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Animal Exploiters Recklessly Dig in Their Heels

December 12, 2014 by Leave a Comment


Opinion

Once an animal rights campaign is embraced by the mainstream public, the corporation that is targeted would be wise to stop defending, and start fixing, the issue in question. But all too often, companies fight to maintain the status quo, prioritizing short-term profits over their reputations and even the long-term viability of their organizations. This week, two companies foolishly dug in their heels by defending practices that have been rejected by the public and, in many cases, by their own customers.

NATIONAL PORK PRODUCERS COUNCIL

In a letter to the editor of the NY Times in response to an opinion piece criticizing gestation crates, the President of the National Pork Producers Council, Howard Hill, writes that the crates are humane and “allow farmers to provide individual care to sows, monitor their feed intake and eliminate aggression among sows.”

gestation crate

Is Mr. Hill living on the same planet as the rest of us? Surely he knows that even meat eaters reject the most intensive forms of farm animal confinement. In a recent poll taken in New Jersey, for example, 93% of respondents said they oppose pig gestation crates. The ship has sailed, Mr. Hill. If you want members of the public to take “pig producers” seriously, then you need to eliminate, not justify, the metal cages that drive pigs (and activists) insane. Individualized care? Really?

SEAWORLD

On December 9th, activists in San Diego hand-delivered a petition to the Mayor asking him to help retire Corky (aka Shamu), an orca who has been performing tricks in a barren pool since she was plucked out of the ocean in 1969 — 45 years ago!

Delivering petition to retire Corky

Delivering petition to retire Corky

In response to the “Retire Corky” petition, SeaWorld issued a statement describing the activists as “a handful of extremists” who are “out of touch with reality” and stated that Corky is “happy and healthy.”

Corky gave birth 7 times in captivity. All of her babies died in a matter of days.

Corky gave birth 7 times in captivity. All of her babies died in a matter of days.

Those words might have resonated with the public before Blackfish created an anti-captivity revolution. Now, they make SeaWorld sound delusional. Does their stock price have to drop to $0 before they accept the fact that the whales who once earned them billions are now poised to sink the entire company?


Filed under: Entertainment, Food, Opinion
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Turning the Tables, Filmmakers to Lock Up Humans in Crates

December 8, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

Activists will go to extreme lengths to help animals — from protesting naked to liberating minks from fur farms. But how many are willing to live in their own excrement for 10 days?  “We have a waiting list,” according to the makers of Farming Humans, a one-hour documentary film in the early stages of development.

In Farming Humans, 12 people will be locked up in small cages for 10 days to emulate the intensive confinement of pigs, calves and chickens on factory farms. Unlike other animals, the captive humans will be able to describe their physical discomfort, the smell of their waste and the stress of being unable to move. They will also be able to beg for mercy and leave if they start to go insane, which is what happens to pigs in gestation crates.

gestation crates

Pigs who go insane from confinement chew the metal bars that imprison them

The filmmakers will make life difficult for the human animals, but they will stop short of carrying out the worst abuses, such as castration, dehorning, tail cutting, branding, debeaking, gratuitous physical attacks and, of course, slaughter.

TV host Jane Velez-Mitchell talks to the filmmakers about their provocative concept in an interview.

This isn’t the first time that human animals have stepped into a farm animal cage. In the months leading up to a vote on a gestation crate ban in New Jersey, HSUS challenged people in the state to step inside of one. That challenge, however, lasted only 4 minutes.

Gestation crate challenge in NJ (Photo: HSUS)

Gestation crate challenge in NJ (Photo: HSUS)

As expected, NJ governor Chris Christie vetoed the bill in an effort to curry favor with  hog farmers in Iowa, who have an outsized influence in the race for U.S. President. In reaction to his veto, actress and musician Cher called him a “despicable bully,” and comedian John Stewart criticized him on his show:

cher gestation crate

Your Turn

To learn more about the project and/or support the filmmakers in this endeavor, please visit Farming Humans.


Filed under: Food
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Will Pig Gestation Crates Be Banned in NJ?

October 28, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

NJ Governor Chris Christie has until early December to sign a bill banning gestation crates, the small cages that house sows (female breeding pigs) for most of their adult lives. According to the National Pork Producers Council, nine out of 10 sows in America are held in gestation crates.

gestation crates factory farm

Governor Christie vetoed a similar bill in 2013, claiming that pig farmers made a more persuasive argument than the activists. HSUS’ Matt Dominguez said his decision could have been based on political expedience: “The governor’s veto last year had more to do with presidential politics given that Iowa, the nation’s biggest pork production state, hosts the Republican caucuses come 2016.” The landscape, however, has changed. According to Dominguez, polls in Iowa show that voters “would think more highly, not less, of Christie if he signs this bill.”

