Category Archives: Animals Used for Food

Sea Shepherd Targets the Taiji of the North

It seems that the entire world should now be aware of the carnage of dolphins in a bay filled with their own blood in Taiji, Japan. It is less widely known that the Danish Faroe Islands — just 200 miles from Scotland — host their own annual cetacean slaughter.

grindadrap (2)

Much like in Taiji, the hunt starts when fishing boats sight a pod of whales or dolphins, and drive them into a bay.   However, in the Faroe Islands, 23 different bays are used, not just one (which makes sabotaging or even just recording the hunts much more difficult). Every member in the pod is driven or pulled onto the beach with ropes and using a blunt hook in their blowhole. Then they are hacked to death.  Faroese citizens take part and rush into the water to join in the slaughter, sparing no one, not mothers, babies, or pregnant females.

In allowing this to continue, Denmark is in violation of three conventions it has signed vowing to do everything in its capacity to protect pilot whales — the Bern Convention, Bonn Convention and ASCOBANS. Pilot whales are classified as “strictly protected” under the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.  Even harassing whales and dolphins is a crime in Europe.

The Faroe Islanders have one of the highest standards of living in the world, so the slaughter of entire pods of small cetaceans is not to provide jobs for ‘starving subsistence fishermen’, nor to satisfy the unconscionable demand for performers at marine parks, nor even to feed hungry mouths.  Faroese health officials have condemned pilot whale meat as unsafe for human consumption (due to mercury, PCBs, dioxins and DDT derivatives); especially as Faroese children already show higher levels of poisonous mercury than anyone else in the world. The annual Faroese ‘hunt’ — called the Grindadrap or Grind — still takes place because it is apparently considered ‘traditional fun’.

unborn pilot whale
Unborn Pilot whale calves are cut out of their mothers’ murdered bodies 
(Undercover images credit: Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd – 2010)

Sea Shepherd has been disrupting the Grind since 1983, in spite of considerable violence against them.  Video footage they obtained has provided the basis for several documentaries. Sea Shepherd’s Operation Grindstop this year will include calling the Danish government to task for providing EU subsidies and loans to the Faroe Islands which openly flaunt European laws protecting cetaceans, and working to gain direct support from members of the European Parliament. Sea Shepherd is also researching the possibility of creating a defensive wall of sound outside the Grind coves to deter migrating cetaceans. Efforts are being made to identify the Faroese fishing vessels used in Grind hunts, as well as their owners, for the purposes of  naming and shaming them as well as having them blacklisted as EU fish suppliers.  Sea Shepherd also intends to further publicize the fact that the Faroe Islanders kill hundreds of dolphins as well as pilot whales. For this reason the logo for Operation Grindstop 2014 features both a pilot whale and a dolphin (see below). It is to be hoped that all this will have a detrimental effect on the Faroese tourist industry.

grindadrap

I can’t help but wonder what would happen if one Faroe Islander stood alone on the beach of a Grind cove and held out his arms and shouted, “NO MORE!”

New rules will make life worse for chickens

Chickens killed for meat have short, brutal lives. Unfortunately, the government is considering new rules that would allow the poultry industry to kill even more birds per minute.

When workers lock birds into shackles, the chickens’ leg bones often break. If workers are forced to shackle birds faster, they’ll handle the animals even more roughly, which will cause even more  suffering.

chicks

Of course, not eating chickens or other animals is the best solution, but on behalf of the billions of birds being killed and eaten by people every year, please take action.

Please call your representative and politely say, “As a constituent, I’m calling to express my concern that the USDA’s proposed poultry slaughter rules would result in higher rates of food contamination, animal suffering, and worker injury. Please support Congresswoman DeLauro’s Agriculture Appropriations bill amendment prohibiting the USDA from spending any funds to implement the ‘Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection’ rule.”

Please follow up by contacting your representative using this form from HSUS so he or she can get your concerns in writing.

Thank you!

Palm Oil Isn't Vegan

I thought about a title for this post for quite a while. I wanted something that would make you stop and decide to read more. Maybe if the title were “The Best Cheese in the World”, you would stop and look, and by the time you found out it wasn’t about cheese, you would understand why I told you it was.

