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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)

Ethical Vegans Must Reject Donald Trump. Period.

October 30, 2020
by


Note: Regarding Protect the Harvest’s ludicrous and deceptive claim of the nonexistence of factory farms, “family” has zero legal distinction regarding farm size; indeed, a “family” can refer to Kraft, Ford, Trump, Smithfield, and Walmart. The government defines size, and anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of Google can easily find this data. To suggest that the greater than 10 billion land animals killed annually in the US alone come from Uncle Ted’s backyard hinges on desperation to continue the animal holocaust unseen and socially accepted. SL


EPA:



USDA:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines AFOs as agricultural enterprises where animals are kept and raised in confined situations. AFOs congregate animals, feed, manure and urine, dead animals, and production operations on a small land area. Feed is brought to the animals rather than the animals grazing or otherwise seeking feed in pastures, fields, or on rangeland. There are approximately 450,000 AFOs in the United States.

A CAFO is another EPA term for a large concentrated AFO.  A CAFO is an AFO with more than 1000 animal units (an animal unit is defined as an animal equivalent of 1000 pounds live weight and equates to 1000 head of beef cattle, 700 dairy cows, 2500 swine weighing more than 55 lbs, 125 thousand broiler chickens, or 82 thousand laying hens or pullets) confined on site for more than 45 days during the year.  Any size AFO that discharges manure or wastewater into a natural or man-made ditch, stream or other waterway is defined as a CAFO, regardless of size.  CAFOs are regulated by EPA under the Clean Water Act in both the 2003 and 2008 versions of the “CAFO” rule.


Additional resources:

Large animal feeding operations on the rise

99% of U.S. Farmed Animals Live on Factory Farms




Ethical Vegans Must Reject Donald Trump. Period.

Source Free From Harm

By Rosemary Thompson

Veganism, at its essence, is the recognition that all animals have the right to bodily integrity. Humans do not own the bodies, families or lives of other animals – we can be guardians to animals in need of rescue, but animals are never our property or commodities.

Donald Trump has demonstrated, over and over again, that he sees animals only as obstacles to be cleared or resources to be used to serve corporate interests and generate maximum profits.

But his actions don’t reveal a detached view of other species as objects or commodities so much as a seething contempt – for the natural world, for animals and for anyone trying to protect them.

Putting animal haters in charge

At every turn, Trump has placed people who actively oppose animal welfare, wildlife and environmental protection in leadership roles at the agencies responsible for carrying out those protections. Not surprisingly, this fox-guarding-the-hen-house strategy has resulted in dire consequences for animals and their habitat.

In 2016 he selected Brian Klippenstein, executive director of a particularly vile organization called Protect the Harvest, to serve as senior advisor to the USDA – the agency charged with safeguarding animals used in commerce.

Protect the Harvest exists to “save the agricultural industry from the growing threat of the radical animal rights movement” by lobbying against animal welfare legislation, supporting ag-gag bills and promoting animal commoditization in all forms – including circuses, rodeos, dog and horse racing, horse carriages, puppy mills and horse slaughter.

One of the group’s campaigns aims to soothe consumers’ growing concern regarding confined animal feeding operations by assuring the public that factory farming is just a “fictional concept created by activists.”

Next, Trump chose to appease animal agriculture and fossil fuel industry elites by putting climate change denier Scott Pruitt in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency – a move that led to the rollback of several critical climate and pollution regulations, along with the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

Pruitt, once honored with an award for his contribution to the success of the beef cattle industry, has described himself as a “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda” and “a big fan of beef.”

Though he resigned in 2018 under the weight of numerous legal and ethics investigations, EPA leadership continues to prioritize industry demands over keeping the country’s air and water clean. In March the agency used the COVID-19 chaos as a cover to release polluting industries from monitoring and reporting requirements.

Perhaps the most stunning hire Trump made was William Perry Pendley, a former oil and gas attorney he installed to wreak havoc on the Bureau of Land Management. That’s the agency charged with conserving public lands – such as national parks – in 11 Western states and Alaska.

Pendley, who spent the bulk of his career lobbying for oil companies’ rights to drill in pristine wilderness, does not believe public lands should exist at all.

He has joked on video about illegally killing and burying endangered animals, and tweeted that climate change is like a unicorn because “neither exists.” He also has a grotesque obsession with eradicating wild horses and burros – insisting that they (rather than cattle grazing or resource extraction) represent an “existential threat” to public lands.

A judge recently ruled that Pendley’s service violates the Constitution because he was never confirmed by the Senate, but so far he has refused to leave his post.


Hens inside an Organic Valley “free range” chicken shed.


Denying farmed animals space to move

While the average consumer may believe an organic label on meat and dairy products indicates humane treatment, in many cases it means nothing of the kind. Popular mid-sized chicken producer Organic Valley allows its birds only five square feet of space each – less than one-eighth of the room European chickens have.

But a 2016 USDA rule would have required organic producers to provide chickens with enough open space to move around and stretch their wings, and give cows and pigs 24/7 access to an outdoor area.

The new regulation would have helped smaller farms that could more easily comply, but because it could have disadvantaged large industrial farms that pack up to 180k birds into one building, the Trump administration delayed the rule’s implementation several times and finally withdrew it altogether.


Photo by Tommaso Ausili


Forcing slaughter plants to kill faster

Time is money, and moving more animals through the slaughter line per minute means more profits for the meat industry. It also means less oversight, more mistakes, and greatly increased animal suffering.

The Trump administration removed line speed limits for many chicken and pig processers, and has begun to do the same for cow slaughterhouses. The new rule also allows untrained workers, rather than federal inspectors, to ensure the plants are complying with humane handling and food safety protocols.

Compassion Over Killing (now Animal Outlook) took undercover video at a Hormel supplier that was piloting the new policy and killing an additional 120 pigs per hour. The horrifying footage showed animals who were not effectively stunned wounded and writhing in agony, and others reaching the kill floor with obvious dripping and infected pustules.

Trump’s new line speeds mean 11.5 million more pigs will suffer and die in U.S. slaughterhouses each year.


Trump specifically restructured the USDA to protect animal abusers instead of animals.


Failing to enforce animal cruelty laws

Once Trump’s new USDA leadership was in place, the agency promptly removed all animal welfare records from its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website – which prevented welfare organizations, activist groups and the public from viewing abuse citations and monitoring animals used by exhibitors (like circuses, marine mammal parks and roadside zoos), breeding operations and research facilities.

USDA Animal Care inspectors were told to fundamentally change the way they worked with animal industries. Their job was to help businesses avoid violations, not to protect animals and enforce the law.

The agency’s new mission was laid bare in a shocking Washington Post article that led with 300 raccoons cooking alive in 117-degree heat at a fur farm, inspectors who tried to rescue them, and a subsequent order from the Trump administration to put the animals back.

Sadly, several inspectors and veterinarians who were unable to do their jobs simply quit – and left the animals with even less hope.

The USDA has been carrying out fewer inspections and issuing fewer citations for animal welfare violations. From 2016 to 2018 the number of citations declined from 4,944 to 1,700, and the number of enforcement cases plummeted by 92%.

The Trump administration said there were so few cases because the agency was doing such a good job educating the industry about proper animal care. But former Animal Care veterinarian William Stokes said the inspection process was broken, and “untold numbers” of animals were suffering as a result.

Please read rest HERE





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Tyranny of the callous, cruel and clueless

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


False advertising law: a tool for the animal protection movement

October 26, 2020
by
Calf muzzle to prevent nursing. Source Amazon

Please note: any animal commodified, exploited for human benefit or preference, is an animal abused, you simply cannot deny the inherent rights of animals, use and take from their bodies, reproductively exploit them, separate their families, mutilate them, and kill them violently in any “humane” manner or according to a (human-manufactured) description of “welfare”.

The idea of “happy cows” or “laughing cows” or “free range” are myths perpetuated by greed and supremacy, no mother chooses to be separated from her infant and no infants wish to be violently killed or macerated.

The goal here is to remove these euphemistic descriptions and expose the fundamentally inhumane and unethical practices endemic in all farming operations, from small to CAFO and intensive sizes. SL


Source Animal Equality

Humane-Washing submission form HERE

How consumer protection litigation can advance the movement for farmed animals

How can laws designed to protect consumers be used to spare the lives and reduce the suffering of those who are consumed? Well in fact, there are various ways in which consumers’ and farmed animals’ interests actually overlap, particularly when it comes to the way meat, dairy, and egg products are marketed. 

