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Year of the Pig Is Starting. Let’s Consider the Pig.

pig farm animal

Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

It’s the Year of the Pig, according to the Chinese zodiac. In Chinese culture, pigs are a symbol of wealth and their chubby faces and big ears are signs of good fortune. But today, pigs have come to mean so much more.

Most pigs don’t get a name, like Wilbur, Timon, or Miss Piggy. They get a number and live their lives under the yoke of industrial animal farming.

This year, entire parades will be held in honor of an animal that lives and dies on factory farms by the billions. Pigs are special creatures that share distinct personality traits and behavior with humans. Despite what popular turns-of-phrase might lead you to believe, pigs are smart and clean–when they are given the opportunity to live a natural life.

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Cowboys Are an American Icon. They Need to Help End Animal Agriculture.

cow farm cowboy

Farmer Trent Loos recently called on High Plains Journal readers to “eat meat,” claiming that our society “loves the cowboy, but they sure hate the cow.” In this opinion piece, he argues that cows represent a symbol of “freedom and independence.”

As someone who advocates for the legal rights of animals and increased regulation of the animal agriculture industry, I ironically agree with the phrasing of Mr. Loos’ philosophy. Our society expresses a deep love for industrial “cowboys,” the producers who are heavily subsidized by taxpayers via a scheme of crop insurance, water rights, and government advertising programs. But animals, whose treatment we hide under the humane-washed phrases like “free range” and “pasture fed,” are hated in practice. These animals are “destroyed,” to use Mr. Loos’ words, as we turn them into products for human consumption.

Business-Savvy Landlords Should Allow Pets. Cities Should Encourage It.

pet house cat

Imagine being responsible for the life or death of 55,000 dogs and cats every year. As the Animal Services Manager for the City of Los Angeles, the desperate need of these animals and strategies to save them weighed on my mind every day. I was determined to end pet homelessness and the practice of euthanasia, the killing, and disposal of our society’s surplus companion animals.

Today, most cities and towns across the nation share this noble and ambitious goal. Achieving this requires robust community participation, and our cities desperately need the support of an overlooked constituency — landlords.

One State. 525 Million Factory-Farmed Animals.

chicken poultry farm

Found Animals Foundation/Flickr

Business is booming for factory farmers in North Carolina. Across the state, there are some 6,800 hog and poultry operations housing more than 525 million animals. That’s one factory farm every 8 square miles–and 52 chickens, turkeys, and pigs for every single North Carolinian.

525 million is a lot of animals to clean up after, and according to experts from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Waterkeeper Alliance, concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, do a horrendous job at containing the mess.

Book Review: Veganomics by Nick Cooney

father daughter vegan

Take from the Director of Education for Mercy For Animals Nick Cooney, you may never look at vegans and vegetarians the same after reading this book. Veganomics: The Surprising Science of What Motivates Vegetarians, from the Breakfast Table to the Bedroom (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 2013) is more than a carrot on a string, as the cover so cleverly depicts. It’s a tell-all full of real science for the most curious vegans and vegetarians.

Book Review: Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy

goat farm animalWe all have questions about why we are the way we are. Animal rights icon Melanie Joy has a few for why we treat animals the way we do in Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism (Conari Press 2011). Full of real, powerful portrayals of human behavior, this book is worth revisiting almost a decade after its first publication.

The Good Food Institute Is Disrupting the Meat Market for Good

researcher clean meat

With its first call for proposals, the Good Food Institute (GFI) made history, awarding $3 million in funding to 14 scientists in plant- and cell-based meat research, the most money ever allocated to an open-access plant-based meat program.

The global non-profit, which focuses on transforming the food system with a team of scientists, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and lobbyists, now embarks on a two-year exploration of critical questions for the future of plant- and cell-based research.

Research and development of new technologies will aid the complex production process. Their goal is simple: make it possible for more people to eat plant- and cell-based meat.

The Fight for a Livable World

climate change field

Climate change doesn’t start on an oil field or in a factory or on a farm. It starts with you and me.

The world isn’t as livable as it used to be, that is, if it stands to reason that a livable world is one in which the environment does not envelop our sense of self, where we can still live in homes and step outside to breathe fresh air.

Book Review: The Lives of Animals by J.M. Coetzee

chicken farm animal

Few authors have captured the illustrious lives of animals in fiction. Leave it to Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee in The Lives of Animals (Princeton University Press 2016). Captivating and serious, yet full of beautiful description and South African character, this book does justice to Coetzee’s legacy as both a storyteller and philosopher.

Eating Meat Is Still the Norm. We Have to Change That.

meat burger people

Changing your diet is hard, especially when it comes to meat. But people are doing it, some more successfully than others. What gets people to eat less meat?

It’s not enough to tell people that their choice to eat meat is harming the planet. Across the board, the number of people that cut meat out of there diets only to start eating it again later is high—too high. As many as five in six Americans try and fail to stop eating meat, according to the Humane Research Council.

Report: Can We Feed 10 Billion People a Healthy Diet?

food healthy sustainable

This week we’re trying something a little different. In place of a book review, we’re sharing the need-to-know on a paradigm-shifting report published earlier this month, Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems (EAT-Lancet Commission 2019) by Prof. Walter Willett, MD, Prof. Johan Rockström, PhD, Brent Loken, PhD, et al.

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