If you are reading this, chances are you are vegan. You have fought your cheese battle and won, fought your cute-leather-shoe battle and made do, fought your chocolate battle and either decided you like dark chocolate because it is way healthier, or — like me — decided to just do without. Your supermarkets are smaller than other peoples': they have no meat, no fish, and no dairy aisles. Hopefully, I am about to give you one more battle to win, and am about to make your grocery store smaller still. Because palm oil isn’t vegan.

When you think of the meaning of ‘vegan’, it doesn’t ONLY mean ‘no animal ingredients'; for most of us, there is a very strong element of ‘no animal suffering‘ and that is why palm oil fails. Palm oil sneaks into almost as many things as dairy does, and causes terrible suffering as more and more forest is destroyed to make way for palm plantations. Critically endangered orangutans, whose last holdout is the Indonesian rainforest of Sumatra and Borneo, are the most visible victims. I am not including the photo that made me a believer in the split second it took to absorb the sight of a burned-but-alive orangutan, covering her face with her hands. These only-everso-slightly-different non-humans, whose name means ‘people of the forest’, are chased, shot, poisoned, burned and beaten, and their homeland destroyed and bulldozered at such a rate that according to this short slide show —

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/audioslideshow/2014/apr/24/indonesia-deforestation-wildlife-paul-hilton-audio-slideshow

— it may be gone in ten years. Gone. Along with the orangutans, the elephants, the tigers, the rhinos — and an incredibly long list of others, because the Indonesian rainforest contains 12% of the world’s mammal species, and 17% of all known bird species. And it is estimated that more than half of Indonesia’s species have never even been recorded. At this rate they will disappear unrecorded.

A French documentarist named Patrick Rouxel made a short documentary about the palm oil/rainforest crisis, simply called “Green”. Watch it:

Not all palm oil comes from burning out orangutans and poisoning elephants in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. Some of it comes from Malaysia. Some is termed “sustainable”. The Earth Balance margarine so beloved of vegans contains palm oil, and Earth Balance is proud to say 30% of it is “sustainable”.  I freely admit that where animals are concerned, I tend to be a glass-bone-dry person. But if 30% is “sustainable”, what is the other 70%? And where colossal amounts of money are to be made, the word “sustainable” can become as flexible as those standing to profit from it wish. And those palm plantations in It’s-OK-Malaysia? They are being created in someone‘s ex-habitat. Maybe the someone isn’t as heartrending as an orangutan infant, as photogenic as a Sumatran tiger, or as big as an elephant, but their home is being destroyed and burned and bulldozed nevertheless.

Let me tell you why.

For crap. The popular mass movement away from trans fats caused a gap that palm oil has filled. It is mainly in processed foods, crackers, chips, cookies, boxed cereals, candy, cake, pastries, bread spreads (check your peanut butter!),and margarine. It is in about half of all boxed foods. Many of those foods got tossed out in battles you have already won. And luckily none of them are crucial to your survival.

Face it: margarine is a cultural habit. You know how many millions of people around the world would look at you blankly if you told them you only eat bread with grease wiped on it? If you don’t want to give up wiping grease on your bread, I can give you a good, easy, much-healthier margarine recipe, and you can make your own from now on. You can also skip that step and use straight coconut oil for everything you used margarine for. Unrefined for a slight coconut taste, refined for no taste at all. And you wouldn’t believe all the health benefits coconut oil is meant to have. Palm oil is also in all kinds of utterly unnecessary beauty products, toiletries, laundry and kitchen products, even ones claiming ‘bio’, ‘enviro’ or ‘green’ status. (Btw, PETA has a great list of excellent DIY, completely cruelty-free beauty and cleaning agents.)  The following list of foods and other products containing palm oil comes from BOS (Borneo Orangutan Survival) Australia. Many of the things listed are non-vegan and so you would not be eating them anyway, and many are specifically Australian, but the list will give you a very good idea what foods to suspect in the US, too.

http://www.orangutans.com.au/Orangutans-Survival-Information/Helping-you-buy-responsibly-Palm-oil-free-alternatives.aspx

