April 16, 2014

Is It Time to Tax Meat?

62C947EF-56F3-4CED-810F-C60E8A4C9A69.jpgWith tax season upon us, Bloomberg Businessweek is highlighting the "economic case for taxing meat" and the ongoing discussion of "sin taxes."

Unlike taxes on wages earned, sin taxes aim to curb undesirable behavior, like smoking, consumption of alcohol, or industrial pollution. According to the article's author Charles Kenny, "It's time to add one more sin to the list of habits that should be taxed: excessive meat consumption."

With Americans leading the charge, consuming more animals per capita than any other country, there's never been a better time to consider the economic repercussions of our meat-heavy diet.

Not only is eating meat bad for animals and the environment, it's proven hazardous to human health, with one in two Americans dying from heart disease, a brutal killer that is directly related to what's on our plates.

"At the other end of the consumption scale, all that meat production also makes for more expensive staple foods for the world's undernourished," explains the article.

The article further states that "the livestock industry presents a growing global threat in its relationship with infectious disease. Domesticated animals have been the incubators of many of the world's greatest killer diseases, from smallpox through measles to tuberculosis."

Whether you're concerned about environmental destruction, animal suffering on factory farms, antibiotic-resistant superbugs, your own health, or the world's poor, your food choices hold tremendous power.

Visit ChooseVeg.com for hundreds of delicious recipes along with tips on adopting a vegetarian diet.

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Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 11.50.06 AM.pngA runaway steer is making headlines! MLive.com reports that a steer -- destined to be someone's dinner -- narrowly escaped a merciless death by kicking open a gate at a North Dakota slaughterhouse and making a run for it!

After the steer was spotted by workers at a local school and captured, activists were able to secure a place for him at SASHA Farm, a sanctuary in Michigan where he will live his life in peace. "So instead of his intended future - one where he was bound to be the main course on dinner plates and at restaurants - Fargo, the 3-year-old steer, will live out his days being cared for with about 300 other rescued animals at SASHA."

This isn't the first time animals about to be slaughtered have fled for their lives. The article also tells the stories of several other farmed animals who were lucky enough to escape their cruel fates and end up at SASHA, including a sheep who jumped off the back of a pickup truck on the way to slaughter.

Farmed animals cling to life just like any other animal would. They feel fear, pain, and suffering just like the dogs and cats we all know and love. Unfortunately, on today's factory farms, these animals are treated as mere machines, and their short lives are filled with misery and deprivation.

The best thing that compassionate people can do to help farmed animals is simply to stop eating them. To learn more about adopting a delicious and humane vegan diet, visit ChooseVeg.com today.

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Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 1.16.18 PM.pngA recent article on Swedish news site SVT explores the serious health risks posed by the use of antibiotics in the quest for cheap meat.

In the U.S., an estimated 70 percent of all antibiotics used are given to farmed animals to make them grow more rapidly and prevent them from getting sick as a result of living in filthy, cramped conditions. This creates a dangerous breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

According to the SVT article, the Danish problem of antibiotic resistance is increasing. A recent study showed that 88 percent of pigs that entered an abattoir carried the antibiotic-resistant bacteria MRSA. This represents a 44 percent increase from just a year earlier.

Pigs are infecting humans with MRSA to such an extent that the Danish Health Care Authority Board considers pig farmers a new high-risk group for MRSA.

According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic-resistant bacteria is as dangerous as terrorism and is "one of the greatest threats to global public health."

The best way to protect yourself from disease and prevent cruelty to animals is to leave meat, eggs, and dairy off of your plate. For information on how to transition to a healthy and compassionate vegan diet, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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Recently, thousands of festival-goers gathered to celebrate and learn more about humane, plant-based diets at Austin's 3rd annual Texas VegFest, a super successful vegan food event showing that compassionate eating is on the rise!

cid_505.jpegMFA volunteer Eddie Garza and his crew of dedicated volunteers reached out to countless people with a message of compassion and promoted MFA's exciting new social media campaign, asking attendees why they #ChooseVeg.

976546_10152355944394553_1826113395_o.jpgInterested in volunteering with MFA and helping create a kinder world for all animals? Fill out our volunteer form here, and check out MFA's Action Center for more ideas on how you can promote compassionate food choices.

1926002_10152355949039553_182350051_o.jpg

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Perfect for the cruelty-free picnicker in you, these six vegan sandwiches are sure to please!

1. Grilled Portabella Mushroom Sandwich with Basil Aioli

PortobelloSandwich.jpgThis hearty sandwich needs no introduction. Get the recipe here.

2. Cucumber Avocado Tea Sandwiches

TeaSandwich.jpgPerfect as a snack or light lunch, these are as delightful as they look!

3. The Vegan Tempeh Reuben Club Sandwich

TempehReubenClub.jpgThis savory sandwich will impress friends and enemies.

4. Chickpea of the Sea Sandwich

ChickpeaOfTheSea.jpgThis vegan take on tuna is delicious and completely fish-free!

5. Jerk Sloppy Joes with Coconut Creamed Spinach

JerkSloppyJoes.jpgAll of flavor, none of the horrific animal cruelty.

