You probably already know what a battery cage looks like from the outside. But can you imagine what it must be like trapped on the INSIDE?? Find out with this interactive simulation which puts YOU in the cage. Step inside ...
What'd you think? Awful, isn't it? And yet that is what battery hens in factory farms experience for every minute of their entire lives. On average, a battery hen will spend up to two years in a cage like that - with no stimulation, no fresh air, no dirt beneath their feet. After two years, these hens produce less eggs then they used to, so they're gotten rid of - trucked to the slaughterhouse.
It doesn't seem fair, does it? It's not like people even need to eat eggs - check out the alternatives that are all readily available.
Wanna know more about hens trapped in factory farms? Then spend just two minutes watching this.
You can rage against cages with over 60,000 other Aussies who have already taken the Make it Possible pledge. Join them to make the world a kinder place for animals.
P.S. Want to know what the labels on egg cartons really mean for hens (and chicks)? Then grab this handy chart for the fridge at home.
If you wanted to know the full story about where cage eggs come from - where would you go for the info? A website set up by the Australian Egg Corporation Ltd (AECL)? Or would you ask an imaginary green man named Gumby from the 1950s? If you chose the imaginary Gumby, you'd be ... CORRECT!
In case you don't know, Gumby was a plasticine man (thing?) on the telly from the 1950s right through to the 1980s. Him and his mates (including a talking horse and a dinosaur that drives a car) spent each episode getting crazy and generally having a good time. Now believe it or not, but it seems Gumby is more interested in schooling people about the reality of cage eggs than the AECL are! Check out this episode of Gumby where the Blockheads kidnap his friend Tilly (who is a chicken. Yes, Gumby is friends with a chicken - legend.)
Here's what Gumby got right about cage egg production:
Hens will never feel the sun on their feathers.
They're confined to cages their entire lives, with no chance for exercise.
Hens suffer broken bones and lameness after spending their lives in a cramped cage.
If a hen stops laying eggs, she's in serious trouble
The most accurate part comes at the 1.41 minute mark though. When Tilly asks where she is, her caged neighbour replies, "This is hell". Pretty heavy stuff for a kids show!
So how does this match up against what the AECL wants you to know about battery hens? On their website about hen welfare, they've listed all the supposed advantages for chickens confined in battery cages. (Remember, the space each bird gets inside these cages is not much larger than an A4 sheet of paper, and chickens spend their ENTIRE lives in there).
1) "If a bird does become sick, cage-based housing makes it easier to identify and remove birds for treatment." That's a touching thought, but I'm not sure that the sick bird at the end of this video would consider her 'treatment' that helpful. And it's not uncommon for birds to die unnoticed in their cage, leaving their cage mates stuck in a cage with their dead body.
2) "Better protection from in-fighting and cannibalism." The reality is hens have the tips of their beaks sliced off to prevent them from pecking at each other in their cramped cage. Since when was cutting bits and pieces off animals to make them fit cruel systems ok?
3) "Protection from the elements and predators like eagles, snakes, foxes and feral cats." But I want to know who's protecting them from factory farmers! Being doomed to a life sentence in a battery cage is no life. They'll never smell fresh air, or even get to properly stretch their wings.
One fact that neither Gumby or the AECL mention, is what happens to all the male chicks in the egg industry (sadly, not just for cage eggs)...
"Hell" pretty much sums it up :(
The simplest way to make sure you aren't supporting chicken cruelty is to go egg-free (or if not, then at the very least ditch cage eggs). Your body doesn't need eggs any more than it needs plasticine and you can find egg replacers at most big supermarkets. You can do your bit to help hens by pledging to make the battery cage history.
(p.s. Want to know what all the other labels on egg cartons really mean for hens (and chicks)? Then grab this handy chart.)
This is Autumn. She was recently rescued from a factory farm and is only now experiencing life's simple joys for the very first time.
Autumn is quiet, but when she chirps, she sounds like a baby. She never knew her mother, but constantly seeks comfort and protection from those around her.
Until recently, the only life she knew was inside the walls of a factory farm. She never saw the sun. She had no room to move, and lay in faeces covered litter every hour of every day.
Autumn was valued only for how much meat she could produce. Her body was bred to grow many times faster than nature intended. At just 30 days old, she already carries the weight of an adult, and struggles to walk.
Chickens like Autumn are not designed to live past six weeks. Soon Autumn is likely to succumb to lameness or heart failure. But in her last weeks or months, she is discovering what brings joy and meaning to her life. Her eyes close in delight whenever the sun hits her face. She has developed a profound love for watermelon. Yesterday, she learned to dust bathe...
She enjoys time with her feathered companions. In fact, she becomes distressed if she and her best friend Summer lose sight of one other.