How will you know? Look for anything with ‘palm’ in it, like palm kernel, palm fruit, palmitate, or palmate, but here is a full list of palm oil’s stealthy aliases:

http://understory.ran.org/2011/09/22/palm-oils-dirty-secret-the-many-ingredient-names-for-palm-oil-or-what-ingredients-contain-palm-oil/

So watch the movie and the slide show, and research for yourself what eating crap you shouldn’t be eating anyway is causing in places not your own back yard. And I think you will sit back with the same feeling you had when you first watched “Meet Your Meat” or whatever it was that made you change your life, and you will see why palm oil isn’t vegan. Because vegan isn’t just the letter of the law, it’s the spirit, too. And we are strong people when it comes to giving up things and not looking back. So much so, I don’t think you will mind that I just bulldozed another aisle or two of your supermarket.

 

 

Sea Lions Need Guardians!

Volunteers for Sea Lions Still Needed at the
Bonneville Dam and in Astoria, Oregon
In Defense of AnimalsIn Defense of Animals and the Sea Lion Defense Brigade (SLDB) are seeking passionate, dedicated individuals to be volunteer observers through the end of May at the Bonneville Dam and in Astoria, Oregon near Pier 36. The Columbia River sea lions need reliable eyes and ears on the river to assist in ending the lethal removal program.
If you have a still camera, binoculars, and/or video equipment and time to help, please volunteer with SLDB at either the Bonneville Dam or in Astoria.
The sea lion killing program is more about politics than sound science. Sea lions are being trapped, branded, and killed for eating only 1% of the fish, while human predation is at an all time high.
Sea Lions are being scapegoated by the fishing industry. Science shows the importance of protecting keystone species in the ecology and removing these species from an eco-system causes harm to the system as a whole.
For information about how you can help, or to volunteer, please contact Eric at eric@idausa.org.

Save animals and help the planet

Yesterday was Earth Day, and Pasado’s Safe Haven posted an excellent article about how to help animals and the environment.

To the planet, every day is Earth Day. It’s never a bad time to make positive changes. Here’s the info from the Pasado’s post:

Washington dairy farms produce 20 million pounds of waste each day.

This waste isn’t regulated by outside agencies, and it seeps into our groundwater and enters streams directly through runoff. The dairy and meat industries’ disposal and storage methods are incredibly destructive to our environment, dangerous to human health, and damaging to domestic and wild animals.

Animals are treated horrifically on these farms.

Because animals are nothing more than a commodity on dairy and beef farms, they often spend their entire lives standing in several inches of their own waste.

Take action and help Pasado’s save countless lives!

How To Help

Please contact Governor Inslee and ask him to require the Department of Ecology to issue new State Waste Discharge General Permits for factory farms. Call Governor Inslee at 360.902.4111 or copy and paste the following suggested email into the Governor’s contact us form. (To make even more an impact please consider drafting a letter in your own words.)

Dear Governor Inslee,  Please direct the Washington Department of Ecology to issue a strong National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) and State Waste Discharge General Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (“CAFOs”) that do business in the State of Washington.  The current CAFO General Permit was issued in 2006 and expired July 21, 2011. No new permit has been issued. It is imperative that the Department of Ecology issue a permit that contains the following requirements: (1) universal coverage for all medium and large CAFOs; (2) mandatory surface and groundwater monitoring; and (3) implementation of best waste management practices.

I sincerely hope that you take this request seriously and act swiftly. Issuing a new CAFO General Permit will not only bring us into compliance with the law, but in addition it will:

  • Be a small step toward improved conditions for farmed animals who currently spend their entire lives in their own waste.
  • Be a significant step toward improvements in our groundwater and freshwater streams.
  • Be a significant step toward mitigating human health hazards created by the situation as it now stands.

Please act now, Governor Inslee, and help to guide our state to becoming a national leader in environmental and animal welfare policy.

The Problem

Washington Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs / Factory Farms) dispose of animal waste in ways that have devastating effects on our ground water, streams and oceans. The Department of Ecology regulates this practice through a permit system REQUIRED by the federal Clean Water Act and the Washington Water Pollution Control Act. However, the current permit system expired in 2011 and it has serious flaws, including covering only 12 of the 1183 CAFOs in Washington.

