Whether you're a cricket fan or not - there's one reason you should get behind the Australian team this summer. And that reason is Peter Siddle - the anti-factory farming, vegetarian fast bowler. Shove off, Warney ... I've got a new favourite player.
Peter Siddle hails from Victoria and has played for Australia over 50 times. And if you're a cricket fan you'll be interested to know that he is one of only 36 players in the whole history of the game to have ever claimed a Test hattrick! That's impressive. (Also impressive? The amount of cricket jokes in this blog - see how many you can find!)
As well as being a gun fast bowler, Vicious (apparently that's his nickname - how cool is that??) recently became a voice for animals confined and abused in factory farms. While some sportspeople are on telly flogging anything from vitamins to body spray, Peter is explaining clearly why he reckons factory farming just isn't cricket.
Peter was knocked for six after seeing videos of how animals are treated in the food production process. He decided that animals deserved a long innings too, and so went vegetarian. As well as saving lives by not eating animals, Peter is also seeing the benefits with his own health and performance.
Says the man himself: "I'm starting to feel good and everything's going well from it. I'm recovering well and feeling fit and strong out in the middle ... [I'm] a lot leaner, a lot lighter, and feeling a lot more comfortable out on the field ... I tell you one thing, I'm pulling up a lot better the next day, that's for sure."
Whatever sport you follow, or wherever your interests lie, making the decision to go veg is a no-brainer. It's good for your health, good for the planet, and of course - it's great for the animals. You can join Peter in making a kinder world possible by taking the pledge to avoid animal products altogether.
You can show some love for Peter in the comments below. Post a message for him and I'll make sure he gets it!
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.
Check out this online simulation that puts you into the shoes of a mother pig in a factory farm. This is what they experience for up to four straight months. How long can you handle it for?
How did you go?? How long before you wanted to bust outta there and free your fellow pig prisoners? I think my record is 22 seconds.
Pigs are renowned for their intelligence and curiosity (studies have recognised that they are as smart as 3 year old kids) - yet in factory farms across Australia it is seen as perfectly acceptable to keep mother pigs confined in sow stalls like you experience in the simulator.
Open the graph below to compare how a pig would spend her day if given freedom from a factory farm. (NOTE: "rooting" maybe isn't what you think it is, so stop being immature.)
While the intense and utter boredom may seem bad enough, it's hardly the only abuse pigs are subject to in factory farms. Not by a long shot...
If you've seen enough and want to see an end to this cruelty, then join with over 60,000 other Australians who have already taken the Make it Possible pledge. By promising to make kinder choices at meal times you can make factory farms -- and cruelty to pigs! -- a thing of the past. (And I guess you don't need to be a rocket surgeon to know that the kindest choice you can make is to not eat animals at all!)
Being trapped in a factory farm in Australia is a life sentence for countless numbers of pigs and chickens. That's why these two stories of determined survival against the odds are so amazing. Brace yourself for goosebumps!
This beautiful girl is Willow. "On cold evenings, she loves to stretch out her wings in front of the outdoor fire on the lush, green property that is now her home. For Willow, any memories of a cage so small she could barely move are thankfully only nightmares of the past.
She was thrown away like a piece of rubbish when she slipped into unconsciousness in that cage; no longer laying eggs and no longer valued. Featherless and emaciated, she lay dying on a manure pile..."
And this is Hope. "Before escaping from a piggery, Hope's life looked very bleak. There, Hope's mum and other sows were kept in crates so small they couldn't turn around. The relentless boredom would have driven some insane. The pigs there would never feel grass beneath their feet, only concrete and metal.
It is from this nightmare that Hope escaped one night..."
Every year, a handful of lucky chickens and pigs survive the horrors of factory farms, and go on to live with the freedom and protection they deserve. Unfortunately, millions of others don't. Instead, they are locked behind closed doors, where they experience treatment that would be called "animal cruelty" if it happened to a dog or cat.
Behind the closed doors of factory farms there are millions of other individual animals with personalities and fears just like Hope and Willow. Each one of them is someone, not something - and their stories deserve to be told, too.
If you haven't seen it already ... this is the video that instantly became one of Google's top news stories yesterday, and is featured on online news websites around the country!
That's the extended web video for Animals Australia's biggest campaign ever - to end factory farming in Australia. The campaign is officially called Make it Possible, and the craziest thing about the attention it got yesterday is this: it doesn't officially launch until TONIGHT!
So, tonight at 7pm, make sure you and your family and friends are near a telly to witness Animals Australia's groundbreaking ad. Judging by the huge response it generated yesterday, these ads are going to cause a massive shift in the way Australians think about animals.
Here's just some of the reactions already seen on Facebook. (Note: names changed to ones I find funny).
You can help animals stuck in factory farms in heaps of ways. But here's just two things you can do right now.
Check in on the blogs again over the next few days and weeks, I'll have heaps more ways for you to get involved. Until then though, get the word out there about Make it Possible, and start thinking for yourself about how you can help make a kinder world possible.
Can I let you in on some huge news? The biggest, most ambitious, most exciting campaign ever to end animal cruelty in Australia launches next week. And you, are about to get an exclusive sneak preview before it hits the rest of the nation. Come and take a look!