Last week the chickens Autumn grew up with were packed into crates and trucked to slaughter. This week they will be on supermarket shelves.
Autumn lives on, and if you share this, so will her story.
She is someone, not something.
Thanks to Tamara Kenneally Photography for providing Autumn's photo and providing sanctuary for her to live out her life in peace. And thanks to you, for caring. Every meal is a choice. Animals like Autumn are depending on us to make compassionate ones.
UPDATE: Sadly, Autumn passed away in late July. Rescued and given a loving home, her last weeks of life were filled with
simple joys that most chickens are never given the chance to discover. Brought into this world only two months ago, trapped in
a body that was designed not to sustain life, but to grow unnaturally
fast. She was just one of millions who grow up in factory farms across
Australia. Farewell Autumn.
And if that weren't enough reason to jump for joy, there's more...
The Tassie Minister for Agriculture has also announced that they are going to fast track the phase out of pregnant sow crates. You might remember a couple of years ago they committed to getting rid of these cruel crates by 2017... well now they are promising to have 'em gone for good by the middle of next year!
If you've ever written a letter, shared a campaign video or spoken out for battery hens and mother pigs, then give yourself a pat on the back. You've been a part of making history today!
That's one state down, and just a few more to go (don't worry, the first one's always the hardest)...
Across the rest of Australia mother pigs can still be locked in cramped crates, where they can't even turn around. And get this: an estimated one in every six battery hens lives in chronic pain with a broken bone.
Don't you think it's about time the egg industry voluntarily phased out battery cages?!
Here's the deal.. if you want to help hens and pigs around Australia, there are two important emails you can shoot off asap:
Tell Australian Egg Corporation Ltd (AECL) that the writing is on the wall! Tassie is phasing out battery cages, so it's about time they do the right thing and commit to a voluntary phase out of battery cages. Email AECL here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell Australia Pork Ltd (APL) to hurry up! If Tassie can get rid of pregnant sow crates by next year, why can't the rest of Australia? Email APL here: email@example.com
Once you've sent those off it's time to celebrate!
Missy Higgins is the complete package -- a chart-topping musician, a budding actress, and best of all, she practically oozes compassion. As well as releasing her latest (sure-to-be) hit album, Missy has joined forces with Animals Australia to give her beautiful voice to the most abused animals on the planet -- battery hens.
So why is Missy speaking up for hens? Well, in the EU, battery cages have been completely banned. But get this -- in Australia, 12 MILLION hens are still imprisoned in battery cages! Whaaat??
I'm always heartened when I hear other people discussing animal welfare issues in the street or on TV. So I was pretty chuffed to turn on my computer this morning and see that Voiceless launched an ad campaign today that will have everyone talking. Check this out:
Did you know that countries in Europe have already outlawed those awful sow stalls that the mother pigs are stuck in, unable to even turn around? And those adorable little pigs being used for 'pork belly' have probably had their teeth clipped and tails cut off without pain killers? Yep, this happens every day in Australia.Â But wait, there's more:
This could be a scene from NCIS! Describing in graphic detail how the victim suffered before they died always makes for riveting television -- but this victim is one of millions of chickens going through this every year right here in Australia. There won't be any murder investigations here, but who needs to watch NCIS when there's gruesome tales of broken bones or prisoners being locked up and never seeing the sun, right there in the meat section of the supermarket freezer?
These are stories that need to be told -- kudos to Voiceless for these awesome ads, and to Hugo Weaving and Abbie Cornish for using their fame to speak up for factory farmed animals.
Gosh, what a year it's been! Animal rights hit the mainstream in a big way in 2011. Check out this inspiring vid by Unleashed's big sister, Animals Australia for some of the highlights:
We just want to say a big 'thank you' to you for everything you've done to support our campaigns this year. If you attended a rally, wrote emails or letters, took action on our website, or did anythign else to support our work, then thank you for helping us have such a big impact for animals in 2011.
If you ask me, Friday's are pretty sweet... after all, it's almost the weekend. But this week we've got a plan to make Friday even sweeter.
This Friday (14th October) is World Egg Day... I know, I know... you're thinking "What could be sweet about a day celebrating an industry that locks 11 million hens in cages with less space per bird than an A4 sheet of paper, that kills hens who aren't producing enough eggs (usually at around 18months of age) and that kills about 12 million male chicks on their first day of life - simply because they weren't born female, and so can't produce eggs?" ... like this:
... but hold up a sec, and I'll tell you what we have in mind.
This Friday, we'd like to invite you to join us in protesting the egg industry's cruelty to chickens in just about the tastiest way we know how... by baking a delicious egg-free cake!