The Solution

The Department of Ecology needs to issue a new CAFO permit that contains:

  1. Required coverage for 100% of medium and large CAFOs/Factory Farms.
  2. Mandatory surface and groundwater monitoring.
  3. Implementation of the best waste management practices.

We believe the Department of Ecology is open to this; however they are well aware of the immense power of the animal agriculture industries. They need the influence of a directive from Governor Inslee in order to make this happen.

For more information, please see the Michigan chapter of the Sierra Club’s summary of the environmental effects of CAFOs.

Speciesism: The Movie is coming to Seattle

In less than a week, the Seattle premier of Speciesism: The Movie will be showing at The Varsity Theater.

Speciesism

I bought a copy if the documentary a couple of months ago and I loved it! I’ll be at the movie theater to see it again. The film follows Mark Devries across the country, as he sets out to figure out why humans see ourselves as the most important species and how we decide which animals are “food” and which are “pets.”

Devries learns a lot on his journey, and you’ll get see his awakening as he talks to animal rights experts, people on the street, and people in the “food animal” industries.

Lucky for us, Mark Devries will be in Seattle for the showing of Speciesism, and will be leading a Q&A session afterwards. You won’t want to miss it! Hear first-hand how making this movie shaped and changed his ideas. Maybe it will change yours too!

When: Thursday, April 3rd at 7 pm
WhereVarsity Theatre, 4329 University Way NE, Seattle, Washington 98105

You can RSVP on Facebook, but be sure to get tickets as well.

Meatout 2014

March 20th is Meatout Day. Will you pledge to go meat-free for the day?

MOwomen

Of course it’s best (for the animals, your health, and the environment) to be meat-free every day, but we all started somewhere.

If you can go meat-free for a day, you can try it once a week. Soon, you’ll have so many recipe ideas and confidence that you can ditch meat, eggs and dairy for good.

URGENT: CALLS AND EMAILS NEEDED AGAINST IDAHO'S AG-GAG BILL

Every minute, every single call, counts! Idahos’s terrible ag-gag bill is on the way to the governor’s desk.

PLEASE email and  call the office of Idaho’s Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter… Let  him know the whole country is watching regarding Idaho’s ag-gag bill.  Tell him, politely, that no state should affirmatively support animal abuse or make it a crime to report animal abuse — we need to move in the opposite direction, and support compassionate and humane farming and freedom of speech (First Amendment of the Constitution). Crimes should be seen and punished, not hidden and enabled.

 I realize many of us do not believe in compassionate and/or humane farming, and most of us want NO slavery rather than just better CONDITIONS, but because a big argument being used in support of this bill is that its opponents want to see animal agriculture eliminated entirely, IT IS CRITICAL THAT ALL CALLS APPEAR TO COME FROM RESPECTABLE CITIZENS WHO “SUPPORT HUMANE FARMING AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH”.  For a better understanding and more information on what transpired at the Idaho House Agriculture Affairs Committee hearings, see

lhttp://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/02/idaho-house-agriculture-affairs-committee-recommends-do-pass-for-ag-gag-bill/

Email contact and phone information for the governor is (all three would be great!):

VALENTINE'S DAY DOLPHIN DEMO

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society & Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians NEED YOU on Valentine’s Day!

Demonstrations To Take Place in the U.S. and Overseas Against Taiji’s Brutal Dolphin Hunts

World Love For Dolphins Day

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians are inviting supporters and all concerned individuals to join in targeted demonstrations on February 14, 2014  — VALENTINE’S DAY — against Taiji’s brutal capture and slaughter of dolphins.

There will be demonstrations at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C. and Japanese consulates in cities across the country, demanding an end to the bloodshed in Taiji. The appalling dolphin hunts have been in the public eye so much recently for a variety of reasons, and we need to keep up the pressure. This may be the beginning of the end! PLEASE DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO BE THERE. I know it is Valentine’s Day, and you didn’t plan to spend it holding a sign, but what BETTER way could there be?!

Valentine’s Day Demonstration, Feb 14th, 2014, 12:00pm-1:00pm ET/PT, outside the Japanese Consulate at 601 Union Street downtown (Union St. exit).

You can download & print a poster on Sea Shepherd’s website here .