I can't give everything away, but here are the things I am allowed to tell you:
1) Imagine for a moment ... a world where all animals are provided with a life worth living and protection from cruel treatment. A world that recognises their needs and interests, not just takes from them. A world where every animal is treated as a someone, not a something. With the launch of this campaign imagination will become action, because we have a plan to Make it Possible -a plan to end factory farming in Australia!
2) Tuesday 23rd. Mark that date in your calendar, and just make sure you're near a TV. Stay tuned for more deets to come...
3) I can also tell you that some of Australia's best loved celebs have lined up to be a part of the Make it Possible campaign. I can't tell you which ones ... but they include sportspeople, musicians, and TV stars.
4) And lastly, you'll be seeing a lot more of this little guy in the future ...
But for now, that's all I can tell you!! By this time next week everyone will be talking about this campaign. Right now though, you're among the select few to know about it :)
I can't tell you how excited I am to see the impact this campaign will have for animals confined on factory farms. I'd encourage you to start getting excited, because this ... is going to be huge.
p.s. an end to factory farming cruelty won't be possible without your help. Stay tuned to Unleashed to find out how you can get involved to help make a kinder world for animals. Together, we can Make it Possible.
Sometimes you see or hear about something happening, and it changes your life forever. For many people, it might well be the footage and photos released last week of a piggery near Canberra. An investigation by Animal Liberation ACT and Animal Liberation NSW revealed some of the most appalling cruelty and neglect ever filmed on an Australian factory farm.
You can see footage and photos from the investigation here (WARNING: the content of the website is very distressing).
Just 20 mins drive from our nation's capital, workers were shown kicking piglets across the floor. In a room next to their mothers (within ear shot), young pigs screamed as they were beaten over the head with a sledgehammer and then slaughtered without any effective stunning. Footage shows some pigs apparently conscious and struggling for minutes after their throats had been cut. Buckets were filled with dead piglets, and various types of injuries and infections were left untreated. The footage is like some kind of sick horror movie.
Amidst the brutality and neglect, the scene I found perhaps most heartbreaking was a mother pig standing in a tiny crate, just being continuously pounded by a flood of water from a burst pipe. That these intelligent and sensitive animals could be treated so horribly is just devastating.
Even though a lot of what was filmed showed illegal cruelty, the legal practices filmed will also shock you. Piglets have their tails and teeth cut off without painkillers. Pregnant sows are confined to tiny crates where they're not given enough room to even turn around. This is legal and standard practice in piggeries across Australia. As is the dank and dark conditions evident in the footage. For many factory farmed pigs the first time they will feel the sun on their backs is also their last as they are transported to slaughterhouses to be killed.
Unfortunately, the abuse at Wally's Piggery isn't the first time (even recently) that farmed animals in Australia have been subject to such mistreatment. Earlier this year, a review in NSW found animal welfare breaches at *every* single slaughterhouse in the state. And late last year, an abattoir in Victoria was permanently closed because of extreme cruelty.
Hopefully, anyone involved with Wally's Piggery will face the full force of the law for what they've done. This won't help pigs who continue to experience fear, distress and cruelty in Australian piggeries which aren't breaking any laws, though. If you want to make a real difference to them, then don't eat them. By going veg you'll single-handedly save 100 animals every year, and you won't be contributing to an industry that puts profits before the welfare of animals.
If you've already gone veg, what was it that helped make your decision?
CONTENT WARNING: If you're too young to remember when Pokemon first went nuts, or if you're squeamish, you might want to tune out now.
Here's a blog to sink your teeth in to! Umm ... or not. A Serbian chef has released a cookbook/great-conversation-starter on how to cook testicles! Which I assume someone would then actually eat.
"Waiter - there's a hair in my testicle soup! Oh ... no."
I don't want to go into the gory details (because I just ate lunch), but the recipes include a Testicle Pizza, and the book also shows the correct way to "peel a testicle", to help beginner cooks get the balls rolling. Har-har-har.
If you think that's pretty wrong, then you probably don't want to know what goes into meat pies in Australia. (I'll give you a clue - it involves rind, connective tissue, nerves and blood vessels). And don't get me started on hamburgers.
The good news is that it's easy to avoid these mystery meats, and in the process improve your health, help the environment and save animals all at the same time! By going veg, you'll find yourself in the company of people like Leonardo da Vinci, Missy Higgins and the Incredible Hulk! Which would also make a pretty interesting dinner party. Bags sitting next to Missy!
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.
Meet Olivia. Not only is she absolutely adorable in a way that only bunnies can be, she is also extremely lucky. She was recently rescued from a rabbit factory farm with 300 of her friends, who are probably right now having the mother of all parties at Big Ears Sanctuary.
Olivia has taken to exploring the nooks and crannies of the sanctuary.
Tommy has discovered the joys of burrowing and rolling around in dirt.
Goofy, living up to his name, as he plays with a turkey feather.
Roger is a friendly and inquisitive bunny, eager to meet visitors to the sanctuary.
Free at last! Relaxing in the sun and enjoying grass under their feet for the first time.
Sweetie needed to have an abscess removed from her head, but is recovering well.
Apple: Her leg abscess has kept her indoors. But not for long.
