Environmental Groups Are Suing New York Over Water Pollution Caused by Dairy Farms – Here’s Why

Environmental Groups Are Suing New York Over Water Pollution Caused by Dairy Farms – Here’s Why

In recent years, public awareness about the shocking cruelty of the animal agriculture industry - particularly factory farms - has greatly increased. At the same time, more and more people are beginning to learn about how harmful the industry’s practices are to the environment. Far higher amounts of freshwater and land resources are required for the production of meat and dairy than for the production of plant-based foods. To take just one example, the production of beef requires approximately 160% more land resources than the production of plant-based protein products. Additionally, a person who stops eating meat and dairy products for one year can save 200,000 gallons of freshwater!

The world’s farmed animals produce around 130 times more waste than the entire human population. Approximately 150 gallons of water are required per cow, per day, to hydrate the animals, remove excrement from the floors of factory farms, and clean slaughter equipment. Once this water has been used, it contains too much animal waste, antibiotics, growth hormones and bacteria to be returned to the water treatment system. Instead, it must be stored in open-air lagoons that can be the size of several football fields. These lagoons often leak into the surrounding groundwater – and some farmers even drain them by spraying the polluted water onto neighboring lands – which can cause massive problems for drinking water supplies in the area.

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Health Leaders Must Focus on the Threats From Factory Farms

Health Leaders Must Focus on the Threats From Factory Farms

This week, the World Health Organization — which works globally to improve human health — will meet in Geneva to select a new director general. We have a mission for that leader: take on factory farms, a major threat to health and the environment.

Starting just after World War II, animal production in the United States became increasingly industrialized. Factory-like farms radically increased the number of cows, chickens and pigs they could raise and slaughter with economic efficiency. This is one reason meat consumption rose sharply in the United States after the war. So, too, worldwide, meat production has tripled over the last four decades and increased 20 percent in just the last 10 years, according to research by the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental research group.

This sweeping change in meat production and consumption has had grave consequences for our health and environment, and these problems will grow only worse if current trends continue.

Taking on this public health issue is well within the W.H.O.’s mandate. Addressing last year’s World Health Assembly, Margaret Chan, the organization’s departing director general, called antibiotic-resistant microbes, climate change and chronic diseases “three slow-motion disasters” shaping the global health landscape. Factory farming connects the dots among them.

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Carton Of Cruelty: Behind Big Dairy's Closed Doors

Carton Of Cruelty: Behind Big Dairy's Closed Doors

In a heartbreaking new undercover video, Compassion Over Killing reveals violent abuse of gentle mother cows at Mason Dixon Farms, a massive dairy factory farm in Pennsylvania with more than 2,500 animals.

Mason Dixon supplies some of the biggest names in dairy, including Dairy Farmers of America and Land O’Lakes. 

One of the largest dairy facilities on the East Coast, Mason Dixon was the first in the US to implement milking of cows by machines, known as “robo-milking.” Approximately half of the 2,500 cows on this factory farm are now “robo-milked.”

Though Mason Dixon touts itself as a leading example in the dairy industry, the footage taken by COK’s investigator who worked inside the facility uncovers a different reality

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Victory! Subway Announces Monumental Chicken Welfare Policy

Victory! Subway Announces Monumental Chicken Welfare Policy

The world's largest fast-food franchise, Subway, has agreed to meaningful changes to its chicken welfare policies after a national initiative of The Humane League led by Philadelphia high school student Lia Hyman. 

This effort was part of our larger 88% Campaign.

Just last week, Lia and others traveled to Subway headquarters in Milford, CT to deliver a petition with over 50 thousand signatures from concerned citizens asking for better treatment for chickens in the company's supply chain and stage a silent demonstration. 

In addition, a billboard was launched on the main highway to Subway's headquarters directing the general public to the campaign website. Our grassroots team held dozens of protests across the country and hundreds of consumers and students also spoke out against Subway on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, asking the restaurant to address the violent abuse taking place in its supply chain.

Their efforts, and the voices and input of the thousands who called, emailed, wrote letters and protested, didn't go unanswered, as a new welfare policy was released today.

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8 Things Vegans And Meat Eaters Can Totally Agree On

8 Things Vegans And Meat Eaters Can Totally Agree On

STEPHEN COMMENT:   I’ve chosen Joe Loria’s Mercy for Animals post as the featured article in Issue 10.

I agree with all 8 of these.

Take a look. How many do you agree with?

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We may think we see the world differently, but here are eight things we can definitely all agree on.

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Pasture-raised Eggs: Healthy And Humane

Pasture-raised Eggs: Healthy And Humane

STEPHEN COMMENT:  If you are going to buy eggs, source your eggs. Know where they come from.

Pasture-raised eggs taste much better. You can tell just by seeing the richer color of the yolks. They are fresher. They contain more vitamins and nutrients than factory-farmed eggs. They are the product of happy chickens, who have normal – not artificially accelerated -  laying cycles, living healthy lives and thus, do not require antibiotic dosing to keep them disease free.

You will pay a bit more for these eggs, but the benefits are more than worth it. Your purchase is also supporting smaller scale family farmers, their families and by extension, their communities.

The theme of Issue 10 is, in these dark times, protecting yourself and your loved ones by living healthy, living well and staying strong. 

Stay strong and take a stand: fight cruelty and injustice by the simple, powerful act of not spending your consumer dollars on food that is the product of animal cruelty and suffering. Do not contribute to ongoing and future animal suffering by supporting the companies responsible for it.

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Newly released studies by Mother Earth News cite pasture-raised eggs as the most humane and healthy option for egg consumers.

Now that 2017 is upon us, many people are making resolutions to eat healthier and, according to recent studies, few foods have as many health benefits as eggs. 

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Ground-Breaking Animal Welfare Organic Rules Moving Forward

Ground-Breaking Animal Welfare Organic Rules Moving Forward

STEPHEN COMMENT:   California State Assembly Bill 27, which places tough restrictions on the use of all antibiotics on farm animals, was signed into law on October 10th by Governor Jerry Brown. This is a monumental victory for animal welfare and for us.

 “The law is a game-changer,” says Avinash Kar, a staff attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It instantly puts California at the forefront of U.S. efforts to end livestock misuse of antibiotics.” And as Maryn McKenna also notes in this excellent article, “According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, California is the country’s biggest dairy producer and third-leading state (behind Iowa and Texas) for beef cattle. It produces 5% of US milk, beef cattle, and chicken eggs, and because of the new law, the lives of all the animals responsible for those products will change. … And maybe more important, California has always been a place that sets trends for the rest of the country to follow.”

The massive overuse of antibiotics on factory farmed livestock, administered routinely in their food and water to maximize weight gain and for disease prevention and control, is a practice that is completely unnecessary when humanely rearing sustainably farmed, pastured livestock – as nearly any small family farmer or rancher will tell you.

It may be considered a necessity on factory farms because the living conditions, due to vast overcrowding, are so vile, so toxic and so debilitating that, without constant dosing of antibiotics, large percentages of factory-farmed livestock very probably would succumb to disease and die.

In addition to protecting the essential effectiveness of current antibiotics, which is the subject of Issue 8, there is one other reason this new legislation is important from my perspective. By prohibiting antibiotic misuse, Bill 27 should force factory farmers to take steps to lessen overcrowding and to clean up the pestilent living environment of their animals - perhaps even to abandon the horror that is the system of factory farming itself.

They certainly will no longer have recourse to the routine dosing of antibiotics to keep these suffering animals alive.

This is a landmark, overdue, tremendous piece of legislation, signed into law in a visionary state, which I for one, am proud to call home.

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Update: The new rules were finalized on January, 18, 2017.

As we’ve reported in the past, buying certified organic meat doesn’t guarantee the animals were treated humanely. And while there’s no cure-all for an industry that often prioritizes economy over animal welfare, things may be looking up for animals raised on organic farms in the U.S.

That’s because a set of rules called the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) won last-minute approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and could make it onto the Federal Register to become law within the week. The OLPP enacts comprehensive animal welfare standards covering living conditions (particularly for poultry), healthcare, slaughter, and transport.

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Resistance To The Antibiotic Of Last Resort Is Silently Spreading

Resistance To The Antibiotic Of Last Resort Is Silently Spreading

The alarm bells sounded on November 18, 2015.

Antibiotic resistance is usually a slow-moving crisis, one of the reasons its danger can be hard to convey. Just over a year after they were discovered in China, bacteria that can fend off colistin are being found all across the world.

One by one, over the years, the drugs used to fight the most stubborn infections have fallen by the wayside as bacteria have evolved resistance to them. For certain infections, the only drug left is colistin. Then on November 18, 2015, scientists published a report in the British medical journal The Lancet: A single, easily spreadable gene makes the bacteria that carry it resistant to colistin, our antibiotic of last resort.

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Latest HSUS Undercover Investigation Reveals Painful Practices In Egg Industry

Latest HSUS Undercover Investigation Reveals Painful Practices In Egg Industry

An undercover investigation by The HSUS has revealed cruel treatment of egg-laying hens at New England’s largest egg producer. The factory farm in question supplies eggs to several states, including Massachusetts. 

The Maine facility where we conducted the investigation is a massive complex of almost 70 warehouses that together confine some four million laying hens. It’s operated by Hillandale Farms and owned by egg magnate Jack DeCoster, whose filthy facilities in Iowa led to a 2010 salmonella outbreak for which he was criminally convicted.

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Another Egg Farm is Under Fire for Horrifying Cruelty to Hens

Another Egg Farm is Under Fire for Horrifying Cruelty to Hens

Another disturbing undercover investigation is shedding yet more light on some of the horrifying abuses commonplace in the egg industry. The investigation, released by Mercy For Animals (MFA), was conducted at Shady Brae Farms in Marietta, Pennsylvania, which is certified by United Egg Producers (UEP).

The footage shows a number of serious problems that should make people question their interest in eating eggs. Hens left suffering from illness and injury without any intervention, others trapped by their cages and unable to move or reach food or water, while getting trampled by their cage mates. Dead chickens rotting amidst hens laying eggs for people to eat.

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How Reduced Meat Consumption Could Save $31 Trillion – and The Planet

How Reduced Meat Consumption Could Save $31 Trillion – and The Planet

Between now and 2050, a global switch to diets that rely far less on meat and far more on vegetables, fruits, and other plant foods could not only save up to 8 million lives per year, and reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds. Such a change would also save, in reduced health care costs and reduced costs from climate change, up to $31 trillion.

Does that sound like the wild-eyed claim made by some group with a vegetarian agenda? It’s actually the conclusions of a major new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last week.

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The True Cost of a Cheap Meal

The True Cost of a Cheap Meal

WHILE PERUSING the items at a quaint antique store, I happened upon a catalog from the 1920s advertising farm-fresh food. It featured cabbage for two cents per pound, a dozen eggs for forty-four cents, and a half-gallon of milk for thirty-three cents. The shop owner told me that he was perplexed by the prices because, adjusting for inflation, it should cost roughly four dollars for a dozen eggs and eight dollars for a gallon of milk in today’s dollars. Consumers today pay less than half of what we would expect to pay based on historic prices.

The antique store owner, like most Americans, didn’t realize that we currently spend a smaller percentage of our income on food than ever before. While on its face that may seem beneficial, this system of cheap food relies on billions of dollars of externalized costs that are kept hidden from consumers.

Externalized costs are negative effects of producing or consuming a good that are imposed on a third party and not accounted for in the sticker price of an item. Among food products, there is no greater discrepancy between printed cost and true cost than with animal products. When we take a closer look at meat, dairy, and eggs, externalized costs become apparent in four primary areas: animals, health, social justice, and the environment.

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Superbug Bacteria Resistant To All Antibiotics Found In The UK

Superbug Bacteria Resistant To All Antibiotics Found In The UK

Following the discovery in the UK of bacteria that resist the most common antibiotic of last resort, a leading British expert is warning it is “almost too late” to stop a global superbug crisis.

News outlets reported Monday that UK government scientists have found a gene, known as mcr-1, that gives bacteria resistance to colistin, often used by doctors when other antibiotics fail. Such resistance was first discovered last month in China and in the past few weeks, the resistance gene has also been found in Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and in several Asian and African countries.

The rise of the so-called post-antibiotic era is widely linked to over- and misuse of antibiotics in industrial agriculture.

