Chipotle Halts Pork Sales in Some Locations

pawsupPaws Up! To Chipotle for halting the sale of pork due to animal welfare concerns.

Although not a meat-free restaurant chain, Chipotle is well known for efforts to maintain humane and

Chipotle's policy requires that farmed pigs have opportunities to access outdoor areas.

Chipotle’s policy requires that farmed pigs have opportunities to access outdoor areas.

sustainable business practices. Last year, NHES wrote about Chipotle’s decision to offer more vegan-friendly menu items. According to a recent news article, Chipotle has decided to halt the sale of pork in hundreds of locations after an audit revealed that one of the restaurant’s suppliers was not meeting the company’s standards  for humanely-raised pigs. For example, Chipotle stipulates that animals must have opportunities to be in the outdoors. While NHES is committed to promoting vegan and vegetarian diets, we applaud Chipotle for acting on the company’s commitment to upholding sustainable and humane farming practices.

Take Action: Consider a vegan or vegetarian diet and learn about the humane and health benefits of plant-based eating. If you decide to eat meat, reduce your intake and avoid factory-farmed meats. Contact Chipotle to express your support of humane treatment of farm animals.

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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?

 

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IKEA Cares for the Environment

pawsupPaws Up!
To IKEA for recognizing the impact eating meat has on the environment.

Eating a plant-based diet can have a positive impact on the environment. Click here to find vegan and vegetarian recipes.

According to a news story, “The Swedish furniture giant will roll out a vegetarian and a chicken version of its iconic meatballs in stores worldwide sometime next year, a company spokesperson confirmed. The vegetarian meatballs are part of IKEA’s effort to reduce the environmental impact of its estimated 150 million meatballs sold per year.”

A vegetarian/vegan diet is humane to both the environment and to us humans. According to an article in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, entitled “Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment,” “The US food production system uses about 50% of the total US land area, 80% of the fresh water, and 17% of the fossil energy used in the country.” For example:

o A larger amount of cropland, almost two-tenths of a hectare, is needed to produce a meat-based diet than is needed to produce a plant-based diet. “In fact, …US livestock consumes more than 7 times as much grain as is consumed…by the entire American population.”
o To produce one kilogram of animal protein requires about 100 times more water than to produce the same amount of grain protein.
o The needed energy to produce a meat-based diet is more than eleven times greater than that needed to produce a planted-based diet.

This massive use of nonrenewable resources is putting a strain on our planet.

Further, in 2006, the United Nations released a report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, which concludes that raising farmed animals is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.

Take Action: Thank IKEA for making this move to include a vegetarian option on their menu. Continue to encourage them to offer additional vegetarian and vegan options to help the health of the planet.

Ms. Pernille Lopez
President, IKEA North America
Ikea Corporate Office
496 West Germantown Pike
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

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When you think about…animals are not the only ones who suffer in slaughterhouses.

meat

Human misery is a consequence of animal slaughter.

Workers face both physical and psychological injuries in the fast-paced environment of a slaughterhouse. The work itself is violent, and the speed with which workers must act is frightening, according to Jennifer Dillard in A Slaughterhouse Nightmare.

Along with such physical injuries as tendonitis and carpel tunnel syndrome, there are life-threatening injuries often caused by long hours and tiring work all while workers handle sharp knives designed to slice through bone. There are also psychological injuries suffered as a result of making thousands of cuts a day on the kill floor to process over 9 billion animals a year in the United States.

The mainly low-wage workers often evidence the effects of alcohol and drug abuse to compensate for the grueling, tedious, and brutal work in which they engage. Gail Eiznitz in Slaughterhouse quotes a worker, “The worst thing, worse than the physical danger, is the emotional toll.”

We can all reduce not only the suffering of animals in slaughterhouses but also the suffering of the workers by reducing our reliance on animal-based products. By selecting a vegetarian/vegan diet, we help reduce the number of animals being raised and slaughtered for food; therefore, fewer workers will have to experience the physical and psychological effects of their work. For when you think about it…animals are not the only ones who suffer in slaughterhouses.

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When you think about it…the real price of meat is staggering.

How much will eating this hamburger really cost you?

How much will eating this hamburger really cost you?

While many of us stretch our budgets to accommodate price increases, we often are able to buy a dollar hamburger at the local fast food joint. How can the price of some meat be so cheap?

We need to look at two types of costs—direct costs that the manufacturer of any product includes in the final price to the consumer. Those costs include materials, equipment, labor, and overhead. Then, there are the other costs often not included in the price—costs that are paid by everyone whether they purchase the product or not. These are the hidden costs.

