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23 posts from October 2008


October 31, 2008

Talk Back: United for YES! on Prop 2

Today, the Field Poll, an independent and respected polling firm, released results on Prop 2 and had 60 percent of likely voters favoring the measure and 27 percent opposing it, with 13 percent undecided.

While this snapshot of voter opinion is encouraging, we at The HSUS are not relaxing or relenting. Thousands of animal advocates will be canvassing neighborhoods for YES! on Prop 2, making phone calls, and otherwise getting the word out on this historic ballot initiative between now and election day.

On election night, I'll be blogging live from our election central headquarters in Los Angeles. We'll be posting election returns as we get them from state and media sources. So please check in to the blog for regular updates and commentary as the returns roll in. The first returns should come in by 8:30 p.m. PST.

You've had lots of feedback on my frequent posts on the issue, and I wanted to share some of your comments.

For the sake of farm animals, Prop 2 MUST pass! How can we sit down at our tables eating chicken or any other animal meat knowing that these animals gave their lives for us, never having had the chance for freedoms each of us enjoy—the smell of grass, the open sky above, the chance to move—whether for these animals it was a chance to flap wings or run or roll around in a cool mud bath, or just to chew on grasses below a wide-open sky above. If we are to call ourselves "humane" we have no choice but to vote Yes on Prop 2. If this proposition does not pass, then for this Californian, the only choice will be vegetarian or buy cage-free eggs and cage-free animal meat only. If there are enough people like me, then how much money will the big agribusinesses make off their poor, suffering animals? Please join me in doing the right thing: Vote Yes on Prop 2! —Carol

I sensed the deep sadness in Dave Long's voice as he spoke about the living conditions of the multitudes of laying hens at the factory farm adjacent to his property. The awareness being raised by the "YES! on Prop 2" campaign alone regarding the cruelty aspect of confinement/suffering of the animals in factory farms is in itself a great victory; however, it's due time for the final blow. —PJ

Trust me, Wayne. This is a measure I will keep on talking about until Nov. 5. I want to see this Prop passed and give the animals sweet justice! Can't wait! —Maria

Your recent aggressive advertising campaigns are excellent! The program on Oprah where Wayne Pacelle presented the facts was outstanding and now on our satellite television stations there are commercials showing the deplorable conditions of animals where he again makes his statements. All of these efforts are so important. You are to be commended. Thank you so much. —Elaine Harmon in Texas

Thank you Wayne and the HSUS for producing such electrifying commercials. People need to see how their food is produced. If they truly care about animals they would not support this industry. To eat the products from these companies is to condone their cruelty. —Michelle Staples

Every time I watch one of these videos I can't help but remember what the HSUS's incredible Gretchen Wyler used to say: “Cruelty can't stand the spotlight.” The evidence is overwhelmingly obvious. Now all the voters need to do is vote YES on Prop. 2! —PJ Bertsch

We must pass Prop 2!! The way we treat animals in our society says so much! The question is not: Can they reason? The question is: Can they suffer? Yes, these beautiful creatures have feelings and it's time for us as a nation to have a heart and at least allow the animals to stretch, turn around, etc. It's the least we can do!! Please have a heart and vote YES on Prop 2!! —MaryKay Bills

Wayne, you are such a good, kindhearted man. I was unaware of how these farms treated animals but after learning more and becoming aware, I have quit eating meat and am passing out Yes on Prop 2 flyers everywhere I go. You, my friend, are making a huge difference for the positive for the animals. —Robert Scott

How far we have fallen as humans that we could treat another living being how we treat animals “farmed for food.” That groups could lie for the sake of their “agribusinesses.” I'm passing your video address onto everyone I know. It's clear, it's concise and factual and it resonates with both our hearts and our heads. Yes on Prop 2! —Stacy Thomas

Continue reading "Talk Back: United for YES! on Prop 2" »

October 30, 2008

Kid-Tested, Animal-Approved

Too young to vote, but old enough to know: Here are a couple of freshly inspiring voices for the YES! on Prop 2 campaign. Watch and be uplifted, then help get out the vote.

