Animal Spotlight: Miss Sadie

Here's Sadie, vintage style.

Sadie will be turning 11 this March. She has been at the sanctuary for four years and has really blossomed from a shy, abused dairy cow to a lover of back scratches and apples.

Healthy School Lunches

Congress is revising the Child Nutrition Act, which determines what foods are served in schools across the country. Let's encourage congress to include healthy non-dairy vegetarian options in school lunches.

You can sign the petition here. Tell others about this opportunity.

California residents:

Bay Area Congress members, Rep. George Miller (parts of Contra Costa and Solano counties), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (San Francisco County) and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (Marin County and parts of Sonoma County) all sit on the Committee of Education and Labor and will have a strong influence on the new Child Nutrition Act.

We need to tell Reps Miller, Pelosi and Woolsey that students deserve nutritious foods--more fruits, vegetables, vegetarian foods, and healthful nondairy beverages. Please contact if you are interested in gathering signatures, distributing information, or attending a letter-writing party in your area.

Virtual Battery Cage

Nearly 350 million hens in the United States spend their lives in small, wire cages with 6-8 other birds.

Now you can get a bird's eye view of what life is like for these hens with the Virtual Battery Cage.

Check out the interactive battery cage here.

Increasing fruits, nuts reduces eye disease

Researchers at the University of Liverpool believe that increasing your consumption of nuts, veggies and fruits may reduce the likelihood of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by up to 20%.

You can easily increase your intake of nuts by making your own trail mix - buy in bulk, it's much more cost-effective. Mix in your favorite nuts, like almonds or cashews, with some seeds (pumpkin or sunflower), dried fruit (no added sugar, try cranberries) and maybe a small amount of carob or semi-sweet chocolate chips (not too many!).

Another study out of the University of Cincinnati points to a high-fat diet causing problems with fat deposits around the arteries of your heart. This isn't new information, but it further emphasizes the importance of a lower-fat diet....something that a healthy vegan diet provides.

Several studies out of Cornell point to apples inhibiting the spread of breast cancer. An apple a day is truly a good thing!

Food for Thought

Animal Place's Food for Thought campaign asks animal shelters who rescue dogs and cats to create a menu policy that is consistent with their ethics.

The Food for Thought campaign asks Who do you pet and who do you eat? Why?

Many dog and cat shelters also rescue farmed animals, from rabbits to cattle to chickens, a variety of animals may go through shelter doors and into new homes. While shelters may work hard to place these farmed animals, they may also serve beef or fried chicken at their shelter-sponsored events. This is an ethically inconsistent policy.

You can help:
1) Contact your humane society or SPCA and ask about their menu policy. If they do not have an animal friendly menu policy, order your free copy of the Food for Thought brochure from Animal Place. Email us at with Food for Thought in the subject line.
2) Let us know if your shelter does or does not have an animal friendly menu policy. We want to keep track of the shelters who advocate for all animals and those who need improvement.

You can also download the Food for Thought brochure at our website here.

Animal Spotlight: Gilbert

Gilbert will be turning 8 this year. He arrived in 2001 after nearly becoming an item on a BBQ menu. He was left hog-tied out in the blazing heat when he was rescued. Very shy around humans, he is great with the other goats, particularly the ladies!

Thank SELF for their Veg Out article

The February issue of SELF includes a positive article on vegetarianism called Veg out! You can read the article here.

Please take a moment to read the article and leave a positive comment or write a positive letter to the editorial board HERE. Keep it short and polite. It's so important to let publications know that you appreciate their content.

Humane Lobby Day

Yesterday, I attended Humane Lobby Day at the state capitol in Sacramento. The intent behind lobby day is to give constituents a chance to meet their representatives and promote a few bills that improve the welfare of animals.

Turnout was great, maybe a 100 or more people whose impetus for coming was that they cared about animals.

I attended with trepidation as did many other first-time attendees.

