For Whom Does Taco Bell Toll

• Taco Bell was recently called out for their lack of beef in the “beef” they sell. From the MFA blog:

TacoBellBeefTacoBlog.jpgThere has been a lot of media attention this week over the recent lawsuit against Taco Bell, alleging the company’s “meat mixture” contains only 36 percent meat instead of the 40 percent required to fit the definition of beef. But Mercy For Animals has a solution to Taco Bell’s problem that could be a win-win for everyone, especially the animals who are cruelly slaughtered for meat.

MFA took on the issue in an open letter, recently. Click here to read the complete letter.

A Pig Named Bob Harper & Veal’s Enemy Bob Barker

• When Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, was alerted on Monday to a one-month-old male piglet who had fallen off a transport truck — the third transport rescue by the organization this summer — they named him after their national 2010 Walk for Farm Animals spokesperson, celebrity trainer Bob Harper from NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” Little Bob Harper piglet, once destined for a life of misery before being slaughtered at just 6 months of age, arrived at the nonprofit’s New York Shelter in Watkins Glen. A twist of fate had made his life count. Read the full story.

• Mercy For Animals release yet another undercover investigation of cruelty on a veal farm, and released this video narrated by animal advocate Bob Barker. The covert footage was recorded at Buckeye Veal Farm in Apple Creek, Ohio, and reveals baby calves chained inside 2-feet wide wooden stalls – so narrow they cannot turn around, walk, run, play, socialize with other animals, or engage in other basic natural behaviors. In such tight confinement, the animals are unable to lie down comfortably, breathe fresh air, see sunlight, clean themselves or bond with their mothers:

While veal production represents one of the most abusive forms of animal agriculture, animal suffering is also widespread throughout the meat, dairy, and egg industries. Undercover investigations by MFA at dairy farms, pig farms, egg farms, hatcheries, and slaughterhouses have all exposed cruelty and violence to farmed animals.

Ohio’s Dairy Farms Set New Low

Mercy For Animals releases yet another recent and horrifying undercover investigation into inexplicable and sadistic abuse of dairy cows and calves in Ohio. As more and more investigations like this continue to make their way into the light, we must ask ourselves how commonplace treatment like this really is. If undercover investigators are able to capture this much gratuitous abuse, what must go unseen?  When living, feeling, emotional and intelligent animals are forced to endure a reality like this, there is no sufficient excuse.

The perpetrator clearly takes pleasure in inflicting blows with a hammer to the head of a baby cow, attacking cows with a crowbar and a pitchfork. These animals spend their entire, miserable lives confined to filthy stalls where they are constantly impregnated only to have their newborns torn away so humans can instead drink their milk in addition to eating their babies as veal. We take everything from them. Cows often bellow for hours or days when their babies are taken away, but the milk they would drink would mean lost profits. They are spared nothing; they are shown no mercy. The very least we can do is ensure they are not tortured beyond what is already withstood to spend their lives as cogs in a milk-making machine. Federal and state laws must be implemented and strengthened to prevent egregious cruelty to farmed animals.  If you needed motivation to give up dairy, here it is.

Numerous MFA undercover investigations at dairy farms, pig farms, egg farms, hatcheries and slaughterhouses have revealed that violence and abuse to farmed animals – whether malicious or institutionalized – runs rampant nationwide.

Dairy’s Dark Side

Yet another undercover investigation headed up by Mercy for Animals is causing waves within media and politics. This time, it’s on my own home turn of New York State. The largest dairy factory farm in New York State – Willet Dairy in Locke was documented in early 2009 when an MFA undercover investigator worked at the mega-dairy, secretly documenting egregious acts of animal cruelty, including neglect, with a hidden camera. READ THE FULL STORY and find out why you should ditch milk and dairy products.

Thankfully, compassionate consumers can choose to withdraw their support of these abusive industries by adopting a vegan diet. Each time we eat we can choose kindness over cruelty.

Bacon Bumption & The Pork Industry Shocker

Something that I’ve noticed a lot of over the last several years is what I’ll call Pork Pride, or Bacon Bumption – a level of  bacon obsession that is suspicious of being in response to something. Time Out Chicago has a very interesting article on the subject. This seems to have been happening in urban areas like Brooklyn, Chicago, Portland, and San Francisco over the last 5 or 6 years among an otherwise intelligent and educated culture of young people who act like they’ve just discovered the stuff (as if it weren’t already in every market in America). Celebrating with everything from bacon ice-cream, chocolate covered bacon, and bacon crochet to bacon band-aids,  bacon vodka and bacon festivals with bacon sculptors and people who are so passionate about bacon that they seethe. They should form a religion (oh wait, the Holy Church of Bacon actually exists).

I think the equation is somewhat simple, somewhat complex. People like fatty, salty stuff. People also like fads. Therefore: Fatty, salty fads are obviously popular – what’s not to like? Just put on your bacon bandanna, your bacon bumper-sticker, and pop in a bacon-mint as you stick some bacon-grease moisturizer on your ironic bacon tattoo. It’s that simple to be a connoisseur of hipster-foodieism.

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Among the crafty, indy, artsy crowd – irony, nostalgia, and rejecting the status-quo are all very popular. Bacon is nostalgic. As kids, our weekend breakfasts often started with that smokey smell filling our kitchen and symbolizing mom’s love.  Bacon is an ironic food (like PBR, the cool kids want to embrace working-class iconography in an attempt to say, “hey working-class people, we’re just like you, even though we went to college for ‘philosophy’ and we just want your street cred”). And, yes, Bacon Bumption might be a seemingly dissenting response to the rise in animal advocacy. What an easy way to participate in rejecting the (strategically selected) culture! Eat a salty, fatty, fad. Wear it. Live it!

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The complex part? Bacon has to be made from living pigs. Oh..yeah…that. Take off your bacon scarf for a second and consider the perspective of the highly intelligent animal known as the pig. The pig is smarter than your dog.

Penn State University conducted research between 1996 and 1998. Using positive reinforcement (treats) they showed that pigs can be taught to maneuver a modified joystick to move a cursor on a video monitor. The pigs were shown one scribble, then a few seconds later shown the same scribble along with a second. They used the joystick and cursor to distinguish between the scribble they had seen before and the one they were seeing for the first time. Just watch this video if you need further convincing.

In order to make bacon, the guys are castrated without anesthesia, sometimes by simply ripping off the testes with bare hands, the gals are kept in confinement so small they go insane and can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably while being forcibly impregnated again and again their entire lives (any feminists around?),  and ultimately all 105 million of them they are dragged to their death every year where they are often improperly stunned and boiled alive. This is all documented reality.

Our friends at Mercy For Animals have time and time again, unveiled some of the most important undercover footage of meat-production facilities that allow people to see how we treat these animals. It is because of footage like this, as unpleasant as it is to witness, that legislation is able to be passed protecting farm animals. These are animals who are not even protected under the most basic standard anti-cruelty legislation that dogs and cats are.

A new Mercy For Animals undercover investigation reveals unconscionable cruelty to mother pigs and their young piglets at a Hatfield Quality Meat supplier – “Country View Family Farms,” in Fannettsburg, Pennsylvania. The hidden camera video provides consumers with a jarring glimpse into the nightmarish world of factory pork production.

For more on pork farming, click here. Are there ways to enjoy fatty, smokey, saltiness without participating in this cruel, ecologically devastating and resource intensive industry? Sure! Check out these suggestions.

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