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Catskill Animal Sanctuary Hosts 15th Anniversary “Shindig” in Upstate New York

September 18, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

On September 17th, about 1,500 people traveled to upstate New York to attend Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s (CAS) annual “shindig,” a day long celebration with rescued animals, live bands, cooking demonstrations, vegan food vendors, speakers and hayrides.

According to Kathy Stevens, the founder of CAS, sanctuaries enable visitors who aren’t already vegan to “connect the dots between their lifestyle choices and the suffering of these beautiful animals.” She asserts that people must “understand that our choice to eat animals condemns countless beings to an unthinkable level of torture, fear and terror.”

Attendees bond with farm animals at Catskill Animal Sanctuary's 15th Anniversary Shindig

Attendees bond with farm animals at Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s 15th Anniversary Shindig

By inviting many vegan food vendors to the shindig, Stevens demonstrates that adopting a diet free of animals is hardly a sacrifice, given how delicious vegan food in 2016.  And while not all vegan food is health food, a plant-based diet, Stevens asserts, is better for our health and for the planet, as animal agriculture “is the primary cause of the global devastation we’re experiencing.”

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At least a dozen vegan food vendors lined the roads within the sanctuary.

Your Turn

Please visit Catskill Animal Sanctuary to learn more about and support the organization’s life-saving work.


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Gas Chambers – The “Humane” Alternative?

July 12, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

Following numerous undercover investigations revealing shocking cruelty in slaughterhouses, U.S. meat and egg companies are slowly shifting towards a method of killing regarded by many as being less inhumane: gas chambers.

Euphemistically referred to as Controlled Atmosphere Killing (CAK), gas chambers are widely used in Australia and some European Union countries to slaughter pigs, chickens and other animals.

In several countries, pigs and chickens are commonly killed using gas chambers.

In several countries, pigs and chickens are commonly killed using gas chambers.

PIGS

In order to gas pigs, slaughterhouse workers use electric prods to force them into small steel cages which are lowered into carbon dioxide filled chambers. Undercover footage shows pigs screaming, thrashing and gasping for air in their final moments. An Australian activist conducting an undercover investigation described what he saw: “In their last minutes, these pigs are burning from the inside out.”

Pigs being suffocated in gas chambers.

Pigs being suffocated in gas chambers.

BROILER CHICKENS

The travelling crates that contain chickens are typically unloaded from a truck onto a conveyor belt which carries them into a gas chamber. According to an eyewitness from Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals, “Aversive behavior in the form of gasping, shaking of heads and stretching of necks to breathe could be seen beginning in window two [of the gas chamber] and, by window three, all were exhibiting strong convulsions. The birds’ movements eventually became still and by the time they emerged from the CO2 chambers they were completely lifeless…”

Gas chambers are used trendier broiler chickens unconscious before they are bled to death.

Gas chambers are used to render broiler chickens unconscious before they are bled to death.

EGG-LAYING HENS

Workers aggressively grab spent layer hens birds out of their cages and toss them into mobile metal gas chambers.  On some factory farms, the hens are simply stuffed into trash cans where they are gassed. According to a former worker at a supplier to Eggland’s Best: “It’s absolutely chilling to hear these birds scrambling and fighting for air in these gas chambers.”

At worst spent hens are killed by being thrown into trash cans which are than filled with gas.

At worst spent hens are killed by being thrown into trash cans which are than filled with gas.

Several animal advocacy groups are pressuring companies to transition to using CAK as their primary method of slaughter because it has been shown to be, in many ways, less painful and stressful than conventional methods.

Your Turn

To learn more about the use of gas chambers to kill pigs, please visit aussieabattoirs.com

To watch the investigation that revealed the use of gas chambers to kill spent hens, please visit Mercy For Animals

To learn more about animal cruelty in the food industry, please watch Farm to Fridge and Earthlings

To order a free vegan starter kit, please visit PETA


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VIDEO: Film Documents Explosion of Factory Farms in China

January 3, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

Historically, meat in China was used as a seasoning. Today, it’s the main course. The radical change in diet coupled with an exploding population has led to the rapid industrialization of animal agriculture — in a country where the humane treatment of animals has not yet entered the public consciousness. Brighter Green, a U.S. based public policy action tank, is attempting to change that.

Industrial agriculture in China has expanded with the increased demand for meat and the explosion of fast food restaurants

Industrial agriculture in China has expanded with the increased demand for meat and the explosion of fast food restaurants

Using an all Chinese crew, Brighter Green produced a half hour film – What’s For Dinner? – that documents the surge in factory farms and the tragic impact they are having on the environment, public health and the animals. According to Executive Director Mia McDonald, Brighter Green is using the film as “a tool to raise public awareness about the negative impact of industrialized agriculture and the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet.”