Mia is Crazy About Animals

Sage Ryan's YES! on Prop 2 Music Video

October 29, 2008

Life Beside a Factory Farm

Dave Long knows factory farming just about as well as anyone in California. He lives in Yucaipa in San Bernardino County, and he lives adjacent to one of the largest egg factory farms in the state. This animal factory confines more than 700,000 birds in tiny wire cages where they are basically immobilized for their entire lives.

When the wind blows in the direction of his home, it carries an awful smell and more flies than you can count. I know it because I was there, and experienced it. But I could leave after I was done talking to Dave. He lives there, and he cannot leave, unless he wants to abandon the community he loves and the home he owns.

He supports YES! on Prop 2 because it's wrong to confine animals in tiny cages. But he also supports Prop 2 because factory farms don't make good neighbors and they foul the environment. Their massing of animals in cages creates waste and odor problems that drop property values and diminish the quality of life.

When you mistreat animals, you'll often spawn other problems. That's especially true for factory farming.

Here's Dave Long's testimonial.

October 28, 2008

How You, Too, Can Help Prop 2

Today, the Los Angeles Times ran an op-ed from me on Prop 2, the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act. It makes the case for Prop 2 in 700 words, and it's a piece you might think about forwarding to Californians still deciding how they'll vote.

One of the great things in a campaign like this is that it allows people who care about animals to do something. So many people wonder how they can make a difference, and now with Prop 2, everyone has that chance. Obviously, registered voters in California will decide the issue. But everyone can help in other ways, too, by talking to neighbors or work colleagues, blasting emails to everyone in your address book, leafleting or phone banking, or writing a letter to the editor.

Making social change is not a spectator sport. It is a participatory process. We all must have a hand in it. One week to go for concluding this major battle.

Prop 2: the humane thing to do
California's farm animals and consumers deserve Proposition 2's protections.

By Wayne Pacelle
October 28, 2008

Two weeks ago, video from an undercover investigation at Norco Ranch, owned by Missouri-based Moark, was released to the public showing pitiful images of animals abused at a California factory farm. The undercover investigator not only recorded images of four to six birds crammed into small cages and unable to extend their wings, but also dead birds in cages, birds with legs or other body parts caught in the wire caging, and the animals living in absolute filth and squalor.

A California initiative on the November ballot -- Proposition 2, the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act -- would phase out the cramming of veal calves, breeding pigs and egg-laying hens into small cages and crates. Moark and Norco together are the largest funders of the campaign against Proposition 2, and Norco is the largest egg factory farm in the state, with 8 million birds crammed into tiny cages.

If you only listened to the arguments of the opponents of Proposition 2 or read their news releases, you'd think they were the greatest caretakers of animals and protectors of food safety. Their self-image is miles from the reality.

Earlier this year, there was another investigation that shocked Californians and the nation. It showed the mistreatment of "downer" cows at the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. slaughter plant in Chino. An investigator from the Humane Society of the United States went undercover there and documented sick and crippled cows being brutalized in order to get them into the "kill box."

Government inspectors and plant management either missed the abuse or allowed it to persist. Agribusiness apologists tried their best to deny that this happened until confronted with graphic videotape evidence.

These two investigations show that we cannot allow the factory farming industry to self-regulate, nor can we wait for government to step up and protect animals from abuse or to guard us from food safety threats. That's precisely why Proposition 2 is so important and timely.

Animals with wings and legs need to be allowed to use them, and they should not be denied enough room to stand up, turn around and stretch their limbs. That's the simple fix behind Proposition 2, and it's phased in over a six-year period to allow farmers to transition to more humane production practices.

Proposition 2 will not restore the placid imagery of "Old MacDonald's Farm," but veal calves will no longer be chained by the neck and confined in tiny stalls until slaughter; pigs will not be imprisoned in metal cages that are barely larger than their bodies; and eight hens at a time will not be crammed into wire cages with each bird having less floor space than a letter-sized sheet of paper.

Continue reading "How You, Too, Can Help Prop 2" »

October 27, 2008

Talk of the Nation

Just eight days remain until Nov. 4, and there's so much at stake with Prop 2. It's an historic vote, an unprecedented opportunity for Californians to register their opposition to the cruelties of factory farming and to put a halt to them through the force of law. We need every animal advocate to assist in ways that make sense—by emailing or calling California voters, by donating to the campaign, by canvassing or leafleting, or by writing letters to the editor. We want to leave it all on the field, and not let agribusiness interests gain any advantage on us.