This article provides an overview of how consumer protection legislation—in particular, laws against deceptive advertising and marketing—allow activists to litigate issues of farmed animal treatment in court.

THE CONCEPT OF “HUMANE-WASHING”: Animal and consumer advocates often use the term “humane-washing” to describe the use of words or images that convey a level of animal care and treatment that does not represent reality. Common examples are the use of phrases like “humanely raised” or “commitment to animal welfare,” or the use of imagery depicting animals outdoors in green pastures. Sellers of meat, dairy, and egg products use these misleading marketing tactics because they know consumers are concerned about the way farmed animals are treated.

WHY IT’S A PROBLEM: Why should farmed animals (and those to advocate for them) care whether meat, dairy, and egg products are deceptively marketed to omnivorous consumers? Well for one thing, humane-washing reduces transparency. It hides the truth about factory farming and undermines the work of farmed animal advocates and others who work to educate consumers about the realities of factory farming. Imagery of animals in green pastures reinforces the illusion of the animal agriculture industry as an arcadian endeavor, reflective of “Old MacDonald’s Farm” of childhood yore. If the average consumer believes these representations—and many do—they will likely be less motivated to advocate for change or to reduce animal products in their own diets.

LAWS AGAINST FALSE-ADVERTISING: Across states and nations, laws and regulations exist to protect consumers from false and deceptive marketing practices. All 50 U.S. states have statutes against consumer deception, and, at the federal level, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is responsible for enforcing similar national standards. 

Under these laws, a commercial representation is unlawfully deceptive if it is (1) likely to mislead a reasonable consumer and (2) important to that consumer’s decision-making. Humane-washing fits this description: Animal welfare is important to consumers, and phrases like “humanely raised” and bucolic imagery mislead consumers into believing the animals were raised under conditions far better than they actually were. Many state laws use a similar test, meaning humane-washing practices are unlawful at multiple levels of government.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Humane-washing is everywhere: online, in the grocery aisle, on social media, in billboards and bus ads, and even on TV. Keep an eye out for examples of humane-washing as you go about your day, and point it out to friends and family when you see it. By drawing attention to the misleading nature of these advertisements and product labels, we can shatter the myth.

In addition, the best possible way we can help animals is simply by refusing to eat them! Check out Love Veg for tips to get started: TRY PLANT-BASED NOW!


SPOTTED POSSIBLE HUMANE WASHING? LET US KNOW!




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the truth cannot be hidden by
euphemistic
platitude
unrealistic!!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


Stop the Veggie Burger Ban: Please sign petition

October 20, 2020
by
Not graphic

Not graphic

Please sign petition HERE

Source ProVeg International

The European Union is currently considering banning established and widely understood terms such as ‘burger’, ‘sausage’, and ‘steak’ for plant-based products. Additionally, the proposed EU ban would prohibit dairy-related terms, such as ‘yoghurt style’, ‘cheese alternative’, and ‘butter substitute’

The main argument behind this proposal is to avoid consumer confusion. However, terms such as ‘veggie burger’ and ‘veggie sausage’ provide important information regarding the taste and uses that people can expect from a product. Consumers buy plant-based products precisely because they know these products offer similar taste experiences and functionalities to their animal-based counterparts.

The proposed restrictions would be in direct contradiction to the EU’s stated objectives in the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy of creating more sustainable and healthier food systems. The Farm to Fork Strategy explicitly states the need to empower consumers “to choose sustainable food” and to make “it easier to choose healthy and sustainable diets”. 

Add your name and tell the European Parliament not to accept the proposed veggie burger ban.





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Download Your FREE Dairy-Free PDF 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

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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banning the humane is basically insane!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



New Documents Reveal How the Animal Agriculture Industry Surveils and Punishes Critics

October 19, 2020
by

Source The Intercept

By Glenn Greenwald

This week’s SYSTEM UPDATE on this topic — with Dr. Crystal Heath, one of the veterinarians targeted by these industry campaigns for retaliation — can be viewed on The Intercept’s YouTube channel, or on the player above.

ANIMAL AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY GROUPS defending factory farms engage in campaigns of surveillance, reputation destruction, and other forms of retaliation against industry critics and animal rights activists, documents obtained through a FOIA request from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveal. That the USDA possesses these emails and other documents demonstrates the federal government’s knowledge of, if not participation in, these industry campaigns.

These documents detail ongoing monitoring of the social media of news outlets, including The Intercept, which report critically on factory farms. They reveal private surveillance activities aimed at animal rights groups and their members. They include discussions of how to create a climate of intimidation for activists who work against industry abuses, including by photographing the activists and publishing the photos online. And they describe a coordinated ostracization campaign that specifically targets veterinarians who criticize industry practices, out of concern that veterinarians are uniquely well-positioned to persuasively and powerfully denounce industry abuses.

One of the industry groups central to these activities is the Animal Agriculture Alliance, which represents factory farms and other animal agriculture companies — or, as they playfully put it, they work for corporations “involved in getting food from the farm to our forks!” The group boasts that one of its prime functions is “Monitoring Activism” by which they mean: “We identify emerging threats and provide insightful resources on animal rights and other activist groups by attending their events, monitoring traditional and social media and engaging our national network.”

Animal Agriculture Alliance website

Indeed, the Alliance frequently monitors and infiltrates conferences of industry critics and activists, then provides reports to their corporate members on what was discussed. As The Intercept previously noted when reporting on felony charges brought against animal rights activists with Direct Action Everywhere, or DxE, for peaceful filming and symbolic animal rescues inside one Utah farm that supplies Whole Foods and another owned by Smithfield — an action that showed how wildly at odds with reality is the bucolic branding of those farms — the Animal Agriculture Alliance issued a statement denouncing the activists for (ironically) harming their animals and urging law enforcement and “policymakers” to intervene on behalf of the industry against the activists.

In the emails obtained by the FOIA request, the Alliance and its allies frequently encourage their members to alert the FBI and Department of Homeland Security regarding actions by activists. In response to a project by DxE to create a map tracking factory farms, Lyle Orwig — chair of the agricultural company Charleston/Orwig, Inc. and a member of the Alliance board — proposed the retaliatory step of “taking photos of every DXE [sic] member” and posting them to the internet while accusing them of being “opposed to feeding the hungry.”

ONE PERSON SINGLED OUT for retaliation in these discussions was a popular, respected Bay Area veterinarian, Dr. Crystal Heath. As a local CBS affiliate television profile of her explained, Dr. Heath is the kind of veterinarian who we all as children are taught to admire.

Rather than working for corporations or state agencies engaged in cruel animal experimentation, or for factory farms making a large salary to provide the veneer of medical justification for their barbarictorturous practices, Dr. Heath has devoted herself to shelter medicine, working for years with the Berkeley Humane Society and other nonprofit animal rescue groups, where she “has spayed and neutered more than 20,000 animals.” The CBS broadcast report provides a full picture of the humanitarian and self-sacrificing nature of her work.

But to the Animal Agriculture Alliance and its industry allies, Dr. Heath somehow became a grave danger, an “extremist” whose name needed to be circulated within her profession as someone to be aggressively shunned. And that is exactly what they did. What prompted this targeted campaign against her was nothing more than her use of her veterinarian expertise to express criticisms of industry abuses and excesses.

In May, The Intercept reported on a gruesome mass-extermination technique being used by Iowa’s largest pork producer, Iowa Select Farms, to kill large numbers of pigs which were deemed unnecessary and in need of “depopulation” due to the pandemic. The technique, called “ventilation shutdown,” or VSD, involves cutting off the air supply in barns and turning up the heat to intense levels so that “most pigs — though not all — die after hours of suffering from a combination of being suffocated and roasted to death.” The pigs who survive this excruciating ordeal are then shot in the head in the morning by farm employees. A video report produced by The Intercept and the video documentarian Leighton Woodhouse — based on footage obtained inside an Iowa Select barn by DxE as the pigs were slowly dying — was viewed by more than 150,000 people.

Numerous veterinarians were shocked by the use of this unspeakably cruel and gratuitous mass-extermination tactic, which imposes extreme, protracted suffering on highly intelligent, socially complex, sentient animals. And it created serious problems for the industry, with McDonald’s demanding an explanation it could use publicly, and even discussions — from the National Pork Producers Council — to invent a new, more pleasant and euphemistic name for the extermination technique:

One of the veterinarians indignant about ventilation shutdown extermination programs was Dr. Heath. She was part of a group of hundreds of her veterinarian colleagues to launch a campaign urging the American Veterinarian Medical Association to withdraw its approval of the use of this technique in limited, proscribed circumstances. Though the AVMA says it was not involved in the specific use of the extermination technique by Iowa Select, its guidelines approving of VSD were, as The Intercept documented, cited as justification by the company and its allies.

Dr. Heath was quoted in one news report on the controversy as saying: “I believe the majority of AVMA members do not approve of VSD except as a ‘last resort’ depopulation method and AVMA intended VSD to be used only in extreme conditions of infectious or zoonotic disease outbreaks or natural disasters. AVMA approval has allowed pig and poultry producers to use VSD as a cost-savings procedure to cheaply destroy unprofitable or excess animals.”

Due to her criticisms of these factory farm practices and her work with DxE in advocating industry reform, industry groups focused on her. In one email from April, a vice president of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, Hannah Thompson-Weeman, revealed that an “alert” had been sent about Dr. Heath to California members, accusing her of engaging in “extreme activism” and encouraging groups to “spread the word to your veterinarian contacts in California” — where Dr. Heath practices — “using private, members only channels.”

Following that “alert,” Dr. Heath began experiencing targeted campaigns against her online and within her profession. Though it cannot be proven that this was the result of the Alliance’s “alert,” what began happening to her for the first time in the wake of that alert tracked the language used against her by these industry groups. (The Alliance and Thompson-Weeman did not respond to The Intercept’s request for comments. Thompson-Weeman locked her Twitter account yesterday after we previewed this article and the SYSTEM UPDATE episode. The AVMA has denied that it was involved in Iowa Select’s use of VSD.)

What perhaps alerted the Alliance was one veterinarian group that accused her of being “part of an active campaign to cause as much harm as possible to our clients and ourselves,” announcing that they had alerted the Alliance about her. Veterinarian groups on Facebook posted their own warnings about her, and she was banned from some groups. Comments began appearing on her own Facebook page, purportedly from other veterinarians, accusing her of “deranged activism,” being “a liar who makes up stories,” “bastardizing our profession through every available method,” and claiming that she is “literally, by name, a topic of conversation in board rooms from Ag business to organized veterinarian medicine across the nation. Your name is literally toxic.”

What alarmed Dr. Heath most was the emergence online of anonymous flyers which contained a “BEWARE” warning at the top, along with her photo and a string of accusations, some of which were false, that claimed she harbors “an agenda that doesn’t include anything positive for our profession” and “expresses fondness” for “domestic terrorist organizations.” It warned that even allowing her access to the social media pages of veterinarians could be dangerous, and thus urged that she be blocked from all online forums, personal profiles, and social media groups.

It goes without saying that this sort of a campaign could be devastating to the career opportunities or ability to earn a livelihood of any veterinarian. Fortunately for Dr. Heath, she believes her hard-earned reputation with area clinics developed over many years will enable her to continue to work, but she believes, for very good reason, that “alerts” and campaigns of this sort would make it extremely difficult if not impossible for her to find work anywhere else. For a younger or less-established veterinarian seeing what was done to her, they would obviously think twice about speaking out or working against the factory farm industry, the obvious goal of such campaigns.

That the U.S. Department of Agriculture was in possession of the emails and other documents circulated by industry groups, and thus produced them as part of the FOIA request, indicates that, at the very least, government officials are being included in these discussions (the flyer about Dr. Heath and other social media postings regarding her were obtained by The Intercept from Dr. Heath, not by the FOIA request). What is clear is that the animal agricultural industry essentially operates their own private surveillance and “warning” networks, and uses their extensive influence within the halls of government power to aid their efforts to punish and retaliate against its critics and activists.

Dr. Heath is my guest on this week’s SYSTEM UPDATE. The episode, which can be viewed on The Intercept’s YouTube channel or on the player above, first reviews these new documents in detail obtained by the FOIA request, and I then speak to Dr. Heath about what she has endured as a result of her speaking out against this very powerful industry.





Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Download Your FREE Dairy-Free PDF 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

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



in the name of greed, indeed and in deed!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Is More Fact Than Fiction for Dairy Cows

October 12, 2020
by

Source Sentient Media

By Caroline Christen

An exhausted mother draws near to her baby. After the strenuous process of giving birth, she is bonding with the new being she has just brought into the world. Seemingly moments later, the newborn is gone. The mother, her listless face contorted in pain, is attached to a breast pump monitored by a surrounding group of people. When a dip in milk production appears on her record, her custodians exchange glances of displeasure.

This scene is part of the award-winning television series The Handmaid’s Tale, which is based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name about reproduction under totalitarian rule. Dystopian stories like The Handmaid’s Tale and Brave New World have enjoyed a surge in popularity in the U.S. as the political climate prompts growing concerns about women’s reproductive rights. The 2010s have seen the release of other feminist dystopian stories like Vox, Gather the Daughters, and a movie adaption of The Giver—a novel by Lois Lowry about a society trying to live without emotions. In 2019, Atwood published the long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, called The Testaments. Some dystopia genre fans view or read these stories for inspiration to prevent real-life future dystopias, while others do so simply to gain reassurance that we live in a better and kinder world. But do we? Upon a closer look, a system of reproductive exploitation that easily surpasses Atwood and Huxley’s dystopian brainchildren already exists in our world.

Fictional reproductive dystopias tend to follow a distinctive pattern. Typically, such narratives describe a social issue that unravels to the extreme and prompts rulers to seize reproductive control, which they claim is necessary for the sake of humans’ continued survival. The Handmaid’s Tale is premised on an environmental disaster that renders most women unable to conceive children. Some of the remaining fertile women, so-called “handmaids,” are forced to bear babies for the elite class. Women who fail to bear children are forced to work in a polluted area where they survive no longer than three years. In The Giver, some girls are turned into “vessels” at age 12 and expected to conceive children, who are then assigned to chosen couples. Some fictional dystopian societies resort to using reproductive technology as another way to control the population. The rulers of Brave New World mass-produce human clones to fulfill specific social functions: “Alphas” become factory owners and “Epsilons” toil as sewage workers. As dystopian stories near their climaxes, protagonists often discover that their societies’ rules rest on faulty premises. Handmaid’s Tale protagonist June learns that it is actually the men of Gilead, not the women, who are infertile. In The Giver, Jonas discovers that human emotion should not be forbidden, but rather celebrated. Both June and Jonas ultimately become rebels who rescue children from lives of reproductive tyranny and early deaths. Such parallel story arcs, per dystopian genre expert Keith M. Booker, can reframe as troubling some contemporary “practices that might otherwise be taken for granted or considered natural and inevitable.”

The next big dystopian story may have already been written. Imagine a young female named Paulina, whose purpose is determined by authority figures before her conception. Paulina’s mother is artificially inseminated to conceive a baby who, upon maturity, shares her outstanding ability to produce milk. Paulina’s father is kept far away in a semen collection center, from where he fathers hundreds, possibly tens of thousands, of children. After her birth, Paulina’s keepers separate her from her mother and raise her on milk replacer. Soon after puberty, Paulina is artificially inseminated, just like her mother. After she gives birth, Paulina’s keepers take her baby from her in order to sell the milk that she begins to produce. Paulina would have repeated this cycle of conceiving and losing her offspring until becoming physically spent, except that something happens that her keepers consider a disaster: Paulina gives birth to twins, which results in inflammation that severely scars her uterus. During the next round of inseminations, Paulina does not conceive again. After a few more unsuccessful attempts to impregnate her, Paulina’s keepers decide to send her to her death.

What’s most disturbing about the above dystopian tale is that it is not a work of fiction. Paulina, until 2019, was a Holstein cow kept on a German dairy farm for six years. Like the handmaids in Atwood’s dystopia, her perceived worth was based solely on her ability to produce offspring and lactate. Paulina had the misfortune of conceiving twins, something known for causing complicated pregnancies and producing infertile freemartin cows—female calves who are born as part of a set of multiples that includes a male. No details about Paulina’s offspring are known, though her daughters presumably shared her fate of reproductive servitude. Her sons and any daughters deemed unfit to become dairy cows were either killed and eaten at 16 to 24 weeks old or “disposed of” during their first weeks of life. As the non-producing offspring of a dairy cow, rather than a beefier cattle breed, their lives would be deemed worth less than the feed that they would require. Rather than exemplifying unusual cruelty, the swift disposal of unwanted calves is routine on dairy farms, where only fertile female animals yield significant economic gain.

Like Paulina, most of the world’s 264 million dairy cows are born by means of reproductive technology. Since the 1930s, dairy farmers have been manually inseminating cows with sperm from bulls who are considered to be genetically superior. Artificial insemination has become so widespread over decades that repeatedly combining the same genes has led to severe inbreeding among cows. As of 2019, most of the 9.3 million U.S. dairy cows are the descendants of just two bulls born in the 1960s. Some female cows, particularly those with traits most desired by farmers, are also being forced to produce increasingly more offspring; these cows receive hormones to produce eggs that are fertilized into embryos and then used to impregnate other female cows. Slaughterhouse workers even remove egg cells from the ovaries of genetically-desirable dead cows to create new cow embryos. And the list of practices akin to dystopian fiction continues. Dairy cows are cloned. Farmers try to create more docile herds by killing individuals who resist when humans handle them. Dairy farmers then go on to brand the resulting more docile cows as “bad mothers” whose motherhood instincts have been “bred out” of them; the farmers claim that removing their calves is “for their own good”—despite maternal deprivation being a form of psychological torment that causes both cows and calves extreme distress. Similar to Brave New World, the dairy industry attempts to shape its victims’ personalities for its own benefit.

If the dairy industry practices described thus far do not sound dystopian enough, consider that consumers are heavily influenced to regard the food intended for baby cows as indispensable to humans. Over the last century, dairy producers, in addition to implementing their own marketing campaigns, have systematically convinced governments to tout their product as “nature’s perfect food.” Without receiving taxpayer-funded subsidies, which it has for decades, the dairy industry would not likely be viable. According to a 2019 study, the E.U. annually spends between €28.5 billion and €32.6 billion, nearly a fifth of its budget, to support animal agriculture, including dairy. In the U.S., the government has been financially rescuing the dairy industry since the 1930s, when the end of World War I led to a milk surplus and subsequently falling prices. The U.S. government’s support of the dairy industry continues to this day. Such reliance on governmental backing—a trademark of many fictional dystopian societies—ensures not only that cows’ milk remains a staple but also that the industry itself survives despite not being profitable on its own.

By so often invoking pictures of free-roaming cows on green meadows, the dairy industry conveys a deeply misleading and even utopian image of dairy farming. This glossy facade and dairy industry jargon obscure the reality that the industry’s profits are mostly derived from the exploitation of female individuals. In the U.S., newborn Paulina would have been called a “heifer” prior to giving birth, an “open cow” between her pregnancies, a “dry cow” when she was not lactating, a “springer” shortly before giving birth, and a “cull cow” once her profitability declined. Her slaughter would have been euphemized as “retirement.” In a truly dystopian manner, dairy farmers refer to cows according to how fertile, and therefore profitable, they are. Like an authoritarian propaganda department, the dairy industry manipulates both consumers and farmers into believing that its practices are ethical and “humane,” while using jargon and euphemisms to objectify sentient beings and minimize their distressing experiences.

Like June’s trauma of losing her baby as described in The Handmaid’s Tale, Paulina’s suffering as a dairy cow was entirely unjustified. Dairy products are not only unnecessary for humans to consume but can be harmful to human health. Dairy cheese is the number-one source of saturated fat consumed in the U.S.—a country struggling with an obesity epidemic. Diets high in saturated fat also contribute to heart disease, and dairy is linked to increased risks of several types of cancer. Despite studies showing that 95 percent of Asian-Americans and 70 percent of African-Americans cannot digest dairy without experiencing unwanted symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps, official U.S. dietary guidelines continue to characterize dairy as an “essential” food group. Dairy further poses a threat to global health by contributing to ecological degradation, including greenhouse gas emissions, and to an unjust food system that exploits vulnerable workers. Paulina’s life as a dairy cow was reduced to providing humans with her milk for no vital reason, as all nutrients found in dairy are present in other foods. Some pulses, seaweeds, leafy greens, and fortified plant milks even contain more calcium than cows’ milk. Like Gilead’s ruling elite, the dairy industry falsely presents its oppressive system as the only means to ensure a healthy human population—but in reality, humans can choose more compassionate, sustainable, and healthy alternatives to dairy.

As more people are experiencing awakenings akin to those of the protagonists in dystopian tales, public resistance to the dairy industry is rising. Animal advocates are increasingly speaking out on behalf of dairy cows and other farmed animals, including hens and sows, whose lives are reduced to laying eggs and bearing offspring for human benefit. Like The Giver’s protagonist Jonas, who realizes that his society normalizes violence by conditioning its members to suppress their emotions, animal advocates go through a process to unlearn the harmful social conditioning that underlies animal consumption. Viewers of news footage showing unmarketable male dairy calves being lined up and shot may experience horror, similar to how Jonas reacts upon witnessing a twin baby being killed in a birth center because of a societal policy of erasing genetic kinship. Further mirroring the dynamics of The Giver, dairy farmers stigmatize “emotive language” by animal advocates in an attempt to systematically erase animals’ suffering. Fortunately, in both dystopian tales and the animal agriculture industry, even the antagonists sometimes experience their own Jonas-like awakenings. Some former dairy farmers are overcoming dairy farming’s “numbing effect” and transitioning to other livelihoods.

Very few individual farmed animals are lucky enough to be saved from certain death—but Paulina is one of the rare survivors of animal agriculture. Shortly before she would have been killed, in 2019, she was rescued by the German sanctuary Hof Butenland Stiftung. The facility is run by animal advocates Karin Mück and Jan Gerdes, a former farmer; Mück and Gerdes together transformed Gerdes’ farm into a place where animals can live out their days safe from neglect, abuse, and slaughter. Ten months after her arrival, Paulina has settled in well at Hof Butenland, where she is reportedly loyal to her close circle of animal friends and happy with her position in the herd. Freed from a life of dystopian exploitation, Paulina has transformed from a nameless “milking cow” into a cherished individual with inherent moral worth.

The parallels between animal agriculture and Atwood’s and Huxley’s stories are striking. Dystopian authors themselves seem to make this connection; Huxley, in devising a society that maximally exploits humans’ reproductive abilities, even uses the dairy industry term “freemartin” to describe human characters. As Paulina’s story demonstrates, fertility dystopias are confined to neither science fiction nor human-centric abuse. Millions of thinking, feeling individuals presently suffer, largely unnoticed as the dairy industry’s live “stock.” Humans who care about reproductive freedom can and should reconsider whether a truly just society would permit economic gain to be derived from systemic reproductive exploitation. If the dairy industry was showcased as part of a dystopian T.V. show, who would the audience root for—the cows or the humans? When the next season of The Handmaid’s Tale airs, remember Paulina—and order that latte with oat milk.





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we are not here to be libations
dessert ingredients
drink sensations

we would like to see,
not be,
the milk of human kindness

friends not food!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

Don’t Let Cosmetics Tests on Animals Sneak in Through the Back Door, Take Action

October 5, 2020
by

Source PETA UK

Please sign HERE

Two decisions recently published by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Board of Appeal ruled that ingredients used solely in cosmetics can be tested on animals under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation. Tests on animals for cosmetics ingredients have been banned in the EU since 2013 under the Cosmetics Regulation, but these decisions – a gross misinterpretation of the law – will effectively allow manufacturers and regulatory authorities to ignore the ban. Here’s what happened, what it will mean for animals, and what can be done to help them.

Who Will Suffer?

As a direct result of these decisions, more than 5,500 rats, rabbits, and fish are required to be used in new tests, some of whom will be force-fed a cosmetics ingredient throughout pregnancy before they and their unborn offspring are killed and dissected.

These decisions also open the door to more testing on animals under REACH. Hundreds of cosmetics products each year contain ingredients that are new to the market, which may require future testing under REACH at the cost of thousands more animals’ lives.

What Are the Ingredients?

The cosmetics ingredients at the centre of the appeal – 2-ethylhexyl salicylate and homosalate – are used in sunscreens and other cosmetics to absorb ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun.

Many manufacturers and brands are likely to be affected by these decisions, so it’s vital that consumers use the PETA US searchable, online, global “Beauty Without Bunnies” database of companies that refuse to allow tests on animals anywhere in the world for any reason.

Companies certified as animal test–free by PETA US do not conduct or commission any animal tests on ingredients, formulations, or finished products and pledge not to do so in the future.

Do These Ingredients Really Need to Be Tested on Animals?

ECHA argues that the tests are needed to demonstrate safety for workers who manufacture or handle the substance, but testing these cosmetics ingredients on thousands of animals won’t help protect workers. Fundamental biological differences between humans and other animals mean the results of tests on animals just don’t reliably predict what will happen in humans.

Isn’t Cosmetics Testing Banned in Europe?