The story is told through the eyes of a retired pig farmer, a vegan restaurateur in Beijing, a livestock entrepreneur, and residents of a city whose water supply has been polluted by factory farm waste.

In addition to exporting fast food restaurants to China, the United States has exported the fallacy that the meat and dairy-centric American diet is healthier than the traditional vegetable-heavy Chinese diet. The mainstream Chinese public has not yet connected the dots between the increase in the consumption of animal protein and the growing obesity and diabetes epidemics. The public also hasn’t made the connection between animal agriculture and the country’s food shortage, which could be curbed if the grain being fed to livestock was instead fed to the people.

Chinese people connect the dots between animal agriculture and their polluted water supply

Chinese people connect the dots between animal agriculture and their polluted water supply

According to What’s For Dinner?, there is hope, as vegan restaurants gain popularity in Beijing and other cities, and animal welfare organizations are increasing in number and influence. But the shift away from the newly-adopted meat-heavy diet has to occur quickly because, as the filmmakers point out, “Twenty percent of all people live in China, so what the Chinese eat and how they produce food affects not just China, but the entire planet.”

Industrial animal agriculture is especially egregious in China, where the humane treatment of animals isn't a part of the public discourse

In China, the humane treatment of animals is not yet a part of the public discourse.

Your Turn

What’s For Dinner? is available for rent or purchase on Amazon Video.  To purchase the DVD, please contact Icarus Films.


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Video: Thousands Converge in Upstate New York to Support Farm Animals

September 6, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

In one of the most highly anticipated animal events of 2015, thousands of people traveled to High Falls, New York on September 5th to celebrate the grand re-opening of the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in its new location. Situated on 150 lush green acres, the new sanctuary will serve not only as a refuge for rescued farm animals but also as a living classroom for visitors and a venue for cruelty-free events, such as summer camps and celebrations.

Your Turn

Jenny Brown and Doug Abel, the founders of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, opened the original location in upstate New York on 26 acres, but they – and the animals they rescue who serve as ambassadors to all victims of animal agriculture – have outgrown the space. The new sanctuary is six times the size and far more expensive to own and operate. Please support Woodstock Farm Sanctuary by making a contribution or becoming a member.

Visitor pets cow at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary Grant Re-Opening

Woodstock Farm Sanctuary Grand Re-Opening

 


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A Farmer Sees The Light in THE LAST PIG

August 4, 2015 by Leave a Comment


Opinion

Emmy award winning filmmaker Allison Argo has released the trailer to her highly anticipated documentary. THE LAST PIG, the story of a farmer in upstate New York who struggles to align his livelihood with his principles, chronicles Bob Comis’ final year raising pigs for slaughter, intimately documenting his personal journey from killer to advocate. Watch the extraordinary trailer:

Unlike Howard Lyman, an animal rights activist who once farmed animals on an industrial scale, Mr. Comis became a “humane” pig farmer to offer an alternative to factory farming. According to Argo, he “labored to provide a near-idyllic life for his pigs, digging mud wallows in the summer heat; planting fields of corn where they can feed freely; and providing pigs with acres to roam with their herds.” But after ten years of farming pigs, Mr. Comis reached a tipping point. How could he continue to slaughter the very pigs who follow him around like his beloved dog and who show signs of stress when their friends vanish?

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“I’ve come to understand that their eyes are never vacant. There’s always somebody looking back at you.”

In the film, we see Comis embrace the feelings that he worked for years to suppress — that pigs are sentient beings who want to live and that slaughter cannot be reconciled with “humane” farming: “I don’t want to have the power to decide who lives or dies anymore.”

Bob Comis at his farm in upstate New York

Bob Comis at his farm in upstate New York

The film delivers subtle, but unmistakable messages about animal rights. Among them is our arbitrary cultural bias – regarding dogs as companions and equally intelligent pigs as commodities. Comis’ dog Monk, who follows him around the farm, serves a constant reminder of this bias, especially when he sits in the front of the truck while the slaughter-bound pigs languish in the back.

"This communion is a lie. I am not their herd mate. I am a pig farmer."

“This communion is a lie. I am not their herd mate. I am a pig farmer.”

Comis’ decision to transition from a pig to a veganic, vegetable farmer did not come easy because of the risk to his financial security: “I have to give up my job, my livelihood, in order to live in line with my ethics. It’s a colossal effort. It’s a terrifying effort. It’s overwhelming. But I’m committed to doing it.”

Your Turn

THE LAST PIG will be released in spring of 2016. Thus far, filmmaker Allison Argo and cinematographer Joe Brunette have funded production from their own pockets, but they need support with finishing funds. Please contribute, if you can. Follow the progress on Facebook.


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