And by sharing your cruelty-free cake with friends (I know it's hard :P), you can show them just how sweet making a difference for chickens can be!
So, what are you going to bake this Friday for World Egg-Free Day?
P.S. You can also spread the word about World Egg-Free Day by making the image below your facebook profile pic in the lead up to Friday. (Right click on the image to download and save the file ('save image as'), upload it to Facebook and make it your new profile pic. Then tag all your friends, to grab their attention!)
If somebody told you that an animal was 'free to roam', you'd probably think that's a pretty good situation, right? Not so if you're a chicken in a factory farm. Can you believe the chicken industry has been calling this 'free to roam'?!
Alright, it's probably no surprise that an industry willing to lock thousands of animals in sheds like this is also willing to bend the truth when they try to sell dead animals to the public. But this time around, it doesn't look like they'll get away with it.
Following a complaint, prompted by Animals Australia, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has decided to take a number of chicken producers (including producers for Steggles and La Ionica) to court for misleading advertising.
But these companies aren't the only ones using these dodgy tactics to sell chickens. Seeing the writing on the wall, KFC have now taken all claims that their chickens are 'free to roam' off their website.
If the ACCC case is successful, then Steggles, La Ionica and the Australian Chicken Meat Federation will be forced to publicly correct their misleading claims.
If only the ACCC could also force them to tell the public that birds inside their sheds have been selectively bred to grow so unnaturally fast that many cannot even lift their own body weight to reach food or water. Or that they kill the birds when they are only 6 weeks old -- cutting their lives short by about 11 years. Or that because these animals are forced to live in their own waste many suffer chemical burns to their chest and legs.
But we don't need to wait for the chicken industry to admit their shady sales tactics. Take the Quiz to find out if you've been duped by the chicken industry. Then click here to post it to Facebook and challenge your mates to see if they can see through the industry spin.
Update: 10th January, 2012 -- Chicken meat company La Ionica has agreed to settle! They've been ordered to pay a $100,000 fine, remove the misleading advertisement from shops and publish an ad admitting liability in a Melbourne newspaper. Baiada, Bartter and the Australian Chicken Meat Federation are continuing with the case though, which will go to court in March of this year. Stay tuned!
Every now and then you see a clip that really makes you stop and think. This is undoubtedly one of them:
It's not every day that you'd get such a short vid that manages to get in so many shocking elements in such an effective way.
From the bacon slices to the roast chicken, the eggs, the milk and even the mayonnaise, this talented film maker has provided a voice for pigs, broiler chickens, laying hens and dairy cows in just 30 seconds. All the while flickering this important line "You may be blind to this but you're the only voice they've got".
And the final sound of an innocent sheep crying really brings home the point that we must use our voices to help end the suffering of these exploited animals.
Thanks so much to Brett Ludeman from Storybottle for creating such a haunting vid for Unleashed, and for showing others the reality of their dinner or their cup of milky coffee.
What do you think of this ultra short film? Do you know anyone who would be blind to this? You could share the video and help them open up their eyes and their ears and use their voice to help animals.
An ex battery hen has won a Braveheart Award from a veterinary clinic in the UK! Angel was struggling to lay an extra large egg when her human companion (and rescuer) Lorraine Fox noticed she had a prolapsed vent.
I hear you asking "What's a prolapsed vent?" Lightning fast biology lesson: Sometimes called "uterine prolapse". If a chicken is attempting to lay an egg that is larger than normal, part of her oviduct (the equivalent of a human female's uterus) can be pushed out as well. As you can imagine, having raw inflamed tissue that should be inside the body exposed outside of the body is extremely painful. (Sorry, if you're a tad squeamish!)
Fortunately, the crook chook was rushed off to the vet straight away. After some very tricky and complicated surgery (called a cloacapexy - there's your new word for the day!), Angel recovered amazingly well and was back to her old self within a day :)
Unfortunately prolapses are actually a fairly common occurrence among laying hens, both in cages and free range. The difference between hens on factory farms in battery cages and Angel, is that Angel now has a loving attentive human companion who noticed that she was sick straight away and raced her to the vet to save her.
Battery hens are almost never this lucky. Stacked in cages up to 4 levels high with up to 5 hens to a cage, it's easy for workers to not notice sick birds. Many birds with prolapsed vents die in agony from infection in their cage and are not discovered for days. If they are discovered, they are likely killed, or worse, simply thrown out live and left for dead. This may have even been Angel's fate had she not already been rescued by Lorraine.
If only every hen was lucky enough to a loving, caring home and friends to look out for them!
Do you know of an animal who deserves a bravery award?