Since 2013, tests on animals for cosmetics ingredients have been banned in the EU under the Cosmetics Regulation. The Court of Justice of the European Union further clarified in 2016 that the sale of cosmetics products that rely on the results of newly generated animal tests for safety-assessment purposes is banned within the EU. Yet ECHA, the European Commission, and now the ECHA Board of Appeal have misinterpreted the law and undermined the bans, putting animals back in laboratories for pointless and cruel cosmetics tests.

The Cosmetics Regulation is of huge political significance and reflects the will of the public and the European Parliament. The monumental bans on testing cosmetics on animals and selling cosmetics that rely on animal test data in the EU demonstrate that people value the life of an animal over a tube of toothpaste or sunscreen.

Allowing tests on animals under REACH for ingredients used in cosmetics effectively ignores the Cosmetics Regulation and completely undermines the purpose of those bans.

It’s easy: only non-animal methods should be relied upon to bring a cosmetics product to market. If that’s not possible, the ingredient should not be used.

What Is PETA Doing About It?

In 2014, we revealed that ECHA and the Commission were allowing cosmetics ingredients to be tested on animals. We have since been working to stop these abhorrent tests by putting pressure on the European Commission and ECHA to respect the Cosmetics Regulation and its animal testing bans.

The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. – of which PETA UK is a member –  intervened in the appeal case concerning these recent testing decisions. Although the Board of Appeal rejected many of the arguments put forward by the Science Consortium and the company responsible for appealing the testing decisions, PETA and the Science Consortium are exploring all options to resolve the issue.

PETA and its affiliates urge companies to do their part by using humane, non-animal testing methods and to help fund the development of such methods. We also encourage companies to use ingredients that are known to be safe or to reformulate a product to eliminate any cosmetics ingredients tested on animals under REACH. Being animal test–free is an option for every company.

Although these decisions are a huge setback, we are more determined than ever to stop all cosmetics tests on animals.

What Can You Do to Help?

Always use cruelty-free products, and check PETA US’ database (or use PDF below) when in doubt.

Please help us demonstrate the power of public opposition to testing cosmetics on animals: urge the European Commission and ECHA to respect the Cosmetics Regulation and ban tests on animals for cosmetics ingredients, no matter the circumstances.


Free PDF vegan/cruelty-free companies/products




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do not be fooled by the ugliness in the business of beauty

 Karen Lyons Kalmenson

Could you?

September 28, 2020
by
Vegan television ad goes viral in Israel, not graphic

Source Plant Based News

After so many years seeing commercials for animal products, it is exciting to see a vegan commercial that talks about compassion for animals’

A pro-vegan TV ad – Israel’s first – has reached 35 percent of the nation, after being broadcast during one of the country’s most popular T.V shows – and has earned positive feedback with viewers branding it ‘effective’.

The 60-second advert, created by international non-profit Vegan Friendly, shows a couple shopping in a supermarket. When they ask for ‘extra fresh’ meat, they are handed a living lamb. The commercial ends with the message ‘make the connection’.

Millions of viewers

The advert was initially broadcast during the current season finale of Survivor Israel: this season has the highest ratings in the show’s history, and so the spot was chosen to ensure as many people as possible would see the commercial.

According to Vegan Friendly, a massive 35 percent of the country’s population – some 3 million people – watched the ad.

The organization’s founder and CEO Omri Paz told Plant Based News: “After so many years seeing commercials of animal products, it is exciting to see for a change a vegan commercial that talks about compassion for animals on the most popular show in the country.”

Positive feedback

The advert is now also available to watch on YouTube, where it has garnered praise. One viewer wrote: “Yes! Who could ever hurt that sweet innocent lamb! Not me! Not anyone who could see it and hold it. Make the connection! Go vegan!”

Another was inspired to share their transition to veganism, writing: “This is excellent. My own story is that I worked in a meat dept. for three years prior to ‘making the connection’. There was no slaughtering there. I never would have been able to do that, but still, I was one step more involved than just buying and consuming animal foods. I think my soul is quite curious and wanted to see what this experience was like while it still could. I came out of ignorance and switched to veganism just four months after quitting the job.”

One simply said: “This is spot on! Way to go veganism, people are so blind to make a connection to life! Definitely, this will make everyone rethink.”




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could you take a look inside who you are
you do not have to travel very far
your heartbeat tells you where to go
when kindness follows
you start to grow.

 Karen Lyons Kalmenson

Report Illegal and Dangerous Conduct: ReportAnimalAg.com

September 21, 2020
by
In Greeley, Colorado, near the JBS beef slaughterhouse: twelve employees have died from COVID-19.

Source ReportAnimalAg.com

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is offering ReportAnimalAg.com as an online tip portal for industrial animal agriculture workers to anonymously report activities of concern. 

You can report any work-related concern.

Facts:

37,558 US workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

In Waterloo, Iowa, the Tyson Foods pork plant – where over 1,000 employees tested positive for COVID-19.

In Tama, Iowa, the National Beef Packing beef plant – where 361 out of 500 employees tested positive for COVID-19.

In Perry, Iowa, the Tyson Fresh Meats pork processing plant – where 58% of employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Please visit ReportAnimalAg.com

You can file a report identifying yourself or you can file a report anonymously to protect your identity.



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“What Is It Like to Be a Bat?”

September 14, 2020
by
sowjo-annemcarthur

A sow looks through the bars of her gestation crate. Source Jo-Anne McArthur / Essere Animali, We Animals Media

Source PsychCentral
By Shiri Raz, PhD

Originally published May 2020

This post is by contributing writer Shiri Raz, PhD candidate in the psychoanalysis and hermeneutics program at Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

In his well-known article “What Is It Like to Be A Bat?” from 1974, philosopher Thomas Nigel argues that though anyone can imagine how a bat feels, they can never truly experience the world from a bat’s point of view. In his opinion, human experience is limited in its senses and its structure of consciousness to understanding itself and that alone.

Many disagree, including Nobel Laureate J. M. Coetzee. In The Lives of Animals, Coetzee’s protagonist Elizabeth Costello argues that in the same manner, one can empathize with fictional literary heroes, one can just as readily identify with animals. The prerequisite for this understanding is the recognition that we are all mortals, sharing life and death on Earth: “If I can think my way into the existence of a being who has never existed, I can think my way into the existence of a bat or a chimpanzee or an oyster, any being with whom I share the substrate of life.”

These days, the complex philosophical discussion of our ability to share the experience of animals in our world is no longer merely theoretical. Now the tables are turned, and we can now see, hear, and breathe the world as the environment and animals do under man’s tyrannical, violent rule.

As our lungs struggle with the risk of fatal pollution, the Earth’s lungs are recovering. The skies are clear of planes, roads are empty, unimpeded, forests grow, and global air pollution is on a dramatic decline.

As we are isolated, imprisoned in our homes, many animals have been recently spotted in places where they have not set paw for centuries: monkeys are visiting certain areas of Thailand; deer visiting Japan’s desolate cities.

And, as we keep an anxious eye trained on the numbers, with their exponential increase in fatalities and infections, the marine biosphere, for which researchers have predicted death within three decades, has begun to glimmer with initial signs of recovery.

All of these are reminiscent of the ironic caricature featuring a doctor that examines a dying Earth, who gravely announces, “I’m sorry, I’m afraid what you have is humans.” We cannot but stop to consider which of the two global viruses is more dangerous – corona or humanity.

We are now forced to cope with our allegedly limited imagination when trying to conceptualize what it feels like to be a bat in a human-dominated world. Or a calf, or a chicken. Afraid, helpless and hopeless, victims of some other being that uses our bodies for its selfish use.

The desolate streets, the grounded planes, the locked amusement parks, hotels that became quarantines from which not everyone would eventually check out. All these and other images are reminiscent of futuristic dystopias and films of the apocalypse, but in reality, Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Linda Hamilton, or even Dustin Hoffman are nowhere to be found.

We have lost control of our health, our livelihoods and our most fundamental liberties as human beings in the free world, seemingly unable to do anything. We believe that our responsibility in preventing this pandemic – and the more sophisticated ones to ensue – amounts to basic personal hygiene and maintaining social distance. But our true responsibility goes far beyond remembering to sneeze into our elbows. Ours is the momentous responsibility to stop the maintenance and existence of those toxic, disease-riddled habitats and the source of the next (and worse!) pandemic that are chicken coops and henhouses, meat and dairy farms – all crowded with sick animals pumped full of antibiotics to keep them alive.

Only humans can create such an ironic reality in which the pandemic has shut down thousands of businesses, the economy is crippled by hundreds of thousands of unemployed, kindergartens and schools have closed – but slaughterhouses continue to operate. People stockpile their freezers with meat and fill the fridge with dairy products and eggs – all coming from the source of the next patient-zero — and fail to make the connection.

We are so busy blaming the victim, with the futile obsession with whether the virus came from a miserable bat or suffering pangolin, while deliberately avoiding the realization that all animal food industries are a ticking time bomb, a petri dish for deadly and dangerous viruses that will soon inherit the corona crown – and outdo its havoc.

We are indifferent to the possibility of saving ourselves from future pandemics. Those of us already aware of the connection between outbreaks and the animal food industry are finding it increasingly difficult to keep our anger and despair in check. It’s hard not to acknowledge the sadness behind one of the most widespread sentiments among vegan groups during this era, as we all-too-painfully know it is true: “We wouldn’t be in this mess if the world were vegan.”

We have long passed the “carrot” phase of learning about the benefits of a plant-based diet. We are currently licking the first wounds from the blows of the “stick,” many of which are yet to come, as humanity continues in its systematically violent industrialized exploitation of animals and the environment.

We will probably never know what it feels like to be a bat, but it isn’t because of any limitations on human thought or sensory capability. Rather it is because of our mere reluctance to do so. We don’t want to imagine the terror experienced by a newborn calf after being torn from his mother at birth, or the horror of a cramped truck on his journey to slaughter. We have no interest in imagining what it feels like to spend two years in a cage no bigger than your body, and your legs supported only by a mesh chain floor as you lay eggs without the ability to spread your wings or turn around. Nor are we particularly inclined to take the time and imagine how a young bat feels when snatched from his family, forcefully bound and then thrown alive into a pot of boiling water. We balk at imagining these experiences: and now we are paying a very high price for the fact they exist.

At this time of crisis, we all find ourselves forced to face an essential lesson in the actuality of suffering. The lesson – should we allow ourselves to learn it – will be the discovery of our empathy, modesty and responsibility for this planet as humans. These rediscovered abilities will enable us to hope for a better future and to give our children a world in which we all – humans and animals alike – will be able to live and breathe freely.

It would be a simpler life, more interdependent with nature, less selfish, less hedonistic perhaps – but life. As the bat promises, in the final words of “The Dark Knight”: “It will be a good life. Good enough.”

This post is by contributing writer Shiri Raz.

Shiri Raz – PhD candidate; psychoanalysis and hermeneutics program at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Shiri focuses her research on the psychoanalytic and linguistic aspects of people’s mental attitudes toward the consumption and use of animal-based products. Shiri serves as a therapist for couples and individuals, specializing in work with vegans and mixed couples (vegans and non-vegans) in Israel and worldwide (through video chats). She is an animal rights activist, academic lecturer, resident lecturer for the Vegan Friendly association’s educational program and for the Animals Now (non-profit) organization, and a public speaker.

 

 




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we are one of many species. once we embrace our oneness with all our animal brothers, our earth and our hearts, will heal. as we share the joy of this unity. empathy empowers us to be what we could and should be.

compassion is the forever fashion

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

Dear Dying Dairy Industry: It’s Too Little, Too Late

September 5, 2020
by
A Mother Dairy Cow Crying for Her Stolen Calf


Please note that in the United States alone 587,000 calves were killed in 2019 so their mother’s milk, naturally and biologically intended for them, could instead be sold to a different, aging species, with teeth.

Source USDA



Source Free From Harm

By Calen Otton

A new video has appeared on the internet that was created by the Got Milk? campaign and Katie Ledecky, apparently targeting a younger generation. Localsyr.com says, “The ‘Got Milk?’ advertising campaign is back, but it’s targeting a new audience. The ads are working to target the YouTube-TikTok generation with videos like the one above. The video shows Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky swim the entire length of a pool while balancing a glass of chocolate milk on her head!”

As a member of the “Youtube-TikTok” generation, I have one message for the dairy industry: It’s too little, too late.

In 2018, the FDA reported that the dairy industry plummeted 1.1 billion dollars. Then in 2019 alone, oat milk sales in the U.S. grew by 686%. Businesswire.com reports that “The plant-based milk market is expected to reach US $21.52 billion in 2024, growing at a CAGR of 10.18%, for the duration spanning 2020-2024.”

So, I understand why the dairy industry is shuffling to try and rope in younger generations of changemakers. But, someone balancing a glass of a cow’s breast milk on their head, while swimming laps, won’t convince us that consuming the stolen breast milk of another species is healthy, happy, athletic, and wholesome. It’s pretty obvious that humans were not meant to continue breastfeeding, especially off of other animals, into adulthood. It’s been proven time and time again that we don’t need to drink animal milk to be healthy; just check out all of the plant-based athletes sharing their stories with Switch4Good.

As a young adult pushing our society forward, and trying my best to push it in the right direction, I take the time to do my research and see with my own eyes where my “food” comes from. The facts about dairy are plain and simple, and there are so many incredible plant-based dairy products these days. The bottom line is that the dairy industry forcibly impregnates females, kidnaps their babies, disregards male calves as trash, sentences females to a lifetime of misery, and slaughters the mothers when they no longer produce milk. That violation of the female reproductive system and violence is something that I refuse to support, even if someone can swim a whole lap with a glass of milk balanced on their head.

Respond to Katie Ledecky’s Twitter and Instagram video by leaving a comment to let her know why you won’t support the dairy industry!



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

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:

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We are friends not food
We are not drinks
We are living beings
Who feel and think

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


The International Vegan Film Festival Goes Virtual

August 29, 2020
by

Source IVFF

Ottawa, Canada — The International Vegan Film Festival will be doing something entirely new for its third annual event. It’s going virtual.

The 2020 Festival will take place online with digital screenings, panels, filmmaker Q&As and more from October 10th – 17th. The event will take place on the Eventive platform with the full schedule of event and ticket information being released in mid-September on the Festival website.

Founded in 2018, The International Vegan Film Festival is the world’s premier vegan film festival, dedicated to celebrating the vegan ideal: a healthier, compassionate, environmentally-friendly lifestyle that can be achieved through the consumption of plants and animal-free alternatives.

“Like many other live events around the world, we’ve had to adapt to prioritize the safety, comfort and well-being of our community,” said Festival Executive Director, Shawn Stratton.

The full list of films playing in the festival will be available in late September. Below are a few of the films that will be included:  

Regan Russell – A Short Documentary

On the morning of June 19, 2020, Regan Russell was outside Fearmans slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ontario for a special vigil to give water to thirsty, dehydrated pigs when a pig transport truck drove right into her and dragged her body for more than 15 meters. This documentary showcases Regan’s young life, her involvement in animal rights, her last day of activism, and the aftermath of her death.

Butenland

The story of a former dairy farmer, an animal rights activist and the first cow retirement home.

A farm that has become a farm for life – the former dairy farmer Jan Gerdes and the animal welfare activist Karin Mück have created a place with their project Hof Butenland where there are no more livestock: a peaceful coexistence that seems almost utopian.

INVISIBLE

INVISIBLE is a short film exploring a dangerous and secret world that has never before been documented. Following undercover investigators ‘Sarah’ and ‘Emily’ (their names have been changed to protect their identities) on an investigation at a pig farm in Europe, INVISIBLE grants the viewer unprecedented access to a world that is deliberately and painstakingly covert.

Stratton said that “this year has given us an opportunity to think creatively about how we can make the festival more accessible and innovative than ever before, and we are excited to deliver a memorable experience that honors all the reasons we’ve become known as the premier event for vegan-themed content creators and film enthusiasts.”

This year’s fest still promises to highlight more short and feature-length films than ever. The full program and lineup will be released next month. It’s also planning “virtual social opportunities” to facilitate discussions between filmmakers and audience members.

“One of the reasons I started the International Vegan Film Festival was to help people discover outstanding vegan-themed films they have not heard of before or may never had an opportunity to see. I also wanted to give vegan themed filmmakers another platform to highlight their work to more audiences. You can discover and re-discover the enormous positive impact becoming vegan can have on health, farmed animals, and the environment through the film festival. With the festival now going online, we are making it even easier for people to discover these outstanding films.”

Judges

The Festival judging panel includes a who’s-who of the vegan world, including Miyoko Schinner, the founder of Miyoko’s Creamery, Dale Vince, CEO of Ecotricity—the UK’s first and largest green energy provider—and owner of the all-vegan Forest Green Rovers football club, as well as David Flynn, one of the twin brothers behind Irelands vegan ‘foodie empire’ Happy Pear.

As well, Seth Tibbott, the founder and Chairman of The Tofurky Company and author of In Search of the Wild Tofurky, has recently agreed to join this year’s IVFFF Photo Essay Contest judging panel.

Vegan Photo Essay Contestsubmissions close Aug 31, 2020

Aside from the film festival, they also put on other initiatives such as a virtual screening in partnership with We Animals, and a Photo Essay to showcase creativity amongst professional and amateur photographers. Until August 31, 2020, applicants can submit a series of 3-5 images depicting vegan lifestyle, health and nutrition, animal welfare, or environmental protection. Winners will be announced during the festival in October and will also receive a $250 CAD cash prize.The jury is seeking a sequence of images that conveys a compelling story or message – with each image strong enough to stand on its own while conveying a greater narrative when viewed in the photographer’s desired sequence.

Stratton says, “The Vegan Photo Essay Contest is a great way for anyone with a camera and a story, not just professionals, to be involved in the festival.” The contest even has a Youth category to encourage young people to become more involved in sharing vegan themed stories. 



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Kindness lingers at the tip of our fingers

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

1,755,894,203

August 24, 2020
by

 

Source Medium
By Beth Levine

As I write this sentence,

the number increases to

1,755,904,721.

It’s a counter like a clock counting

seconds except

at a much faster rate of change

because in five seconds

the number grows by 10,500 –

in 10 minutes, it increases about 1,260,000 —

and instead of starting over after 12 hours, this clock

starts over after a year

and instead of measuring time, this clock

keeps track of death.

The kill clock counts

the number of animals slaughtered

for food in the U.S. alone.

Now two days after starting this poem,

it is January 14, 2020 at about 2 pm

and the clock reads 2,057 442,510.

Thirteen minutes later, almost a million-and-a-half more

chickens, turkeys, cows, pigs, ducks, sheep, fish, and shellfish

have been killed.

By the end of 2020, the deaths of 55 billion

land-and-sea animals

will be recorded.

This number doesn’t include

the yearly toll of 23 billion sea creatures accidently killed

or the 68 billion small fish who are fed

to larger fish for our frying pans or the millions of male baby chicks

ground up because they are no good

to the egg industry or the millions of baby calves of no use

to the dairy industry or those who don’t make it to the kill floor.

The Animal Kill Clock does not measure a dimension that is unstoppable

like the watch that tells time.

The Animal Kill Clock changes only at one’s discretion

and measures our fairness.



Please click HERE to visit the US 2020 Animal Clock , UK HERE , Canada HERE , Australia HERE



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The Suffering of Babies

August 17, 2020
by



Please note that if you consume animals, you should view this brief glimpse into their hell, they have a right to know who’s eating them.

Please also note that although this short video documents UK-based farms, these procedures and “living” conditions are globally standard, considered routine and socially accepted. The US, specifically, denies federal protection for all animals exploited for food, and poultry CAFOs are defined as housing for 125,000 animals. Your Free-Range, Red Tractor, and High Welfare categorizations are used to describe a process that controls animals; subjects them to routine bodily intrusion; inflicts pain sans pain-relief (determined to be cost-prohibitive and illegal due to flesh contamination); rejects body autonomy; and violently kills animals, and, therefore, are meant to make humans, and not the actual animals, feel comfortable.

Additionally, poultry in the US are subjected to diseases and conditions including leukosis, septicaemia, airsacculitis, synovitis, and tumors. They are also found dead, listed as cadavers, which includes being boiled to death.

The following is a USDA public government documentation of the victims consumed, begin on page 12 for condemnation reasons:

https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Todays_Reports/reports/pslaan19.pdf

One final comment: if you are unable to exist without consuming flesh, you’ll be happy to learn that there are alternatives that your inner zombie will find satisfying. Please see below for resources.  SL



Source Animal Equality UK

Undercover filming at eight Moy Park farms reveals hundreds of birds suffering agonising deaths each day.

Animal Equality has today released distressing scenes of severe animal suffering on eight British chicken farms across Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. All of the farms are certified by the Red Tractor assurance scheme and operated by Moy Park, one of the UK’s largest chicken producers. Moy Park supplies the fast-food chain McDonald’s, as well as supermarkets such as Tesco and Ocado.

The troubling footage, captured covertly by an Animal Equality undercover investigator, reveals:

  • Chickens deprived of water as drinkers are routinely raised to a height that they are unable to reach;
  • Hundreds of chickens suffering agonising deaths each day as workers painfully crush the chicks’ necks in their hands;
  • Chickens developing raw skin burns on their feet and chests from filthy, urine-soaked floors;
  • Chickens bred to grow so big, so quickly, that they suffer from excruciating leg injuries and are unable to carry the weight of their own oversized bodies;
  • Chickens crammed into immensely overcrowded barns, barely able to move or stretch their wings.

The filming took place in late 2019. The footage was passed on to Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency, the RSPCA, and Red Tractor in early 2020.

Business as usual

These concerning scenes are reflective of an industry that values profit over animal welfare. Chickens raised for meat have been selectively bred over time to grow extremely large, incredibly quickly. As a result, many of them suffer from weak hearts, lungs and legs, their bodies burdened by the strain of their unnaturally heavy bodies. After all this, they’re killed when they’re little more than one month old.

Despite McDonald’s closing its doors earlier in the year, the chain’s supplier, Moy Park, has continued business as usual. Although it saw one factory worker tragically die in May from COVID-19, it has publicly stated that it does not expected to be “significantly impacted” by the pandemic. According to the company’s latest accounts, Moy Park saw revenues of over £1.5 billion in 2019, with reports of “strong financial performance” and with Chief Executive, Chris Kirke, receiving a salary of £700,000.

Not the first time

Concerningly, two of the farms investigated have been the centre of previous serious animal welfare complaints.

Animal Equality filmed similarly poor conditions when last year, we filmed inside Mount Farm, along with two other Moy Park farms. The investigation, released in June 2019, showed chickens crammed into gigantic sheds, in obvious pain from leg and breathing difficulties and being forced to live amongst rotting carcasses. It’s clear that neither Moy Park nor Red Tractor took the animal suffering we found seriously.

In July 2019, thousands of chickens were found to have died at Kettlethorpe Farm due to a sweltering heatwave and lack of appropriate ventilation.

Unrelenting greed

Upon reviewing the footage, Abigail Penny, Executive Director of Animal Equality UK, said: “These poor chickens never stood a chance. Moy Park’s actions are consistently underpinned by profit; this is a company that spends an eye-watering £700,000 on a CEO salary, yet instructs workers to kill vulnerable chicks at just a few days old, simply because they’re no longer considered profitable. Moy Park’s greed is unrelenting.”

She added: “McDonald’s, Tesco, Ocado and others buying from this supplier are refusing to show even the smallest ounce of mercy to these innocent chickens. Consumers appalled by these practices can go vegan and do better by chickens today.”

You have the power to make a difference for chickens. With every meal, you can spare them from a lifetime of suffering. Please, leave chickens off your plate today – visit our loveveg.uk website to get started.



Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

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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

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.

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



no words just tears
will suffice
bottom line..
humans are
not very nice.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson




System shutdowns and the failures of factory farming

August 10, 2020
by

Warning: Graphic Content

A particularly disturbing scene illustrates one method of “euthanasia”, a euphemistic term describing a person sliding a chick’s head off with no hesitation, no remorse.

Animals are “produced” en masse under a human-manufactured moniker of “welfare”. To subject animals to such dismissively indifferent procedures as normalized violence substantiates the fact that “welfare” is only meaningful to humans, and not to the animals who are controlled, violated, and violently killed, in direct contradiction to anything remotely resembling or defining “welfare”.

Please note that exploitation is endemic on all farming sizes, be they small or locally owned 20-animal operations, or CAFOs confining 125,000 animals. And all animals exploited for food in the United States are specifically exempt from the Animal Welfare Act.  SL

Source We Animals Media and We Animals Media YouTube
Text and video by Kelly Guerin
Images by Jo-Anne McArthur

 

Meat processing plants, or slaughterhouses, have been making headlines these past months as epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic. Outbreaks of positive cases amongst workers have caused the industry’s rapid processing lines to slow or stop for days on end, resulting in a pileup of tens of millions of animals who have reached slaughter weight with nowhere to go.

Much of this burden falls on the farms, which are designed neither to kill nor dispose of animals en masse, and the methods many resort to are truly disturbing. One farmer reported shooting all 3,000 of his pigs over the course of a day. Tanks of carbon dioxide are pumped into barns to gas and suffocate chickens by the thousands. Recently, undercover footage from a pig farm in Iowa documented a deliberate ventilation shutdown followed by the release of hot steam into a barn full of live animals. With temperatures in excess of 140 degrees, the animals inside were slowly roasted.