If we needed any further evidence of the importance of this battle, it came yesterday when The New York Times Magazine did a 4,500 word treatment of Proposition 2 and some of the key players pushing for its passage. On top of the "Ellen" and "Oprah" segments and treatments of the issue, and the separate reporting on the news pages of The New York Times and Washington Post and other major national press outlets, it's generating extraordinary attention throughout the nation. If it has this kind of impact prior to the election, you can only imagine its significance after the measure is approved by voters. We must do all we can to make that outcome a reality.

October 24, 2008

Porcine Puns and Piggy Whimsy

Pig and piglet
© iStockphoto

It's been such a pleasure to read your responses to my blog from last Friday, when I asked you to suggest a caption for this picture of a pig and her piglet. Your submissions echoed The HSUS's philosophy that all animals, including the wonderful pig, deserve humane treatment. As I say in a story in today's New York Times about the battle over California's Proposition 2, the least we can do for these animals is treat them with decency and give them a semblance of life.

It was a tough task, but I've narrowed it down to ten favorites from your caption suggestions. I hope you enjoy them, and thanks to all of you who shared your passion and creativity.

10. Grinner pastures. —Sandy Grambort
9. Love does not succumb to speciesism. —Nash McCutchen
8. Mom, whatever you do, don't sneeze! —Barb S.
7. And so Prop 2 was passed… —Becky Gibic
6. Now this is what I call "hog heaven." —Barbara
5. Say it aint SOW...don't they know we are just as smart as cats and dogs? —Kimberly Ryan
4. Nobody nose love like we nose it! —Kellie Morgan
3. The way it was meant to be. —frangary
2. Thank you, California, for letting me kiss my Mom's nose! —Jenny Smith
1. Mother nose best. —Joyce Caldwell

October 23, 2008

30 Seconds to Set the Record Straight

With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, the YES! on Prop 2 campaign is putting two new commercials (below) on the air in California.

I am disgusted by the fear-mongering and falsehoods from our opponents’ campaign, and the ads here are designed to tell voters who the opponents of Prop 2 really are. Three-quarters of the money coming into the No on 2 campaign comes from factory farming corporations outside of California, and many of them have well-documented records of animal cruelty, consumer fraud, and environmental pollution. The Department of Justice is investigating a number of leading opponents of Prop 2 for illegal price-fixing—with these companies hiking prices more than 40 percent in the last two years. Remember these are the same folks crying crocodile tears about a penny-per-egg increase for switching from cage to cage-free systems, yet they've increased prices by 50 cents in the last two years.

A recent Mercy for Animals investigation exposed animal cruelty and squalor at the state's largest egg factory farm—MoArk/Norco Ranch. It just so happens that MoArk/Norco is the largest funder to the No on 2 campaign, having provided $874,673. As such, MoArk/Norco is the star of our new ad. But as the investigator found out, it's more like a black hole for animals.

For these agribusiness companies to say they are safe food advocates is like tobacco companies saying they are healthy lung advocates. It's a scam, and the public needs to see through the charade.

"Shocking Video"

"Cruelty and Fraud"

October 22, 2008

eBay Does Elephants’ Bidding

I’ve been writing a lot lately about the Big Agribusiness corporations fighting the reforms of California’s Proposition 2, blinded by the bottom line. So it’s a welcome change of pace to tell you about a major multi-national company that has taken a strong stand for animals.

Elephant in brush
© iStockphoto

This Monday we received a call from eBay, the world’s best known online auction giant, telling us it's decided to ban trade in ivory of any kind beginning Jan. 1, 2009. This decision follows years of collegial discussions on a variety of animal issues.

Back in 2002, an HSUS investigation into the ivory trade found thousands of ivory objects for sale on eBay every day. At the time, the company took the position that the ivory trade was acceptable so long as there was no evidence it was illegal. The problem then, and still today, is that trade in some kinds of ivory is legal: antiques more than 100 years old, ivory from mammoths, or ivory imported to the United States before domestic and international law prohibited it. So traders slide ivory into the country through the existing loopholes, claiming the ivory is antique, mammoth, or imported by their grandfather in 1951.

