of gestation crates.

According to a news story, “The nation’s second-largest grocery chain [Safeway] said it will adopt purchasing policies that favor more humane treatment of pigs.”

Eliminating gestation crates is progress, but you can help pigs even more by enjoying a vegetarian/vegan diet.

And in another news story, “Denny’s has pledged it will only purchase bacon, sausage and other pork products from companies that don’t take part in the practice [of using gestation crates].”

Pregnant sows live for four months in gestation crates that are about the same size they are.
Several states have banned the practice of confining sows to gestation crates and additional states have legislation pending. In addition to Safeway and Denny’s, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s have also announced they will require their suppliers to eliminate gestation crates; and Smithfield and Hormel along with Cargill are also on board to eliminate gestation crates in their operations.

Take Action: Write notes to these companies and applaud their decision to work to end the cruel confinement of sows in gestation crates. Urge them to put their policies into practice as soon as possible. In the meantime, consider changing your diet to reflect a more compassionate way of eating. Check out our article on vegetarian/vegan eating and our plant-based section. A vegetarian/vegan diet promotes healthy eating, environmental sustainability, and best of all compassion for farmed animals.

Steven A. Burd, CEO
Safeway, Inc. Corporate Headquarters
5918 Stoneridge Mall
Pleasanton, CA 94588
Tele. no.: 925-467-3000

John C. Miller, CEO
Denny’s Corporation
Corporate Office Headquarters
203 E. Main St.
Spartanburg, SC 29319
Tele. no.: 864-597-8000


Posted in Paws Up/Paws Down. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Goodbye to gestation crates
%d bloggers like this: