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Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.

Albert Schweitzer, French philosopher, physician, and musician (Nobel 1952)

The euphemisms of animal exploitation

July 26, 2021
by


People love defining another’s suffering in manners that provides them personal comfort and not the actual victims; animal exploitation is bloody, abusive, violent, and the cause of unimaginable fear and suffering regardless of how aesthetically appealing humans disguise it.

If you get angsty by grammar that legitimately describes the horrors animals experience, just remember that nobody takes their beloved cat or dog to be “humanely euthanized” in a slaughterhouse, nor are companies/animal farmers/execs happily transparent regarding this “process” by sharing footage of the gruesome, bloody, agonizing “end” of animals: in fact, the exposure of slaughterhouses is typically only from undercover exposes, former employees, or unnamed current employees. (Although there are some slaughterhouses that film the graphic, fearful, and agonizing killing of unwilling, terrified, innocent animals, the problem is, nobody watches the footage. Who wants to, though, when you can remain willfully ignorant of the violence you inflict on innocents? And, too, why is footage even needed when the reality of slaughterhouse existences …. well …. exists? It’s a slaughterhouse, its purpose is to kill as fast, as many, as cheaply and efficiently as possible, why people believe that good things happen in one is bizarre.)

Stop pretending that just because you’re afforded the privilege of associating violence and pain endured by docile, gentle animals, with pastoral, peaceful, and caring descriptions to provide you comfort means it’s comfortable for the victims: it’s NOT. YOU don’t have to physically suffer the consequences of your delusional grammatical validations, the animals DO regardless of your willful ignorance. SL



Source Surge

Right now, all around the world, the animal farming industries are working with politicians to try and get certain terms banned from being able to be used by plant-based companies. With the EU considering a piece of legislation that could make it illegal to use phrases that “imitate or evoke dairy products, even if the composition or true nature of the product or service is indicated or accompanied by an expression such as “style”, “type”, “method”, “as produced in”, “imitation”, “flavour”, “substitute”, “like” or similar.

This could make it illegal to even say ‘does not contain milk’. Yes, that’s right, we’re not even joking. We wish we were.

But this got us thinking about the words the meat, dairy and egg industries use and how they themselves hide behind euphemisms to disguise the reality of their industries. So here’s our round-up of the words the EU and other politicians should be looking to ban, if that is, they do actually care about consumer confusion.


Slaughter or processing?

If we said to you, what word would you use to describe hanging an animal on a kill line and pulling a knife across their throat, what would you say? Well, if you were a farmer you would call that processing.

The animal exploitation industries have a real problem saying that water is wet. In fact, in 2019, at their annual conference, New South Wales farmers voted for the complete exclusion of the word slaughter and for it to be replaced with the word processing. Why? Because in their view the word slaughter is used to create emotions that discredit animal farming industries and undermine trust in animal farming.  

One farmer stated: “The word slaughter is not appropriate for our industry… it’s not mass murder.” Whatever helps them sleep at night.

But this is a common term used by animal farmers, with slaughterhouses often referred to as meat processing plants. Avoiding the word slaughter seeks to detach the consumer from the reality of what happens to animals by instead using words that allow us to psychologically distance ourselves from what we are paying for. After all, would you rather pay for an animal to be processed or slaughtered?


Mass slaughter or depopulation?

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, many slaughterhouses were forced to close due to outbreaks among the workers. One of the most notable was the Smithfields slaughterhouse that supplies around five per cent of all pig flesh in the US. This caused huge problems in the supply chain.

So the next question is, what do you call killing hundreds, even thousands of lives in quick succession because you can’t sell them to have their throats cut? Depopulation.

But in reality, depopulation is just a friendlier way of saying mass extermination on farms, which is exactly what it is. One way in which animals are slaughtered en masse by farmers is called ventilation shutdown, where the air supply is cut off to the barns filled with animals. This in turn causes the heat to increase to intense levels causing the animals to slowly suffocate and roast to death at the same time.

This method of mass killing is even endorsed by the American Veterinary Medical Association, whilst at the same time they call it unacceptable to leave dogs in cars. Why? Because the temperature will increase which will cause the dog to suffer and die.

After this process was exposed by hidden camera footage, the National Pork Producers Council said in an email: “We definitely need to come up with a new name to describe this.” Yet again showing how deliberately these industries attempt to hide the things they do.

Other methods of on-farm mass slaughter include pumping foam throughout the barns blocking the airways of the animals causing them to suffocate to death, or using carbon dioxide, where the farmers turn the barns into large gas chambers or create smaller gas chambers in which the animals are gassed to death.


By using the word ‘livestock’ we are viewing these animals as mere products, commodities who can be traded and profited from. In essence, it seeks to deny the animals their individuality.


“Euthanasia”

Next word. What do you call the act of picking up a piglet by their back legs and slamming them against a wall or the floor to kill them because they’re not growing fast enough or aren’t worth spending money on for veterinary care?

Farmers call this euthanasia. But when we think of animals being euthanised, we think of our companion animals being peacefully ‘put to sleep’ because they are severely ill. Well, farmers will describe killing an animal on their farm as euthanising the animal as if it is a merciful act, but instead of it being done in the animal’s best interest, it is done in the farmer’s financial interest.

The most common methods of killing birds on a farm include blunt force trauma, which involves hitting an animal over the head until they are dead, neck dislocation, carbon dioxide gassing either head only or in gas chambers, or a captive bolt.

For mammals, the most common methods include captive bolts, blunt force trauma, gassing, electrocution or a bullet.

But the issue of euphemisms is even more normalised than this, to the point where some of the most common words used to describe animal exploitation actually contribute to the objectification of animals.

For example, the term livestock.


Sentient individuals or livestock?

By referring to animals as livestock, animal farmers are attempting to create a distinction between the animals they farm and the animals that exist in the world. It essentially ‘otherises’ the animals we exploit and attempts to put them into a different classification, which further perpetuates the idea that it is acceptable to exploit and kill these animals.

For example, if you ask someone, “is it acceptable to kill livestock?”, most people will say yes. But if you ask “is it acceptable to kill animals?”, people’s responses would often be very different, even though the question is the same question. However, morally there is no difference between killing a pig or killing any other animal we don’t classify as livestock.

This is how ‘othering’ works. We view the animals we kill as being different and refer to them differently so as to make what we do to them more palatable and less likely to expose our cognitive dissonance.





By using the word ‘livestock’ we are viewing these animals as mere products, commodities who can be traded and profited from. In essence, it seeks to deny the animals their individuality.

What about the names of animal products themselves, many of which are also named and referred to in a way that disconnects us from the reality of who we are eating? Even though the origins of many of these words can be traced back hundreds of years, referring to animal flesh as meat, pig flesh as pork, cow flesh as beef and baby cow flesh as veal, among others, further detaches us from having to think about the animals whose bodies we are purchasing.

Imagine if supermarkets had flesh aisles, rather then meat aisles. Or if instead of bacon, we bought sliced pig flesh with extra fat layers. By turning animals into objects, classifying them differently and using different words to describe them when they are living and when they are dead, it allows us to avoid the discomfort caused by thinking of them in gas chambers or hung up on the kill line about to have their throats cut.

Whether we realise it or not, the animal agriculture industries have been purposefully trying to trick consumers for years, and their on-going attempts to try and censor plant-based companies further proves how worried they are about the prospect of informed consumers making their own decisions.

In the end, consumers aren’t being misguided by clearly labelled plant-based alternatives, they are being lied to and deceived by industries that are desperate to keep the objective reality of what happens to animals out of sight and out of mind.





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Fish alternatives can be found HERE

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Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

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Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

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Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

PETA HERE

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Have questions? Click HERE



How abusers lie from A to Z
You can fool yourselves
But you don’t fool
We!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



The Reducetarian Paradox: Rigidly Applying ‘Moderation’ to Eleven Madison Park Restaurant

May 24, 2021
by


The absolute irony of nonvegans boldly offering advice on how to be vegan that doesn’t even work on themselves is totally on brand for those seeking social appreciation for their efforts helping absolutely no animals. If vegan-bashing-and-blaming wasn’t so transparently pathetic, it would be juvenile-hilarious: a “reducetarian” is nothing but an omnivore who needs to feel special but cannot be bothered to stop their contribution to animal suffering; an apologist seeking a virtual hug from others who are the exact same way; a vocal animal lover with zero actions to demonstrate such: a position that is absolutely meaningless to the victims who suffer and violently die while they play eenie-meenie-miney-mo with innocents who are denied all opportunity to defend what is wrongfully stolen from them: their bodies.

As a vegan, I’m not responsible for someone else’s inability to be decent. It’s always interesting when someone faults an “offensive, radical” vegan for their incapacity for empathy, who do people like this normally blame? Nobody forces you to eat a pig or a dog or use a product that blinded a rabbit or wear a jacket from an infant who was skinned alive for it: nonvegans do not participate in animal exploitation because of vegans, such declarations are nothing short of desperate playground bullying tactics that cause unimaginable suffering and violence, and no different from people refusing to oppose racism because they once saw an activist aggressively holding a sign promoting the radical idea of equality.

A vegan is opposed, vocally and actively, to the violence inflicted on animals. It is NOT extreme to be opposed to exploitation; it is extreme to CAUSE it, SUPPORT it, SANCTION it. Indeed, to the animal victims whose bodies are forcibly intruded upon and mutilated, whose children are stolen, and who are assigned a gruesome and fearful execution before even being born, what is “extreme” is not those who reject it, but rather the suffering, pain, and bloody control they are forced to endure under a social umbrella of acceptable, normalized violence. SL



Source Free From Harm

By Robert Grillo

“Reducetarian” founder Brian Kateman took issue with the news that famed Eleven Madison Park, a Michelin 3-star restaurant in New York City, announced it was converting its menu to full-on plant-based (well not really as milk and honey will still be on menu) instead of easing into it, the reducetarian way. In his article published in Wired, Kateman warns of the inadvertent backlash that could ensue from what he sees as a risky move that could harm vegan advocacy. His speculations raise many important issues which I address here. I’d like to thank my colleague Benny Malone, author of the new book How To Argue with Vegans, for offering his insights as well.

I must say from the get go that I find it odd and ironic, as Malone points out, that “Kateman often advises vegans on advocacy but hasn’t even convinced himself to become vegan in the course of some eight years. No wonder he thinks it’s hard to persuade others.” He appears to be in a perpetual state of flexitarian ambivalence. “His own reasons for not being vegan are due to taste and convenience and a misguided notion that a ‘middle ground’ in the arena of justice is the more reasonable one,” explains Malone, “while he positions veganism as extreme, absolutist and dogmatic.”

On the shortcomings of current vegan advocacy, Kateman writes, “Environmentalists and animal advocates have been trying for decades, and still only a small percentage of the industrialized world is vegetarian or vegan.”

First, most of the environmental movement has ignored animal agriculture’s impact on the environment. Even now, the most radical environmental groups, such as Extinction Rebellion, do not openly advocate veganism. A majority of the progressive left still dismisses and/or attacks veganism. As for animal advocacy, most of the animal groups also do not openly endorse veganism and some even endorse so-called “humane” animal products and/or certify such products and hold events with animals on the menu. Of the groups that do advocate veganism specifically, many have not until very recently engaged in the political activism needed for transformational change (targeting decision makers and institutions who have the power to influence large populations and systems). That level of strategy we see used successfully in other social movements is still in its infancy in the animal rights and vegan movement. Kateman and his ilk don’t fully understand the power of this form of activism and are quick to disparage it before it even has a chance to show its impact.

On how reducetarianism could lead to an increase in veganism, Kateman writes, “if the vegan label and stigma are removed, and diners know they can eat what they want, they are more likely to go on their own.”

It’s wishful thinking that if people are left to their own devices, they will do the right thing. As far as shedding the stigma, Malone points to the paradox that “Kateman has consistently reinforced negative stereotypes about vegans and veganism rather than challenge them. Instead of normalizing veganism and being vegan himself, he is content to feed into these negative perceptions and not engage in any myth-busting or debunking of anti-vegan positions. It serves his aims of making Reducetrarianism seem more appealing to allow these misconceptions to continue and indeed perpetuate and reinforce any stigmas.”

On the potential backlash, Kateman writes, “If Eleven Madison Park, one of the most well-resourced restaurants in the world, fails and winds up reverting back to a typically meat-heavy menu, it’ll signal to other chefs that this can’t be done well and in a profitable way. That’ll set the movement back in ways that will be hard to overcome.”

But I am hard pressed to find an example that demonstrates Kateman’s warning. On the contrary, there are a number of exclusively plant-based food brands that have grown exponentially, despite not offering any animal products. In one recent case, a 50-year-old meat company, NOBLE Jerky, announced an increase in revenues of 70% after ditching meat and introducing a 100% plant-based product line.

Please read rest HERE





Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Dairy-Free Info HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

PETA HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE



Ignorance at times is voluntary stupidity

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



The Tale of Two Lab Kittens: The One We Saved, the One We Didn’t, and Why It’s Historic

May 17, 2021
by
A dead macaque at macaque breeding facility. Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals Media


If animals are biologically similar enough to humans to legitimatize testing on them, then they are similar enough to humans to make testing/researching on them unethical.

100,000,000 animal victims are exploited yearly for animal testing/research each year in just the United States alone. For those who champion the Animal Welfare Act as “protective”, know that 95% of all animals exploited for vivisection/testing are specifically exempt from AWA “protections” and their suffering and violent deaths are therefore not even legally required to be recorded.

For animals socially accepted as “worthy”, such as primates, cats, and dogs, also know even given AWA “protections” they are still often legally denied pain relief, and it’s anyone’s guess how many of the “un-reportable” ones intentionally suffer violent pain as well.


USDA, page 7

“Animals research facilities used in activities involving pain or distress and for which administering pain relieving drugs would adversely affect results”:

https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/annual-reports/Annual-Report-Summaries-State-Pain-FY18.pdf


As I always ask, why do people promote laws that require such suffering and violence and death? How can abuse ever be considered “humane” or based on “welfare”? The intentional manipulation of language to deliver moral comfort to the abusers and not the victims is victim-blaming on such a despicable scale it’s disturbingly bizarre the ease with which people accept it, especially when those very laws/regulations cause the SAME suffering and violent death to animals covered as they do to those animals NOT covered.

And if you are one of the many who champion animal research as valid by intellectually superior humans, why aren’t you intellectually superior enough to determine alternative methods of research that doesn’t require suffering and violence on those most vulnerable and incapable of consent? SL



Source Sentient Media

By Anthony Bellotti

All pictures sourced from Sentient Media

his is a tale of two cats, Petite and Sif. As kittens, they were sold by the same “kitten mill” to the United States government to be abused then killed in painful taxpayer-funded experiments. 

Petite (a.k.a. government ID #15KEY5) was sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Kitten Slaughterhouse”. For Sif (a.k.a. government ID #17LFC4), the destination was the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

White Coat Waste Project (WCWP) recently shut down Sif’s home. Two years prior, we gave Petite’s lab the same treatment. However, the two kittens’ stories diverge from there.


The One We Saved

Petite’s story is the pure distillation of something we call “FOIA to freedom”. Our investigators started with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request into Petite’s secret government laboratory. Through that FOIA request, they found out that Petite was sold to USDA’s Kitten Slaughterhouse in 2016 by a company called Liberty Research that supplies animals to government labs. She was just over a year old.



The government noted that she was a “little cat.” So it gave her the name Lil Petite. 


This is the actual receipt for Petite’s purchase from Liberty Research.

The feds turned Petite into a breeder— an incubator for more lab specimens.

For nearly half a century, the USDA slaughtered and incinerated 3,000 of these healthy and adoptable kittens in toxoplasmosis experiments. The USDA also purchased cat and dog meat from China’s live animal markets and fed it to Petite’s kittens in cannibalism experiments. The USDA’s decades-long kitten experimentation cost over $22 million taxpayer dollars.

Think about that for a minute: dog and cat meat markets abroad. Taxpayer-funded animal experimentation at home.

WCWP exposed the USDA’s receipts to the international media. Then we united 3 million liberty lovers and animal lovers and rallied “Waste Warriors” in Congress to close Petite’s lab and retire the survivors. From FOIA to freedom, it took about a year to defund and defeat one of the largest cat labs in the entire federal government. 


Petite, on the ride home, the day WCWP rescued her from USDA’s Kitten Slaughterhouse.


The One We Didn’t

A young kitten named Sif was also bred by Liberty Research but sold to a different government lab on May 8, 2018. She, too, was just past her first birthday. 



Sif was bought by the Los Angeles VA Medical Center—one of three taxpayer-funded kitten labs the VA has been operating, alongside labs in Cleveland and Louisville. WCWP discovered Sif’s secretive lab by piecing together data from FOIA requests, government spending records, federal databases, and lawsuits. 

Our investigators later determined from internal VA documents obtained through a FOIA lawsuit that live cats had holes drilled in their skulls at the VA lab. The victims were suffocated, their oxygen cut off as part of ongoing sleep experiments. Electrodes were implanted into their brains. Some had electrodes implanted in their tongues and chins, as well, and had “head caps” cemented to their fractured skulls. Once deemed no longer useful, blood was drained from their bodies. Then their brains were removed for dissection. 

The grants funding the VA’s cat experiments, in total, have cost taxpayers over $10 million, according to records obtained by WCWP.



The VA doesn’t want you to know the details of what they did to Sif. WCWP had to sue them to get her records.



The last record of Sif’s life is dated January 2020. It’s of Sif’s weight. She was 3.44 kilograms—about 7.5 pounds. 

Just a wee cat, too, like Petite. 



In March 2021, a brave whistleblower came forward and exposed how the VA had killed Sif and every other kitten. But Sif’s death was a bittersweet coda to another great victory.



Why It’s Historic

Just days after our lawsuit, and following advocacy from the world-famous Kitten Lady, CBS News confirmed that WCWP’s investigation had ended all cat experiments at the Los Angeles VA. One down, two to go. And with the closure of USDA’s Kitten Slaughterhouse, the VA now operates the U.S. government’s last major kitten labs. 

Cleveland and Louisville are ground zero in WCWP’s historic campaign to end all painful cat experiments across the entire federal government. That’s why dozens of Democrats and Republicans in Congress are reaching across party lines to pass the CATS Act


Petite and Delilah in their post-government lab home.

Petite now lives in a loving home, probably a lot like yours. Her favorite activities include snuggling, head bonks, and making biscuits. She’s gone from lab cat to lap cat.

I know how much Petite loves her new life because I actually adopted her. Petite and Delilah, another Kitten Slaughterhouse survivor, live with me and my partner. So this tale of two cats is very personal to me. But it’s personal for you too. The government is still using your money to abuse kittens.

When the money stops, the killing stops. With your help, we’ll close this shameful chapter and dump wasteful government cat experiments into the litter box of history.Read More



Anthony is the president and founder of White Coat Waste Project, a 3-million-member watchdog group that works to find, expose and defund $20 billion in wasteful taxpayer-funded animal experiments.




Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Dairy-Free Info HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

PETA HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE



We stand in defiance against pseudoscience

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Dairy Kills

May 10, 2021
by
Source Expired: Dairy Still Kills


Why do some promote cow’s milk and cheese as “humane”? Consuming animals as well as their “products” is never a victimless activity regardless of how humans define it, those anthropomorphized tv demonstrations of happy cows and cows going to school are delusional deflections from the reality of hell they experience: all exploited animals die, most after brief lives of pain, torment, bodily control, and mutilation.

If you agree that such incalculable suffering and violent death of infants “from other countries” is horrific, you should read about how many infants are violently, fearfully butchered in the US yearly, page 6, and also note that the US, just as one example, exports animals and animal “products” globally.


USDA: 2019 Commercial calf slaughter totaled 587,000 head

https://downloads.usda.library.cornell.edu/usda-esmis/files/r207tp32d/34850245n/5712mr72x/lsan0420.pdf


Mind you, that number includes calves and not the mothers or the chickens or the lambs or the pigs or the fish: globally and yearly, trillions of unwilling animals are butchered.

If you consume animals or the secretions of animals and refuse to watch the violence and cruelty required for you because you find it “too distressing”, can you imagine having to actually experience it? Would you promote “humane euthanasia” of your cats or dogs in a slaughterhouse?

This really isn’t difficult: next time you make a choice, choose the one that doesn’t require such violence and misery, reaching for plant-based milks or plant-based cheeses or plant-based foods in general takes no additional effort. Nobody selects cows’ milk because it’s “naturally healthy”, that’s just the spin to validate your money subsidizing suffering. Cow’s milk is fortified with those “naturally healthy” benefits – ie, those vitamins are artificially added to it after it is stolen from the infants who it is “naturally” intended for – and the USDA includes soy milk as a healthy dairy food.

It’s bizarre that people pretend that drinking another species’ breastmilk, beyond infancy, and with teeth, causing preventable death to infants and mothers, is “healthy” or “natural”. SL



Source Expired, Animal Justice Project

A staggering 65,000 male calves under a month old were killed in slaughterhouses in 2020 in the UK, more than the number shot on farms.

Latest figures show that 60,000 male dairy calves were killed on British farms – a part of the industry which often faces public criticism. With assurance schemes, supermarkets and dairy companies prohibiting the “routine euthanasia of healthy calves” – the shooting of calves on farms – what will be the fate of these previously killed waste products? Is this another ‘kinder option’ that the industry has created following on from the mass integration of the dairy and beef industries?
 
Red Tractor, Arla and Müller, plus many supermarkets including Tesco, Waitrose and Morrisons all have varying policies attempting to prevent this killing. But there are loopholes and calves will not always be protected. Some of these policies only protect calves for up to eight weeks old and others do not prevent calves being sold on at markets. Therefore, the fate of many of these calves is to enter the integrated calf rearing and fattening system, where they will be killed from 12 months old for their flesh. But thousands will still be unsuitable and unprofitable.


Oaklands Livestock Centre

‘Slaughter calves’ are bought by dealers from dairies and markets. Dealers are accountable for over half of all calves entering slaughterhouses.

We filmed calves being picked up from dairy farms, supplying Sainsbury’s via milk processor, Müller, by Oaklands Livestock Centre, owned by renowned calf dealer Derek Whittall.

Whittall buys and sells calves at Halls Shrewsbury Auction, as well as buying calves at Barbers Market in Market Drayton.

Whittall’s facility, Oaklands Livestock Centre, is in Shropshire. It is a busy hub for calves passing through. Centres like these are an integral part of the UK calf trade and aid the exploitation of calves. This site is also home to one of Blade Farming’s collection centres. Arla and Sainsbury’s have partnered with beef processor ABP through its Blade Farming operation. This aids the integration of the dairy and beef industries through rearing calves. Son of Oaklands’ Director, Josh Whittall, has been in charge of transport for some Blade Farming calves.

Some of the calves who arrive at Oaklands are destined to enter the integrated rearing system, and eventually be killed for their flesh. Many others will head straight to the slaughterhouse.

Arriving at the centre, calves were mercilessly unloaded. They were kicked and pushed down trailer ramps. Others were dragged up by their tails and ears.

We caught on camera the physical and verbal abuse of these vulnerable babies.

Gates were slammed on the calves, trapping their delicate legs. Plastic bags were waved around to scare the already distressed babies.



The violent culture of abuse amongst workers towards calves at Oaklands was normalised, condoned and seemed to be expected.


These incidents are highly distressing to watch, and not only do they breach transport and welfare legislation, they demonstrate a total lack of compassion and cause unnecessary pain, fear and suffering to the individual animals.

Molly Vasanthakumar Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery MRCVS


Naturally, calves drink from their mothers throughout the day and under legislation, those who are less than four weeks old must be fed two or more times in 24 hours. We filmed multiple groups of calves going without feeds for as long as 21 hours and others were fed only once in 29 hours. This was a regular occurrence during our filming.

 

Unweaned calves had no access to water.

Young calves paced and cried out. Being separated from their mothers and having milk restricted is highly distressing and dangerous for calves. When they were finally fed, they were often shown no patience. Some were thrown and hit and one was kicked in the face for not taking to the drinkers fast enough.

Some calves were loaded up and were left on a trailer for almost three hours. This is another clear breach of guidelines.

Oaklands takes many calves directly to slaughter. This is the heartbreaking, lesser-known part of the calf trade. Oaklands workers took calves to G. & G.B. Hewitt slaughterhouse in Chester, which they used to kill calves. Other agents including Livestock Supplies Ltd were caught on camera also taking calves there, taking almost 30 calves in February alone.

Calves are sent to the same slaughterhouses that kill larger animals such as sheep and adult cows. Their small frames are reflected in how tiny they look inside the walkways and holding pens.

We saw calves who were mercilessly stunned with a bolt gun before being strung up by their back legs and having their throats slit open to be ‘bled out’. The workers, desensitised to this horrific violence, took no hesitation in taking the lives of the calves. Curious and vulnerable babies were reduced to a mere profit-making product, hanging upside down and bleeding onto the slaughterhouse floor. 
 
Their flesh will be sold for human consumption and their skin for leather.


Their captive bolt gun failed to stun a calf FOUR TIMES



Workers blasted music and shouted loudly whilst they were next to young calves in the stun room. Frail, tiny babies, faced some of the worst parts of the industry.

There is no legislation covering the time between stunning and bleeding out but the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) states that “if it is possible to stick [cut the throat] within 15 seconds, then this should be the case”. We caught calves being left for over 40 seconds after stunning.

Could this cruel fate inside the slaughterhouse increase now that policies have been introduced to prohibit the killing of male calves on farms? Will we see slaughter figures increase? Ending the shooting of calves on farm will not end the killing inside slaughterhouses.

Whether they are killed at 10 days old or enter the “integrated rearing and fattening system” …

Dairy Still Kills





Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Dairy-Free Info HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE

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Be the milk of human kindness and use dairy substitutes. They are delicious.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Why do you cause this?

May 3, 2021
by
Source Animal Equality


Please don’t pretend that the pigs who you consume didn’t die fearfully and violently, the footage revealed here is indicative of the lack of concern all exploited animals endure by humans globally: animal exploitation is worldwide, perpetuated by all countries and humans, no contributing person is immune. Small acts of exploitation fuel larger acts of exploitation and why those opposed, for example, to the cat and dog “meat” trades are actually complicit in them based on their “acceptable” chosen victims of cows and chickens.

If, after watching the horrors these animals are subjected to, you claim that abuse is “bad” please explain how killing is ok then: a final act of violence doesn’t negate or even mitigate exploitative existences, it actually amplifies it.

And there are NO laws that can protect animals who are bred to die, that’s just a delusion humans exploit to provide moral comfort causing the unimaginable pain, fear, and violence to the most vulnerable and innocent beings based on social acceptance of their suffering.

Why people praise laws or regulations that require suffering and death is baffling, though. SL



Source Animal Equality UK

Undercover footage captured by Animal Equality has revealed disturbing scenes of animal suffering on P&G Sleigh Pig Unit in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, which is owned by senior pig industry figure Philip Sleigh. As a result of our investigation, the farm has been removed from the Quality Meat Scotland assurance scheme and Philip Sleigh is now no longer a Board Member of the initiative.

Pigs raised on the farm are slaughtered at ‘Quality Pork Limited’ – the largest pork abattoir in Scotland – and their flesh would have previously been sold under Quality Meat Scotland’s ‘Specially Selected Pork’ label. The slaughterhouse is contracted by Pilgrim’s Pride, one of the UK’s largest meat companies, which supplies around a quarter of Britain’s pig meat, including products sold by Lidl, Tesco and Marks & Spencer amongst other major retailers.

Animal Equality sent letters of complaint to the relevant authorities, urging them to take immediate action against P&G Sleigh Pig Unit using the full force of the law. A criminal investigation is now underway.

Sadly, the cruelty we exposed taking place in this particular facility is indicative of an industry which sees animals as nothing more than money-making machines.

Our investigators have filmed inside 10 UK pig farms in the last five years, finding severe animal suffering and flagrant disregard for animal welfare in every single one. This is yet another case of an accredited ‘high welfare’ farm flouting the law. The British pig industry must not be allowed to continue to mislead consumers. 





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Homo crapiens is the feces species

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Indigo

April 26, 2021
by
Indigo, a short documentary featuring Joaquin Phoenix, created by Shaun Monson


“US Rejected”: Imagine having your entire life defined by how you will be used in death: the control, fear, and violence these gentle creatures experience at the hands of “humanity” is nothing short of depraved and an absolute, scathing indictment of human apathy disguised as normalized “humane” violence. SL



Source Nation Earth, Animal Save Movement, Veg World Magazine


One day after his best actor Academy Award win last year, Joaquin Phoenix joined Los Angeles Animal Save to help rescue a mother and baby cow from an L.A. slaughterhouse. He named them “Liberty” and “Indigo” after his beloved sister and nephew. 

Today, L.A. Animal Save released a short documentary by Earthlings filmmaker Shaun Monson – INDIGO – in which Phoenix speaks frankly about the rescue, and visits the cows at their new sanctuary home in an emotional reunion. “We spend one day each year paying homage to our planet, Earth Day, but the other 364 days, we consume with impunity,” Phoenix said. “It’s undeniable the detrimental impact that animal agriculture has on the environment.

This simple act of rescuing Liberty and Indigo…in some ways, it’s just as simple as sparing the lives of these creatures. But it’s also an acknowledgment of not only the destruction they feel at our hands but the environment as a whole. By our actions, we either have the choice to continue to destroy other beings and the environment, or we begin the process of reversing the damage that we’ve done.” 

The film premiered online today (April 22) and is available above or at https://youtu.be/eJ9iQLfeGBk 

A Q&A with the filmmakers aired following the premiere can be viewed at https://youtu.be/rd7xpy_8UMc





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Vegan Venting 2021

April 19, 2021
by

Source All Creatures

By Lauren Ornelas, FoodIsPower.org


Vegans don’t see veganism as a preference, like the choice between ketchup and mustard, choosing to not participate in causing the suffering of another being does not mean we are being puritanical.


It’s been a while since I have been able to vent and share some of my frustrations about being a vegan in a non-vegan world. While I realize there are much bigger issues in the world, I feel I wanted to share some thoughts.

I recently read an article, being promoted by a veg-friendly but non-vegan organization, headlined, “Puritanical veganism is not for everyone—don’t let it put you off a plant-based diet.”


What exactly is puritanical veganism?

After reading the article, I realized the writer just meant vegans!

So, look, I get it. Not everyone is going to go vegan, and some groups aren’t going to promote veganism.

And I get that some people will call themselves vegan but still eat some animal products.

I get this.

What I don’t get is that these people can’t stop themselves from disrespecting vegans (no, we are not puritancial vegans—we are just vegans). Just because we don’t see veganism as a preference, like the choice between ketchup and mustard, choosing to not participate in causing the suffering of another being does not mean we are being puritanical.

Why is it “puritanical” to be consistent in our ethics? We should never, ever feel bad for caring about another being and not wanting to cause them harm.

My life has been dedicated to helping people think outside of themselves and see how their food choices can lead to positive changes in the world. And for many of us, we can make decisions not to purchase products sourced from animals or their suffering or to patronize businesses that exploit them.

So, you do what you need to for your work, but don’t discredit vegans because we care more about reducing suffering in the world more than what tastes or looks good.

And, well, if they don’t like us so much, why do some bother even saying they are mostly vegan but have cheese pizza sometimes. Why is it so important for them to use the word vegan? I’d say, “Just call yourself a vegetarian!” Besides, veganism goes beyond what you eat.

Having said all of that:


Why does the word flexitarian exist?

I mean, flexitarians are just omnivores. Unless some people really think that by eating “meat” they are carnivores, like lions and tigers?

If you are vegan, you probably have had people say to you, “I am a carnivore!” Back in my earlier vegan days in the 1980s and 1990s when someone would scream in my face, “I am a carnivore!” I would wish them well with their heart attack.

But now, I am more intrigued when I hear this, and I have to ask them if they understand that carnivores, by definition, only eat “meat”.

No need to bring up dairy because humans are the only species who drink the milk of another species.



And why are fishes different to our sense of compassion? Why do people see them differently?

Why are there pescatarians or people who think that it makes sense to say they are vegetarian but they eat fishes?

Why is it somehow okay for grocery stores or restaurants to show the entire body of a dead fish in an advertisement?

They certainly wouldn’t do this with another animal with their fur or feathers still on, but somehow, again, fishes are different.

Don’t get me wrong. I know there are images of both human and non-human animals shown in disrespectful and insensitive ways throughout our society, but I will try to stay on message.

Then there’s the issue of the government counting animals individually who have been killed for human consumption—but not sea creatures. These animals are simply lumped together and weighed. Weighed! It is just appalling how all of these lives are so disregarded that there is no bother to determine how many lives are taken. It’s a good explanation of one way we are destroying the ocean. Not to mention the other animals who are killed.

I know many of you out there feel the same way, and I could continue to vent, but for now I feel just a little better sharing my frustrations and hope you feel better too. Just remember your compassion is something to be proud of, and the more kindness we spread, the more hearts we will open.

Thank you!


lauren Ornelas (she, her, hers) is F.E.P.’s founder and president.  lauren has been active in the animal rights movement for more than 30 years. She is the former executive director of Viva!USA, a national nonprofit vegan advocacy organization that Viva!UK asked her to start in 1999. While lauren was the director of Viva!USA, she investigated factory farms and ran consumer campaigns. In cooperation with activists across the country, she persuaded Trader Joe’s to stop selling all duck meat and achieved corporate changes within Whole Foods Market, Pier 1 Imports, and others, and she helped halt the construction of an industrial dairy operation in California. lauren was also the spark that got the founder of Whole Foods Market to become a vegan. In addition, she served as campaign director with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition for six years. Watch lauren’s TEDx talk, The Power of Our Food Choices.



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Abject suffering & cruelty required in dairy

April 12, 2021
by


Source Direct Action Everywhere Instagram


In 2017, I entered a Land O’ Lakes dairy farm in California with a team of DxE investigators and the horrors I saw sent me on an unexpected journey. Was this farm just an anomaly, or was this routine treatment of dairy cows and their babies? I couldn’t understand how the dairy industry gets away with such cruelty – especially a company like Land O’ Lakes that boasts about following strict animal welfare guidelines. 

I have now gone into 14 Land O’ Lakes farms in California and Wisconsin, the nation’s top dairy-producing states. With the help of more than 20 grassroots investigators, we now have footage proving that this company routinely violates its own welfare standards, as well as animal cruelty laws.  

We have a 2 minute video proving that Land O’Lakes is going out of its way to mislead customers. Please watch and share on Facebook or Instagram (or above).

We’re reporting this cruelty, reaching out to company representatives, and sharing our findings with journalists. The Fresno Bee just published a story about our investigation findings which you can read and share here (or see below).  

Don’t be fooled by false advertising about “happy cows” and “pure milk.” There is nothing happy nor pure about the dairy industry, and when we take direct action, we can expose that.

Many thanks to everyone who helped with this investigation on the ground, and to all of you supporting online. Together, we are shattering the “humane” myth and making real progress for animal rights. If you can support this work financially, please chip in here

Alexandra



Source The Fresno Bee

By Joshua Tehee


The animal rights activist group Direct Action Everywhere is leveling claims of animal abuse at several Land O’Lakes dairy operations in the central San Joaquin Valley, including Zonneveld Dairy near Laton in Fresno County.

On Wednesday, Berkeley-based group released the findings of a three-year investigation it did at 14 of the company’s farms both in Wisconsin and in California.

Among the facilities were Zonneveld Dairy in Laton; Kasbergen Dairy, Curtimade Dairy, FernJo Farms, and Mancebo Holsteins in Tulare; Fern Oaks Dairy in Porterville; Giacomazzi Dairy and Grimmius Calf Ranch in Hanford; and Tony A Nunes in Visalia.

The investigation found dozens of violations of both Land O’Lakes company animal welfare policy and California law, according to the group, which said it has video footage showing newborn calves being dragged by their hind legs and dumped from a backhoe, among other things.

The group said it will file criminal complaints against the farms on Wednesday with letters of support from a veterinarian and a former federal prosecutor, both of whom have seen the videos, the group said.

A Land O’Lakes representative said the company was not aware of the allegations as of Tuesday afternoon, but that animal care is a top priority for the company and its member-owners.

“Participation in the National Milk Producers Federation’s National Dairy FARM Program is a mandatory condition of Land O’Lakes, Inc. dairy membership and we are committed to maintaining compliance with all aspects of the program and the science that guides its development,” the representative said in an email statement.

This is not the first time Direct Action Everywhere has taken action against a Land O’Lakes operation.

Members of the group, including former “Baywatch” actress Alexandra Paul, protested alleged abuse at Zonneveld Dairy farm in 2017. The group also removed a calf from the ranch, in what it called a night-time rescue operation.

It’s also not the first time the group has had sights on Valley farms.

In 2018, three women were arrested at a ranch north of Oakdale while trying to remove an apparently dying calf from the property.

And last month, the group protested outside Harris Ranch in Coalinga, after asking the Fresno County District Attorney’s office to investigate the company’s beef processing facility in Selma. Direct Action Everywhere claimed to have hidden camera video footage showing excessive suffering of animals at the slaughterhouse.


Joshua Tehee covers breaking news for The Fresno Bee, with a focus on entertainment and a heavy emphasis on the Central Valley music scene. You can see him share the area’s top entertainment options Friday mornings on KMPH’s “Great Day” and read more of his work here.




Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

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Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

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Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE

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Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

PETA HERE

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Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE



“I Remember Their Eyelashes”: Why I Chose to Stop Consuming Dairy

April 5, 2021
by
Source Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals , Sentient Media

Source Sentient Media

By Natalie Blanton


I remember their eyelashes. Big, dark, doe-eyes, encased by long, wispy, soft, curled lashes on their innocent black and white bovine faces. Newborn calves were kept in a teeny, tiny individual fenced-in pen alone. As a young child, I was fascinated by these baby creatures. I thought it was quaint that they had their own little space, their very own tiny house with a front yard.  

I grew up in rural Utah and had friends who lived on idyllic “dairy farms,” you know, the kind found beaming across every carton of milk. Sure, I knew cows lived there and I knew “milk” and  “cheese” came from them. However, the exact mechanics of ​how​ eluded me. As I matured, and after enough games of hide-and-go-seek among these rows of sheds housing tiny young calves,  I started to piece together a more sinister cycle taking place. It was a gradual tugging on threads of understanding, an unraveling of a dark truth behind those happy cows on those happy milk cartons.   

As the winter melted away and spring emerged, new baby cows could be found hobbling about the farms. Taking their first steps only moments after being born, under the guidance of their mothers. My excitement turned sour as I got older and began to notice spiked nose rings piercing through these day-old calves. Hungry for their mother’s milk, the spikes stabbed her udders, leaving them unable to feed and bond. A human-induced rift, a divide, a playing of God,  separating a mother from her child. After a few days of this process, the calves were stripped from their mothers entirely. I will never forget the screams from the distressed, grieving mothers, and the cries from the terrified babies in response, now held across the farm, shackled to what I began to understand as “veal crates,” though I didn’t know yet what “veal” meant.  

In my early teen years, I became a Rodeo Queen. A rural rite of passage for gritty, yet glamorous young cowgirls. Among other royal responsibilities of a newly minted Rodeo Queen, I was tasked with judging 4H cattle at the annual county fair. I watched in awe as pre-teen kids paraded their beloved animal across the arena, radiating with pride, no doubt a genuine connection between the two. They adoringly hugged their animals, naming them endearing pet names like “Daisy” or “Buddy,” only to be auctioned off later in the night, at the going rate, pound for pound of their flesh. I then watched as these same children, while loading their pets onto the slaughter truck, broke down in sobs, viscerally connecting the dots between their beloved animal and the agriculture industry. After learning of the profound bond that can come from raising and coexisting so closely with another mammal, I met the dark underbelly of animal husbandry as we now practice it in this late capitalist system. I had to ask why these cows, with  their soft, brown and black fur without spots, were the “meat cows” sent for slaughter at such a  tender age—while the Holsteins, the ones with the Black and White iconic spots, those found on  those quaint dairy farms I spent so many hours exploring, were allowed to live and have offspring and a herd to grow and play with. I asked a nearby rancher there at the fair, and he scoffed saying, “Spots or not, they all end up at a feedlot.” 

The final straw in my relationship with dairy was when I was in my later teen years, and I was helping round up some of my friends’ cattle herd at the end of the grazing season. I saw a mysterious contraption in their barn that looked like some medieval torture device—little did I realize, that is exactly what that was—known within the industry as the “rape rack.” Bold of the dairy industry to acknowledge a machine for exactly what it was. All of these moments culminated right then and there, when I, a recent survivor of sexual assault myself, found that this industry was systematically and repeatedly normalizing the raping of these innocent creatures, all in the name of profit. I thought, Please. Someone. Make this make sense. 

The sexual division, male vs female Holsteins experience is upsetting, to say the least. It was always the male calves, who had no value in the dairy industry, were often kept in tiny veal crates, only to be sent to slaughter at barely a few weeks old, while the females were allowed to grow up—only to meet the same fate as their mothers: kept perpetually pregnant, in repeated distress from losing their children, only to be raped again—enduring this brutal cycle, repeatedly. I find it reminiscent of a dystopian sci-fi novel, or perhaps even The Handmaid’s Tale? But because they are animals and not humans, I was certainly being very dramatic now, wasn’t I? 

The pit forming in my stomach was almost fully grown, this pit of truth, knowing that what had happened to me, was not okay—and should never happen to anyone, ever. As a woman, and a budding feminist, I was learning the urgency and vitality of bodily autonomy, and consent. I couldn’t compute that this industry wholly revolves around the commodification and exploitation of a mammal’s reproductive system. Because, lest we forget, we are merely mammals ourselves. 

These vignettes in my memories are not the norm. These illustrations of Old MacDonald’s loving barnyard have been bought and sold, by Big Agriculture, since the industrial revolution. These scenes of black and white cows, leisurely grazing green pastures are a product of propaganda. And the current dairy system likens much more to a full-metal apocalyptic factory farm (industrial milking carousels). If such a place as these dairy farms still exist, they are more than likely not the source of the cow’s milk ending up in your cup. These images are tales of make-believe, and one that I fear we chose to envision to self-congratulate, or self-soothe, and absolve us of feeling the dread that factory farming imagery can bring to us—if we were only able to open our eyes. 

Industrial animal agriculture is a corrupt, abusive, exploitative system that wastes all lives, human, animal, and planet alike. Now, as an intersectional feminist, I can’t help but ask why not extend the tenets of reproductive justice across all spectrums of race, class, ethnicity, gender, ability, religion, creed, and dare I say, species. As a woman, I cannot ignore the inextricable ties to reproductive labor that is inherent in the dairy industry. And what angers me the most? Is that people continue to romanticize and idealize this relationship we have with “dairy cows.” Dairy is often the last dietary frontier. Dairy products are often a person’s last culinary holdout, but this is simply people fooling themselves into thinking that we have this gentle, reciprocal, loving “animal husbandry” relationship with the animals that are forced to produce the raw product—this misguided idea that cows naturally and endlessly lactate, continuously producing this magic “essential” fluid just for us, and all they need is for humans to tease that milk out of their udders, or else they may explode. Wrong! All mammals lactate for the same reason, for their offspring, not for anyone else. 

I fully acknowledge the damaging comparisons that have been made in earlier vegan feminist discourse, that likens these systems and structures to the abuse and disempowerment that is enacted upon female bodies. Mainstream feminism often centers and uplifts cis-gender white women and those with reproductive potential. I hope that we are collectively moving toward feminism that centers and celebrates equality for every woman. I dream of a world where mainstream feminist discourse does not exclude non-human animals. I am not at all attempting to compare the experience of women, Trans or femmes, to that of farmed animals—but what I am saying is all beings deserve respect and dignity. And these sacred bonds of fertility, conception, birthing, and lactation are what make us incredible beings, human or otherwise. I hope we can identify and celebrate these parallels across species, the immaculate ability to produce life. The most basic of bonds we create with our newborn infants are no different than a mother cow and her calf. The desire to protect, feed, and sacrifice, for our young and family ties. Expanding feminism to include non-human animals isn’t degrading our feminist movement, rather, I argue, it’s what’s required for the sake of compassion, empathy, and a more just future, for all. 

The ditch dairy argument is a tough concept to swallow, I should know. I held on, eating cheese and yogurt for years before finally ditching dairy. I too was heard saying, “I just cannot live without cheese.” To my defense, cheese sets off the same dopamine receptors as cocaine in human brains. Alas, we are but addicted lab rats (in a capitalist maze, one designed not to make us healthier, but the exact opposite). But, what I wish people would learn to recognize is that dairy is the reason so many of us are getting sick—we have sky-high rates of lactose intolerance, not to mention that dairy has been linked to many forms of cancer, and hormonal imbalances (human female youth are beginning puberty at younger and younger ages due to the increased levels of estrogen found in mammal breast milk being consumed daily). 

I read something once, in a distant theory class, that humans are superior to animals because our anatomy allows us to look up, skyward—and that these “beasts of burden” are lowly, conversely keeping their sights to the earth. I wondered if we had that all wrong, and should recognize that the creatures who center the earth, in all that they do, might just be the ones we might learn from instead.

I share this story in the hopes of expanding our circle of compassion. This is an urgent plea I ask you to consider. This is not meant to shame anyone, merely a telling of my story of why I made the choice to stop consuming dairy. These industrial food systems are decimating our planet, disrupting indigenous and natural symbiotic communion with our earth, and to put it bluntly, this is food apartheid. 

It is time to seriously consider weaning ourselves off of the teats of the dairy industry. Divest our diet and dollars away from antiquated systems of torture and destruction. If you have the privilege and access to choose what you eat, I hope you choose to reduce suffering, with every meal. I am only interested in a future of expansive and inclusive feminism, one that centers on all beings and celebrates autonomous reproductive capacity and sovereign motherhood. To this day, I can still remember their eyelashes. 


Natalie Blanton (she/they pronouns), MS is an activist and Sociology Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City. They work, research, and teach within the veins of social, environmental, and reproductive justice. Natalie understands our world-society to be built upon the backs of oppressed and marginalized communities and actively seeks to advocate, educate, and rabble-rouse to overturn that norm. In their past life, Natalie has been a rodeo queen, turned full-time animal rights activist, worked for multiple farmed animal sanctuaries, and as a community educator for Planned Parenthood. Now, at the university level, they teach undergraduate Sociology of Gender and Sexuality and Environmental Sociology. Their dissertation is at the nexus of Environmental and Reproductive Justice in the Intermountain West Region of the United States.





Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

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Dairy-Free Info HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

PETA HERE

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True human evolution comes from the heart

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Groups Urge Associated Press to Update Animal Pronouns

March 29, 2021
by

Jo-Anne McArthur / Animal Equality, We Animals Media: Wet from birth, ropes used to pull her from her mother still around her ankles.

Source UPC , IDA , Animals and Media


“In an age struggling with industrialized animal cruelty, the sixth mass extinction of species, a climate crisis, and the exploitation of the natural world, the way we use language influences the way we see our relationship with our environment and the nonhuman animals we share it with.”


United Poultry Concerns is pleased to be a signatory to this Open Letter initiated by In Defense of Animals urging The Associated Press to update its pronoun recommendations for nonhuman animals from “what” to “who.” For decades, the AP’s Stylebook recommendations on the use of personal pronouns for nonhuman animals have cast animals as objects – “it,” “which,” and similar demeaning and inaccurate designations that influence media coverage and public perception. IDA is joined by more than 80 respected leaders and scholars in animal advocacy and conservation across the globe who support this change, including Jane Goodall.


Read the Open Letter:
Animals Are a Who, Not a What




See also English and Speciesism , By Joan Dunayer





Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Dairy-Free Info HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

PETA HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

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i am a being
a form
i live
i die
i feel
i exist
i am real
i am not a thing
nor an it
i am here as are you
until called
by the one higher

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Seaspiracy

March 22, 2021
by
Source Seaspiracy, Netflix trailer, YouTube

Source Plant Based News , Seaspiracy Instagram

By Emily Baker


Seaspiracy, a documentary produced by Cowspiracys Kip Andersen, unveiled its trailer this week and garnered thousands of views.

It is described on Netflix to document humans’ harm on the sea, and uncovers ‘alarming global corruption’. The documentary is directed by Ali Tabrizi and Lucy Tabrizi.

Snapshots in the trailer show interviewees asking for the cameras to be switched off. It includes a voice clip which states: ‘The safety concerns are serious. Ignore them at your risk.’

Moreover, overfishing is featured heavily as well as illegal fishing. Additionally, the Seaspiracy trailer shows the treatment of humans working in the industry too.

At the time of writing, the two-minute-long video had secured more than 40,000 views on Facebook, and over 150,000 on Instagram.

‘If you want to address climate change, the first thing you do is protect the ocean. And, the solution to that is very simple. Leave it alone,’ one interviewee states during the snippet. (The interviewee is Captain Paul Watson of the  Sea Shepherd Conservation Society SL)

Ahead of the release on March 24, the Seaspiracy team announced the documentary will be available to an audience of more than 190 million across the globe.

They claim: “This film will radically transform the way we think and act on ocean conservation forever. 

“It is time we focus our ecological and ethical concerns on our seas and its inhabitants.This is a new era for how we treat the most important habitat on earth.”

The film’s producer is Kip Andersen. He says Seaspiracy will uncover ‘the most important missing piece in the environmental puzzle’.

You can find out more via the Seapiracy Instagram account





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Stop Canada From Building Prison Goat Farms

March 15, 2021
by
Art by Jamie Neufeld, Source Free From Harm

Please sign international petition HERE

Source Free From Harm

By Calvin Neufeld 


According to CSC, its multi-million-dollar investment in an industrial goat farm pilot project is for the benefit of prisoners who will “acquire new skills.” The real reason: money. Canada’s prison farms will be exploiting prisoners in the exploitation of animals for institutional and corporate profit.

“The prisoners will get to play with baby goats,” said one CSC representative. 

“The prisoners will learn empathy working with animals,” said another.

“It’s important that it be dairy,” said another, “because the animals are all mothers. Many inmates haven’t known a mother’s love, and the animals are like mothers to them.”


Photo by Michael Cooper / NI Prison Service , Source Free From Harm

Lawyer Anna Pippus, director of the Plant-Based Policy Centre, offers a simple rebuttal: “Animals are not surrogate mothers for prisoners.” 

As for the so-called benefits of learning empathy, Camille Labchuck of the Animal Justice law firm demolishes this claim: “Industrial-scale animal farming creates brutal conditions for animals and workers alike. There’s no rehabilitative aspect to a factory goat farm. All it teaches incarcerated persons is that animals should be exploited and commodified. This is hardly consistent with inspiring more care and compassion for others.”

To sum up CSC’s goat farm as “playing with baby goats” is misleading to the point of obscenity. Baby goats there will be, hundreds of them. CSC plans on acquiring the first 800 female kids in 2021, to begin building the herd to at least 2200, and potentially as many as 3000 or more. An industrial dairy facility (and accompanying manure lagoon) will be built on prison grounds to produce 9000 litres of goat milk per day. The expected buyer is a transnational Chinese infant formula company that has built a massive processing facility in proximity to the prison farms in Kingston, Ontario. 


Please read rest HERE




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More cruel and stupid behind the mask of “compassion“

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



There Was A Killing

March 8, 2021
by
Animal Save Movement


Animal exploitation perpetuates normalized violence, towards all, I have never witnessed so much hostility, anger, and belligerence than from the purveyors of animal consumption. To disregard animals in such incalculable numbers and in unimaginable ways, inflicting intentional, massive, and relentless suffering and pain on trillions of animals per year, taking their lives willingly and indifferently, promotes violence towards all animals, including humans. You cannot deal in bloody violence, perpetuate and sanction it, and not have it affect others.

I can attest I saw relentless activism on behalf of the killer and not the victim, fundraisers where people happily provided thousands of dollars to the killer, not to the victim, as per normal in the animal agriculture industry: the victims are hidden and society excuses such because it personally profits and benefits from the victimization. There was no expressed remorse, regret, genuine condolences, only anger, ridicule, and mockery towards those very humans who are opposed to exploitative violence.

Even if you disagree, your opinion is meaningless to the victims, who suffer, feel pain, and die violently and unwillingly. Regan Russell is another victim of the brutal, violent, and despicable animal agriculture industry.

SL


Source Toronto Pig Save

Please sign petition to stop opening of new slaughterhouse HERE


The trucker who killed Regan Russell was cited with careless driving, a non-criminal charge.

Anita Krajnc was charged with criminal mischief, facing up to 10 years in prison, for giving water to pigs.


Regan Russell, 65, was violently struck and killed by a pig transport truck in front of Sofina’s Fearmans slaughterhouse on Friday, June 19, 2020. She was at a Toronto Pig Save vigil with six other activists giving pigs water on one of the hottest days of the year. She regularly attended pig vigils and on this particular day Regan was there to oppose Ontario’s “ag-gag” Bill 156, which had passed two days prior.

On the morning of June 19th, 2020, seven activists from the love-based animal rights group Toronto Pig Save were demonstrating outside Sofina Foods’ Fearmans slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ontario. What began as a peaceful vigil (giving water to pigs and offering them comfort moments before their death) and protest against “ag-gag” Bill 156 soon ended in horror for vegan activist Regan Russell.

It was a little after 10 am as another truck carrying pigs appeared on the horizon, but something was off. Though the truck would be turning right onto a service road, the driver remained in the left lane, not moving, holding up traffic for several light-cycles. Russell, waiting at the crosswalk on the far side of the service road, eventually decided to join her companions. Suddenly, the truck lurched forward and the other activists heard a terrifying scream, but the driver kept going until security guards waved him down.

By then, 65-year old Regan Russell, a decades-long pioneer in Canadian animal rights activism had been dragged more than the entire length of the truck, and she was dead.

No criminal charges were brought against the driver due to the passing of Bill 156 just one day before, a statute designed to protect transporters from animal rights activists. Dubbed an ag-gag, Bill 156 is an undemocratic and unconstitutional piece of legislation that allows force to be used against protesters. It also infringes on the right to assemble and criminalizes activists and whistleblowers working to expose violence against animals on farms, at slaughterhouses, and in transport trucks.

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Shaun Monson (Earthlings, Unity), and featuring never-before-seen footage, There Was a Killing provides first-hand accounts and in-depth analysis from attorneys Robert Monson, Lisa Bloom, and David Simon exposing corruption and a cover-up that has allowed the animal agriculture industry to avoid the legal and economic consequences of their behavior through a law some may see as a license to kill.

Documentary http://therewasakilling.com


Regan Russell spent the final moments of her life providing comfort to pigs who had never experienced the touch of a kind hand. While her tragic death has brought upon deep sorrow in the Animal Save [Movement] community, we will honor her memory by vigorously confronting the cruelties she fought so hard to prevent by marching with Black Lives, protecting Indigenous rights, fighting for LGBTQ equality, and living a compassionate vegan life. The Ontario government can attempt to silence us with the passage of its Ag-Gag bill -Bill 156 – but we will never go away and we will never back down.

Joaquin Phoenix





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Fish alternatives can be found HERE

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Our species never ceases to be cruel
Never learns any lessons
Proud to be the fool

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

After pork giant was exposed for cruel killings, the FBI pursued its critics

March 1, 2021
by
Source The Intercept: “…making it quite possible that some pigs survived, and are therefore buried alive or crushed by the bulldozers that haul away the corpses.”

Let’s be clear: all animal slaughter is inherently abusive and cruel and causes fear and suffering regardless of how humans, who will never be subjected to the same violent fate, define it. Those who are horrified by ventilation shutdown yet not “commonly accepted” forms of slaughter are actually just using one form of cruelty to justify another.

Please visit HERE to learn of the violence inherent in the animal exploitation industry regardless of how you define such, and before you reject footage as “the exception” (it’s not) or based on vegan “propaganda” (versus nothing provided by the animal exploiters) just remember: the “animal agriculture industry” relies on and actively pursues consumer ignorance, willful or not, and DO NOT release their own footage. Ask yourself why that is: if they are humane, they can prove it, but are unable to, and rather than use funds supporting “humane treatment” they use money to hide their deception, cruelty, greed, and intentional participation in abject suffering. That is why you will never see the an-ag industry actually demonstrate “humane treatment” before or during the killing; they instead hide the barbarism and focus on those who are exposing it.

Who’s the terrorist? SL



Source The Intercept

By Lee Fang


Please see article published today, 3/1/21, in Des Moines Register

Last June, Noel Williams, the chief operations officer of Iowa Select Farms, a powerful pork company and the largest in Iowa, pulled into the parking lot of an empty housing complex typically used for the firm’s immigrant workforce.

He was there to transport Lucas Walker, a former truck driver for Iowa Select, to a meeting with Nick Potratz, an FBI agent from the Des Moines office of the bureau. That’s according to Walker, who had recently tried to report Iowa Select, his former employer, for mistreating animals. After The Intercept published leaked video of pigs being killed off en masse, Walker came under scrutiny.

Now, the FBI had a favor to ask: Would Walker become an informant? More specifically, they wanted him to help in an effort to investigate and undermine an activist group that had become a thorn in Iowa Select’s side. They even asked if he’d be willing to sell drugs.

The saga that brought him into contact with the FBI began when the 26-year-old grew frustrated with his former employer, Iowa Select, which is headquartered in his hometown of Iowa Falls. Walker thought the company was blatantly disregarding state “double stocking” rules, which limit the size and number of pigs that are held in an intensive animal feeding facility, letting overweight pigs crowd into pens far too small to hold them.

He was tired of what he saw as frequent rule-breaking and disregard for the well-being of the tens of thousands of hogs raised by Iowa Select. The company, in his view, seemed hellbent on expansion and profits, leading to rampant overcrowding and water pollution. That rapid expansion led to the annual production of 1.5 billion pounds of pork a year, a global leader before the pandemic. The novel coronavirus, however, closed regional slaughterhouses, creating a glut of pigs.

He decided to speak out and called state regulators.

Walker doesn’t fit the profile of an animal rights activist. The central Iowa-raised truck driver, who jokingly refers to himself as corn-fed with beer running through his veins, is a fervent Trump and NRA supporter who has spent years working in the state’s maze of hog production facilities. He describes himself as independent-minded with libertarian instincts, with a bit of a contrarian side suspicious of organized power.

“I’m not necessarily animal rights by any means,” said Walker in an interview with The Intercept. “I have a cattle herd — small calf herd — and my wife and myself have some free-range pigs ourselves.”

“It was a moral issue at the heart of it. … I’m the kind of person who knows right from wrong. It was a principled thing.”

Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources, the local farm regulator, Walker felt, did not seem to care about his concerns over the phone or show any interest in enforcement on a company like Iowa Select. Iowa, followed by North Carolina and Minnesota, is the largest pork-producing state in the country and infamously deferential to industry. Iowa officials have faced criticism for failing to regulate concentrated pork facilities for water pollution and poor animal welfare standards.

Jeff Hansen, the founder of Iowa Select, built the pork powerhouse first as a salesman, helping distribute modern farrowing crates, automatic feeders, and other livestock equipment to other pig farmers in the state. He built two companies at once: a turnkey construction firm known as Modern Hog Concepts, which helped farmers upgrade their barns into modern factory farms, and Iowa Select, which raised pigs for slaughter.

Along the way, as he grew his business empire, Hansen built close connections with Iowa’s political elite. In 1994, during a cycle in which Hansen was one of the largest campaign contributors to then-Gov. Terry Branstad, he had set aside employee money for campaign contributions to local Republicans. The resulting scandal forced lawmakers to return campaign funds to Iowa Select, but the company continued to grow.

The owners of Iowa Select, Jeff and his wife Debra Hansen, are still among the largest campaign contributors in the state, and close to Gov. Kim Reynolds. A recent donation of $50,000 brought the total the couple has donated to the governor to nearly $300,000.

The governor has maintained cozy ties to Iowa Select. Shortly after her election in 2018, Reynolds volunteered to auction off her time as a gift to the Hansen family foundation. In the early days of the pandemic, her administration arranged a Covid-19 testing site at a corporate office used by white-collar Iowa Select employees and foundation employees, raising concerns with one Polk County supervisor of special treatment for the campaign donor.

And Kayla Lyon, who Reynolds appointed to run the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which inspects hog farms for compliance with animal welfare and environmental rules, is a former dairy industry official and agribusiness lobbyist. Lyon, in her previous capacity as an influence peddler in Des Moines, had worked to pass the 2012 “ag gag” law that criminalized recording at farm facilities, according to lobbyist disclosures. Lyon lobbied at a time when Iowa Select’s lobbyists in Des Moines pushed for the bill, records show.

The impetus for that bill, which was designed to criminally prosecute whistleblowers at factory farming operations, also started in part with Iowa Select. The year before the bill was signed into law, an animal rights activist group, Mercy for Animals, released an undercover video that showed Iowa Select workers ripping the testicles from conscious piglets, removing tails with dull clippers, and scores of sows in small confinement cages, appearing to suffer from untreated sores and other wounds.

The law, though later overturned by a federal court, was the first of its kind and rapidly inspired copycat legislation across the country.

Walker’s failed attempts to reach regulators, to report overcrowding in Iowa Select facilities, didn’t surprise him. “The DNR wasn’t very interested in talking about it,” said Walker. “They’re too big to be regulated.”

“There have been no recent enforcement actions against Iowa Select Farms. Nor are we aware of any complaints or allegations made to the DNR,” Alex Murphy, a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said in an email to The Intercept.

Walker, aware that he had few outlets for help, turned to the internet to research whistleblowing resources for factory farms. That’s how he found Direct Action Everywhere, the Berkeley, California-based group that has worked to expose the shocking treatment of animals in factory farms.


Related: Hidden Video and Whistleblower Reveal Gruesome Mass-Extermination Method for Iowa Pigs Amid Pandemic


Soon after he came into contact with DxE, the novel coronavirus reached global pandemic status, shutting down slaughterhouses across the region. The glut of hogs, which suddenly became unprofitable, quickly ran up costs for the company. Iowa Select decided to mass slaughter thousands of pigs in a particularly brutal process called “ventilation shutdown,” or VSD. Workers sealed off airways while pumping steam into the barns, intensifying the heat — over the course of many hours — to the point at which the pigs died from suffocation and/or hyperthermia.

The process further horrified Walker, cementing his belief that Iowa Select had no concern for the animals they raised. The company, he argued, had the resources to mitigate the killing of healthy pigs. Iowa Select could have offered “some pigs to our neighbors to care for and raise.” But instead, the firm opted to gas thousands — a clear indication that they viewed animal life as disposable.

Walker decided to expose the VSD process to DxE and the media, leading to an investigation by The Intercept, which published a video of the process showing young pigs squealing as they slowly roasted to death.

The widely covered video set off a fury of controversy, bringing international attention to the gruesome mass slaughter. Following the news, DxE activists also picketed the home of Iowa Select’s founder and protested outside of company facilities. Several were arrested and charged after chaining themselves to the fence surrounding the Iowa Select facility in Grundy County that had used the VSD method to kill off its hogs.

Following the controversy, a group of members of Congress filed a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture criticizing the animal agriculture industry for using VSD methods during the pandemic. “The process is inhumane, distressing, and painful for the animals who can take many hours to die,” the letter noted. “Under no circumstances should producers be utilizing ventilation shutdown.”

It sparked an ethical debate within the animal agriculture and veterinary community. “The corporation spent over a month planning this tragedy, retrofitting the barn to close off the ventilation, and preparing workers for this gruesome task — who may suffer mental health consequences for having to partake in this practice,” charged an open letter by prominent veterinarians denouncing the actions of Iowa Select.

The publicity came as a shock to Iowa Select. Emails obtained through a public records request show that Iowa Select collaborated with trade groups to manage the fallout. Animal Agriculture Alliance, an industry group that provides crisis communications support to factory farming interests under scrutiny, flagged The Intercept story about the VSD mass killing of pigs. In response, alerts and social media posts about the story were sent to the National Pork Producers Council, a lobby group currently led by Jen Sorenson, the spokesperson for Iowa Select.

“As we know they have targeted Iowa Select,” noted Dallas Hockman, the vice president of industry relations at the National Pork Producers Council, referring to DxE. “I know they have been doing mass mailing, I have received number [sic] of calls from channel partners inquiring about it as well as questions on ventilation shutdown.” Hannah Thompson-Weeman, vice president of strategic engagement at Animal Agriculture Alliance, responded to note that her group was in the process of “contacting our FBI and DHS contacts to raise our concerns.”

They also zeroed in on the role of Walker.

In June, Walker, who had been terminated following a trucking accident earlier that summer, was asked to return to the company to help fill out paperwork. When he arrived at the meeting, he says, he was asked to take his phone out and place it on the table. A private investigator hired by Iowa Select said that local police had obtained the phones of arrested DxE members, searched through their messages, and found Walker’s number. The investigator called his number, and his phone rang. He had been caught.

The discussion then went back and forth, Walker recounts, with Walker answering questions about his involvement with DxE. Satisfied with his answers, Walker was left with a few Subway sandwiches and asked if he could attend a meeting in a few days with an FBI agent.

The following week, Noel Williams, one of the Iowa Select executives who had been in the previous meeting, picked Walker up from his home and drove him to the meeting with the FBI agent, according to Walker.

The FBI agent, Nick Potratz, then started asking a series of questions about DxE: How are they funded? Do they run drugs or sell guns to finance their animal welfare activism?

Potratz then turned the conversation again to Walker. “Would you go to a protest and report back on if these are good people or bad people?” Walker remembers the agent asking. “Would you be willing to buy drugs, buy dope for the FBI?”

During the conversation, Walker says, the men in the room quizzed Walker over what types of services he could provide to undermine the animal rights group. The FBI agent asked Walker if he would be comfortable engaging in recorded conversations with DxE’s spokesperson, Matt Johnson, who had been arrested and charged with a felony earlier that summer for allegedly trespassing at one of Iowa Select’s pork production facilities — though the trespass charges were abruptly dropped last month. They asked Walker how well he could keep secrets, told him what rights he might have as an official FBI informant, and read him the agency’s guidelines for human sources — what the agent described as the “Ten Commandments” for becoming an informant.

Toward the end of the meeting, Williams said he had to leave, ironically to deal with an electrical malfunction that killed 1,500 sows. Without a ride, Walker took a lift home from the FBI agent at the meeting, who continued talking to him about how he could help the agency. He asked if Walker knew about any illegal bribes by farming interests to safety inspectors or other issues like that. The FBI agent also asked if Walker could attend a follow-up meeting with another agent who was in training. Walker agreed.

Mike German, a former FBI special agent who now serves as a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s liberty and national security program, noted that the FBI may have been hoping to use a drug prosecution to build a network of more informants.

“That may be more in line with the assessment type of activity where they’re not trying to solve a drug distribution problem, but rather trying to find something they can use to coerce the next person to become an informant,” said German. “A buy-bust for some small amount of drugs to justify a local prosecution that can be used to leverage their participation in a bigger operation.”

“The FBI Omaha field office declines to comment,” wrote Amy Adams, an FBI spokesperson, in an email to The Intercept. Iowa Select spokesperson Jen Sorenson responded to multiple requests for comment with a statement that the company “will not be engaging in this story.”

Williams, the Iowa Select executive who brought Walker to the meeting with the FBI, declined over the phone to comment. Potratz, the FBI agent, referred questions to the FBI’s media office.

“The federal government knows that criminalizing peaceful speech activity is a sham, and that the general public is on our side,” said Matt Johnson, DxE’s spokesperson. “But they’re also beholden to the undue influence of companies like Iowa Select Farms. It’s telling to see the roundabout lengths they’ll resort to in trying to undermine our work — and keep the public from knowing the truth.”

The follow-up meeting, in an unmarked van at the local Hy-Vee grocery store, was another opportunity for the FBI to make a pitch. Walker described being brought to an FBI van in the Hy-Vee parking lot for another discussion over whether he would help surveil and engage DxE. Potraz was now joined by a colleague, and the two FBI agents went over the same set of questions, asking Walker if he was comfortable keeping his involvement secret and spying on DxE. Would he be willing to testify if an investigation came to that? He was again read the Department of Justice’s guidelines for informants.

Walker was not offered money, and the FBI did not explicitly coerce him, but the tenor of the meetings left him rattled.

During one phone call with an FBI agent from the meeting, Walker recalled asking whether he was under investigation or some other law enforcement inquiry. “He said he couldn’t confirm or deny,” Walker later said. It may have been a perfunctory response, but that uncertainty loomed over him like a dark shadow.

The FBI ha long considered animal rights and environmental groups among the agency’s “highest domestic terrorism priorities,” a focus that has been shaped by industry pressure. In the past, FBI informants have been involved in campaigns to goad environmental activists into acts of terror and violence.

It’s part of a longer history of the FBI targeting nonviolent activist groups, including protesters affiliated with the anti-war movement and left-wing individuals who were planning to demonstrate the 2004 presidential conventions. In more recent years, the FBI, including agents from the Des Moines field office, worked closely with TigerSwan, a private security firm retained by Energy Transfer Partners, which sought to undermine support for demonstrators opposed to the Dakota Access pipeline.

DxE was already on the FBI’s radar. In 2017, agents from the FBI took extraordinary steps to pursue DxE over an action in which dying pigs were taken from a Smithfield Foods-owned facility and brought to an animal shelter. A six-car fleet of FBI agents in bulletproof vests obtained a warrant to raid animal sanctuaries in Utah and Colorado in search of piglets allegedly liberated by DxE’s volunteer activists.

The bureau has faced criticism over the years for lax oversight of its network of more than 15,000 informants, a figure that outnumbers agents in the field. Although FBI agents require probable cause before directly infiltrating organizations, those rules do not apply to informants. This loophole effectively incentivizes the FBI to use informants to infiltrate political or activist groups.

Ramzi Kassem, a professor at CUNY School of Law, where he directs CLEAR, a clinic that focuses on issues arising from the U.S. security state, also raised concerns about attempted recruitment.

“It’s one thing for the FBI to seed informants within suspected criminal organizations like the Mafia to act as the FBI’s eyes and ear,” said Kassem. “It’s an altogether different matter for the FBI to treat activist groups as though they were crime syndicates and to send in informants to not only be the FBI’s eyes and ears, but also its hands and wallet, too, instigating crimes that probably would not have taken place without FBI involvement. That is a highly questionable use of public funds.”

For the most part, the FBI has targeted left-leaning activism, including the infamous COINTELPRO initiative that involved the harassment of anti-Vietnam War leaders, civil rights organizers, and other supposedly subversive political organizations. But the agency has also, at times, targeted conservative-leaning groups, including efforts to use informants to infiltrate libertarian activist circles. The FBI also took the unusual step of planting an informant with then-candidate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 to investigate accusations of collusion with the Russian government.

Despite bipartisan criticism of the agency’s conduct, Congress has done little to impose new rules limiting the FBI’s power or its use of informants.

“Once they’ve recruited somebody, they can, with minimal oversight, deploy people in pretty dangerous situations,” said Diala Shamas, a staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights. “The recruitment process is a big black hole with little information and so much coercion.”

Many informants, said Shamas, face the threat of prosecution or are immigrants living in fear of deportation. The FBI uses legal vulnerabilities as leverage to coerce participation in the informant program.

But they had no such luck with Walker.

Walker eventually decined their offer. He found it odd that his former employer drove him to the meeting with the FBI, and that the FBI had sought to use its vast resources to go after a band of nonviolent activists.

The FBI agent, Walker said, seemed to have a chummy relationship with Iowa Select’s private investigator, who identified himself as a former law enforcement official. The entire arrangement appeared to be a show of deference to Iowa Select, a company that already had far too much power in Walker’s eyes.

Walker had gone to state regulators about other animal safety violations he believed Iowa Select had committed. He knew the company’s founders were among the biggest campaign contributors in the state. Now it seemed to Walker that even federal law enforcement officials were effectively in their pocket.

Months passed and Walker, after discussions with his wife, decided that he wanted to talk to the press a second time, this time using his name. The fact that Iowa Select could wield this power not only over its animals but also the political process and law enforcement agencies was too much.

Shortly after The Intercept reached out to the FBI for comment, Walker says, he suddenly received a call from one of the agents he had met. The call came from an unlisted number. The bureau no longer needed him as an informant, the agent said. Then the person hung up.

Correction: February 17, 2021, 5:15 p.m. ET
Matt Johnson, a DxE activist, was arrested inside the Iowa Select facility, not outside, as originally stated. The piece has been corrected.





Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

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Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
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Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

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the FBI is nothing more than a tool for the authoritarian governmentals

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Inside the slaughterhouse: an investigation on the industrial slaughter of animals

February 22, 2021
by
Tras los Muros

Let’s cut the absolute nonsense of “humane” slaughter. First, the US excludes nine billion poultry slaughtered yearly from the (oxymoronic) Humane Slaughter Act resulting in tens of thousands being “boiled alive”, as listed as “cadavers” : https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Todays_Reports/reports/pslaan19.pdf

The following is an article published more than two years ago exposing the incalculable suffering experienced by animals – nothing has changed to “improve” poultry slaughter:

Chickens freezing to death and boiled alive: failings in US slaughterhouses exposed

Second, and most importantly, no animal happily, joyfully, willingly dies. To describe a killing “process” as “humane” while requiring fear, pain, and violence, means “humane” is a term meant for human moral comfort and not for the animals who are forced to endure such.

It’s baffling that people praise laws that require suffering and violent death. The following is a Washington Post article that exposed the vicious cycle of violence in slaughterhouses as perpetrated by animal consumers, and although it is older, today the lines are faster with more animal victims, and the industry is being deregulated requiring “self-policed” audits:

The Die Piece by Piece

If you consume animals, please take time to read about their suffering. It’s tragic that people will spend weeks looking for a new appliance but don’t bother to spend time discovering how the suffering they consume was rejected as deserving of empathy, body autonomy, and life. SL



Source Tras los Muros

By Aitor Garmendia

Translator: Eva Canada


Modern slaughterhouses have been designed to take the highest number of animal lives, as fast as possible. Industrialised animal slaughter is a huge business, and some of these factories —which are becoming increasingly technological and are using equipments ever more and more modern and specialised—, take thousands of animals to their deaths every day. The slaughterhouse owned by Grupo Jorge, Le Porc Gourmet, kills 13,000 pigs a day; Veravic, owned by the Ibergallus society, 80,000 chickens; Faccsa has recently initiated formalities to build a slaughterhouse in Andalusia with the capacity to kill up to 40,000 pigs. These are some of the highest production rate slaughterhouses within the Spanish State, and they help us get an approximate idea of the industry’s exploitation and extermination pace.

Between November 2016 and October 2018, I gained access into 16 slaughterhouses in the Spanish State. Inside them, I was able to document the slaughter of cows, pigs, lambs, chickens, and rabbits.

The material I’m including in my investigation is aimed to show —as opposed to the meat industry’s obscurantism and propaganda— the institutional and systematic violence suffered by animals in slaughterhouses. It provides relevant information to revive the debate that, promoted by the anti-speciesist movement, questions the legitimacy of animal exploitation and advocates for its abolition.

As long as its use is pro bono and exposure-oriented, I’ll make all the graphic material obtained available upon request, for free.1


Meat Industry: secrecy and power of influence

Social concern about the abuse suffered by animals in farms and slaughterhouses is on the rise, and the images of violence against them are increasingly taking more and more space in the media. Those images are usually obtained by activist researchers who, either by using subterfuges that allow them to enter these places with a camera in their hands, or by placing hidden cameras, expose to the public eye the truth of an industry that’s becoming increasingly armoured to the sight of its consumers.

The debate about speciesism 2 —the discrimination and subsequent oppression suffered by animals— and the social movement born to fight against it, wouldn’t be where they are now without the existence of graphic investigations carried out by organizations and activists. These investigations have helped people all over the world become aware of the atrocities perpetrated behind the slaughterhouses’ walls, and consequently, they have inspired them to get committed with the defence of animals.

The constant abuses captured by these images are not isolated instances of animal cruelty; they are just part of a systematic exploitation regime backed by the support of our institutions. This kind of investigations are undermining the meat business image, and provoking massive monetary losses.3, 4, 5 With the aim of never letting these images come to light, managers in meat companies receive specific guidelines so as to prevent the hiring of undercover activists who could gain access to their premises6, 7, 8

In the US, the animal rights movement has an extensive historic trajectory, and investigations carried out by activists have shown the brutal treatment received by animals in farms and slaughterhouses owned by important food brands (Tyson FoodsMcDonald´sJBSPerdue FoodsPilgrim’s Pride, etc). The armouring measures taken by the animal exploitation industry in this country have not been limited to hinder the infiltration of animal advocates: the deployment of their power has gone one step further. During the last decade, the powerful lobbies of the livestock industry have been responsible for laws prosecuting the filming and capturing of images inside farming premises. These laws, known as Ag-gag,9, 10 have sparked great controversy, and some law courts have declared them to be unconstitutional.11 Journalists, activists, jurists, and civil rights organizations have warned that they threaten freedom of expression, entitlement of information, animal welfare, workers’ rights, and food safety.12, 13


The Spanish meat industry’s power of influence on public opinion and institutions has also become apparent in several recent scandals.

