465650521 copy.jpgNearly everyone remembers the nationwide outrage over the widespread use of ammonium-treated lean beef trimmings, popularly known as "pink slime."

This vomit-worthy practice involves treating beef scraps and cow connective tissue with ammonium hydroxide to kill off E. coli, salmonella, and other dangerous pathogens that may be present.

Highly publicized in 2012, the use of pink slime resulted in serious consumer backlash for the beef industry after an ABC News report revealed that 70 percent of the ground beef at U.S. supermarkets contained the additive.

"By May 2012, Beef Products, Inc., the South Dakota-based inventor of the product, was on the brink of collapse - closing three of its four plants and laying off 700 employees," states a new article published by Time.

But don't be fooled! Time reports that pink slime production is once again growing, in large part because of the high demand for cheap meat products, and fading memories of consumers who were once outraged.

And pink slime isn't the only unsavory aspect of cheap meat. Factory farmers who raise cows for beef routinely inflict these sensitive creatures with third-degree burns (hot-iron branding) and burn their horns out of their skulls, all without any painkillers. The crowded and unsanitary conditions of feedlots also create perfect breeding grounds for disease, including antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Thankfully, we can choose to distance ourselves from this disgustingly cruel industry. Visit ChooseVeg.com for delicious, cruelty-free recipes and tips on transitioning to a healthy and humane vegan diet.

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cowf1.jpgIn a tragic turn of events, a trailer transporting cows lost control on California's Interstate 80.

Veering off the road and crashing into a guardrail, the trailer was pierced by metal from the rail, injuring and killing several animals. Others were thrown onto the freeway and at least one cow was hit by a passing vehicle.

This heartbreaking accident spotlights the danger farmed animals are in during transport. It's no surprise that an industry that needlessly slaughters and systematically abuses animals also leaves them with no protections on the open road.

To take a stand against this and other cruelties experienced by farmed animals, visit ChooseVeg.com and consider transitioning to a humane vegan diet.

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b6.jpgOnly months after working to pass an ag-gag bill designed to prevent whistleblowers from exposing horrific animal abuse and other crimes on factory farms, the United Dairymen of Idaho have sent a "confidential" letter to dairy farmers across the state encouraging them to not even allow the media to film at their facilities. According to the Associated Press, which received the letter from an anonymous source, the warning was sent to about 500 dairy farms in Idaho.

Idaho's factory farms clearly have a lot of horribly corrupt and abusive practices to hide if they are willing to take such desperate measures to conceal their cruel practices from the public's view. The sad truth is that animal on Idaho's dairy factory farms are often beaten, kicked, dragged, and even sexually molested.

In 2012, Mercy For Animals released an undercover video exposing horrific animal abuse at Idaho's Bettencourt Dairies - the largest dairy factory farms in the state. The investigation resulted in the conviction of multiple workers who were caught on camera viciously beating and shocking cows, violently twisting their tails in order to deliberately inflict pain, and dragging a downed cow by her neck using a chain attached to a tractor.

View the undercover video footage here:

 

Factory farms subject animals to abuses that are simply out of step with most Americans' values--such as cramming animals in cages so small they cannot turn around, mutilating them without painkillers, and slitting their throats while they are fully conscious. Rather than hide their cruel practices, Idaho's dairy industry should focus on ending them.

Compassionate consumers can take immediate action to help end the routine cruelties perpetrated by the dairy industry simply by going vegan.

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ButterballAbuseA.jpgAccording to an article on NewsObserver.com, North Carolina residents suffering with factory farm pollution will continue to do just that.

Factory farms for chickens, turkeys, and other animals produce high concentrations of ammonia and other noxious gases, causing serious distress to those who live nearby.

Several residents are struggling with unpleasant odors, including Donna Bryant, who cannot let her grandchildren play in the backyard anymore because of the large chicken farm nearby.

Bryant explains, "This place we've lived, almost 30 years, it's our nest-egg. My husband and I are now completely overwhelmed by the stench of chicken houses built directly behind us. Besides the awful smell, we deal with flies that we didn't have before, and the smell getting inside our home. Don't know how long we'll even be able to stay here."

