Veal, the Shameful By-Product of the Cruel Dairy Industry

Cows produce milk for the same reason humans and other mammals do: to nourish their young. But the millions of cows who live on dairy farms are forced into a vicious cycle of continuous pregnancy so that they will produce milk for human consumption. Their female calves are used to replace their mothers in the dairy herd, but the males meet an even crueler fate: they are doomed to a short, painful life in a veal crate, a life characterized by confinement, malnutrition, disease, and slaughter.

The Cow-Calf Bond

Without human intervention, calves suckle from their mothers for nearly a year. One veterinary study revealed that during natural weaning there is never complete and abrupt abandonment of the calf by the cow. In fact, the cow and calf will maintain a lifelong relationship of social contact and companionship even when a new offspring arrives. Another study found that a cow and her calf can develop a strong maternal bond in as little as five minutes. But calves born on dairy farms are taken from their mothers on the same day they are born and fed milk replacers, including cattle blood, so that humans can have the milk instead. This forced separation causes cows and calves great anxiety and distress, and cows have been known to escape enclosures and travel for miles to reunite with their young. One recent viral video captured a mother cow in New Zealand desperately chasing the vehicle that was taking her babies away.

Small Stalls and No Exercise
Calves raised for veal are forced to spend their short lives chained to tiny individual crates. These crates are designed to prohibit exercise and normal muscle growth in order to produce tender “gourmet” veal. The calves are fed a milk substitute that is purposely low in iron so that they will become anemic and their flesh will stay pale.

Because of these extremely unhealthy living conditions, calves raised for veal are susceptible to a long list of diseases, including chronic pneumonia and diarrhea. A study published in the Journal of Animal Science found that calves who were kept in these veal crates had difficulty keeping themselves clean and had trouble extending their front legs and changing from a lying to a standing position, which resulted in joint swelling. It was also determined that stereotypical forms of stress behaviors, such as tongue rolling and “sham-chewing” (the act of chewing without food in the mouth), increase when smaller pens were used and as calves got older.

What You Can Do
Veal crates have been prohibited in European Union member countries since 2007, but can still be seen by the thousands here in the United States. Demand your legislators follow the example of Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, and Ohio – states which have banned veal crates – by sponsoring bills that would prohibit them in your state.

In addition to refusing to eat veal, avoid all dairy products—calves raised for veal are a by-product of the dairy industry. Try fortified soy, almond, oat, coconut, rice, or other plant-based milks, all of which provide calcium, vitamins, iron, zinc, and protein but contain no cholesterol. They are delicious and perfect for cereal, smoothies, baked goods, and other recipes. Many smooth and creamy dairy alternatives, including nondairy ice cream, cheese, sour cream, and coffee creamers, are easy to find in most supermarkets.

No veal, no dairy – healthy for you, compassionate for cows.

Peace for ALL the animals which whom we share this planet.

The Not-So-Sweet Story of Honey

Growing up I was lucky to have a tangerine tree right outside my bedroom. Twice a year there was nice crop of sweet tangerines to pick and enjoy. Had there been no bees, however, to pollinate the tree, there wouldn’t have been any tangerines. There wouldn’t be any fruit, flowers, or other plants without bees to pollinate them, and without plants to eat and refresh the earth’s oxygen supply, humans would perish. We owe our very survival to bees.

I’m often asked if vegans eat honey. The answer is no. Honey, like other animal products, is derived from exploitation and suffering.

A honeybee hive consists of tens of thousands of bees, each with his or her own mission that is determined by the bee’s sex and age as well as by the time of year. Each hive usually has one queen, hundreds of drones, and thousands of workers. Queens can live as long as seven years, while other bees have life spans ranging from a few weeks to six months.

Drones serve the queen, who is responsible for reproduction. She lays about 250,000 eggs each year, as many as one million over the course of her lifetime. Worker bees are responsible for feeding the brood, caring for the queen, building comb, foraging for nectar and pollen, and cleaning, ventilating, and guarding the hive. As the temperature drops in the winter, the bees cluster around the queen and her young, using their body heat to keep the temperature inside the hive steady at around 93 degrees Fahrenheit.