Like all rabbits in factory farms, Olivia was not able to enjoy the simple pleasures of rabbit life such as burrowing and was forced to toilet in the same space that she lived.
Respiratory diseases have been reported to kill as many as 30-50% of rabbits in factory farms in Australia.
Olivia and the other rescued rabbits had been confined in tiny wire cages, similar to the ones battery hens are kept in. In these conditions rabbits suffer from all kinds of health problems and injuries. They're eventually then killed and sold as meat. They're not given the space or opportunity to do rabbit-y things like exploring, making friends, digging, eating fresh grass and annoying Elmer Fudd.
When news spread earlier this year that a rabbit farm in Tasmania was for sale, Big Ears Animal Sanctuary, Radical Rabbit and Freedom for Farmed Rabbits hatched a plan to save the rabbits from slaughter or being sold onto another farm. They teamed up to purchase Olivia and her 300 bunny buddies. Then began the huge task of treating the sick and injured and getting them all to their new home at Big Ears Sanctuary.
Olivia and her floppy-eared friends are now experiencing the great freedom of the outdoors. They're also enjoying nestling into the laps of anyone who visits them. Yep, I'm thinking the same thing as you - what's the absolute quickest way to get myself to Big Ears Sanctuary!?
Factory farmed rabbits in Australia suffer much of the same cruel treatment as their carrot-loving cousins in Europe. Compassion in World Farming (a colleague group of Animals Australia) recently completed their investigation into the reality of rabbit farming across Europe. It doesn't make for pleasant viewing.
While you and your mates perhaps can't scrape together enough dosh to buy up old rabbit farms, you can make a difference to rabbits stuck in the same situation as Olivia was. By being kind to bunnies, rejecting factory-farmed, and choosing cruelty-free alternatives you can help ensure rabbits like Olivia live a natural, happy and full life.
If you think Olivia's story is better than Peter Rabbit's and Brer Rabbit's COMBINED, then you'll probably wanna head straight to this website (www.bigearsanimalsanctuary.com/rabbit-rescue.php) where you will spend the next half hour having your heart melted by adorable photos of fuzzy bunnies. Fact.
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Once you've sent those off it's time to celebrate!
I'll give you a hint - it's THIS Sunday, and it involves the person who probably buys your undies. That's right, Mother's Day is almost here!
I'm going to assume that you spoil your mum every day of the year, but this weekend if you want to really spoil her then consider getting her a gift that will help mums in the animal world too. The money you spend on these gifts is used to help mother cows, hens and pigs, who all too often have their babies taken away and never get the chance to display their natural mothering instincts.
There's a stack of other recipes you might like here, too.
So there you have it. Mother's Day sorted! All you need to do now is make mum a card, wake up in time to make breakfast (11 am isn't going to cut it!) and remember to clean the dishes ... and the free undies will continue to roll in for another year.
If you were hosting a party, which of the following things would you probably NOT organise? A guest list, food, music ... or severed pigs heads? It looks like Melbourne company NEUW Jeans decided, "what the heck ... let's get all of 'em!" If you don't believe me then just check out the photos.
I pretty much live in my jeans, but these hipsters have kinda put me off denim somewhat. The dead pigs, partygoers stressing out piglets - for once I'm actually HAPPY I didn't get invited to a party.
Well, the photos pretty much speak for themselves with this one but something just struck me. I wonder if the people at the party had seen the footage of just how terrible things can get at an abattoir. If they had, I doubt they would have been in the mood for much partying.
If you want to let NEUW Jeans know that cruelty is never in fashion -- then leave a comment on their facebook or twitter. **UPDATE** Since posting this blog, it seems that NEUW have not only removed disturbing pics of butchered pigs from facebook, they may also have turned off their public comment feed. So, if you're having trouble leaving them a message, never fear -- click here.
p.s. If you want to see pigs being treated the RIGHT way, then you might want to check out the farm sanctuaries at Edgar's Mission and Brightside. They're the REAL party animals. Har-har-har...
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… 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.
I always love hearing about how people got into animal rights. For me, it was discovering how animals are raised for food. Lots of people just always loved animals. But how can someone go from being scared of animals to rescuing them and campaigning for them?
That's exactly what happened to New York activist, Eddie Lama. To find out how someone can make such an incredible transformation, check out this great doco (called "The Witness") about his inspiring story.
(Btw, you can watch the full doco online here. So once you've checked out the trailer below, grab some popcorn and a friend to watch the full film! And just be warned that while most of the doco is inspiring and positive, there are a few graphic scenes.)
Do you want to know what the first moments of freedom look like? Check out this amazing video of 8 lucky turkeys, who were rescued from a factory farm, seeing their new home at Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary for the first time.
Isn't that just gorgeous! And to think these birds started their lives in factory farms. I hate to say it, but these sorts of happy endings don't happen for most birds. Just check out how most turkeys in Australia have to live.. (these photos from Animal Liberation ACT were from a recent investigation at a turkey factory farm):
Like chickens, turkeys in factory farms are crammed into sheds by the thousands and have to live in their own waste for all of their short and miserable lives. Can you believe that the birds served up on Christmas tables across the country this weekend were likely to be less than 17 weeks old when they were killed?! (to put that in perspective, turkeys would naturally live for about 10 years)
I read this amazing story a little while ago about, Lydia, a turkey at Farm Sanctuary in the US, who was nicknamed the 'hugging turkey'. If she saw you sit down, she'd race over and before your bum had even hit the ground she'd be in your lap with her neck stretched over your shoulder for a cuddle.