6. Lemon & Dill Vegan Chicken Salad Sandwich

ChickenSalad.jpgNo chickens were harmed in the making of this sandwich.

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bleatinghearts.jpgMark Hawthorne, author of the fabulous activist guide Striking at the Roots, recently published an important new book, Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering. Examining lesser-known forms of animal cruelty, Bleating Hearts is a thorough introduction for those new to animal rights and provides deeper learning for longtime activists. We were thrilled to have the chance to ask him about it.

MFA: Can you share some of these lesser-known forms of exploitation that our readers might be most surprised to learn about?

MH: One example that immediately comes to mind involves the breeding of animals in zoos. Many people think of zoos as being akin to sanctuaries, but these are profit-driven institutions, and they constantly want young animals to bring in tourist dollars. In the 1960s and '70s, for example, the industry was so determined to fill zoos with baby elephants that they bred father with daughter and brother with sister. But once a zoo believes an animal has outlived his or her usefulness, they may end up in a canned hunt, a circus, a research lab, or simply killed. This issue became big news not long ago when the Copenhagen Zoo killed Marius the giraffe. Indeed, as I report in my book, this same zoo kills as many as 30 healthy animals every year; in fact, they recently wiped out an entire family of healthy lions -- two adults and their cubs -- just so they could bring in another generation of lions. It is such a tragedy that people support these places by visiting them.

I've gotten a lot of feedback from readers about animals used for sports. I'll use horse racing as just one example. These poor animals are so mistreated -- doped up, pushed to the point of injury, often euthanized because of a fractured bone. Many people are shocked when they read that an average of 24 horses die on U.S. racetracks every week, and that even a Kentucky Derby winner who has made his "owner" a millionaire many times over will be sent off to slaughter the moment he's no longer considered valuable. This happens in any country where horse racing is popular.

Another example that makes people cringe is the exploitation of orcas in abusement parks such as SeaWorld and Miami Seaquarium. These whales are complex, highly social beings forced to live in tiny, chlorinated pools with no enrichment whatsoever. If that weren't bad enough, they're made to perform ridiculous tricks. And because they are so bored in captivity, orcas will bite on any surface they can: metal gates, cement corners, whatever. As a result, their teeth crack. To prevent infection, staff will drill out the pulp inside the damaged teeth without any painkiller. Just imagine sitting in your dentist's chair and having that done to you.

MFA: Researching and writing this book must have been extremely challenging emotionally, confronting so much suffering. How did that process impact you?

MH: Thanks for asking about this; it's an important point. Yes, it was painful at times. Researching each chapter had me explore some very disturbing practices, which is one reason it took me five years to complete the book. There were days when I had to push back and take a break -- maybe to go for a walk and listen to a podcast, or listen to music, or watch a fun movie with my wife, Lauren. Spending time with animals helped, too. When you're a sensitive person examining cruelty, it's really important to not overdo it, and at the same time, with each abuse I uncovered, I was even more motivated to finish the book so I could get the information out there. So I had to find a balance.

MFA: At the end of the book, you pose a question to several longtime animal activists: "With so many animals abused and exploited in the world, how do caring people not lose their faith in humanity?" Can you share some of their best advice and your own for people who become depressed or angry about what's happening to animals?

MH: I think one of the most insightful responses -- at least the one that really resonated with me -- came from Carol Adams, who said that there will be days when we do lose our faith, and that's part of the grief we suffer, but it's also a challenge in every social justice movement. One way to handle that, she said, is to remind ourselves that we too have been in a process of transformation, and we can be examples for other people on how to change. I also love the advice of Marc Bekoff, who finds inspiration in young people. Marc believes we must tap into the compassionate side of kids and help them become engaged activists as they grow up. And James McWilliams reminds us to find hope in the conversions that do take place every day: the people who learn about animal suffering and then make compassionate choices, such as going vegan.

I advise every activist to be in touch with their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being, if they have a spiritual practice, and try to not let depression, anger, or grief consume them. There will be days when it all seems like too much; so allow yourself to be human: go out and try to have fun with friends. Confide in people you trust. Exercise. Make sure you're eating well and getting enough sleep. If you're feeling on the verge of burnout, stay away from the graphic images or other triggers that upset you -- at least until you're feeling stronger. Spend time with animals, either your furry or feathered companions, or at a sanctuary.

MFA: In your terrific first book, Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism, you share many examples of what people can do to help animals. It would actually be a great follow-up read to Bleating Hearts! Can you briefly share some of your suggestions for what people can do to make a difference?

MH: There are so many things people can do, but here are just a few of the ones I discuss in Striking at the Roots:

• The number-one step I always say is that if you're not vegan, go vegan. If you can't, try giving up meat, eggs, and dairy products one day a week, then add another day every week.

• Write a letter to the editor of your local paper about an animal issue that concerns you. This could be a response to something in the news, or it could be your thoughts about a circus coming to your town.

• Volunteer to leaflet with a group like Mercy For Animals -- or try it on your own.

• Ask your school cafeteria or one of your favorite restaurants to carry (more) vegan or vegetarian entrées. • If you have companion animals who are not spayed or neutered, make an appointment with their veterinarian to have this done, or ask your parents to.