Whenever Easter is upon us I start thinking of the usual suspects: rabbits and chickens (although what a rabbit has to do with eggs I'm still trying work out!). I've not had a lot to do with bunnies but chooks hold a firm place in my heart, even though they're sometimes referred to as ...well, bird brains!
A study last year proved that chickens are in fact, incredibly clever. So much so that they have different calls for things like food, and because of this females are more likely to choose their mates based on intelligence (ie "how good is he at finding food and then telling me about it?")
I already knew that chooks are pretty special, and this was confirmed during a nutrition assignment I did two years ago at Uni. Each group had 20 day old chicks (10 boys and 10 girls) that had been bred for the meat industry (called broiler chickens). We were to feed them, weigh them, assess their health, etc every day for 6 weeks, even on weekends. I knew what their fate was at the end of the project so I offered to take ours home. I knew I could find homes for 20 chooks and probably even more. But my supervisor told me it was pointless. You see broiler chickens can't live past 7 weeks even if they aren't sent to slaughter.
After years of selective breeding for fast growth, these baby birds were growing at an epic rate right before our eyes. Meat chickens now grow three times faster than normal. By 6 weeks old they are the size of fully grown birds, only they are still babies, chirping and struggling to move their massive bodies using underdeveloped baby legs.
That was a very tough 6 weeks for me. These birds got to know us and were friendly and funny. One girl would even run to the edge of the cage when she saw us coming, so sweet. Number 5 was her name. Isn't that cold? Number 5.
During the project, two of our birds died. One boy had a blocked crop (the part on their throat where the food gets kind of ground up and digested), possibly after he'd accidently swallowed some sawdust from the floor litter, so he kept eating as his crop became huge and his body became malnourished. He was starving and we knew he wouldn't get better without medical treatment. But that would involve putting him on different feeds, which would ruin the project data, God forbid. Eventually a uni worker 'euthanised' him by chopping his head off. Imagine if we euthanised our pets this way! The second boy flipped onto his back while I was refilling the feed one day. His wings flapped frantically, slamming the cage floor as I desperately called for help. Then he just stopped and lay still. His young overworked heart had given out under the immense weight of his mutant body. He was finally at peace, and I stroked him goodbye through tears.
By week 6 of the project, Number 5 didn't run to greet us anymore. She couldn't. She could hardly move at all. Not even to reach the feeders or the water trays which were actually moved up higher and higher to encourage the chicks to stand. But it was just too painful for her. It was almost like the feeder trays were mocking our hungry friend.
The final day was the worst. The girls in my group and I picked up our birds lovingly and held them to us, saying "goodbye" and "sorry" as we moved them into the trays that would be stacked on top of each other on the back of a truck. We sobbed the whole time. It was a sunny day and the birds squinted at the huge ball of fire in the sky that they'd never seen before. They wouldn't see it for long. The truck drove off to the slaughterhouse, with our beautiful clever birds on board, Number 5 wondering where she was off to on this cramped bumpy ride and wondering what kind people would be there when she arrived. Even the sickest birds were on there, weak from hunger, joints aching, some with newly blocked crops. I cried as much as I've ever cried before as white baby bird feathers flew past my face and the truck rattled down the road.
I'd already stopped eating chicken years before this happened. But I decided then and there that I couldn't eat eggs either. Even though our birds weren't layer hens, I knew I wanted absolutely nothing to do with the exploitation of an amazing species I now loved. And that certainly meant no more eggs. (I've since discovered so much horror behind eggs!)
So these new research findings are nothing new to me. Chickensare truly incredible birds full of personality and love. And they are anything but "bird brains"!
If you must decorate an egg this Easter, use papier mache and paint away! Or buy a dairy-free chocolate egg and tie a ribbon around it in tribute to the millions of intelligent chickens that suffer and die for meat and eggs in Australia each year.
There's a new legend in town! New Zealander, Carl Scott is at this very moment, sitting alone in a tiny cage next to a highway, and he plans to stay there for a whole month!
Why? To shine the spotlight on the cruel treatment of chickens kept in battery cages for their eggs (yes, sadly the situation in NZ is not much different to Australia). Now that's commitment!
The space he's living in for the next month is less than two metres across, 130cm high (he can't even stand up!) and even includes his toilet. Yet Carl would be the first to tell you that despite these cramped conditions he's still got it way better than the average chook (let's call her Betty).
To start with, Betty doesn't have her own cage; she has to share it with up to 5 other birds, with less than the space of an A4 piece of paper for each to live in . She can't even flap her wings!
Betty's cage is one of thousands of cages, stacked in rows - up to four cages high. Living in the bottom row, she is showered with waste from hens locked in cages above hers.
Betty has lost many of the feathers that would keep her warm from constantly rubbing against the wire of the cage. If Betty isn't living in chronic pain from an untreated broken bone, then stats suggest that at least one of her cagemates is. 
For virtually her entire life, she has been locked in this tiny cage in a windowless shed. The short time before she was put in this cage was no more pleasant. During that time the tip of her beak was sliced off with a hot iron, without any pain relief.
Even if Betty survives life in this miserable cage, her only 'reward' for producing eggs will be death. When she no longer lays enough eggs to be 'profitable', she will be trucked off to slaughter with her cage-mates (before her second birthday), without ever knowing the simple joys of dustbathing, perching or building her own nest.
There is absolutely no doubt that chickens in battery cages endure a life of hell. None of us would want to trade places with them. Which makes Carl's demonstration all the more heroic. Carl, you're a legend!
If you don't think any person or animal should be forced to live this way, have your say for chickens in New Zealand here and chickens in Australia here.
Do you think you could spend a month in a cage for the cause?
Ref  Parkinson G (1993), "Osteoporosis and bone fractures in the laying hen", Progress report of work at the Victorian Institute of Animal Science, Attwood
Yesterday Australian Pork Limited announced that they were "pursuing a voluntary phase out" of sow stalls by 2017. Now we all know that 2017 really isn't soon enough - I mean Coles has committed to doing the same by 2014 - but this still marks a major victory and means ultimately millions of mother pigs will be spared a miserable life of solitary confinement.
But wait, there's more! This morning Coles added another to their recent streak of animal welfare improvements. They've announced they will be completely ditching their own brand of cage eggs by 2013. I don't think I need to tell you that this is good news for those who care about animals and bad news for animal abusers.
I'm gonna say it... this is the beginning of the end for factory farming! Supermarkets and industry (or at least the pig industry) are seeing the writing on the wall. Factory farming's days are numbered. Really, once the public realises that piglets have their tails cut off without pain relief, or that chickens raised for meat are crammed into sheds by the thousands only to marinate in their own waste for 42 days before slaughter, will they want to support those practices? I think not!
At this rate we'll be out of a job in no time (ok maybe that's wishful thinking). But really, if you want to help put us out of a job and give animals the ultimate protection they deserve then the answer's simple - don't eat 'em.
Tell me, what factory farming practice would you like to see put into the history books next?
Check out these fabulous photos of our Rise Against Comp winner Timothy with his feathered friends! Wouldn't it be wonderful if all chooks could enjoy this kind of life – have you ever seen happier hens?
Cheers for the pics, Tim!
The other lucky winners were Jen, Darth Vegan, and Arieluxable. Congratulations guys! Guard the autographed Unleashed T shirts with your life (and no, we wouldn't advise wearing it to the Big Day Out!) ;)
Big thanks go to the Rise Against guys for being so generous and happy to speak up for animals. In case you missed the band's exclusive interview, here it is for you to enjoy:
Don't fret if you didn't win this awesome comp, 'cause we love to give away goodies and signed stuff from awesome artists. Make sure you enter to win a copy of the new book 'Meat is for Pussies', from Cro-Mags front man and author John Joseph. Don't forget to enter the free stickers giveaway this month too!
This is making headline news around the world: After 4 year old tabby cat, Lola, greeted Mary Bale in the street for a quick pat, Mary grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and shoved her into a wheelie bin before walking away. Lola was trapped inside the bin for 15 hours. Luckily, this was all caught on film, otherwise Lola may never have been found!
After the footage was posted on Facebook, people worldwide have been outraged that anyone could do such a thing to a defenceless animal.
Surely throwing an animal into a wheelie bin, any bin, and leaving him or her to die is illegal ... well ... it depends on the animal ...
We know that eggs come from hens and that hens are female. So when one hen stops laying eggs, she gets replaced with another ...female. All the egg industry needs are female birds to keep clucking along.
What happens to a chick if he's born a male? Unfortunately, he ends up in the bin. But the difference here is that when male chicks are thrown into bins at hatcheries across the globe, there are no security cameras filming the people responsible, no one will come to their rescue. Every year in Australia alone, an estimated 12 million day old baby birds are either ground up alive or tossed into a bin on top of their brothers to be gassed to death... and this is legal!
See for yourself what happens inside the world's largest hatchery (the same thing happens here):
No animal (furry or feathered) deserves to be tossed into a bin and left for dead. Fortunately, we can all take a stand against this cruelty by giving eggs the flick. No yolk, it's easy as vegan pie!
BK Flame: A body spray by Burger King, which as they describe it captures "the scent of seduction, with a hint of flame broiled meat.". Puke!
