I manage supply chains for Bon Appétit Management Company, which is another way of saying that my job is to think about chicken and pork. Not just the meat, but the lives of the animals themselves. I suspect there are few other non-meat-eaters whose corporate roles require them to think about farm animals as much as mine does.
But thinking about production systems and negotiating with suppliers can only go so far. Today, we’re saying that we’re fed up. Read more
The goal of The HSUS is not endless campaigning or conflict with political adversaries, but to find a place where we can forge solutions that produce tangible and meaningful outcomes for animals and show a new way forward in society. And that means sitting down with people who see the world differently than we do, even sitting down with industries that we’ve had deep disagreements with in the past.
Yesterday, we put that principle into practice. I participated in a press conference that I thought could only occur many years into the future: a joint event with The HSUS and the United Egg Producers (UEP). Read more
One thesis in my new book, The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them is that so much animal mistreatment happens because so many of us in society have become disconnected from animals. In other words, they are far removed from our daily experiences, especially those animals used in institutional settings for a wide variety of purposes. Read more
Despite recent crowing by the United Egg Producers—an agribusiness trade association—evidence shows that the national trend toward cage-free eggs is growing. Read more
Sixty thousand chickens were found dead this week at a North Carolina factory farm, a result of a failed generator powering the facility’s ventilation system. This sort of tragedy is totally preventable, and, as we’ll see, the owners of this farm ought to be criminally prosecuted. Read more
After months of signature gathering in Ohio for a proposed ballot measure that would improve conditions for farm animals in the state, Buckeye animal advocates achieved early progress on animal welfare reforms that few people would have thought possible in Ohio. To be honest, many of us working on the campaign wouldn’t have imagined this outcome even just a few short weeks ago.
With prospects looming for a November vote on the ballot measure, Ohioans for Humane Farms, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, The Humane Society of the United States, and the Ohio Farm Bureau agreed to implement a broad range of important animal welfare reforms in the state. Read more
In a move to help consumers make more informed choices when choosing to eat humanely sourced animal products, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) developed and launched the very first restaurant database. The resource identifies 150 restaurants in 15 U.S. cities that offer products and menu items created by methods that benefit animal welfare, human health, and the environment. The free database includes 11 Bay Area restaurants and others in: Atlanta, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, Seattle, and Washington, DC. Read more
Ever feel like you were playing checkers and the other guy was playing chess?
That’s the sort of feeling I get often when I watch many of the recent spate of food documentaries to be released. Activists announce that this or that is wrong with the food system, and on the rare occasion when something appears to be getting done about it, the folks who are doing things badly simply change their tactics, but not their strategy.
It happened again while watching the British documentary film Pig Business. Read more
The agribusiness sector has been abuzz with complaints about ABC’s recent Nightline exposé of the biggest dairy factory farm in one of the largest dairy production states: New York. The segment features footage compiled by Mercy for Animals showing inhumane treatment of dairy cows, followed by ABC’s interview of the operation’s owner rationalizing that he doesn’t know if it hurts the animals, because as he put it, “I can’t speak for the cow.”
Agribusiness spokespeople predictably dismissed the story as a “propaganda piece” and “lacking…factual information.”
Reading industry responses to these kinds of investigations is always interesting to me. Whether it’s exposés of pig factory farms, egg factory farms, or now this dairy investigation, some ag producers seem to have a “circle the wagons” mentality that prompts them to attack anyone who’s critical of industry practices. In many cases, they resort to the industry mantra that farm animal suffering only occurs as isolated cases, not as part of standard industry practices. Read more
Reading agribusiness officials’ responses to undercover exposés documenting egregious acts of cruelty to farm animals can be truly mind-boggling. I’ve written about this before, and feel compelled to follow up with a couple more recent sordid examples.
When faced with gruesome images of mistreatment of farm animals, rather than simply condemning the cruelty, some in agribusiness just can’t leave it at that. They feel the need also to attack the compassionate investigators who put themselves at great risk to go undercover and blow the whistle on such abuse.
For example, a new Mercy for Animals investigation involved videotaping workers at one of the nation’s largest pork companies throwing piglets by their ears and legs across the room, cramming pigs into cages barely larger than their own bodies for months on end, and even leaving pigs with untreated prolapses, sores and other health problems.
And what’s the response of the president of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, Dr. Butch Baker? Quite simply: These types of investigations “really are an attack on the rural lifestyle of America.” Read more