Surely there's something a little wrong about eating someone who just wants a hug?!
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 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?
You may not have heard of the artist, Miru Kim before. Even when you look at these photographs of her, you may have a hard time seeing her at first. It's almost like an overly artistic "Where's Wally?" and when you finally spot her, it may shock you as to how well she blended in …to a herd of pigs!
"Pig eyes are remarkable. They see right into the eyes of a human being. When they were looking at me, exposed before them, surrounded by them, I could not read their gazes, but they were somehow shockingly familiar. There was no language to bridge that disparity–the mysterious gap between the gaze of a pig and that of mine. But when I mingled with them with my skin, the gap momentarily closed in, as if I had forgotten my own language. My words were lost, and I felt the swinish grunts resonate inside me."
The close up images of the skin on skin are striking, aren't they? It's difficult to see where Miru ends and the mother pig begins. There are so many similarities between us and pigs – and not just in skin. Like us they each have unique personalities. Pigs are also considered one of the most intelligent animals outside the primate family - as smart as 3 year old children. And like us they can be affectionate and playful.
While there may be many similarities between humans and pigs, our lives could not be more different. In a couple of the photos you can see the barren single pens that mother pigs are often locked in during their pregnancy. In Australia, these clever pigs can be kept in those cruel sow stalls for as long as 16 weeks - their entire pregnancy! Imagine not even being able to turn around for 4 months!
Even the group pens for younger pigs are a crowded affair. Miru can barely fit in there! And those pigs have had to endure much more than just the stress of a crowded pen. At just a few days of age they would have had their teeth cut right back, their tails cut off and the boys may have been castrated - all without pain relief!
Sadly, unlike Miru, who left the farm after finishing her photo shoot, these pigs will only leave their life of confinement on their last day of life - in a cramped truck on the way to the slaughterhouse.
Thanks for being amazing! I appreciate everything you've ever done for me.
But above all else, thank you for showing me what compassion is; thank you for encouraging me to think for myself; and thank you for always supporting my decisions. If it weren't for these simple gifts that you've given me, I doubt I would be campaigning for animals today.
It fills my heart with sorrow to know that unlike you, many mothers won't feel loved and cared for this mother's day (or any other day of the year). For new mother pigs, pinned tightly between metal bars, unable to properly nurture their newborn babies - used as nothing more than milking machines - this Mother's Day will be just like any other day of their lives: miserable.
But you've taught me to be an optimist. And one day I hope they will be as happy and free, with their family, as you are. Thank you for giving me all the space I need and the voice to speak for them and work towards that hopeful day.
I promise to take what you've given me and do all that I can to make this world a better place for everyone.
I always get a kick out of discovering new songs about animal rights and so just wanted to share a beautiful song I discovered today with you: "Human Eyeballs on Toast", by Peter Broderick. I thought the lyrics were very thoughtful:
American singer/songwriter/composer, Peter Broderick says he has been "back and forth vegetarian" his whole life, and picked up Eating Animals by Jonathon Safran Foer to try and work out once and for all where he stood. He says the book gave him "some really clear answers" and inspired/outraged by what he'd read he wrote this song from the point of view of animals in factory farms.
This is from Broderick: "I find the animal agriculture industry (especially in the USA) to be deeply, deeply disturbing and incredibly sad, and this song is a product of that sadness."
If you want to know more about how animals in Australian factory farms are treated, you could start by clicking here.
So by now you've probably heard the good news: Last week Japan called an early end to their whaling season. Woot! Here's hoping this is the end to Japan's whaling program for good! (btw you can sign the petition to call for a permanent end to Japanese whaling here)
I'm glad to see Aussies so passionate about whales. They're amazing animals and harpooning them is just plain awful.. but also, it seems to me that people caring about whales is a sign of hope for other animals. I mean, if people can feel such a strong connection to whales then surely they could feel that same compassion for other animals, right? Sure not all animals weigh 40 tons, live in the ocean and eat krill, but really they're not so different. For example...
They say whales are smarter than your average bear (sorry, for the Yogi reference, I couldn't help myself)... not unlike pigs, who have proven themselves to be quite the clever creatures. In fact, pigs have even been trained to play computer games! Yup... with specially designed joysticks pigs can pick up on how to play intelligence testing games just as quickly as chimpanzees!
Whales are also well known for their strong bonds between mother and calf. Mother and calf... hmm... sounds just like another familiar furry, doesn't it? Mother cows also form a strong bond with their calf within hours of being born, and this bond only strengthens over time.
As for their songs...? Scientists suspect that some species of whales sing to their young - something mother pigs are also known for (not to mention hens clucking to their eggs). But perhaps even more surprisingly, the author Jeffrey Masson tells the story of a pig who liked to sing to the full moon. Now that's something I'd like to see!
But the thing that I think really captures people's imaginations with whales is their playfulness - the way they leap out of the water, often for what seems like the sheer joy of it. I'd like to think that if more people saw footage like this playful kid goat, then the Aussie public would be as concerned about the treatment of farm animals as they are about the hunting of whales. wdyt?
When it comes to Christmas, there's a few traditions you just can't go without. Decorating a tree, pulling bon bons, making the most of the colourful paper hats and lame dad jokes inside said bon bons, wrapping (and unwrapping) presents, wrapping your sisters in tinsel, wearing crazy reindeer antlers on your head before putting them on Grandpa and taking his photo as he snoozes in his chair, searching out the one CD your parents have that is full of Christmas songs to be played over and over again, eating so much great vegan food you have to undo the button on your jeans and have a nap ….I could go on!
And I will! Because there's a new tradition to add to the list, and it's going to catch on like wildfire!
In the United States, the president pardons a turkey each year at Thanks Giving (Lucky turkey! Too bad it's only one!). Here at Unleashed we invite every single Australian to Pardon A Pig for Christmas and leave them off the Chrissy menu!
Quite frankly, there's too many legs of ham sold at Christmas time for my liking, let alone for the liking of the millions of pigs who used to walk around on them!
The suffering of pigs confined in factory farms is immense. From mother pigs being confined to sow stalls and farrowing crates that severely restrict their movement, to piglets having their tails, teeth and testicles sliced off without pain killers, the festive spirit never quite finds it's way to factory farms.
So far thousands of Aussies and celebs have Pardoned A Pig, meaning there'll be a lot more room at the table for kindness and goodwill this year. (And here's some recipes to help fill that cruelty-free space!)
So join in the new tradition and get everyone you know to take part (wake Grandpa up too to make sure he doesn't miss out!). Let's help all animals to feel the kindess and giving spirit of the holiday season!
Oink! Ooh sorry, pardon me! (If I've missed any of the fabulous traditions that make up your Christmas day, list them below!)
This hard hitting radio campaign first hit airwaves 2 years ago and stirred up quite a response! Now, Lucy's back and urging shoppers to spread the Christmas spirit and help free animals from factory farms.
Most of us look forward to Christmas as a time to see family, give (and receive!) presents, and relax. But pigs, chickens and turkeys have little to look forward to at this time of year. The demand for ham, turkey and chicken at Christmas-time, makes the holiday season the peak time of year for animal suffering in Australia. Inside factory farms preparation for Christmas has begun, and that means even more families pulled apart, with piglets taken from their mothers, fattened up and killed; and even more chickens packed into sheds by the thousands and left to marinate in their own waste for their short and miserable 42 days of life. Animals in factory farms don't receive even the simplest gift of kindness, and in their unnatural cramped environment will likely never know what it is to relax.
But enough with the doom and gloom, 'cause all of that can change. All it takes for Christmas to be a peaceful time of year for all is for people to take pigs (and our feathered friends) off their plates and celebrate the festive season with a cruelty-free feast instead. And with any luck, many people who hear Lucy's plea for help will do just that!
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?
So without further ado, congratulations to our most recent Activist Challenge winner, HannahJane for informing and inspiring others in her community to make a difference for animals.
A passionate vegetarian, Hannah has been busy spreading the word about how to combat cruelty. She's convinced her bestie to go veg, did a powerful powerpoint presentation to her school on factory farming (with plans to do the same at other schools), has gotten Animals Australia's petitions into local busniesses and collected hundreds of signatures, and more...
We take our hats off to Hannah for making a big difference for the animals. For her superb efforts, Hannah has scored herself an Unleashed prize pack.
I can't wait to see more of the excellent entries to the challenge! Tell us your story now to be next in line to score kudos and goodies ;)
It is incredible to think that if I brought a little piglet home and named her (come on, we've all thought about it!) she would learn that name in no time and come running every time I called her…Ruby! Olive! Doris! (I can't choose). But studies have shown this to be true, meaning a pig could potentially be as wonderful a pet as a pooch!
But footage from a recent doco from Animal Equity in Spain proves beyond doubt that we still have a very long way to go in giving all pigs the quality of life we afford our gorgeous companion animals. This rare glimpse into their world is recommended viewing to anyone who still eats pork, bacon, ham, crackling … pigs basically! (Recommended viewing for those that don't eat pigs is here)
Pretty shocking stuff, right? What's more shocking is that this is happening all over the world – Australia included. Every year, in Australian factory farms, over 4 million scared piglets endure painful procedures like having their teeth cut, and tails sliced off -- all without pain relief.Those 'farrowing crates' that can be seen in the vid are used in piggeries across Australia too.
Did you know that pigs wag their tails when they're happy, just like dogs? Well, scientists believe that pigs are actually smarter than dogs. Now can you imagine if someone did these sorts of things to your dog (or your cat)? You'd make sure they saw the inside of a prison cell for a mighty long time right?
Even though these awful practices are still legal in Australia, pigs are slowly, but surely gaining a stronger voice as more and more people (including big players like Coles) are beginning to wake up to the horrors of factory farming.