 

On Eating Cats and Dogs

 

We eat cows, pigs, chickens and fish, and we eat and drink dairy products (well, WE don’t
but HUMANS do) . Each one the culmination of a short life of such misery that it should have been a lot shorter. We AR activists are very aware of this and protest it in our own country wherever we can — which is why I feel completely justified asking you ONCE AGAIN to protest against South Koreans eating (raising, transporting and killing) dogs and

dogmeat

cats as well. In Korea, there is the very significant difference that the killing is protracted due to the belief that prolonged suffering results in better-tasting food. I like to think THAT wouldn’t fly here, awful as our slaughterhouses are. So I want you to write to your government representative and ask them to urge South Korea to ban the consumption of dogs and cats. I am not telling you that will do the trick, but NOT writing one definitely won’t :-)
THANK YOU!

 Find your House Representatives!

 Find your Senators!

Using the sample letter (courtesy of Koreandogs.org, which has a lot more info and other people to contact) below, put together one of your own, as a personalized letter is always better. A paper letter AND an email would be great.

Dear _____________,

Please watch this video: http://youtu.be/3uR8R8Mu70Q

Animal welfare organizations and animal lovers worldwide strongly feel that this unprecedented cruelty towards animals in South Korea can no longer be tolerated and it is the moral duty of our Government to intervene on our behalf. Our Government should urge the South Korean government to respect and enforce not just its own but also the Global Animal Protection Laws. We oppose this cruelty on ethical, health, environmental and moral grounds. The issue concerns all of us as citizens of the world because nations from around the world sacrificed their loved ones to protect the South Koreans in the Korean war of the 1950′s and even today we are still spending our hard-earned money to ensure their freedom and safety every year. It is unconscionable for our Government to ignore the huge, growing shock and outcry on social media sites worldwide about this barbaric practice. With the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea we feel that the timing is now perfect for worldwide pressure on South Korea!

South Korea is the World’s 14th largest economy, yet an estimated 2.5 million dogs and thousands of cats are brutally slaughtered and eaten as “health food” each year. Forced to endure deprivation and unimaginable torment from the moment they are born till the day they are slaughtered, dogs are imprisoned in cramped, rusty, raised cages all their lives with no protection from extreme weather and no water, exercise, companionship or medical care. Their eardrums are often burst to prevent them from barking! In broad daylight, often in the presence of other live dogs, they are electrocuted, hanged, beaten or burnt to death. People’s beloved pets are also lured and caught and end up as meat! This is a profit-driven, tax-free, unregulated industry that aggressively promotes the myth that eating a dog (especially the dog’s penis) enhances male virility and gives men energy! Koreans genuinely believe that the more the dogs suffer, the more the consumer will enjoy the health benefits and taste of the meat. Many dogs are sadistically made to experience extreme fear and suffering prior to death. Cats are frequently boiled alive to make tonics believed to treat rheumatism! The demand is so high in South Korea that 20% of the dog meat is now imported from China!

It is hard to believe that a nation such as South Korea, which is one of the major economic powers in the world and boasts one of the highest educational levels in the world, is still committing this type of barbaric and despicable brutality in this day and age! But for the millions of dogs and cats that are being slaughtered each year in South Korea’s markets, slaughterhouses, restaurants, dog farms and backyards, it is a tragic reality and a nightmare that they can’t escape from. If South Korea wants to join the civilized nations and be respected as a nation of conscience, they need to strengthen their animal protection laws and ban the dog- and cat meat consumption once and for all. This has been going on far too long and it’s time for the South Korean government to take moral leadership on behalf of their citizens. Not only does this protect the Korean animals from unimaginable suffering, but it will also further South Korea’s economic interest in the global business community. People of the world will not stop condemning South Korea’s cruelty towards their defenseless animals!

Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
We urge you as our Government to a take a strong stand on this and boycott the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics and the South Korean businesses until the South Korean government takes the necessary steps to ban this atrocity! As our Government who has been elected to listen to the voices of its people, we sincerely hope that you will not turn a blind eye on this tragic situation and use your power and position to urge South Korea to ban the dog- and cat meat consumption once and for all!

For more information on the South Korean Dog Meat Trade visit:www.koreandogs.org
Sincerely,

[Your name]