A Language All Their Own
Bees have a unique and complex form of communication based on sight, motion, and scent that scientists and scholars still don’t fully understand. Bees alert other members of their hive to food, new hive locations, and conditions (such as nectar supply) within their hive through intricate “dance” movements.

Studies have shown that bees are capable of abstract thinking as well as distinguishing their family members from other bees, using visual cues to map their travels, and locating previously used food sources even if their home has been moved. And, similar to the way smells can invoke powerful memories in for humans, they also trigger memories in bees, such as where the best food can be found.

Manipulating Nature
Profiting from honey requires human manipulation and exploitation of the insects’ desire to live and protect their hive. Humans have been consuming honey since about 15,000 B.C., but it wasn’t until very recently in human history that people have turned bees into factory-farmed animals. Like other factory-farmed animals, honeybees are victims of unnatural living conditions, genetic manipulation, and stressful transportation.

The familiar white box beehive has been around since the mid-1850s and was created so that beekeepers could move hives from place to place. As The New York Times describes it, bees have been “moved from shapes that accommodated their own geometry to flat-topped tenements, sentenced to life in file cabinets.”

Even though bees may prefer the nectar of one or more flowers or plants, it’s common beekeeping practice to place the artificial hives in fields where only one type of plant is available, leaving the bees no options in nectar gathering. In addition, when beekeepers drain hives of the honey the bees have made to feed themselves to sell it to humans, they give the hungry bees sugary syrups, like high-fructose corn syrup, to eat instead. Scientists have confirmed that this practice is causing bees to suffer from malnutrition.

When a new queen is about to be born, the old queen and half the hive leave their home and set up in a new place found by scouting worker bees. This “swarming,” as it’s known, can cause a decline in honey production. Beekeepers do inhumane things to prevent swarming, including clipping the wings of a new queen, killing and replacing an older queen after just one or two years, and confining a queen who is ready to initiate a swarm.

Queens are often forcibly taken from hives and artificially inseminated using drones, who are killed in the process. When beekeepers decide to move a queen to another colony, she is transported along with “bodyguard” bees, all of whom, if they survive the move, will be killed by bees in the new colony. Many bees are killed or have their wings and legs torn off by haphazard handling by beekeepers.

What You Can Do
Avoid honey, beeswax, propolis, royal jelly, and other products that come from the exploitation of bees. Vegan lip balms and candles are readily available. Agave nectar, rice syrup, molasses, sorghum, barley malt, maple syrup, and dried fruit or fruit concentrates can be used to replace honey in recipes. Sweet, delicious, and healthy meals and desserts can be enjoyed without the suffering of vitally important bees.

Peace for ALL the animals with whom we share this planet!

Go Vegan for All Mothers

There is no difference between the worry of a human mother and an animal mother for their offspring. A mother’s love does not derive from the intellect but from the emotions, in animals just as in humans. – Maimonides

This Mother’s Day, be kind to someone else’s mom — by going vegan. After all, animals have mothers, too, and animal mothers love their children just as humans love theirs.

We’ve all heard the term “mother hen” used to describe someone with a strong maternal instinct. That’s because hens are doting parents who will even care for other baby animals as if they were their own. When not confined to filthy factory farms, hens lovingly tend to their eggs and “talk” to their unhatched chicks, who chirp back while they’re still in the shell!

But birds used for food never get to see their chicks, because they hatch in large metal incubators. The male birds are useless to hatcheries — because they don’t produce eggs and because they’re not bred to produce the excessive flesh desired by the meat industry — so they are either suffocated to death or ground up alive. You heard that right: Fluffy yellow chicks are suffocated or ground up while still alive — on a massive scale.

The female chicks are sent to egg farms, where they’re crammed into wire cages or confined to dark, crowded sheds and forced to live amid accumulated urine and feces. Part of the birds’ sensitive beaks are cut off with a hot blade — and no painkillers — because in their misery and frustration, the confined birds might peck at one another, causing injuries.

When the hens begin to lay fewer eggs — usually when they’re around 2 years old — they’re sent to the slaughterhouse, where their throats are slit and they’re often scalded to death in the defeathering tank.