Mercy For Animals Protest at Walmart

Mercy For Animals Protest at Walmart

Jane Velez-Mitchell reports on the status of the gestation crate bill in NJ:

Several public figures have spoken out in support of a ban. In 2013, lifestyle maven Martha Stewart sent a letter to NJ lawmakers asking them to override Christie’s veto: “These animals have committed no crime, yet they’re treated worse than even the most violent criminals would be treated.” In a recent NY Times op-ed, political commentator Bill Maher makes a public appeal to Christie to pass the new bill: “Would you cram a dog into a crate for her entire life, never letting her out, until you took her to the pound to kill her?”

gestation crates

What agribusiness doesn’t want consumers to see

In a NY Times op-ed in February, writer Nicholas Kristof said, “These are tiny stalls that are barely bigger than the pigs, who don’t even have enough room to turn around. They live out their adult lives without exercise or meaningful social interaction; it’s like a life sentence of solitary confinement in a coffin, punctuated by artificial insemination and birth.”

In August, a bill to ban the crates failed to pass in Massachusetts. In an industry journal, local hog farmer Lisa Colby declared a victory for “the rights of local farmers” and for “farmers’ choices in taking care of their animals.” Agribusiness justifies the use of crates by claiming that they “allow for individualized care and eliminate aggression from other sows.”

Your Turn

Gestation crates are being phased out in several states, and major pork customers like McDonalds are requiring their suppliers to phase them out. However, far more work needs to be done to eliminate these crates in the U.S. and worldwide. To help ensure a victory in New Jersey, please take the following steps:
1. Sign the Change.org petition
2. Tweet  Governor Christie (@GovChristie) in support of the bill and use the hashtag #signS998
3. Call the Governor’s office 609-292-6000

Filed under: Food, Investigations
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“Ag Gag” Bill Blocked, but Agribusiness To Escalate Fight To Keep Cameras Out

September 25, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

An “ag gag” bill that was introduced in Southern Australia after undercover investigations exposed animal abuse on pork and wool farms has been voted down. The Surveillance Devices Bill would have penalized activists with up to $15,000 in fines or with imprisonment for releasing footage taken of factory farms.

gestation crates

What agribusiness doesn’t want consumers to see

The Sydney Morning Herald, which declared the vote “a win for consumer advocacy, workers’ rights, freedom of the press and animal protection,” cautioned that supporters of “ag gag” will push for legislation at the federal level.

Following is a two minute non-graphic video taken inside of a pig factory farm in Australia. As the Communications Director of Animals Australia describes the conditions, the intelligent pigs in the background attempt to escape from the intensive confinement of their cages:

Your Turn

As reported on TheirTurn in August, supporters of ag-gag in Australia attempted to disguise the bill as a measure to protect farm animals when its true intent is to keep the public in the dark. Most consumers continue to be unaware of the existence of factory farms and probably believe that the animals who they eat are raised on the green pastures shown on the packaging.

As activists, we must ensure that the work being done by undercover investigators is protected by law and distributed widely to the public. To that end, please share Mercy For Animals’ video  – Farm to Fridge – that takes viewers behind the scenes on modern-day factory Farms.


Filed under: Food, Victories
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Nestlé To Buy Animals From Less Inhumane Factory Farms

August 21, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

The NY Times reports that Nestlé will no longer buy products derived from pigs and chickens held in the most intensive forms of confinement (gestation crates & battery cages) and from cattle who have been dehorned or had their tails docked without anesthesia. The new policy, which will affect at least 7,300 of its suppliers and will likely trigger other companies to follow suit, represents “one of the broadest-reaching commitments to improving the quality of life for animals in the food system.”

nestle-logo

Your Turn

Intensive confinement and body mutilation are among the cruelest aspects of factory farming. So, for the billions of pigs, chickens and cows who are born into this system, a slightly less awful existence is better than nothing. But these reforms should not give caring consumers the impression that they are eating happy animals. On the contrary, pigs, chickens and cows raised on factory farms will still live wretched lives in windowless sheds, unable to do anything that comes naturally to them. And then they are slaughtered. Please, go veg.


Filed under: Food
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