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Antibiotic Of Last Resort Faces New Superbug Threat

Antibiotic Of Last Resort Faces New Superbug Threat

A resistant bacterial strain has emerged in Chinese livestock and is spreading quickly. Could this be the beginning of the end of the antibiotic era?

Widespread use of antibiotics in industrial agriculture to promote the growth of livestock and prevent disease in overcrowded factory farms has been fingered as the key culprit in the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as superbugs. Now, a heavy-hitting antibiotic that doctors have relied on as a last-ditch treatment for some of the worst superbugs appears in danger of losing its effectiveness as well—and it is losing it quickly.

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Fighting Superbugs In 2016

Fighting Superbugs In 2016

The start of a new year usually brings hope and anticipation, but in the fight against resistant bacteria, 2016 begins with both alarm and optimism. Last year ended with two discouraging findings. There was the discovery—first in China and quickly thereafter on multiple continents—of a new genetic mechanism that can make “superbugs” resistant to colistin, which until now was one of the few medications doctors could still turn to fight infections. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that sales of medically important antibiotics for use in food animals continued to rise in 2014, marking a 23 percent increase since 2009. Yet although the public health threat continues to grow, there are some major policies, plans, and milestones to keep your eye on this year: changes that have the potential to make a meaningful difference in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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Stop The Overuse Of Antibiotics On Factory Farms

Stop The Overuse Of Antibiotics On Factory Farms

IMAGINE if a new type of infectious bacteria were to be unleashed on the United States, one that was largely immune to current treatment. Tens of thousands of people could die each year, with the possibility of more to come.

It sounds like a science-fiction movie, but a similar situation is taking place right now. This year, it’s estimated that 23,000 Americans will die from superbugs — bacteria that are difficult or impossible to treat with antibiotics. The threat has the potential to grow dramatically, with scientists from organizations like the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warning that the spread of these superbugs threatens to take away modern medicine’s best tool for fighting dangerous infections.

So far, the U.S. government has not yet taken aggressive action on one of the least justifiable contributors to antibiotic resistance in the United States: the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms.

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Why I'm An Animal Rights Activist When There Is So Much Human Suffering In The World

Why I'm An Animal Rights Activist When There Is So Much Human Suffering In The World

STEPHEN COMMENT:  Before I was an animal rights activist, I was a budding human rights activist. While in law school, I helped victims of domestic violence obtain personal protection orders. I studied human rights and refugee law, participated in an asylum clinic, spent all my summer legal internships working with refugee organizations and focused primarily on helping women who were victims of gender-based persecution and violence such as honor crimes, forced genital mutilation, sex-trafficking, and rape. 

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It is hard to measure pain. Usually with humans we just ask them how much pain they feel and they tell us. But when they can't tell us, we look for external signs of pain such as trying to get away from the source of pain, vocalizing (yelling, crying), grimacing or shaking to name a few. Nonhuman animals demonstrate all of these same signs. If we can bear not to look away, it is plain to see that the egg laying hens crammed into battery cages, or the sows confined to gestation creates so small that can't turn around, or the dairy cows being dragged to slaughter because they are too lame to walk all suffer tremendously.

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Dairy Giant Saputo to Refuse Milk From Farmers Who Mistreat Animals

Dairy Giant Saputo to Refuse Milk From Farmers Who Mistreat Animals

A Canadian dairy giant says it will no longer buy milk from farmers who mistreat their animals.

Quebec-based Saputo, one of the largest dairy processors in the world, announced its new policy Tuesday in the wake of an undercover video last year that showed workers at one of its suppliers viciously beating cattle.

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Arizona Says That Farm Animals Aren't Animals

Arizona Says That Farm Animals Aren't Animals

Arizona has a pretty abysmal track record when it comes to its treatment of humans, having created, over the past few years, what some have called a “climate of intimidation” for undocumented immigrants in the state. Now, some Arizona lawmakers are trying to push a bill that would make the Grand Canyon State a pretty uncomfortable place for livestock, too.

Last Monday, Arizona’s Senate advanced a bill, authored by Republican Brenda Barton of Payson, that proposes treating livestock differently than from house pets when it comes to animal cruelty.

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