According to the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources, these large-scale farms and agricultural facilities aren't subject to the "general odor rule."

The author concludes: "So that's The Rule - the N.C. Stink Rule that frees factory farms to pollute unchecked on an industrial level, serving giant corporations and hiding behind the cover of 'agriculture.'"

Think factory farms stink? Stop paying them! Check out ChooseVeg.com to find out how.

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1. Tyson (2013)

rsz_tyson.jpgWhat We Found: Pregnant pigs locked in filthy gestation crates, unable to turn around or lie down comfortably for nearly their entire lives, and sadistic animal abuse, including workers throwing a bowling ball at a pig's head, and kicking, throwing, hitting, body slamming, and otherwise torturing pigs at this Walmart pork supplier.

The Result: Tyson Foods, the second-largest pork producer in the country, dropped this facility as a supplier and announced a set of new animal welfare guidelines for all of its pork suppliers, including recommendations to phase out inherently cruel gestation crates, end the practice of body slamming piglets to death, provide pain management during tail docking and castration, and install video monitoring systems to prevent abuse.

Watch the investigation here.

2. Butterball (2011)

rsz_butterball.jpgWhat We Found: Butterball workers maliciously kicking and stomping on birds, dragging them by their fragile wings and necks, violently slamming them into transport crates, and leaving turkeys to suffer from serious untreated injuries and infections without proper veterinary care.

The Result: The arrest and conviction of several workers, including the first-ever felony conviction in U.S. history for cruelty to animals related to birds used for food production. In addition to the historic felony cruelty conviction, the investigation led to the uncovering of government corruption. Dr. Sarah Jean Mason at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture was arrested and found guilty of obstruction of justice after admitting to warning Butterball about a raid by law enforcement.

Watch the investigation here.

3. Hy-Line Hatchery (2009)

rsz_2hy-line_hatchery-2.jpgWhat We Found: Hatching over 300,000 chicks each day, Hy-Line is the largest hatchery of egg-laying breed chicks in the world. Day-old chicks are thrown, mutilated without painkillers, dropped, and dumped into a giant macerating machine to be ground up alive.

The Result: This investigation sparked international outrage and awareness of the common egg industry practice of grinding up male chicks because they do not lay eggs or grow fast enough for meat production. The hidden-camera video became one of the most viral videos on the Web and has been viewed by nearly 4 million people.

Watch the investigation here.

4. Conklin Dairy Farms (2010)

rsz_conklin.jpgWhat We Found: Some of the most sickening animal abuse we've ever seen. The undercover footage exposes cows and newborn calves being beaten in the face with metal pipes, repeatedly stabbed with pitchforks, having their tails broken, and being kicked, thrown, and punched by a worker who seemed to enjoy torturing animals.

The Result: The factory farm worker was arrested and convicted on six counts of cruelty to animals. Additionally, this investigation has been credited with pushing the Ohio Farm Bureau to agree to implement the most comprehensive set of animal welfare reforms ever enacted by a single state at one time, including a ban on veal crates and gestation crates, a moratorium on new battery cage egg facilities, and other important measures.

Watch the investigation here.

5. Sparboe Farms (2011)

rsz_sparboe.jpgWhat We Found: Hens crammed into filthy battery cages and dead hens left to rot alongside birds still laying eggs for human consumption. The investigator also documented workers burning off the beaks of chicks without painkillers, sadistically and maliciously torturing animals, and throwing live birds into plastic bags and leaving them to suffocate.

The Result: In response, McDonald's, Target, and Sam's Club, among other huge retailers, dropped Sparboe from their supply chains, resulting in what may be the largest financial fallout for a factory farm following an undercover investigation. MFA also filed an official complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about Sparboe's blatant lies to consumers about its "humane" treatment of birds.

Watch the investigation here.