But what can you do to ease their suffering RIGHT NOW?Don't eat pigs! It really is the easiest and simplest way for every person to help pigs straight away. And if you've already taken piglets off your plate (I love you, you're ace!), try to speak up and make their voice louder every chance you get!
PS Click here for further info on the effects of your meat free diet!
In '98 two piglets in the UK, Butch and Sundance, did just that. They escaped from the back of a truck, squeezed through a fence, swam across a river and vanished into a nearby garden. The pair were on the run for a week before they were finally caught. By that time their story was on the international news and the public were so taken by these two escapees that they were rewarded by being given a home in a farm sanctuary.
So what goes through the mind of an escaped pig?
Illustrator extraordinaire, Donn Pattendon asked this question for his most recent artwork, 'Escapee'. If you've taken a stroll through the back catalogue of blogs on Unleashed, then you've probably come across some illustrations by Donn before. He won the People's Choice Award at last year's Illustrators Australia 9x5 Exhibition with a very clever take on battery hens. His entry for this year's 9x5 Exhibition is another great illustration shining the spotlight on factory farming. And the cherry on top, is that Donn has kindly offered to donate 20% on the sale of this artwork to Animals Australia!
If you live in Melbourne and want to check out the exhibition (and vote for Donn's piece for this year's People's Choice Award), then below are details. If you don't live in Melbourne, then you can check out the rest of the exhibition online by clicking here.
Illustrators Australia Annual 9x5 Exhibition Where: Space 39, Lvl 2, 39 Collins St, Melbourne Opening night: Friday 17th Sep 6pm, Silent Auction, drinks nibbles and a chance to purchase original illustration on 9x5 wood, prize giveaways for People's Choice Awards. Gallery open for one day only; Saturday 18th Sept 10am-4pm.
Right, so back to the question... What do you think would go through the mind of an animal escaping from a factory farm?
Some days it is just so exciting to be a part of the Animals Australia Unleashed team I can't even tell you!
After years of campaigning against factory farming, we were excited to hear Coles announce today that they are committed to having a completely sow stall free homebrand pork range by the end of 2014. What does this mean..?
Locking mother pigs inside 'sow stalls' is one of the cruellest things ever done to animals in Australia. The stalls themselves are not much bigger than the pigs' bodies, meaning they are stuck in one spot and can't even turn around for up to months on end.
Pigs are smart, curious individuals – much like dogs! – and it's shocking to think that for the sake of pork, bacon and ham, this type of cruelty is still legal in Australia. Fortunately, Coles has started to use their power to help end some of the worst abuse suffered by pigs on factory farms.
What's even more fortunate is that you don't have to be a massive company like Coles to make a big difference for animals… You can be a friend to pigs (and other animals) simply by taking them off your plate. It's easy! And -- you'll be saving the lives of 100 innocent animals every year. Now THAT's something worth celebrating :)
I probably don't need to tell you Lea's onto a good thing. Adopting an animal from a shelter, rather than buying one from a pet store or breeder, is a great way to help animals ... For so many reasons!
For starters, you're giving a needy animal a home. Every year across Australia, over 200,000 dogs and cats are put down in shelters because a loving home could not be found for them. Every time a dog or cat is bought from a pet store, or a breeder, that's one less home for an animal in a shelter. And to add insult to injury it also creates the demand for even more dogs and cats to be bred :(
If that weren't reason enough, then puppy mills certainly are! Puppy mills are like factory farms for dogs. Imagine dozens or even hundreds of dogs kept as breeding machines - each dog confined to a small enclosure and given little exercise. These animals rarely get enough opportunity to socialise with other dogs or humans. Investigations of puppy mills have found dogs huddled in enclosures without proper shelter or bedding, and have found sick and weak dogs without proper vet care.
Many pet stores sell puppies from puppy mills. It's heart breaking to think that while the furry little bundle of joy that families buy at a pet store is on his way to his new home, his mum and dad are probably still suffering in a puppy mill.
Adopting a new furry friend from a shelter can be an incredibly rewarding experience. And it is all the more rewarding when you know that you've given a needy animal a loving home. Fingers crossed Lea's stickers reach a lot of people (and I'm sure she'd be happy for you to print them out and help make that happen - click on either image to get a larger version).
Have you adopted an animal?
Got something you're doing to speak up for animals?
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 I just went out and saw a great movie. I didn't feel much like eating the popcorn though (I'll tell you why in a sec). Believe me, you MUST see Food, Inc. SO it's lucky that we've got 5 double passes to give away!
I don't think I need to tell you how cruel factory farms are. In fact, I'm sure you tell other people about this all the time. And no doubt you've come across at least one person who seemed not to care. Well, maybe they'd care if they knew they might literally be eating sh!t!
I've had the misfortune of visiting a feedlot.I saw how they pile up the dung in the middle of each pen to provide – get this – "enrichment for the cows"! Many of the cows I've seen in feedlots were caked in each others faeces from nose to tail, so it's really no surprise that some of that finds its stinky way into the meat people eat. I know... YUCK! It sounds like I'm making this up, I wish I was. But this is actually a reality! In fact, Food, Inc. features a 2 year old, who died after eating a hamburger infected with E.coli from traces of cow dung in the meat.