Birds endure all this suffering just because humans like to eat their eggs. But it’s so simple to make great-tasting brownies, cookies and cakes, as well as breakfast scrambles and “egg” salad, without actually using any eggs. If you’re planning to make — or order — a meal for your family this Mother’s Day, why not do it without contributing to cruelty to animals?

We can spare gentle mother cows a world of pain and heartbreak simply by saying no to dairy milk and instead enjoying creamy beverages, frozen desserts, gooey cheese pizza and hearty lasagna made with vegan milk.

Like hens, cows are subjugated and their reproductive systems are hijacked and controlled. On dairy farms, female cows are artificially inseminated and kept almost constantly pregnant so that they’ll produce a steady supply of milk for human consumption. Their babies are taken away from them shortly after they’re born. The male calves are commonly killed for veal, and the females are turned into “milk machines” like their mothers. They, too, end up at the slaughterhouse when their milk production wanes.

This Mother’s Day, let’s acknowledge that all animals are sentient beings who feel pain and suffer when treated cruelly and mourn when they’re separated from their loved ones. Let’s honor and respect  mothers and babies of all species by going vegan.

Eggs-cruciating Cruelty

In the movie “The Beguiled,” starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page, I played Amy, a tender-hearted girl who loves and nurtures animals. Early in the movie Amy is seen tending to a wounded crow. The crow, whose wing has been injured, is tied to the railing of a balcony so he can’t fly away until he has fully recovered. “I love ya, Mr. Crow,” Amy says as she tries to comfort the struggling bird, “but until your wings are mended, it’s for your own good.” The scene foreshadows the plight of Eastwood’s character, McB, as he recovers from his injuries in the boarding school.

When I think about birds now I think about the horrific abuse birds – chickens, ducks, and others – endure on egg-laying farms. Egg farms continually breed birds so they have a fresh supply of hens to lay eggs. After two years spending their lives in horribly cramped conditions inside huge warehouses, the hens stop laying enough eggs to cover the cost of their feed and are shipped to the slaughterhouse.

If chicks in the hatchery turn out to be males (who, of course, don’t lay eggs), they’re considered useless by-products. Those poor baby birds are tossed ALIVE, cheeping pitifully for their mothers, into the trash, or thrown ALIVE into rendering machines to be ground up and used as feed for other animals.

Female chicks have part of their beaks painfully cut off while fully conscious, because egg-laying hens are forced to live in such crowded conditions they peck at each other. This is why I don’t eat eggs, or any other animals for that matter. Birds such as “broiler” chickens and egg-laying hens are made to live such miserable and painful lives that I simply cannot ethically eat their abused corpses.

Peace for ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!

The Deadly Horse Carriage Industry

In this scene from Walt Disney’s “The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band,” I’m riding in a horse-drawn wagon with my movie dad Buddy Ebsen and brother Jon Walmsley. Today I’d have thought differently about the poor horse pulling that load for take after take in the hot California sun, but even that burden pales next to those put on horses made to draw carriages on our urban streets.

I’ve always felt sad for carriage horses, plodding along wearily on hot, hard asphalt streets as buses and cars go whizzing by with inches to spare. Carriage horses are forced to pull heavy loads in extreme weather, dodge honking traffic, and pound the pavement day in and day out until they get old, injured, or sick, after which they’re sent to the slaughterhouse. These horses lead very sad lives. From constant walking and standing on hard streets, lameness and hoof deterioration are inevitable in carriage horses. Many develop respiratory ailments from breathing in exhaust fumes, and suffer debilitating leg problems from walking on hard surfaces. Weather conditions, too, can prove fatal for working horses. Carriage horses are exposed to long shifts in bitter cold and wet weather in the winter, and scorching heat and debilitating humidity in the summer. Many drop dead on the city streets from dehydration and heatstroke.

In an audit of the New York carriage industry, that city’s comptroller found that horses on the street did not have ready access to water, had insufficient shade during hot weather, and that, because of poor street drainage, “the horses are left to stand in pools of dirty water.”