6. E6 Cattle Co. (2011)

rsz_e6.jpgWhat We Found: Workers bludgeoning calves with pickaxes and hammers, burning out their horns without painkillers, standing on their necks, pulling them by their ears, and leaving them to suffer without veterinary care.

The Result: The investigation sparked national outrage, caused the live-cattle stock price to drop, and prompted countless consumers to consider the plight of calves born into the dairy industry for the first time. The investigation also led to felony and misdemeanor criminal charges against the owner, his foreman, and several employees for animal abuse. The conviction of E6's owner, deep in the heart of Texas "cattle country," was unprecedented.

Watch the investigation here.

7. Bettencourt Dairies (2012)

rsz_bettencourt.jpgWhat We Found: Workers were caught on video viciously beating and shocking cows, violently twisting their tails in order to deliberately inflict pain, and dragging a downed cow by her neck using a chain attached to a tractor.

The Result: Kraft Foods, the largest food company in the United States, announced a new policy requiring all of its dairy suppliers to phase out the cruel practice of tail docking cattle, among other important animal welfare policies.

Watch the investigation here.

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cowface22.jpgEarlier this year, the USDA recalled nearly 9 million pounds of meat from the Rancho Feeding Co., located in Petaluma, California.

Just a few months later, CNN reported, "Investigators now believe that Rancho was buying diseased dairy cows and processing them when government inspectors weren't there. After the cows were killed, employees would hide the warning signs of cancer by trimming off diseased parts, using a fake stamp of approval or even replacing the heads of sick cows with ones from healthy animals."

Now, according to an article published on AP last week, "slaughterhouse co-owners Jesse Amaral Jr. and Robert Singleton and employees Eugene Corda and Felix Cabrera were charged with distribution of adulterated, misbranded and uninspected meat."

The article continues, "Prosecutors said Cabrera and Corda were among those involved in slaughter of cows with skin cancer of the eye at Amaral and Singleton's instructions and concealing the disease from USDA inspectors, resulting in distribution of about 79 diseased cattle that did not undergo full inspection."

Grossed out? You should be.

Check out ChooseVeg.com for tips on transitioning away from tainted meat, including meal ideas and simple recipes.

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goldengirls.jpgA recent article on MediaPost highlights the growing number of seniors who are embracing a plant-based lifestyle for health and sustainability. "Two and a half million Americans over the age of 55 have made the switch to vegetarianism, and the even-more-extreme version of a plant-based diet - veganism - is going mainstream."

"It also doesn't hurt that many famous Boomers have gone vegan, from Bill Clinton and Al Gore to Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi," the article continues. "And it's not only celebrities but regular folks that are eating green to stave off the chronic conditions that plague four out of five people over age 65."

It's no surprise either. A plant-based diet has been proven to help prevent, and even treat, some of the most common lifestyle-related diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

While recent reports show that younger generations are increasingly vegetarian, it's important to remember that we can all make changes to our diets that will benefit animals, the planet, and our own health.

Ready to make the switch? Check out ChooseVeg.com for tips and delicious vegetarian recipes.

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Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 2.27.39 PM.pngWe've all heard of incredible health improvements as the result of a plant-based diet, such as reversal of heart disease, management of diabetes, and reduced cancer risk. But a recent article in the Daily Mail spotlights a professional ballerina's journey to clearer skin.

According to the article, Saskia Gregson-Williams has cured her chronic eczema with a whole-foods vegan diet. The author says of Saskia's journey, "With no previous interest in nutrition, she decided to read up on foods that caused inflammation in the body, and found that dairy was one of the prime culprits."

When asked about her ailment, Saskia explained, "I used to describe it as a snood of eczema, as it covered all around my neck and all over the rest of my body. I was never diagnosed with any allergies or given treatments that cured it, so I decided to take matters into my own hands."

Ready to take charge of your health? Check out ChooseVeg.com for inspiration, tips on making the transition, and mouthwatering recipes.

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ols 56.jpgHorrifying undercover video footage of animal abuse secretly recorded by Mercy For Animals at Ontario Livestock Sales - the largest livestock auction in southern California - has led to criminal convictions of two of the auction's employees.