Oh yeah, the popcorn. I learnt today that if the massive amount of corn grown isn't used for livestock, it's used for nearly everything else. As high-fructose corn syrup, you can find it in cakes, cheese, yoghurt, Coca-Cola, bread, orange juice, even in batteries and charcoal. They grow too much corn, because of government subsidies and so they end up putting it in charcoal?!? Don't they realise there are people starving in Africa!? And here we all are wondering why people make corny puns, we can't help it - there's an excess of corn to go round!
Even if you've already made the healthy switch to being veg or vegan, there is still so much to learn about the food you consume. There are moments in this film that will have you throwing that popcorn at the screen in frustration, but it's an excellent film and well worth checking out!
If you care about animals, people, the environment or yourself, this film is a must see. And here's how you could WIN a free double pass: Leave a comment below to tell us what makes you hungry for change and you could win! The competition ends next Monday (31/05/10), so be quick if you don't want to miss out!
UPDATE: Congrats to the winners who each get a double pass to see this amazing movie. Well done to sarahwithanh27, Carly, Sammy, Sabavana and Nikkikats. Enjoy watching Food, Inc. (with or without the popcorn)!
That might sound like a tall order, but every year Animals Australia finds a new way to spoil your Mum, whilst also helping out the thousands of mother animals who are locked up inside factory farms.
This year Animals Australia has hooked up with 'Growing Gifts' to create what I think is simply the most awesome Mother's Day gift anyone could buy ... a bundle of goodies that includes a real live lemon-scented tea tree! I just wish I was a Mum so someone would buy this for me! :-)
Looks preeeeetty swish, huh? The real value in this gift however is the bit you don't see in the picture. Each 'Growing Gift' helps to fund important campaigns to end factory farming, like this one, this one and this one.
Pigs are one of the smartest animals on the planet -- as smart as dogs and 3 year old children! Yet in factory farms mother pigs are locked up in tiny crates so small they can't even turn around. Pretty shocking, right? Well someone needs to stand up for these amazing animals. And that someone is us. So if you haven't worked out what to give Mum for Mother's Day yet, then maybe this is it!
You can order the small tree gift for $40, but if you don't have enough dough saved up for that then here are some other gorgeous gift ideas that aren't so expensive, but will also help out the animals:
If you don't have a credit card, and can't borrow one, then don't panic -- just call our office pixies on a weekday on (03) 9329 6333 and they'll help you out. And while you're planning the perfect day-off for Mum, here are a few winning breakfast-in-bed recipes that are sure to get you out of cleaning your room for at least a week:
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 :-(
It's hard work, but some pig's got to do it. And really, I can't complain. Running endlessly from supermarket to supermarket might not sound like pig paradise, but it's a breeze compared to what Mum endures every day back in the factory farm – she's stuck in a sow stall just 1cm longer and wider than her body, where she's barely able to move and can't even turn around. She had her teeth broken and tail cut off when she was a baby – without pain relief! It's enough to make a grown pig cry.
The key to freeing her and other animals is in the hands of everyone who visits the supermarket and makes a choice whether to buy into cruelty, or kindness. That's why I've already visited dozens of Coles' and Wollies' in VIC and NSW and continue on my quest to reach caring consumers everywhere.
If you give a snort like I do about ending animal cruelty, then raise your snout high and join me on my campaign! It's easy – here's all you need to do:
I'm so thrilled! Just think, more than 1 million Aussies saw the truth about Australia's pig industry. Many will have never thought about where pork, bacon and ham come from before. And now they know that animal cruelty laws fail to protect animals raised for food, and that these profit driven animal industries aren't looking out for the wellbeing of their animals – they're looking out for their wallets.
After the show, our office was flooded with phone calls and emails from shocked viewers who had no idea of the routine cruelty of the pork industry. Many of these callers have sworn never to eat pigs again after seeing behind the closed doors of factory farms!
And now's your chance to see the behind the scenes footage of Animals Australia's investigators inside the piggery:
One of the saddest things about animal suffering is that all of the animals are completely voiceless – they don't vote, they can't speak our language and as such they cannot object to society's cruel treatment. But that's all about to change...
Animals Australia and Unleashed are about to embark on our biggest factory farming campaign ever – an Australian first – and we need your help to name the cute little pig who will be the face of this campaign. Everyone knows the cute little pig from the movie Babe, and Wilbur from Charlotte's Web. Well this pig is going to be next in line of pig fame. Though not a movie star, the work she'll be doing is so much more awesome – she'll literally be changing the lives of her brothers and sisters who are stuck on factory farms.
So get those neurons working and let's rename this Jane Doe to be the best ambassador for the biggest anti-factory farming campaign Australia has ever seen. This larger than life costume pig could haveyour name all over it, and when you see her at supermarkets or in the street (very very soon), you can tell your friends "I named that pig." What's even cooler is that she is the only one that exists in Australia (and the world) who is being made specifically to combat factory farming!
Comment your suggestions below. The winner will receive: 1) A free hug from this one of a kind pig 2) Kudos from Unleashed 3) Envy from all other Unleashed members
(The above illustration is our artist's impression, the "real" pig will be much more awesome and cute!)
UPDATE! It's official! "Lucy" has just made her debut and is presently on the campaign trail to end factory farming! Thanks for all the GREAT name suggestions everyone!!
