Their Turn - The Social Justice Movement of Our Time Their Turn - The Social Justice Movement of Our Time

Archives

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.


Filed under: Food
Tagged with: , ,

Outrage Over Dog Leather Opens Door to Discussion about Cow Skin Products

December 23, 2014 by Leave a Comment


Opinion

In mid-December, PETA Asia released undercover footage of workers in China bludgeoning dogs with sticks and peeling off their skin in order to make gloves, belts and other accessories.

Media reports suggest that people around the world are outraged by the violence against the dogs, as they should be. But the dog skin trade is no more abusive than the cow skin trade.

cow leather

During their treacherous lives on factory farms and in feedlots, cows are branded, castrated and dehorned with no painkillers. Shouldn’t we be equally outraged by these abuses? And, if so, then how can we justify buying cow leather?

Some people argue that dogs deserve a free pass because they’re companion animals. Even if that could be used as a justification, it’s inaccurate. In China, dogs are food. Their skin is another source of revenue, much like cow skin in Western countries.

Dog skin gloves

Dog skin gloves are sold as “leather” in the U.S.

Skin belongs to the animal who was born with it, not to people who want to make things out of it. Suggesting that one animal deserves to keep her skin more than another is arbitrary. With all of the non-animal alternatives available to us, we simply cannot justify stealing anyone’s skin.


Filed under: Clothes
Tagged with: , ,

Australia & China Inching Closer to Horrific Live Export Deal

November 24, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

For the past several years, Australia and China have been working on an agreement which, when signed, could lead to Australia shipping up to one million live cattle to China each year. The deal is being finalized at a time when local and international opposition to live exports has reached a fever pitch due to the extreme animal abuse exposed in undercover investigations.

TV journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell speaks to Tanya Hardy, a veteran activist in Australia, about the deal with China and the cruelty of live exports.

According to Animals Australia, “Most animals who are exported live for slaughter have their throats cut while fully conscious. Millions have died at sea. Some 30 investigations have revealed that in destination countries, many animals endure routine abuse and brutal slaughter in places where laws do not protect them from cruelty.”  Following is one of many examples of extreme suffering experienced by animals exported from Australia.

Australia’s live export controversy has not received much media attention in the U.S., but the impending $1 billion deal with China is so substantial that the New York Times wrote a story about it. At the end of the lengthy article, the Times mentions – and virtually dismisses – the humane issues, leading readers to believe that they have been adequately addressed:

“The leader of the exporters’ group, said that all animals exported from Australia were closely tracked and that there were strict regulations about their welfare before export, during shipping and even after they landed in a foreign country. The regulations were tightened after export bans were imposed after accusations of cruelty in some Indonesian slaughterhouses.”

Cattle being loaded onto ship

Cattle being loaded onto ship

Your Turn

Send a message to the Australian embassy in your country.

please visit Ban Live Export for more information about Australia’s grisly live export trade and to find other ways you can help.


Filed under: Food
Tagged with: , , , ,

Australia To Double Number of Live Cattle Exported

November 9, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

In defiance of growing public demand to end live exports due to animal cruelty, Australia plans to significantly expand the trade by shipping an estimated one million cattle to China each year. If the $1 billion deal is signed, the number of cattle exported to countries in Asia and the Middle East would double from its current levels.

live export cows

Andrew Wilkie, one of the few members of the Australian Parliament who publicly opposes live exports, described the new deal with China as a “dreadful development” and that the federal government is “a pack of sadists when it comes to animal welfare.”

Photo: Animals Australia

Photo: Animals Australia

The agreement with China comes just two weeks after Australian media aired footage of Australian cows and sheep being tortured in several countries where the group Animals Australia stationed undercover investigators. While the damning footage once again angered the Australian public, it did not have the effect of curbing the booming live export industry.

Live export supporters, including the Australian government, insist that the incidents documented in undercover videos are the exception. Opponents, on the other hand, say that abuses are routine and that Australia’s regulations fail to protect the animals in countries that have few, if any, animal protection laws. They also argue that the millions of sheep and cattle exported annually from Australia cannot be tracked to their final destinations within the countries to which they are shipped.

live-export-sheep

Unloaded from live export ship

Of all of the countries where Australia ships live animals, only one of them has citizens who are attempting to stop it — Israel. Over the past couple of years, Israeli activists have taken undercover footage which has aired on national television, and they have used street theater to educate the public about the cruelty both on the transport ships and within the country after the animals are unloaded.

Photo: ישראל נגד משלוחים חיים (Against Live Transports)

Photo: ישראל נגד משלוחים חיים (Against Live Transports)

Photo: Against Live Transports

Photo:  Against Live Transports

Your Turn

Send an instant message to the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Visit Animals Australia to take action.

Tourist dollars are vital to Australia’s economy. Until live exports are terminated, boycott Australia.


Filed under: Food
Tagged with: , , , , ,

Circus Tiger Kills Girl

November 3, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

A tiger at a Chinese amusement park dragged an eight-year-old girl into his enclosure and mauled her to death. The amusement park owners withheld the information from the press, but rumors forced them to admit that the event occurred.

Tiger show at Leheledu Amusement Park in China

Tiger show at Leheledu Amusement Park in China

The tragedy took place just one month after a tiger killed zoo visitor in India in an incident that was captured on camera. That victim was 20 years old.

Tiger at India zoo kills patron

Tiger at New Delhi Zoo kills man who fell into his enclosure

Your Turn

Both tragedies were entirely preventable, as the victims – the tigers and their human prey – should never have been in a zoo or circus in the first place.

In their natural habitat, tigers hunt for prey, raise their cubs, swim long distances, establish territories and forge relationships. In circuses and zoos, they pace back and forth, unable to perform any of the activities that make their lives worth living.  Zoos and circuses are cruel and exploitive, and they teach children that kidnapping and putting animals behind bars for entertainment are acceptable behaviors.

Please learn more about why holding wild animals captive is cruel; boycott zoos and circuses; and speak out.


Filed under: Uncategorized
Tagged with: , , , ,