Earlier this morning, workers Gustavo Rivas and Miguel Patino Torrez pled no contest before San Bernardino County Superior Court judge Barbara Buchholz to charges that they violated California's criminal animal cruelty laws by kicking, throwing, and beating animals and leaving sick and injured animals to suffer and die.

The workers were ordered to pay court fees and fines totaling $290 each, to pay $250 each to the Inland Valley Humane Society, and were sentenced to two years probation and barred from working with, owning, or possessing animals for five years. Five other workers have also been charged. Their cases are still pending.

Late last month, auction owner Horacio Santorsola was also convicted of criminal cruelty to animals for selling, holding, and transporting "downer" animals who were too sick or injured to stand up or walk, in violation of Section 599f of the California Penal Code. Mercy For Animals praises the San Bernardino District Attorney's Office for pursuing justice in this important case.

During the course of this investigation, MFA's investigator documented:

  • "downed" animals - those too sick or injured to even stand or walk on their own - being left to slowly suffer and die without food, water or veterinary care
  • sick, injured and dying animals being kicked, pushed and dragged into transport trucks to be sold and slaughtered for human consumption
  • workers throwing, beating, stomping on and kicking animals in the face and body
  • workers grabbing, dragging and throwing animals by their heads, necks, ears, horns, tails, and legs, and
  • birds stuffed into bags and goats, sheep and other animals overcrowded into small pens, forcing animals to stand on and even trample each other

You can watch the undercover video here:

 

Sadly, several MFA investigations at livestock auctions across the country demonstrate that these types of abuses are all too common.

As we continue to expose the horrifying practices inherent in animal agriculture and work diligently to hold animal abusers accountable under the law, consumers still hold the greatest power of all to end the needless suffering and death of farmed animals by adopting a compassionate, vegan diet.

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Cow-image.jpgNestlé, the world's largest food company, has announced its commitment to improving farmed animal welfare across its entire global supply chain - covering over 90 countries - in what may be the most comprehensive and far-reaching animal welfare policy of its kind. 

The announcement follows the release of hidden-camera video taken by Mercy For Animals at a Nestlé dairy supplier in Wisconsin showing workers viciously kicking, beating, and stabbing cows and dragging "downed" cows by their fragile legs and necks using chains attached to tractors. 

Citing the need for continuous improvement in animal welfare, Nestlé has announced it will eliminate many of the cruelest forms of institutionalized animal abuse from its supply chain, including an end to the practices of tail docking and dehorning of dairy cattle, an end to the castration of piglets without painkillers, and the phaseout of growth promoters for poultry. The mega company has also committed to ending the intensive confinement of baby calves in veal crates, pregnant pigs in gestation crates, and egg-laying hens in battery cages. 

It is encouraging that Nestlé not only took notice, but also took action, after egregious cruelty was exposed at one of its dairy suppliers. Nestlé's new industry-leading policy will reduce the suffering of millions of animals each year and hopefully inspire other food providers to implement and enforce similar animal welfare requirements. 

While there is still work to be done, Nestlé's new policy represents the most sweeping animal welfare policy ever adopted by a major food distributor. We hope that the rest of the food industry will follow Nestlé's lead in prohibiting the cruel confinement of animals in cages barely larger than their bodies, mutilations without painkillers, and other inhumane practices. 

With Nestlé's announcement, it's never been clearer that the days are numbered for many of the factory farming industry's cruelest practices. It's now time for Walmart, McDonald's, and others to stop dragging their feet and use their power and influence to reduce the needless pain and suffering animals endure on factory farms. 

Click here to sign the petition calling on Walmart to do away with cruel gestation crates in its pork supply chain. 

Click here to sign the petition urging McDonald's to stop sourcing eggs for its Egg McMuffins from battery-caged hens. 

And remember, the best step anyone can take to help stop cruelty to farmed animals is to transition to a delicious and humane vegan diet. For more information, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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