That's what I'd call 'date-free deoderant' - for the man who likes to be alone. You know you've hit rock bottom when you stink so bad that smelling like a dead animal from a greasy fast food joint is an improvement! I've got to ask... Girls, do you want your boy to smell like 'flame broiled' animal flesh? I didn't think so!
Personally, the last thing I want is a constant reminder of Hungry Jack's (owned by Burger King), and the fact that the way they treat their animals stinks! Mother pigs in crates so small they can't turn around; piglets having their tales cut off without pain relief; hens in cages where they'll never be able to even stretch their wings... These are just a few of the things that come to mind when I think of Hungry Jack's and just a few of the things I don't want to be thinking about when I'm freshening up for a date.
If you agree that the way Hungry Jack's treats their animals stinks, then sign the petition calling on them to stop caging their animals. You can also print this petition out and get all your mates to sign too.
So, you may have seen in the news that Australia is lifting its ban on beef imports from mad-cow countries. Let me tell you why this makes me mad:
Mad-cow disease is an illness affecting cattle - caused by feeding cows to cows. Nasty stuff!
But it gets even nastier! If humans eat this infected meat, it can cause the fatal disease, called Variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (you know with a name that long it's gotta be bad!). Sure, these countries claim to have the all clear from mad-cow disease now, but any country that used to feed cows to cows doesn't sound like a smart place to import beef from (not that killing cows sounds like a good idea to begin with). Anyway, while turning cows into cannibals before eating them sounds pretty mad, we've got some home-grown nastiness to worry about - a not-so-little thing called factory farming.
Packing animals into overcrowded sheds, where they may have to live in their own filth without fresh air, natural light or exercise is bound to make them sick. So animals in factory farms are often fed a diet of antibiotics just to keep them alive long enough to be killed. The problem with this? Viruses evolve and antibiotics don't. Factory farms are the perfect breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant super bugs. That's right; diseases not even modern medicine can cure - *cough* Bird Flu *cough* Swine Flu *cough*
And while it's gross - what goes in must come out. The major problem: The huge amount of waste produced by factory farms is not treated, like human waste is. In the case of pigs, it is channelled into massive, open-air cesspits. These "lagoons" (as the industry calls them) can pollute the soil and underground water supplies, and run-off can wreak havock on local waterways - not to mention the health risks to the local community!
But, no need to worry! Like a wizard, I have the perfect solution for you! And while you're at it, you'll be helping heaps of others in a big way. What is it, I hear you chanting? What do I have to do? What must I eat? No, no, no! It's much simpler than that! It's what you don't have to eat - animals!
Not eating animals reduces your risk of getting heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Don't eat animals - get a longer life expectancy - it's that easy! Your Mum's been telling you to eat your vegetables forever, so what better way to make her happy?
Sound good? Great! Then click here to take the pledge to be veg and give the cows one less reason to be mad ;)
Most of us grew up with songs and stories of idyllic farms where all the animals lived happy lives together. It's no wonder most people just assume that the pig on their plate or the chicken who laid the egg they're scrambling lived a happy life and was cared for before she died. But as you know, that's not how the story goes... and Animals Australia's new radio ad campaign is out to burst that bubble. So have a listen here.
We couldn't have been more thrilled with the impact of our recent TV ad campaign - Woolworths reported that sales of pig products dropped following the campaign. Finally people are realising that mother pigs in factory farms aren't 'cared for' - they're locked in barren crates where they can't turn around for months at a stretch. You could even call them battery pigs :-(
Wow! There was some great news for animals coming out of the US last week. I just wish I could say the same for Australia :(
Last Monday (12 October) Michigan passed a bill that will see the phase out some of the cruelest confinement methods used in the farming industry.
Within 3 years, dairy calves in Michigan will no longer be confined in tiny veal crates and starved of iron to make their flesh pale and soft. Battery cages , used to confine egg-laying hens, and gestation crates used to confine mother pigs, will also be phased out. With these significant improvements for animals Michigan has become the 7th state to ban gestation crates, the 5th to ban veal crates and the 2nd to ban battery cages.
And the good news just keeps coming! California - who have already banned veal crates, gestation crates and battery cages – have added to their list of ‘no-no’s’ tail docking of dairy cows. A good sign from one of the US's largest dairy states, and very good news for the 1.8million dairy cows in California!
While we're on the topic of changes for animals, the city council of Santa Monica (also in California) has voted in favour of drafting new legislation that will restrict animal 'declawing' – ie. the practice of painfully removing animals’ claws.
Meanwhile, over the other side of the world in a little place often known as 'the lucky country', farm animals aren't so lucky. Recently The Greens in ACT (and Tas for that matter) put forward a Bill that would ban battery cages from ACT (meaning only one business would be affected) and the Liberals and Labour teamed up to shoot it down (same story in Tasmania). With the many other parts of the world making huge advances for animals, it is disappointing that Australia is still dragging its feet.