People around the world are increasingly recognizing that it’s the carriage industry – not just the horses – taking them for a ride. Please don’t patronize carriage rides, and explain to family and friends why they shouldn’t, either. If your city permits carriages on its streets, urge your representatives to propose legislation that will ban this obsolete and abusive amusement.

Peace for ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!

 

Fish Are Intelligent Animals

“Sealab 2020” was an animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera, the same studio that produced classic cartoons such as “The Flintstones,” “Yogi Bear,” “The Jetsons,” and “Scooby-Doo,” I voiced several cartoon characters for Hanna-Barbera; in “Sealab 2020” I played Sali Murphy, daughter of Captain Michael Murphy, commander of Sealab, an underwater research base. Sealab was home to 250 men, women, and children, and was dedicated to the study and protection of marine life.

The series, produced in 1972-1973, was ahead of its time in developing stories around the destructive effects on sea life, marine mammals, and the environment of human activities such as commercial fishing, shipping, oil spills, and dumping of radioactive waste. At the time, I had no idea of the extent to which humans were – and are – trashing the oceans and causing harm to the living things in it. Most people don’t have much feeling for fish, but when you do some research you learn that they are highly intelligent creatures. As a child, long I became vegan, I never liked to eat fish after witnessing a fish being pulled from its ocean home. I saw the sharp metal hook in its mouth, and the fish flapping around on the deck of the boat in panic and agony as it suffocated to death.

As an adult, I learned that fish are individuals who have their own unique personalities. Dive guides have been known to name friendly fish who follow divers around and enjoy being petted, just as dogs and cats do. Yet billions of fish die every year in nets, hooks, and on longlines.

According to Culum Brown, a researcher at Macquarie University in Sydney, “fish are more intelligent than they appear. In many areas, such as memory, their cognitive powers match or exceed those of ‘higher’ vertebrates.” In Fish and Fisheries, biologists wrote that fish are “steeped in social intelligence, pursuing Machiavellian strategies of reconciliation, exhibiting stable cultural traditions, and cooperating to inspect predators and catch food.”

Fish communicate through a range of low-frequency sounds from buzzes and clicks to yelps and sobs. These sounds, most of which are only audible to humans with the use of special instruments, communicate emotional states such as alarm or delight, and help with courtship.

While fish do not always express pain and suffering in ways that humans can easily recognize, scientific reports from around the world substantiate the fact that fish feel pain. Researchers from Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities studied the pain receptors in fish and found that they were strikingly similar to those of mammals. The researchers concluded that “fish do have the capacity for pain perception and suffering.”

Hooked fish struggle out of fear and intense physical pain. Once fish are taken out of their natural environment and pulled into ours, they suffocate. Their gills often collapse, and their swim bladders can rupture because of the sudden change in pressure.

The average U.S. consumer eats nearly 16 pounds of fish and shellfish every year. To meet this demand, U.S. commercial fishers reel in more than 8 billion pounds of fish and shellfish annually.

Commercial fishers use factory-style trawlers the size of football fields to catch fish. Miles-long nets stretch across the ocean, capturing every fish and marine mammal in their path. Fish are scraped raw from rubbing against the rocks and debris that are caught in the nets with them. Then they bleed or suffocate to death on the decks of the ships, gasping for oxygen and suffering for as long as 24 hours. Some fishing boats use gill nets, which ensnare every animal they catch, and fish are mutilated when they are extracted from the nets.

Longline fishing, in which 40 miles of monofilament fishing line dangles thousands of enormous, individually metal baited hooks to catch tuna and swordfish, drowns thousands of turtles and birds every year. Because of the fishing industry’s indiscriminate practices, the population of the world’s large predatory fish, such as swordfish and marlin, has declined by 90 percent since the advent of industrialized fishing.

Overfishing is threatening shark populations, too, with more than 100 million killed every year. One underwater photographer says that when he works off the north coast of New South Wales, he finds that “almost every second grey nurse shark… has a hook hanging out of its mouth, with a bit of trailing line following it.” Many sharks are the victims of “finning,” in which fishers catch sharks, haul them on deck, hack off their fins (for expensive shark fin soup), and toss the maimed, helpless animals back into the ocean to die in agony.

Like the flesh of other animals, the flesh of sea animals contains excessive amounts of protein, fat, and cholesterol.

