Reporting on Animal Matters

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Ag Gag Laws: Allowing Animal Abuse While Silencing Activists

ag gag laws

If you’re not aware that ag gag laws exist, you don’t realize what a threat they are to our rights as human beings as well as to animal rights. These laws appropriate the concept of “security” for businesses with aplomb.

Animal rights activists already face a ton of hurdles in their quest to protect our animal friends. When the government actively works against them, more animals suffer and fewer criminals can be brought to justice.

But what are ag gag laws? Why do they exist? And how can we continue to fight against animal cruelty?

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Fur Farming: The Barbaric Practice They Want to Keep Hidden

what is fur farming

Image via WeAnimals

The fur farming industry is booming, much to the detriment of our animal friends. People still want to wear and flaunt “real fur,” so there’s sufficient demand for fur to keep companies that harvest it in business.

Foxes and minks are among the most in-demand animals for farmable fur. Additionally, thousands of other animals are killed in the wild for their hides.

For centuries, furs have been named status symbols among the richest populations of various cultures around the world. Coats, blankets, rugs, and wraps come from fur. 

There’s no reason for such status symbols, however, and we often forget about how fur farming impacts our friends in the non-human animal kingdom.

The Farm Bill Is a Big Win for Animals. Here’s Why.

sheep animal happy

When legislators introduced the 2018 Farm Bill to Congress in June, animal advocates had a lot to worry about. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) was out to wreak havoc on interstate animal welfare laws.

But with the help of 119 Representatives, 32 Senators, and 166 state and local organizations, the King amendment will be shut out of the Farm Bill, yet again.

Animal advocates, time to celebrate. The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill signals the resilience of animal protection laws on a national level, something advocates have not seen the likes of on a farm bill since 2002 when Congress reassured the enforcement of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.

Animal Rights: We Must Do Better to Protect Our Animal Friends

what are animal rights

Image via WeAnimals

Animal rights have been the subject of much debate, especially among animal rights groups who fight for animal welfare. Unfortunately, animal cruelty still runs rampant throughout much of the world.

Some people simply don’t believe in animal rights, and governments have failed to produce legislation that protects all animals from human predation.

Additionally, some industries have systematically commoditized animals for various purposes, treating them as things rather than as sentient beings. Even our beloved cats, dogs, and other pets are legally considered property.

It’s true that some animal rights legislation has passed in the United States and elsewhere. For instance, law enforcement can bring charges against a person for neglecting or abusing an animal. However, the animal his or herself doesn’t have any legal rights.

Is Using Science to Help Animals Adapt to Life on Factory Farms Ever the Solution?

cow animal welfare

Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

Last week it was announced that scientists have developed a silicon food supplement for poultry, potentially allowing producers to continue, even speed up, the fast growth of modern strains of meat chicken without the associated lameness and skeletal problems. The aim of this feed supplement is to address not only welfare but “economic concerns for the poultry industry”, the researchers stating that this new food science will allow farmers to “increase the production efficiency of the world’s most commonly consumed meat”.

Vegan Health: What You Need to Know About the Vegan Diet

What is vegan health

Vegan health is a common inspiration for discussion about diet in all parts of the world. How does the vegan diet influence health? And can vegans live nutritionally healthy lives?

Confusion surrounding vegan health is understandable. We’re constantly inundated with marketing messages designed to support the meat industry.

Only when we peel back the layers of the factory farming onion do we discover the truth about vegan health and the state of nutrition across the planet.

A vegan diet isn’t unhealthy or undesirable. It shouldn’t cause you to feel deprived or cheated, either. Instead, it should exacerbate your pride in terms of animal sentience and encourage you to eat a more balanced diet.

Book Review: Protest Kitchen by Carol J. Adams and Virginia Messina

open rescue pig

Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

Do you have the tools you need to fight? Protest Kitchen: Fight Injustice, Save the Planet, and Fuel Your Resistance One Meal at a Time (Conari Press 2018) by Carol J. Adams and Virginia Messina connects vegans with broader resistance movements in a beautiful ode to the fight ahead. Plus, more than 50 great vegan recipes to get you there, one meal at a time.

Nearly Half of Poultry Slaughterhouses Fail USDA Salmonella Inspections

factory farm chicken

Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

Hundreds of USDA-inspected chicken and turkey slaughterhouses failed federal Salmonella performance standards, according to a new report. Of the 821 facilities inspected between October 2017 and October 2018, a total of 390 failed to meet these standards. In other words, almost half of poultry slaughterhouses failed the inspection.

Over the past year, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) claims to have modernized its approach to poultry slaughter inspection. But for food producers, modernization sound more like a welcome distraction. After 390 facilities tested positive for hazardous levels of Salmonella, the FSIS will do almost nothing to intervene on the slaughterhouse floor, aside from collecting more positive tests.

Federal food safety inspectors are waiving the white flag. According to the FSIS policy, if test results indicate a loss of quality control, the slaughterhouses themselves are responsible for fixing the problem. So, the same 390 slaughterhouses that just failed the FSIS’s Salmonella performance standards will now take independent action to investigate and correct the cause of a potential outbreak.

Egg Farming Cruelty: Pushing Vegetarians to Veganism

egg farming cruelty

Image via WeAnimals.org

The reality behind egg farming is far different than the cartoons of happy chickens on egg cartons try to tell you.

Despite what a ‘90s television commercial might have led you to believe, eggs are for creating baby birds — not for human nutrition.

The so-called “incredible, edible egg” is really an unfertilized cradle for a baby chick who wasn’t. And that’s the basis on which egg farming was born.

Hens produce eggs in startling quantities. That’s why egg farming is so profitable. Their cycles sometimes take just one day, so they’re extremely productive.

Call It Pig or Pork: People Still Want to Eat Bacon

pig farm animal

Tim Geers/Flickr

Faunalytics asked, and U.S. consumers answered. Research shows that even if you trade indirect terms for meat like beef and pork for more explicit ones—like cow and pig to more accurately describe the meat—it does not affect consumer behavior.

Meat companies use indirect terms like beef and pork to distance consumers from animals. Despite the high hopes of researchers at Faunalytics, Sentient Media, and vegans everywhere, referring to meat by its animal explicit name does not make people care about the animals they’re consuming more, at least, not yet.

Pig Farming Uncovered: The Pork Industry’s Disturbing Truths

pig farming conditions and problems

Image via WeAnimals.org

Pig farming holds many heinous secrets that the pork industry never wants you to hear about.

That’s why it is so difficult to access pig farms to take a look at what’s happening behind the scenes. They simply don’t want you to witness what happens to the millions of pigs slaughtered each year.

In fact, there are many ag-gag laws in place to ensure that what is happening behind the walls (and barbwire-laden fences) of pig farms is known by as few people as possible.

Pigs are highly intelligent animals that are remarkably cognizant of their surroundings, and thus, their suffering.

About Sentient Media

Sentient Media is a journalism non-profit working to create transparency and reporting on animal welfare and the large-scale use of animals for human consumption and industry.

We produce compelling, original journalism to educate and inspire journalists, academics, officials, and the general public on topics of animal wellbeing and suffering, factory farming, environmental changes, public health, and political activity relating to animal agriculture and other use of animals.

The Sentient Media Fellowship program helps animal lovers from all walks of life to produce and publish high quality articles with established media outlets. Read more and apply here.

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