As a practice, the culling and subsequent disposal of animals en masse pre-dates the current Covid-19 outbreak. It’s the unfortunate answer from a system whose scale defies logic to the challenges presented by unanticipated supply chain disruptions. As factory farms continue to grow in size, and supply chains become increasingly monopolized, times of crisis reveal troubling vulnerabilities in the American food system. The close confinement of factory farmed animals is a death sentence when lethal strains of swine or avian flu spark an outbreak. Rescue is not an option for the millions of chickens or tens of thousands of pigs who become immediately trapped in the face of catastrophic events like hurricanes, tornadoes, or fires. Each time any one of these indisputable disasters strikes, massive numbers of animals are killed, yet each time the numbers are reported, they still continue to astound us.

The number of animals that have and will continue to be culled in the wake of Covid-19 represent a mere fraction of those who are killed for our consumption every single day. Their deaths, now newsworthy, reveal the failings of a system destined to repeat itself.



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

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



When cruelties such as this exist in any society, that society itself has shut down

Karen Lyons Kalmenson




I Was a Journalist Who Reported on Captive Animals — Then I Became One

August 3, 2020
by

An elephant performing tricks at a circus. Germany, 2016.

An elephant performing tricks at a circus. Germany, 2016.
Source We Animals Media : Jo-Anne McArthur / Born Free Foundation

 

Source Medium: tenderly
By Christina M. Russo

After being damaged in a surgery, I understand their plight even more.

I do not have coronavirus. But I have been living in isolation.

For 633 days.

In October 2018, I had an elective gynecological surgery called a laparoscopic myomectomy — a benign mass removed from my uterus. There was no indication that this operation was particularly complex or risky. The surgery was performed by the director of gynecology at one of the top hospitals in the world. The average recovery time was two to six weeks.

But from the moment I awoke in the recovery room, it was clear something had gone terribly wrong. And I have been living in acute, life-altering pain ever since.

Before the surgery, I was an avid hiker. A runner. I worked at my family’s iconic fruit, vegetable and flower company, carrying heavy buckets of hydrangea or field-picked zinnia without a second thought.

I was also a freelance journalist, and just weeks before my operation was the proud co-recipient of a National Press Club award for an exclusive story in the Guardian on the capture of wild elephants in Zimbabwe for Chinese zoos. I had reported for years on animal cruelty, including stories on donkey abuse in Ethiopia; bear dancing in India; deadly swimming-with-dolphin programs in the Caribbean; and the mistreatment of horses in northern California. The award was profoundly meaningful and a photograph of me next to my co-writer of the story showed a beaming, vibrant woman at the apex of her career.

And then it was over.

Post-surgery, I spent months in bed in agony. I called my doctors pleading for help. I could barely walk without crying. I could not urinate without gasping or having someone hold my hand. I could not carry a carton of orange juice. I could not drive. I could not work. All I could do was writhe in pain on the couch, because I could not climb the stairs to my bedroom. My surgeon placated me with hollow assurances that time would heal all things.

Ten months after my surgery, I was still in physical torment. One summer day I decided I would hobble to the beach, 400 yards away. My sister took a photo of me coming home. Crawling.

Friends and family tried to soothe me; my husband took an unpaid leave of absence from the fire department to care for me. I hired someone to make soup for me. I lost 25 pounds. I did acupuncture. I had nerve blocks. I meditated. Still, one of my physicians would not recommend additional pain medicine — and I was taking arguably some of the lowest dosages possible — because of my “heightened despair.” I went to the emergency room four times. Finally — 15 months after surgery — one ER physician admitted me into the hospital, blatantly saying he hadn’t seen a patient in my level of pain in months.

I was going mad.

And then, I got mad. Not just for myself, but for those whose plight I had been exposing before my operation: the innumerable animals confined to their own physical and mental isolation and torment in zoos.

Someone once told me that when people go to zoos and aquariums they think they are seeing something extraordinary. But what they are really seeing is a slow death.

For some, this might seem like a frivolous point when people are dying from a virus that the world is trying to contain and eradicate. But for me, the caged animals represented not only a journalistic career, but, now, a personal kinship.

When I was a child, my parents took me to a zoo on Cape Cod. The “main attraction” was a lone gorilla slumped against a wall in a thick glass cage. Visitors stared at the animal who was sitting on the floor next to a dirty car tire. They saw something foreign, and cartoonish and entertaining. They pointed their fingers and laughed.

I grabbed my father’s hand and cried.

Decades later, I produced a documentary for public radio examining the ethics of American zoos. I conducted many interviews and visited zoos around the country. From a journalistic perspective it was clear that caging animals to serve as “conservation ambassadors” for the wild is a misguided, if not entirely bogus notion. If it were working, maybe we wouldn’t be in a global conservation crisis.

After living almost entirely inside my home for 21 months, the images that have always haunted me are now turning into an unrivaled simpatico: A massive male elephant confined to an exhibit the size of my neighbor’s garage. An official zoo training video that showed an elephant screaming as men beat and bloodied her into submission. A binturong in a tiny cage with a single bowl of water that was green with stagnant algae. A lone, sickly yak who was literally eating the inside of his wooden stall. A camel with legs covered in diarrhea. A pair of African white rhinos lying nose-to-nose in a barren enclosure, continents away from where they should have been. And at one zoo, supposedly one of the best in the country, I was led to a neon-lit basement where a stunning silverback gorilla had been living in isolation. For 10 years.

One of the most disturbing images I’ve seen recently is a video, taken by elephant advocate Sharon Pincott of elephants in a zoo in Beijing, walking in circles in concrete, empty cages. In the video, they go round and round and round behind metal bars. And on the outside, noisy visitors clamor and gab. I sent the video to elephant behaviorist Joyce Poole, who has been acting against the internment of elephants in zoos for decades and has seen what one would colloquially call, it all. But this video, she said, left her sobbing.

What drives human beings to cage animals for entertainment? After years of reportage, I ultimately think it’s based on some cocktail of human hubris, a religiously-buoyed belief in our dominion, and even society’s, dare I say, over-reliance on science. For example, there’s the oft-repeated phrase that humans are the only species that knows it is going to die. Who came up with that one? Or that many animals don’t have a sense of self, or communicate in ways that are as sophisticated as us, because it has yet to be proven. These kinds of refrains cement the idea that animals are lesser than. And allow humans en masse to do things to animals they would never do to each other. When it comes right down to it, though, the bottom line is that there are more people who don’t care about the welfare of animals than those who do.

After my surgery, I was at the mercy of my doctors to find the cause of my pain. Initially, I was sure they would do this with fervor. But they didn’t. So, day after day life was the same: Wake up, suffer, talk to doctors, go to sleep. Wake up, suffer, talk to doctors, go to sleep. Anguish, disbelief, and despair eclipsed my once purpose-filled life. And monotony, perhaps one of the most crushing and consuming kinds of agonies, set in. Imagine then, being an animal in a zoo. What if you were in pain? What if you were lonely? What if you wanted to walk beyond the bars? Someone once told me that when people go to zoos and aquariums they think they are seeing something extraordinary. But what they are really seeing is a slow death. In real time.

The coronavirus-spawned isolation is testing people in ways they’ve never been tested before, physically and mentally. And with this isolation, there is an opportunity to ponder. So for the first time in many, many months, I’ve sharpened probably the last remnants of my journalistic pen to write this essay.

The current fear, despair, mania, physical constraint and existential heartache will most likely be temporary for those who have the fortune to survive this virus. And you, dear reader, will have the great gift of being free of your quarantine, your confinement, and your cage.

But for so many magnificent animals, this new world is not novel. Or a dramatic medical measure. Or a safety lockdown. Or a fleeting moment. For animals at the zoo — or in any cage — this is something else. Something far, far more horrible. For them, this is something that you, very briefly, called life.

Christina M. Russo is a freelance journalist, with a focus on animal issues. Published in National Geographic, the Guardian, YaleE360, Outside, Fashionista and others.

tenderly is a vegan magazine, of the Medium family, that’s hopefully devoted to delicious plants, liberated animals, and leading a radical, sustainable, joyful life.



Click HERE to go Dairy-Free

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit: HERE

Bacon alternatives 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.

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



people can be prisoners of the formulaic
notions outdated
beliefs, archaic
we can also choose
to rise
open our hearts
see with more than
our eyes.

we pray that heal soon and feel better. bless your beautiful soul

Karen Lyons Kalmenson




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