What can you do? Never buy or eat fish. Grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts, and seeds provide all the essential amino acids you need. Vegan products like mock lobster, shrimp, and crab have all the taste of the “real thing” with none of the cruelty or contaminants. Omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease, can be found in flaxseeds, canola oil, nuts, and avocados. Recipes for fabulous, healthy, and animal-friendly vegetarian dishes, including faux fish sticks and sushi, can be found at VegCooking.com.

Peace for ALL the animals with whom we share this planet!

 

Los Angeles Is Now a No-Kill City

Hooray for the big news out of Los Angeles!

When I was 13, I collected money on the set of “The Paul Lynde Show” to help save shelter animals. More than 30 years later, demonstrators including my husband and myself were routinely arrested in an attempt by city officials to hide the wholesale slaughter of animals in L.A.’s municipal shelters. Now, after years of demonstrations, false promises by politicians, and the cruel murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent animals, Los Angeles has at last become a no-kill city. Thanks to the efforts of a coalition of animal rights organizations and a community that put their voices behind protecting animals, countless lives will now be spared.

For those who don’t know, a no-kill shelter is one that doesn’t kill healthy or treatable animals regardless of how full the shelter may be. No-kill shelters are about saving lives, not taking them, and employ creative methods to encourage people to adopt. While traditional shelters routinely kill puppies and kittens who are too young to be adopted, at no-kill shelters the littlest ones are placed into foster care until they are old enough to find a home. Feral cats, too, typically killed at traditional shelters, are sterilized at no-kill shelters and released back to their habitats. No-kill shelters offer lifesaving alternatives to the usual mass killing of abandoned animals.

Los Angeles is now the largest of more than 5,500 no-kill cities and counties in the United States; Delaware remains the only no-kill state. Formerly, Los Angeles was putting 75-90% of shelter animals – some 40-50,000 every year – to death. Thanks to the city’s adoption of no-kill policies, the save rate is now better than 90%.

Congratulations, L.A.! This is proof that civil action can bring about positive change and save countless lives.

 

 

 

“Seaspiracy” Is a Must-See Documentary

There’s a new documentary out that I urge you all to see. It’s called Seaspiracy, and it’s streaming now on Netflix.

Seaspiracy uncovers the ways in which humans are exploiting the Earth’s oceans, wiping out marine life, and depleting the planet’s largest source of breathable oxygen. It turns a sharp eye on the practices of hunting and killing the largest and smallest creatures in the sea, asking how, if at all, they can endure into the future, or if we’re doomed to wipe out an entire ecosystem by the middle of this century.

Scenes of “sustainable” whaling practices, in which fishermen reduce a pod of pilot whales to beached mounds of flesh, follow shots of “sustainably” farmed fish packed into floating cages being eaten alive by insects before they show up in your supermarket’s meat case. So, too, we see the waters of Japan’s infamous Taiji Cove churn red with the blood of the 23,000 dolphins and porpoises slaughtered there each year by hook- and club-wielding fishermen.

Check out the movie trailer here, then please go to Netflix to see Seaspiracy.

Animal Abuse Is No Way to Celebrate Easter

Here is a photo of me and Christmas, a chicken rescued from an egg farm in Connecticut at Christmas 1996. Christmas had been badly abused and was in terrible shape, but we nursed her back to health, and she was a beloved family member for many years. Christmas loved to fly up onto the couch and snuggle when I was watching TV. She would softly purr and often fell asleep tucked under my arm.

Now another holiday is approaching. For many, Easter is a celebration, but for animals abused in the name of holiday gift-giving, there is nothing to celebrate.
 
In this shocking video , you can witness chicks being dyed to be given as Easter “gifts.” They are dumped into plastic bins, drenched in dye, and tossed the way one would toss a salad. No doubt some of these tiny, delicate birds sustained injuries, and all were surely frightened. Dyeing animals is illegal in half our states; unfortunately, that means it’s still legal in the others.
 
And when Easter has passed? Received as gifts, these unnaturally-colored chicks are more likely to be viewed as “toys” than living things to be cared for. Children should never be taught to view animals as playthings but instead to respect the lives and rights of all living beings. Chicks given as novelty gifts are often abandoned as their colors fade.
 