You may remember a couple of months ago I posted an illustration by Donn Pattendon of a dairy cow drinking Australia dry. This last week Donn sent through yet another stellar illustration and I just had to share. This time he's set his sights on battery eggs. And well it really speaks for itself...
Once again, Donn's illustration is spot on. With less than the area of an A4 piece of paper to live in battery hens really are treated like little more than vending machines. You may notice there are even a few dead male chicks swept under the machine.
There are around 14 million egg-laying hens in Australia. That's a lot of birds! ... and all of them are female. So have you ever wondered what happened to all the males?
Male chicks can't produce eggs ... so the egg industry doesn't want them. They don't grow fast or large enough to be profitable to be raised for meat, so ... what then?
Well a new investigation by US based group, Mercy for Animals exposes the dirty little secret the egg industry doesn't want you to know. Brace yourself, cause the answer isn't pretty...
You might hope that Australian standards would be better. But sadly that's not the case. Every year, the Australian egg industrygrinds up alive or gasses to death an estimated 10 million male chicks. For these animals their first day in the world is also their last. They are picked up roughly by their fragile wings, tossed into disposal chutes and hauled off to their death.
Sounds more like a horror movie than reality, doesn't it. But sadly this is not only a reality, it's legal and is standard practice in Australia across all egg laying systems.
So what can you do about it? Well for starters you can cast your vote with your plate, simply don't eat eggs! And please join me in letting the Australian Egg Corporation know that you won't support their appalling disregard for animal welfare.
There are heaps of reasons not to eat chicken – for your health, for the environment or for the animals. For me, the fact that chicks are forced to grow much faster than their bodies can cope, with some dying from organ failure and others starving to death, unable to lift their own body weight, was always reason enough not to eat them. But now I think this one takes the cake...
Number one reason not to eat chicken: Because your housemate might just douse you in boiling oil!
Yep, the Herald Sun has reported that a dispute over Nando's chicken has ended in a man having boiling oil poured over him in his sleep. Sure, I'd be pretty annoyed if you ate all of my delicious mock chicken, but as far as I’m concerned violence has no place on or off my plate.
So anyway, what vegan treat do you find so delicious it’s just impossible to share?
If you've picked up a newspaper lately you may have noticed pigs have been getting a bit of attention (and I don't mean swine flu). Recent investigations in Australia and NZ have revealed just how bad factory farming can get (and as someone who's seen a lot, even I was shocked).
Mike King may be a new name to many Aussies but in NZ he's a familiar face. The NZ comedian and TV celebrity was until recently also the face of NZ Pork. That is, until he found out where NZ Pork came from – factory farms. With the help of undercover investigators King saw a factory farm first hand. The footage from this investigation was aired on the NZ current affairs program Sunday, to much public outrage.
And it's no wonder people were outraged. The NZ 'codes' for pig welfare (and the Australian 'codes' for that matter) effectively make it legal for farmers to be cruel to pigs. For example, they permit sows (mother pigs) to be locked in cages called 'sow stalls' which are little bigger than their own bodies.
Meanwhile back home, an investigation into one of Woolworths' major Tasmanian pork suppliers has exposed one of Australia's worst ever cases of commercial animal cruelty. Investigators found starving sows with legs so swollen they couldn't stand to reach food or water; one mother pig had been left to die in her own waste with a shoulder wound rotting and filled with maggots. It was some of the worst footage I've seen. And this supplier, Gary Oliver, supplies roughly 20% Woolworths' Tasmanian pork!
So the big question is how did Woolworths' react? Well, it seems they've given Mr Oliver a slap on the wrist; told him to clean up his act; and now it's back to business as usual. Bit if you ask me, anyone who can leave an animal to be eaten alive by maggots should not be paid to 'look after' animals.
But the story doesn't end there. Last week one of Woolworths' major Tasmanian egg producers was also convicted of animal cruelty. On at least 2 separate visits to Sun Valley Poultry a government inspector found hens crammed into tiny cages on top of the rotting corpses of their dead cage-mates, to the extent that they could not even stand properly. The inspector found another 27 dead birds left to rot in their cages; not to mention birds covered in manure; and one dead bird being cannibalised by a distressed cage-mate.
So it seems that the 'fresh food people' need a shake up. Rotting birds in tiny wire cages and dying, maggot-infested pigs is not what I'd call a 'high standard' of animal welfare! If this sort of cruelty and neglect on factory farms makes you sick, then let Woolworths know. And if you've already written once and weren't happy with their response (I certainly wasn't!) then here's a few tips for how you might respond to their letter.