With many superb efforts, picking a winning state was no easy feat! The creativity of lisa66's Halloween leafleting, gave VIC an extra boost. Matt.Y's regular leafleting at the Salamanca Markets gave TAS an edge. And the fact Naughty Angel got Cotton On, Diva and Jay Jays to stock leaflets bumped up NSW's ranking.
But the winning state was ... (drum roll please) ...
Rav3n's shopping centre outreach, Mikey's city leafleting, and Lea's efforts on trains, all added up to a convincing case that when it comes to leafleting WA can walk the walk!
But the entry that sealed the deal was Julezz's creativity and persistence. Not only did this gal recruit a whole crew of friends to assist her with leafleting, she also produced posters for the occasion. And then, before the dust had settled on her first effort, she was already planning a vegan bbq fundraiser. The thought of being able to grab a vegan sausage sanga outside a shopping center was just too good to resist. And for her stellar efforts, Julezz, is the winner of the oh-so-sought-after Unleashed Prize Pack.
Congrats to Julezz, to WA, and to everyone who entered. Thousands of leaflets were distributed across Australia exposing the cruelty of factory farming. The State Challenge may be over, but the animals still need us. If you'd like to hit the streets and speak up for animals, remember you can always order leaflets though the Unleashed store. Or if you've got some super plans stewing, drop us a line direct and let us know what you're scheming and we might be able to hook with some leaflets free of charge.
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.
It was only a matter of time – raising animals for food in filthy overcrowded sheds was bound to come and bite us in the backside, but when Swine Flu broke out in Mexico we didn't expect to see it in Australia any time soon. And before we knew it, we became one of the nations with the greatest swine flu count per capita. And now it's been found on a factory farm in NSW – the very place it originated (ie. a factory farm in Mexico).
Pork representatives are trying to convince us that it's still safe to eat pig products, but really, was it ever safe?!
If you ask the World Cancer Research Fund: "The scientific evidence linking processed meat [ie. ham, bacon, salami, etc] and bowel cancer shows that the best amount to eat is none at all."
Eating pigs is not only dangerous for our health, but the conditions they are raised in (confined in cages surrounded by their own waste products) is just a breeding ground for disease – a disaster waiting to happen.
Anyway, who's the one telling us it's safe? It's the Australian Pork Industry (surprise!) – the same people who make a buck off selling it. I kind of see it like a thief telling you it's safe to leave your bag with him.
Personally, I'm content to chow down on my FLT (facon, lettuce and tomato sandwich) and leave the pigs in peace.
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.
So over the past few weeks we have been warned of the deadly outbreak of "Swine Flu" in Mexico that is now spreading around the world. There has been much debate about whether we are treating the pandemic too seriously or not seriously enough, and more importantly whether it really came from pigs and if pork is safe to eat. The name was even officially changed from “Swine Flu” to “Influenza A (H1N1)” to try and re-assure consumers that eating pig products is safe. But if you are like me and countless others who have been writing to newspapers and reading up on the situation, I bet you've been remembering the panic when bird flu broke out and thinking "when will they get it, factory farming is a recipe for disaster!"
Where the Swine Flu outbreak started, in Mexico, is just 5 miles from an "industrial pig facility" which "processes" close to a million pigs a year and is jointly owned by the world's largest pig "processor", Smithfield Foods (Isn't it ridiculous that these places are referred to as "facilities" rather than "farms", why don't they just be totally honest and call them prisons?) (you can take a tour of this 'facility' with Sharon Churcher, here). Smithfield Foods says the outbreak was not a result of its facility and that none of its pigs have the virus. But Smithfield Foods have less than a splendid track record with hygiene and honesty.
Whether or not this particular facility was responsible for this outbreak, the question has to be asked, how can factory farms NOT inevitably spread disease?
There are hundreds of millions of pigs and chickens crammed in unnatural, stressful environments in these "facilities" all over the world. They are often fed antibiotics in their food to stop them from getting sick in these breading grounds for disease called factory farms. Frequent use of anti-biotics is KNOWN to result in super-bugs that become resistant to the drugs. The huge amounts of waste they produce is not treated the way human waste is, it is instead channeled into huge open-air ses-pits, or as the "facilities" like to refer to them, "lagoons". These lagoons attract large swarms of flies that feed off the untreated waste and then may fly to local communities. And of course, the health of communities living near factory farms can also be seriously affected (as a great report called the PEW Report discusses).
With all the warning signs - the hideous animal cruelty, the previous pandemic scares and the devastating environmental toll - we have every reason to be worried of a disease outbreak. And yet people are still encouraged to chow down on their pork chops and chicken nuggets. It seems we are too scared to face the awful predicament we have gotten ourselves (and the animals) into with factory farming.
"Swine flu is a result of the inhumanity practiced by pig farmers who prioritise profits over animal welfare. People who eat pork products ignore that the pig industry severely harms the environment and the pigs.
"How sadly ironic that as humans abuse animals, forcing thousands of pigs and poultry into squalid factory farms, their viruses combine and evolve into new strains that teach us a deadly lesson about the everyday abuse of animals to satisfy human greed."
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!
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.