• Include a signature line in your email with links to one or two of your favorite animal-rights videos or a current campaign you support.

Want more? Order your copy of Bleating Hearts here and visit ChooseVeg.com for tips on making the transition to a vegetarian diet.

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kirschner-korner-logo.jpgIf you're looking for a great new place to shop online, be sure to check out the newly launched Kirschner's Korner. The site offers more than 25 new products aimed at helping people improve their animal advocacy skills, and MFA has been chosen as one of six beneficiary organizations to proudly partner with the company.

Andrew Kirschner is not only founder of Kirschner's Korner and March Against Cruelty, he is an avid MFA supporter and devoted grassroots animal advocate. Andrew has spent the last several months designing and manufacturing these exciting new products.

In addition to advocacy apparel, Kirschner's Korner offers flashcards to help you answer the questions most commonly asked of activists and restaurant dining cards for politely requesting more plant-based menu items.

One of the new products featured is the Animal Rescue Bar, a delicious, nutritionally packed, plant-based snack bar. Soon to be marketed nationwide, Andrew hopes these bars will become the number one nutrition bar in the country. And with 50 percent of the proceeds from every bar donated to animal advocacy organizations, including MFA, that's great news for animals!

Click here to start shopping.

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Eggs are loaded with cholesterol, saturated fat, and animal suffering. Here are 10 vegan egg dishes that are delicious, cruelty-free, and easy to make!

1. Eggless Egg Salad


egg-salad-tofu9-565-3.jpgUse this scrumptious salad in sandwiches, spread on crackers, or eat straight from the bowl!

2. Morning Scramble (and Breakfast Burritos!)

IMG_51481.jpgEveryone loves breakfast burritos! Why not throw this tasty filling in a tortilla with your favorite veggies?

3. Devilish Potatoes

8575276246_bca33731fd_z.jpg A family favorite around Easter, this recipe is a new, compassionate twist on a cruel classic.

4. French Toast

FrenchToast.jpg Try this delicious breakfast dish with almond milk and sliced banana!

5. Omelet

Omelette.jpgYep, you read that right. A vegan omelet. Check out this mouthwatering recipe by the Post Punk Kitchen.

6. Quiche

Quiche.jpgNever had vegan quiche? You haven't lived until you've tried this gourmet recipe!

7. Eggs Benedict

EggsBenedict.jpgWhy not start the day with a recipe that will impress even the pickiest eaters!

8. Egg Fried Rice

EggFriedRice.jpgGreat any time of day! This recipe is sure to please!

9. Tofu Rancheros

TofuRanchero.jpgEgg-cited? We sure are! Tofu rancheros are here to stay!

10. Fried Egg

FriedEgg2.jpgAnd last, but certainly not least, the classic fried egg. Serve with tempeh bacon and toast for a trip down memory lane.

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120726_TECH_FAKEMEAT1.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-large.jpgAn article published by the New York Times highlights the growing market for delicious, plant-based meat alternatives and the companies who are taking meatless meats to a new level.

As people increasingly move away from fat- and cholesterol-laden animal products, more food producers are satisfying their customers' demands for sustainable, compassionate foods and creating cruelty-free alternatives to traditional American fare.

Venture capitalists have begun funding environmentally conscious, animal-friendly food startups in the hopes of saving the planet's dwindling resources.

The article explains: "Demand for meat alternatives is growing, fueled by trends as varied as increased vegetarianism and concerns over the impact of industrial-scale animal husbandry on the environment. The trend has also attracted a host of unlikely investors, including Biz Stone and Evan Williams of Twitter, Bill Gates and, most recently, Li Ka-shing, the Hong Kong magnate."

Companies are offering meat alternatives with a texture and taste virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. Beyond Meat, for example, has produced a plant-based chicken substitute that has fooled even experts.

And it's not just meat that's being replaced. Beyond Eggs, another venture, has created an egg-free mayonnaise that is not only equal in flavor to original mayonnaise, but is cholesterol-free and 18 percent less expensive.

For the gamut of meat alternatives and more information on going vegetarian, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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2013_09_27_mr_will-feed-for-drovers-13.jpgA recent Huffington Post piece entitled "What Your Meat Eats" shares a list of unsavory things fed to America's farmed animals on today's factory farms.

The article reads: "Bringing a whole new level of discomfort to the term 'you are what you eat,' animal feed is legally allowed to contain certain amounts of the animal it is being fed to. Yes, that means sometimes there is dead pig meat and bones in pig feed and ground up chicken in the feed given to chickens."

"One component of some animal feeds is something called 'poultry litter' -- basically, the waste (read: poop) and spilled feed that is swept up from the floor of barns that house chickens," continues HuffPo. Added to this "poultry litter" are the feathers, bones, blood, and other remains of slaughtered animals.

Wrapping up the list? Candy. That's right. Some farmers are even feeding candy to livestock as a way to reduce the cost of feed.

Does all this make you sick? Well, if you're eating animals you might actually be sick, as health consequences of meat consumption include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and increased risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Ready to ditch meat altogether? Visit ChooseVeg.com and order your free Vegetarian Starter Guide today.

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