And cyberspace provides an ideal opportunity for smugglers to conduct business. The sellers and buyers are anonymous. The goods are shipped by mail. Even the most discerning buyer can get hoodwinked.

eBay’s decision will deny ivory traffickers an important marketplace to sell their goods and it will save some elephants from poachers by drying up a major sales pathway. As many as 23,000 African elephants are poached annually. China is the leading destination for most of this ivory—about one-third of the ivory for sale in the United States was recently carved and illegally imported from China. And a lot of that ivory is offered on eBay.

But come the New Year, it won’t be any longer. Detailing eBay’s decision, Senior Regulatory Counsel Jack Christin wrote in an email to our global affiliate Humane Society International: “We too are concerned that the global demand for ivory has been a significant factor in the poaching of endangered and protected species, especially African and Asian elephants. In order to protect our buyers and sellers, as well as animals in danger of extinction, we have taken the proactive measure to institute a global ban on the sale of all types of ivory.”

eBay has done the right thing. Let’s hope that others follow in reaching for a high standard of social responsibility.

October 21, 2008

Pass This On to Pass Prop 2

We are calling all troops to battle in our campaign to pass Proposition 2 in California—a ballot measure to stop the worst cruelties of industrialized factory farming. Today, we stand precisely two weeks from Election Day. But in reality, the votes are already pouring in, since nearly 50 percent of California voters are expected to vote by mail and cast their ballots prior to Nov. 4.

We just posted a new two-minute video to the www.YESonProp2.com website. Please take a look and forward it to friends, business associates, family members, and others. It's especially important that you send it to California voters now because they may be casting a ballot today.

 

October 20, 2008

Talk Back: Faith in Animals

Last week I posted some of your comments about California's Proposition 2, and I hope to share more of your feedback later this week. In the meantime I wanted to publish some of your recent comments on other topics.

The conversation continues around The HSUS's two recent legal wins for wolves:

I am thrilled that wolves will not be removed from the Endangered Species List. As a lifetime resident of Alberta, Canada I feel a kinship with the wolves that were relocated in the U.S. We in Alberta live successfully with wolves and are not threatened by them. They are truly wonderful animals and deserve to be protected. —Kathleen Nadon

From my perspective this may have been HSUS’s crowning achievement for the relatively short period of time I’ve been involved with the organization. I loved reading the comments. Again, congratulations. Wolves are my favorite animal as well. —Dwight Lowell

Several of you also weighed in on the recent observance of the Feast Day of Saint Francis. Among your comments:

All of us who are part of the faith community should be vigilant about speaking up for animals. We above all have a responsibility to protect all living beings. I just do not understand how anyone who calls themselves a Christian (which is my faith) can abuse an innocent animal. But sadly I see and hear of it often. I think all animal welfare organizations should address this issue in the way the HSUS has. I also hope the clergy and other religious leaders will get more involved. —Barbara

Go Wayne, go! You make us all so proud getting the good message out there about caring for and protecting all our animals. —Em C

It is comforting to know that my four cats: Molly, Snowdrift, Cookie, and Sara, all have a patron saint looking after them. It is also good to know that all these precious animals that are barbarically killed in these creepy research labs and slaughterhouses are in a much more peaceful and beautiful place where they are loved, respected and looked after by the angels and saints. —Sharon Girouard

Some of you shared stories in response to my post about "African Critters," the new book by National Geographic photographer Bobby Haas:

How wonderful! I just bought the book, “African Critters,” for my nephew for Christmas, and it is so nice to know the proceeds will benefit the HSUS. I know my nephew will benefit from the book as well. He is an avid reader and loves animals as I do. This young boy is a gentle soul and I hope to instill in him the values that you have instilled in so many people in regards to animal welfare. You have truly opened my eyes to so many things and I am forever grateful for that! I truly enjoy your daily blogs and am so thankful that all animals have someone so special as you to help them. God bless you and all the animals, too! —Karen E Wagner

Continue reading "Talk Back: Faith in Animals" »