  •  In 2016, some strategic documents 14 were leaked to the press. In them, four important meat groups (Interporc, Provacuno, Asici e Interovic) were mentioned as authors of a sleight aimed to manipulate the public opinion with regard to the WHO’s report, where cancer was linked to meat consumption. One of the measures listed in the plan included an “evangelization strategy” to counterbalance the “negative information” of the report created by the IARC and the WHO.
  • In February 2018, the Spanish TV show Salvados broadcasted a controversial report about the meat industry that showed pigs with malformations, eating each other, and in a serious health condition.15 The images, which were obtained during an undercover visit together with a team of Animal Equality researchers, belonged to a farm that’s a supplier to El Pozo. The images, which were obtained during an undercover visit together with a team of Animal Equality researchers, belonged to a farm which is a supplier to El Pozo. The broadcast provoked a big social upheaval, extensively covered by national media, and it made the brand plunge into a reputation crisis.16 Days after that, Jordi Évole, the host of Salvados, accused the Minister Isabel García Tejerina of representing the meat sector’s interests instead of those of the citizenship and also of not having opened any investigation.17
  • In March 2018, the Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Castilla-La Mancha condemned the Regional Government and Incarlopsa —company that supplies meat products to Mercadona— for having taken disciplinary action against two veterinarians and having removed them from their post, after they reported non-compliance with the current regulations in the company’s pig abattoir. According to the news, pigs were not being exposed to the effects of CO2 long enough so as to lose conscience, so they remained awake during the throat slitting and bleeding processes. After that, they were introduced into the scalding tank, where the water reaches up to 65 degrees Celsius, while they were still alive. These brutal practices were carried out for three years in an abattoir where more than 3,000 pigs are «processed» every eight hours.18

The investigation

For over three years, I managed to gain access to more than 80 slaughterhouses located in Mexico and the Spanish State, and I had to earn the trust of each and every one of their managers. It was not easy at all. Had I arrived with the declared intention of showing the slaughter of animals to the public, I wouldn’t have been allowed to enter any of them.

In many of my visits, I was accompanied by a manager watching me closely, and in some of them I was forbidden to access the areas where animal suffering is most blatant, such as the stun box or the throat slitting area.

In November 2016, months before setting off for Mexico in order to finish what the media have called the biggest graphic research ever made about slaughterhouses,21 I was starting another parallel investigation in Spanish State. Part of it was carried out in collaboration with NOR, a recently founded Basque collective against speciesism which was at the time preparing its public presentation with an investigation also made in slaughterhouses. Additionally, I made all my visits together with Linas Korta, the fellow activist who has filmed part of the images shown in the audio-visual report.

We knocked on many doors, some of them belonging to big abattoirs, but all our attempts were in vain. In the last few years, and especially since the broadcasting of the report about the meat industry in Salvados, the industry’s secrecy has grown exponentially. They are aware of the risk they face, and they don’t want any cameras inside their plants. However, we managed to gain the trust of some of those slaughterhouses’ managers, assuring them that the images were not going to be published, and so we could get inside 16 slaughterhouses located in the Spanish State.

The images we obtained are a sample of the structural violence and systematic exploitation that’s being held against animals in these places. Electric discharges, captive bolt shots, or electrified water baths are standardized procedures22 and, brutal as they may seem, are a part of the regular activity in any slaughterhouse.


The fraud of animal welfare

In the face of the increasing social concern about the treatment of animals in farms and slaughterhouses, meat companies try to make consumers believe that animals are protected under animal welfare regulations. This is absolutely untrue. The so-called animal welfare and the implementation of its legal framework are only applied as long as it does not meaningfully impact production rates. It’s under these specifications that it was initially conceived.

During the 60s, the British Government commissioned Roger Brambell, Professor of Zoology at the Bangor University, a study to investigate the exploitation conditions of farm animals.24 The aim of this research was to give an answer to the social outrage provoked after the controversial publication of Animal Machines, the book by Ruth Harrison, where the horrors of intensive animal rearing had been described.

The eartags are used to identify the origin of the animals and are part of the traceability system required by the Ministry of Agriculture. In this slaughterhouse they are classified for that purpose once the animals have been killed.

Nonetheless, as it can be drawn from its own analysis, animal welfare standards do neither prevent animals’ deaths nor help avoid their physical and emotional suffering —inherent to the meat production system— for they are dominated by the industry’s needs.


[The Five Freedoms] form a logical and comprehensive framework for analysis of welfare within any system together with the steps and compromises necessary to safeguard and improve welfare within the proper constraints of an effective livestock industry. (The Five freedoms, Farm Animal Welfare Council.)


Animal welfare measures reduce the suffering in the industrial exploitation and slaughter of animals, that much is true, but thinking they protect them in any way is a mistake. Not only do they not protect animals, but their implementation is also unfeasible in many cases, and in others they have no effectiveness at all. Thus, their only reason to exist is to sweeten the industry’s image.

The existence of a law framework does not guarantee its effective enforcement. Many of the practices observed during this work, some of the recent scandals linked to national slaughterhouses —such as the one linked to the Incarlopsa company 26 or the one linked to a slaughterhouse located in Riaza 27— and the numerous investigations carried out in abattoirs all over the world underline this point.

The procedures followed during the slaughter of the more than 60 billion animals sent to abattoirs in the world every year —800 million in the Spanish State 29— are also impossible to verify. Modern slaughterhouses are factories where trucks arrive relentlessly, loaded with hundreds or thousands of animals. Some plants process up to 10,000 chickens an hour or 10,000 pigs a day. There’s no way to control their procedures.

The animal welfare discourse leads the debate to a dead end that only benefits the industry and not the animals, presenting two options as the only possible alternatives: rightful, humane exploitation vs. its opposite..

And it makes us forget there is another answer, the only one that’s acceptable for animals: the complete abolition of their exploitation.


Transport and unloading of animals

According to the last survey on livestock slaughter carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Food (MAPAMA,) in 2017, more than 850 million animals were killed in Spanish slaughterhouses30 Cows, bulls, calves, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens and animals of other species were carried in trucks up to these death factories.

Pigs truck about to depart for the slaughterhouse.

A study made in Italy during four years in more than 50 poultry abattoirs revealed that the amount of animals arriving dead to the premises reached rates of up to 1.62%.32 It might seem a small percentage, but if we apply it to the volume of birds that are transported every year to Spanish abattoirs —over 750 million during 2017—33 lhe figure we obtain involves millions of them.

During the loading, many birds suffer bone fractures. Poultry is harshly introduced into cages, loaded into the truck, and transported without any care. Several researches carried out in Germany unveiled that up to 15% of these animals were injured as a consequence of this practice.34

We should also bear in mind that there’s an important amount of animals who never reach the transportation or slaughter phase. The number of animals who perished in farms due to health problems associated with the hard exploitation regime —illnesses provoked by genetic selection, metabolic disorders, respiratory problems, etc.— or due to what the industry calls discard —the killing of animals at the farm for not reaching the optimum levels of production— is estimated to be millions.35 36

On the other hand, a sudden temperature change in the plants were they are overcrowded or a power failure may lead to the death of thousands of animals. Others may perish in road accidents during their transportation. Injured animals are not assisted. They’re killed at the very place where the accident took place or loaded again in another truck with the same destination, at best.

During the investigation, I witnessed the arrival and unloading of animals in slaughterhouses, most of them with medium-sized premises and similar architecture. Animals are received through a gateway that’s directly connected with the pens, which are usually dismal and dirty, and are guided to the stables through noises that terrify them or using electric pushers. Sometimes kicks or blows are given to those who offer resistance, and the smallest animals are tossed forward or thrown directly from the truck to the ramp leading to the stables. On many an occasion, electric shocks are given while animals are being slaughtered in some other area, and the veterinary officer cannot supervise both activities at the same time. This means that no verification is made as to whether the animal protection regulation is being properly applied. Some animals may stand for hours in the pens, while others are guided to the slaughter area right away.

In one of the slaughterhouses, a farmer unloaded two lambs from his car’s boot. They were very frightened when they arrived, and their legs were tied. Breaching the current regulation and in the presence of a veterinarian, they were carried to the stables being held upside down.


Animals shall not be tied by the horns, the antlers, the nose rings nor by legs tied together. Calves shall not be muzzled. Domestic Equidae older than eight months shall wear halters during transport except for unbroken horses. (Annex I, Chapter III, Handling, 1.11 of the Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations.) 37


Two lambs arrive in the boot of a minivan with a rope tied to their four legs. This practice is prohibited by Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations.

Birds and rabbits are disposed inside the same containers they have arrived in. The cages are stacked up in a pile, and nobody prevents —as the European regulation requires— their urine and feces from falling upon the animals.


1.4.When containers are put one on top of the other, the necessary precautions shall be taken: (a) to limit urine and faeces falling on the animals placed underneath; (Annex III, Operational rules for slaughterhouses, 1.4 of the Council Regulation (EC) No1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing.38


In other abattoir I visited, the last rabbits to be slaughtered were dirty, covered in urine, and they spent several hours locked in plastic cages with barely any space to move. The veterinarian asked me specifically not to take any photographs of these animals.

Regulations require priority attention to those females who have given birth during the transport. In other words, they recognize there are females that are sent to be slaughtered when they are about to give birth.


1.5. For the purpose of slaughter, unweaned animals, lactating dairy animals, females having given birth during the journey or animals delivered in containers shall be given priority over other types of animal. (Annex III, Operational rulkes for slaughterhouses, 1.5 of the Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing.39


Towards death: stunning methods

The stunning methods applied in the pre-throat slitting phase are one of the most controversial and polemic issues in the animal welfare debate. They’re aimed to guarantee immediate loss of consciousness in order to prevent animals from suffering during the bleeding. According to the regulations, any process that provokes instant death is also considered as a stunning method.40

The meat industry assures that, using these methods, animals do not suffer, 41 but they know that in their abattoirs, for different reasons, the truth is quite another.

Procedures included in the European regulations require that these practices must be carried out with a precision I never saw in the places I visited. Hitting the target on a frightened cow’s head, when the cow weighs nearly half a ton and she is resisting death, or placing two electrodes on the sides of a pig’s head while he’s restlessly slipping on a floor full of blood are not easy tasks to do, and even less with the accuracy required by animal welfare standards. The production pace in slaughterhouses —ever more and more hectic— where one single worker has to perform the same task hundreds of times a day, increases the difficulty to comply with the procedures. In addition, sometimes stun guns get stuck, or electric devices are poorly regulated, or animals wake up from the stunning and are completely awake while their throat is slit, etc., and this expands their wait, stress and suffering.

Besides, as we previously stated, in some abattoirs regulations are directly contravened in the presence of a veterinarian. During my investigation, I visited two lamb abattoirs where animals were not previously stunned. In a third one, I was not allowed to access this particular area, and in another one the worker confessed that the only reason why he was stunning animals was because he was in the presence of a camera.

A pig after entering the restrainer, a machine that immobilizes and moves the pigs one by one from the pens to the point of stunning, where the electric shock is applied.

Due to these exceptions and to the existence of malpractices in the enforcement of animal welfare regulations, everything suggests that many animals are put to death in a state of full conscience.

What comes next is a list of the stunning methods I observed during my investigation. All of them are considered, according to the regulation, as simple stunning methods —they do not provoke instant death of the animals— and they must necessarily be followed by a killing procedure.


Captive bolt gun

Due to its low cost and easy functioning, the captive bolt device is probably the most widespread stunning method in the world, used for cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and horses.43

The gun shots a bolt, driven by a gunpowder cartridge or by compressed air, which retracts itself to its initial position after entering the animal’s skull, provoking a brain trauma. In order to achieve an effective stunning, regulations require beef cattle to be duly placed inside the stun box, and the weapon to be firmly held against the place where they will be shot.

The regulation itself recognizes that the waiting time in the stun box may cause deep distress to the animal, that’s why it demands the waiting time to be as brief as possible. In three out of the five cow abattoirs I visited, however, this specification was not complied with. Some animals remained several minutes in the box without the presence of any operator. In one of them, a cow’s tail was harshly twisted —another practice specifically forbidden by the regulations— to make her get into the stun box. At the same time, the stun box must «have a system to limit the movements of the animal’s head, both sideways and vertically». Most slaughterhouses are not obliged to abide by these measures until 2019. Nonetheless, it should be pointed out that they were not fulfilled in any of them; furthermore, the animals could move their heads vertically, hampering the task even further. A cow even managed to turn around completely and get out of the box.

This method is not only used with beef cattle. I also witnessed its use in a sheep abattoir. Sheep were gathered against a corner and the worker shot them from behind, under the base of their horns, without holding them in any way. Once they fell on the floor, the slaughterer dragged them, holding one of their back legs, up to the conveyor hooks. Some of them showed signs of being still conscious.

This technique, even when it is correctly applied, doesn’t guarantee that the animal will lose consciousness, and some animals show signs of suffering after being shot. A study carried out in Europe on 585 bulls, 306 cows, 58 steers, and 49 calves revealed that the stunning had failed 12.5% of the times, and that the average gap of time between the shot and the throat slitting had been of over 100 seconds.44

Electrical stunning

The equipment is composed of an electric panel and, attached to this panel, a couple of pliers with electrodes at the tips. The pliers, placed on both sides of the head, give an electric shock to the animal. When used correctly, the shock causes an epileptic seizure and the momentary loss of consciousness. This is a reversible procedure, which means that in case the stunning is achieved, the animal may recover consciousness in a brief space of time.