If you pick up this month's Dolly magazine, you might spot a glimpse of our all-time-favourite-Kisschasy-frontman-and-hero-for-animals, Darren Cordeux. Yep. He's at it again. This time round, the outspoken rock star is giving chicks a voice in a full page ad, which begs readers to stop to think about the little guys (or, chickens), who all need our help.
And boy don't they know it. I mean—how's THIS for a chick magnet!?
There's more to this drop dead gorgeous entertainer than you might think. You can hear what else Daz has to say in his exclusive Unleashed video.
Dolly's double page spread on page 40 also highlights the tragic cruelty of fur. Kudos to Dolly for raising such an important issue in its magazine! Animals on fur farms live lives of sheer misery, only to be drowned, gassed—even skinned alive—for their pelts. No wonder The Veronicas are so pissed about it!
Did you see the feature in this month's Dolly? Tell us what you think!
So Easter is coming and I'm getting pretty excited about all the dairy-free easter eggs, hot-cross buns and faux fish I've stocked my pantry with. But one thing that does really get me worked up at Easter, as a
Sydney-sider, is the Sydney Royal Easter Show! (for those of you from interstate it's the equivalent of the Melbourne Show, Brisbane Ekka, etc...)
As a child I adored the Easter Show. My Dad used to even let me have the day off school so we could beat the weekend crowds. My absolute favourite part was visiting all the farm animals. Combine this with fairy floss, roller coasters and show bags and it was truly kid-heaven.
Despite being a sensitive, animal-loving child, all the cruelty surrounding the housing, transportation and ultimate slaughter of these animals never clicked. And why would it? The show is set up in a magical, fairytale way with all of the cute animals and none of the horrors that they must endure.
First you might go to the nursery stalls where you see happy piglets, chicks and ducklings playing and snuggling up to their mothers. Then in the dairy stalls they explain the "nutritious benefits" of dairy and make the whole milking process seem totally natural. Moving onto the adult pigs, cows and chickens you stop to pat them, make a connection with them and admire their ribbons. Everything is clean, there is lots of space and the animals look healthy and well groomed.
Then in the next room, there's a diagram explaining which cut of meat comes from which part of the animal. It is here that you might feel a moment's guilt at the fact animals are slaughtered, but you think "well, they obviously have happy lives up until the end, and this nutrition panel says I need meat to be healthy... gee, I think I'll go have a dagwood dog". You then walk off, feeling on top of the world, singing "Old McDonald" in your head ... thinking everythings ok.
What they forget to mention is that baby animals are taken from their mothers in factory farms and that they have painful surgical procedures performed without aesthetic in their first fragile days of life.
Nor do they tell us that a mother cow isn't just milk making machine—she is forced to give birth every year to continue lactating, only to have her baby taken away from her and slaughtered.
Oh and of course they don't mention the fact that these animals are a tiny few of the 500 million Animals in Australia who, back on factory farms, are kept in prison-like conditions, denied freedom of movement, that would be illegal if they were a cat or a dog!
No wonder we grow up with a warped and romanticised view of the animal farm, when even as kids we have the wool pulled over our eyes at shows like these!
In a recent press release, the Australian Chicken Meat Federation made a gutsy move in admitting what we all already know: meat stinks for the environment. They say: "if we are to avoid a food and environmental crisis, we must improve the efficiency of grain use for meat production or simply eat less of all types of meat."
Perhaps they read the UN's Livestock's Long Shadow report which reveals that meat production is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world's planes, trains, and automobiles combined!
Despite this momentary glimpse of clarity, ACMF attempts to suggest that the solution is not to save the planet (and our struggling health system) by adopting a healthier, vegetarian diet—but to eat more birds! Clearly one saturated-fat-laden-chicken-wing-too-many has clogged vital blood vessels to the brain of the exec who thought up that brilliant idea.
While it might be true that raising pigs, cows and sheep are even worse for the planet than chickens, the poultry industry is still responsible for massive amounts of damaging pollution that is wreaking havoc on the environment. Incidentally, a key reason for the difference between the ecological footprint of raising chickens and other animals is that Australia's meat chickens have been bred to grow so unnaturally fast that they are just 6-week-old babies—many of which suffer heart conditions and lameness—when they are killed for their flesh. This cruel system is something the chicken industry likes to euphemistically call 'food conversion efficiency'.
So, as the Australian Chicken Meat Federation says, eat less of all types of meat. But really, when it's so easy to save 100 lives every year, why not dump meat all together?
We’re supposed to let you know that the ideas expressed here are the views of the individual authors, and may not necessarily reflect the views of Animals Australia or Animals Australia Unleashed. So now you know.