Take for example, that $1 hamburger. The direct costs include raising, slaughtering, packaging, and shipping the animal to market along with the labor and equipment to do so. The hidden costs include the amount of water used in the production of that meat (500 gallons for 1 pound of chicken; 4,000-18,000 gallons for a hamburger). Such extreme use of water is causing precipitous drops in some of the country’s largest aquifers.

Another hidden cost is to our health. In order to keep factory farmed animals healthy enough to live until they are slaughtered, the meat industry laces animals’ food with antibiotics. Actually, the factory farm uses 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in this country. The more antibiotics are used for non-antibiotic needs, the stronger some germs become until they are labeled antibiotic-resistant organisms (also known as superbugs) which can cause extreme illness and death to humans.

But that’s not the only health problem we have with eating that cheap hamburger. There’s heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and other nasty illnesses awaiting us if we continue to eat meat. Factor in our medical bills and the cost of that hamburger is rising astronomically.

Then there’s the cost to the family farmer. Many have lost the battle with big agra and have closed up, leaving whole communities without a source of revenue. Small towns across the country have disappeared as the family farmers have left town.

Let us not forget the cost to the environment. Run-off from factory farms, which includes fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fecal matter, and all sorts of other waste products, destroys property, pollutes ground water, and causes dead zones in bodies of water, some many miles from the factory farm site.

Of course, there is no way any of us can calculate the cost to the animals themselves, to the mothers who have their offspring taken from them minutes/days after giving birth, to the animals who suffer in cramped filthy cages for weeks, to the offspring ground up in wood chippers, to the young lives lived in horrific conditions before they undergo frightening deaths. So, when you think about it…the cost of meat is staggering. Are you, your family, friends, and colleagues willing to continue paying that price?

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When you think about it…why not lion burgers?

Several restaurants in the United States offer exotic meat, such as lion burgers, on their menus.

Several restaurants in the United States offer exotic meat such as lion burgers on their menus.

Every now and again a restaurant decides to offer exotic animal meat, sometimes sold as burgers. There have been lion burgers and kangaroo burgers, among others. Many exotic animals find themselves on the menu as yak steaks or turtle soup.

Why do we become enraged when a lion burger is on the menu but not when a hamburger—or more correctly a cow or steer burger—is on the menu? As long as the animals are being bred for the restaurant trade and not captured in their native lands, what difference does it make if a chef wants to offer exotic, wild game animals on his or her menu? Actually, it makes no difference. Killing a living, breathing, sentient being for our tastes buds is wrong regardless of whether the animal is a wild being or a domesticated creature.

Sausage is still pig flesh, shish kabob is still lamb flesh, and nuggets are still chicken flesh. Instead of eating anyone’s flesh, regardless of how it is labeled, try a vegan/vegetarian approach to life and let others live. Because when you think about it…the question isn’t “Why not lion burgers?” The question really is: Why lion burgers? Why hamburgers? Why pork chops? Why animal meat?

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When you think about…a healthy environment is healthy for all of us.

By reducing an consumption of animal products, we're creating a healthier environment and healthier children. For more vegetarian and vegan options, visit our Plant-Based Eating page.

By reducing our consumption of animal products, we’re creating a healthier environment and healthier children. For more vegetarian and vegan options, visit our Plant-Based Eating page. Above: Low-Fat Pineapple “Fried” Rice

The less meat we eat, the fitter we are and the finer our planet. The less meat we eat, the fewer animals needed to feed a meat-hungry world. The less meat we eat, the cleaner our water and soil. The less meat we eat, the more we celebrate life.

According to an article in the Guardian, “The quest for ever cheaper meat in the past few decades – most people even in rich countries ate significantly less meat one and two generations ago – has resulted in a massive expansion of intensively farmed livestock. This has diverted vast quantities of grain from human to animal consumption, requiring intensive use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides….” In an age when many of the 7 billion people on earth have barely enough to live on, we need to reevaluate our addiction to meat.

By reducing our reliance on animal products for our daily nutrition, we create a healthier environment for all 7 billion people. Fewer animals are raised, thereby reducing the number of animals living in factory farms. With fewer animals living in factory farms, fewer resources (water, pesticides, fertilizers, etc.) are needed and ground water is less polluted. With fewer animals being raised for food, less grain is needed to feed them; grain which can better feed the impoverished. Feeding the poor and hungry reduces the ravages of diseases that affect children, especially. Healthy children are productive and help their communities thrive as they mature into adulthood. When you think about it…cleaner water, cleaner soil, and healthier diets promote growth and development of healthy humans and a healthy planet.

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