Chicks require special care that many families aren’t prepared to give, but it’s not just chicks who suffer from holiday novelty gift-giving. Nationwide, rabbits rank third among animals turned in at shelters, many surrendered by people who were not prepared to give longtime care to the cute bunny they took home for Easter.
 
If you were thinking of buying a chick, a bunny, or any other animal to give as a present this Easter, don’t do it! Instead, give a child an actual toy—the kind that’s stuffed with cotton and does not require food, water, veterinary visits, hours of love and attention every day, and years of commitment.
 
If you and your family are ready to provide a loving, permanent home for a chicken, a bunny, or other animal, please adopt from a shelter or rescue group after giving the decision a lot of thought and thoroughly researching how to care properly for these sensitive, complex animals.
 
Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share this planet

 

 

The Myth of Cage-Free and Free-Range Eggs

Every time you buy a carton of eggs – conventional, free-range, cage-free, organic, “certified humanely raised,” or whatever label is put on them – you are paying for the murder of hundreds of millions of baby chicks, 200 million each year in the United States alone. They are thrown in a dumpster and left to die, tossed in garbage bags and suffocated, or more commonly, ground up alive in industrial meat grinders. Why does this happen, you ask?  Wouldn’t it be more profitable to let them grow up and kill them for meat?

Actually, no. It takes a lot of food, shelter and water to raise a chick into a full-grown chicken. Male chickens simply will not grow as big or as fast as female chickens. They also don’t lay eggs. To egg farmers, male chickens are a liability that eat into profits, so they cut their losses early and “humanely euthanize” (i.e. grind up) baby chicks that are only a day old.

Though the males die a relatively quick death, the females will live their entire lives crammed six to a cage so small they can’t stand up or turn around. Chickens are treated as egg-laying machines with no regard for their basic biological and behavioral needs. They are “debeaked,” meaning their beaks are nearly cut off so they can’t peck at each other. Many are put through periods of starvation to force them to molt, which will boost their egg-laying productivity. These hens’ natural life span of 15-20 years is cut drastically short, living only one to two years before they are slaughtered when their productivity declines. Their bodies are so wasted and emaciated that their meat is only able to be used in soups and pet food.

Do you see the phrase “cage-free eggs” and imagine they come from hens wandering free in a sunny barnyard? Think again. “Cage-free” chickens are kept not six to a small cage but packed in giant warehouses. They are still debeaked and still sent to the slaughterhouse when their egg-laying productivity declines.

The label “free-range eggs” sounds much better, doesn’t it? It’s not. It’s simply another marketing ploy. In the words of the USDA, “free-range” birds are “raised in heated and air-cooled growing houses with access to the outdoors.” That “outdoor area” is typically a small covered porch or patio with a cement floor, accessed through a small, hard-to-find door. There is nothing “cruelty-free” about getting to spend a few minutes a day on a crowded cement patio where the sunlight never reaches. Once again, the chickens are debeaked, forced to live in their own waste, fed the same antibiotic and arsenic-laden feed that other chickens eat, and are still slaughtered in ways that will make your blood turn cold. Remember: free-range chickens are far from free, and they don’t live on a range.

Organic eggs come from chickens that are fed a certified organic, vegetarian diet (though chickens’ natural diet is not strictly vegetarian). There is still no barnyard or pasture, no space to roam free, and often no sunlight, and the living conditions are still far from cruelty-free. USDA regulations permit egg farmers to confine their hens 24 hours a day if they feel that the weather is too harsh, that there may be a disease outbreak, or to protect soil and water from being contaminated by all of the waste inherent in the keeping of thousands of chickens. There are no clear regulations on any of these factors, and because they are left completely to the farmer’s discretion, are almost never regulated or enforced in any way.

“Certified organic,” “free-range,” “cage-free,” “hormone-free,” “all natural,” “humanely raised and handled” — all of these labels are cynically designed to make consumers feel less guilty about buying a product that is always cruel. Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated by meaningless labels, and stop paying for the suffering and slaughter of innocent animals.

Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share this planet.