Electrical stunning on pigs

  • Restrainer. A machine that restrains and transports pigs one by one from the pens to the stunning area, where the electric shock is applied. It’s composed of two conveyor belts placed in such a way that the pig gets completely immobilised. Pigs are carried through a tunnel up to the base of the restrainer. If they refuse to advance, they are pushed using electric shocks or hitting them. Some pigs remain at the stunning point longer than the regulation states.
  • Stunning Box. Pigs are introduced, usually by force, in a metal framing. The electric shock is applied from the end where their head rears off. After that, the animal falls through a lateral hatch and he’s dragged up to the bleeding elevator. Sometimes, when the pigs have not been properly stunned, a second electric shock is applied while they’re suspended by their legs and are being carried towards the throat slitting area.
  • Stunning pen. When there’s no restrain equipment available, pigs are guided in groups —usually by shouting and hitting them— to a room where they are stunned one by one. Pigs shake seethingly, trying to run away. Sometimes they climb on each other, or they skid and fall on the floor. The first attempt is not always successful, which makes the animals’ stress escalate.

To speed up the task, many pigs are lifted to have their throat slit while being stunned. Sometimes the slaughterers, in order to attach the animal’s chained legs to the elevator hooks, press their chest with one leg. I have witnessed this practice —which contravenes the regulations— in different slaughterhouses.

Several studies have proved that a high number of pigs remain conscious after having been applied this stunning method. Bristol University showed, after a research performed in 29 English slaughterhouses, that 36% of the pigs were not properly stunned, 15.6% had to be stunned again, and 20.5% of them were in a state that allowed them to recover consciousness.45 England is one of the places in the world where the animal welfare regulation is most demanding. Another —more recent— study carried out in a Colombian slaughterhouse where the application of electronarcosis was examined in 1,341 pigs showed that it was only effective in 20.6% of the cases.46

The stunning of pigs during lactation is done with a pair of less powerful clamps between two workers. While one holds the animal, the other applies the electric shock to the head.


Electrical stunning on sheep and lambs

Sheep and lambs are guided up to a sheepfold, usually connected by a door with the pens. Lambs are visibly scared and they group together against one of the sheepfold corners. I haven’t observed any specific restraining method. They are often restrained between the slaughterer’s legs, who applies the shock with the pliers. In two abattoirs I visited, lambs were stunned while suspended by their rear legs at the bleeding elevator. In one of them, workers even hung two lambs in the same hook. Both these practices are expressly prohibited by the regulation.


A guiding sheep, carrying the herd to the slaughter area

Guiding animals to the slaughter area is not an easy task. The transportation and their time in the pens is a dramatic change of scenario for them. Many of those animals have just been severed from their mothers; some of them even have their umbilical cord still attached. They are scared, and they refuse to walk. The following conversation —registered with a hidden camera— was held between my research fellow and a veterinarian.


—There are rams who refuse to enter the box. That’s because they can smell the blood of the animal that has been slaughtered before them. They’re always scared of the unknown, they have always lived in the farm and you suddenly bring them here… They’re always scared. But I think it is because they can smell the blood.—


At some slaughterhouses, adult sheep are used in order to facilitate the moving of the lambs to the slaughter area. These guiding or meek sheep —also called Judas sheep in some industry manuals—47, 48 are trained to guide the lambs to the place where they receive the electric shock and are then slaughtered.49, 50 They live their life in the pens, and every day they guide thousands of lambs to their death. I have observed this practice in two abattoirs.


Electrical stunning on rabbits

The rabbit’s head is placed in a device equipped with a pair of tweezers that are operated through a pedal. Once they receive the electric shock, the animals are hung by one of their rear legs in a hook of the conveyor.

A study carried out in a slaughterhouse located in North Italy on 1,020 rabbits showed that the procedure was wrongly executed more than 10% of the times. Besides, several animals recovered consciousness after being stunned.51


Electrical stunning in water tank

Bathing chickens or other similar sized birds in electrified water in order to stun them is the most widespread procedure in the Spanish state and, in general, in the whole European Union (81%).53, 54, 55 Chickens arrive totally crammed inside cages that are placed on top of each other, right at the starting point of the slaughter line. Then they are hung by their legs, upside down, in the hooks of an air conveyor that moves them along the different areas of the slaughterhouse.

Broiler chickens have been genetically engineered in such a way that many of them suffer from severe disorders in their legs and can barely stand on their feet.56 A specialised worker can hang over 1,000 chickens an hour.57 f this process is not performed correctly —something quite common, given the speed reached by some processing lines—animals may suffer even more damages than the ones they are bound to undergo. A study concluded that, after being hung, 3% of the chickens had broken bones;58 another study pointed out that hanging increases the chances of having broken bones in a 44%.59 In the poultry abattoir I visited, some of the birds remained hanging for more than a minute in the pre-stunning phase, exceeding the maximum waiting time stated by the regulation. Once they were hanging, and in a desperate attempt to get away, they flapped their wings and squirmed in anguish.

In 2003, Alternativa para la Liberación Animal, a pioneering association and seedbed of some important animal advocacy organizations in Spain, published in its Boletín Informativo a heartrending statement by a poultry slaughterer:


They come in trucks, inside cages. Between 2,500 and 3,000 chickens come in every truck, all crammed on top of each other, with their feathers, their legs, their wings rearing out of the cages. They come from Huesca and other locations. It’s quite a long trip, and it’s so cold outside that many of them arrive completely frozen, dead, or in very awful conditions. […] You hold them by the leg or whatever part of their body you grab, because when you take a chicken you do it without even looking at it, you may grab them by the neck or the legs, and then you hang them upside down. Then, they get into a container full of water with two power cables, we make this to numb the chickens. (Entrevista a un matarife. Newsletter issue 02-03 by Alternativa para la Liberación Animal – ALA) 60


With the equipment in motion, the conveyor carries the chickens to a tank full of electrified water. Their heads are immersed in the water for a few seconds but, as confirmed by several researches,61 some animals manage to raise their head, or they are too small and pass through the water tank without having been stun. Electricity flows through their entire body and may cause bleeding and broken bones.62 If the access to the tank is wet, they may receive an electric shock moments before their head is immersed in the water.


The complexity of multiple bird waterbath stunning is not conducive to maintaining good welfare. Effectiveness of the stun cannot be determined. The method, widely practiced because it is simple and cheap, cannot be controlled. You can’t control the amount of electrical current flowing through a bird. You can’t harmonize electrical resistance in broiler chickens. The waterbath has to be replaced. (Dr. Mohan Raj, USDA Seminar, December 16, 2004.)63


With this stunning system, the voltage is steady and equal for all. If the sizes and weights of the chickens are uneven, some of them might not receive enough electric power to induce the loss of consciousness.64 Virgil Butler, former worker of the meat corporation Tyson Foods and currently animal rights activist, pointed out that this method’s objective is to increase production rather than to prevent the chickens from suffering. These were his words about this particular issue:


The stunner is strictly to facilitate line speed. Before they implemented the stunner down at that plant, the line ran 98 birds per minute, with two killers. After adding the stunner, it jumped the speed up to 120. Then, they added the killing machine, dropped one of the killers, and turned the speed up to 142. Now, of course, it runs 186 birds per minute. All it does is paralyze the muscles. It doesn’t render them unconscious or make them insensible to pain. In Tyson’s own words to the workers, «It makes the plant more efficient».65


The slaughter

Throat slitting is the most common slaughter process. It is performed manually with a sharpened knife, “systematically sectioning both carotid arteries or the vessels they stem from”.66 The most sophisticated chicken slaughter lines have an automatic blade capable of slitting thousands of chickens’ necks per hour.67

According the Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing, throat slitting must be carried out immediately after the stunning, before the animal recovers consciousness.68 However, since numbing methods are not a hundred per cent effective, since they’re sometimes performed incorrectly, or their use is totally skipped (which goes against regulations), a percentage of animals arrive totally conscious to this phase of the process. During my investigation, I observed this circumstance in several slaughterhouses, and I witnessed very brutal and violent scenes; there was no compassion or care in those places, just speed and brutalization.

Zona de desangrado. El matarife apuñala a un cordero tras haber recibido la descarga eléctrica.

The slaughter of pigs is similar to the process used for sheep. After the throat slitting, the animals are carried to the scalding tanks and to the scorching oven, two machines used to remove their hair. The tanks are full of hot water that covers completely the pig’s body.69 he regulation requests that the animals arrive to this phase being already dead, and that before they are immersed in the water, «absence of life in the animal must have been observed.» In some of the abattoirs I visited, the veterinarian was not present and the processing line was not stopped for this reason.

Investigations carried out by activists and institutional entities, together with the testimonies offered by workers, prove that in those slaughterhouses where the same procedures I observed during this investigation are followed, many pigs are immersed in the scalding tanks while still being alive.

Scalding tank. Several investigations have proven that many pigs are still alive at this stage of the process.

In her book, Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, And Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industryinvestigator Gail Eisnitz also shows testimonies by workers who have witnessed how some pigs were still alive when they arrived to the scalding tanks.


—These hogs get up to the scalding tank, hit the water and start screaming and kicking. Sometimes they thrash so much they kick water out of the tank. Not a lot of water, but it was obvious what was going on because I could hear them screaming. Sooner or later they drown.

—There’s a rotating arm that pushes them under, no chance for them to get out. I am not sure if they burn to death before they drown, but it takes them a couple of minutes to stop thrashing. You think management cares about the pain of being drowned or boiled to death?

—I’ve seen hogs in the scalding tub trying to swim.


In some abattoirs, a blowtorch is also used to scorch the pigs’ hooves and detach them from their legs. This practice should only be performed when the pig is already dead. I once observed how, in order to save time, a worker burnt a pig while he was still breathing. The flames reached his face. He was being burnt alive:

Age-restricted video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/qXBibhvd1bU


In other pig abattoir I witnessed how the animals were dragged on the floor up to the slaughter area using a hook stuck in their throats. This practice is forbidden, and the slaughterhouse staff expressly asked me not to publish those images.

The slaughter of poultry and rabbits I documented for this report took place at the same abattoir. The chickens are hung by their legs and carried to the electrified water tank in order to get stunned. Then, they reach the bleeding area, where a worker slits their throat with a blade. After the stunning and throat slitting phases, some of the birds seemed to remain totally conscious.

Flaying area of ​​a rabbit slaughterhouse.

In the case of rabbits, some of them also show signs of being conscious after the throat slitting. They shake their legs, twist their bodies, and lift their heads. As shown by the study performed in an Italian slaughterhouse, animals may recover consciousness after the stunning phase.77

Beef cattle has been the least documented species during this investigation. I observed the slaughter of over 20 cows. After the stunning, they are expelled to the floor through a hatch located right beneath the box. The vast majority of them are still moving after the throat slitting.

As I explained before, and as opposed to what the meat industry and their institutional representatives try to convey, animal welfare measures do not protect animals at all. The regulation that controls the implementation of the animal welfare standards in the EU slaughterhouses even recognizes that the slaughter of animals can cause «pain, distress, fear or other forms of suffering to the animals even under the best available technical conditions».78 And, indeed, I have been able to confirm this is completely true.


Age of the animals at the slaughterhouse

The meat industry takes good care of the way it presents animal exploitation to the consumers. The industry is becoming more and more aware of the impact words and images have in their consumption habits, and for some time now, it has understood that relating their products to industrial exploitation and slaughter of animals is not a good sales strategy.79

Current campaigns by the industry show us animals living in pastoral landscapes, under the care of very friendly farmers. They never show any images of their slaughterhouses, nor do they explain that most animals are sent to those places very early in their lives. And they never mention that the life expectancy of those animals in an exploitation-free environment would be much higher. Some of them are killed just a few days after their birth, others are traumatically severed from their mothers and still have their umbilical cord attached when they reach the slaughterhouse.

Sheep have a life expectancy of 10 years, but are often taken to slaughterhouses between 3 and 10 months of age.


Our connivance supports them

The meat industry deliberately hides animal exploitation and slaughter. They lie about the treatment animals receive in their sickening slaughterhouses and farms. Through the implementation of animal welfare seals, and labels that say «cage-free» or «free range», they try to make us believe that animals are protected precisely in the place where their lives are taken from them.

I’ve been visiting animal exploitation plants for many years. I’ve climbed over the walls of industrial farms together with other activists while they were carrying out their investigations. I have traveled inside trucks loaded with cows and I have accessed almost a hundred slaughterhouses. In them, I have witnessed countless abuses and aggressions suffered by animals, and I have verified the systematic exploitation they endureThere’s no place for welfare in any farm or slaughterhouse.

The apparent concern shown by the livestock industry about the treatment animals receive is nothing but propaganda. Just another part of their sales strategy. They have a detailed knowledge of what’s going on inside their premises, and they have no interest whatsoever in taking care of or protecting animals, for that would mean the end of their business.

Nevertheless, their business cannot work properly without the connivance of those who demand their products. Many of us have the feeling —or already know for sure— that there is something ethically unacceptable behind those walls, but we choose to look the other way and accept the industry’s version. We justify atrocious ways of violence against certain animals that we’d never tolerate against others. If the animal whose head we immerse in an electrified water tank or who we shoot inside a stun box belonged to another species —like a dog or a cat, for instance— we’d be accused of animal cruelty, and we’d even be brought to court.

In slaughterhouses, the biggest form of violence and abuse is perpetrated against terrestrial animals. A kind of exploitation articulated under the ideological umbrella of speciesism, the historical oppression suffered by animals.

The images shown in this report are another window to the secretive world of industrial livestock farming, and they’ve been taken for the sole purpose of offering some tools to face the distress suffered by millions of animals.



NOTES

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