While I’m familiar with the legislative process and the how of lobbying, I haven’t done much of it. Like so many others, I forget that representatives are there for us – literally. We pay their salaries, we pay for their offices and we pay for the maintenance of the state capitol building, why shouldn’t we express our viewpoints, concerns and accolades (or disappointments)?

California’s state capitol is beautiful, so it wasn’t hard to enjoy my first meandering moments until I found the correct room. The basics of lobbying and legislation were covered, as well as the three bills we would be promoting to our representatives (or in most cases, their staff and aides).

Then it was time for lobbying. While lobbying isn’t as scary as it sounds, no one really wants to do it by themselves. So, for the most part, everyone had a partner (some districts had groups of 6 or more!). One of my partners was a soft-spoken woman from Fort Bragg whose sole reason for attending was her love of animals. She drove out on her own, overcoming her public speaking fear to help animals. My other partner was a very gregarious woman from Sonoma County – she had even visited the sanctuary and met Howie (she was appropriately impressed by his awesomeness). I think we made a great team!

I would strongly encourage you to attend a lobby day event in the future. It’s incredibly insightful and - I swear I’m not making this up - actually fun. You will meet new people and make new connections. And most importantly, you will be putting your compassion into action!

While Humane Lobby Day for California is over until next year, there are still upcoming lobby day happenings in other states – find out if your state has a humane lobby day here.

In the upcoming days and weeks, we’ll be promoting some bills that affect animals and asking you to contact your legislators. Keep an eye out for a bill that would outlaw the tail docking of cattle!

And remember – you pay their salary, you deserve to have your voice heard. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the animals.

-Marji Beach, Education Coordinator

Escape of the Hens

Okay, not really, but some of the birds got to enjoy time in a bigger pasture next to the poultry enclosure. We thought they'd make good weed whackers. They failed and we had to bring in the "big guns" in the form of goats and pigs. Still, the chickens enjoyed a romp through the semi-tall (for them) grass.

Here's Gillian on a Very Important Mission (VIM). Her VIM turned out to be stalking me and seeing if my camera was edible. It was not but I admired her dedication to the cause.

Here is Sarah who does not like to eat cameras but does like to walk around strutting her stuff. She is one cool chicken!

-marji, education coordinator

Aviagen Turkey workers charged with felonies!

Three former Aviagen Turkey workers have been indicted on 19 counts of animal cruelty, 11 of them felony level charges.

The workers are accused of stomping on turkeys heads and wringing the necks of helpless birds.

There is no victory for the turkeys, though. The truth is that institutionalized cruelty is the norm in the turkey industry.

All production birds are artificially inseminated, a dirty and stressful process for both the birds and the workers. Turkeys are genetic nightmares, bred to produce so much weight that bone breaks and hip fractures are all too common. Morbid obesity has the same negative effect on the birds as it does on humans. We encourage a reduction and elimination of ALL animal products from your life. Compassion starts with you and can help end the exploitation of these amazing animals.

Dutch controversy over gassing of pigs

Controversy is brewing in the Netherlands over whether carbon dioxide poisoning before slaughter is a humane way of rendering pigs insensible to pain. The controversy stems from a video.
The video shows an experiment at the University of Zurich involving a pig that was conditioned to feed in an isolated and sealed space. On a given day, however, the pig is greeted not with its usual plate of food, but a gradual stream of the carbon dioxide gas anesthetic instead. Footage shows the pig frantically jumping up and down trying to breath, until it drops down exhausted. After the anesthesia wears off the pig refuses to reenter the room to be fed and opts instead to go without food and water for three days.
According to the largest slaughterhouse company in Europe, Vion, both methods have their downsides. Electrocution is quick, but has to happen to each pig individually. Whereas a gas anesthetic takes 10 to 20 seconds, but the abattoir can anesthetise the pigs in groups, thereby removing the need to separate the social animals from their groups.
The biggest downside? Ask the pig.

In memory: Leland

Leland: 3/13/1998 - 1/31/2009
For nine years, you wowed crowds with your strutting display, your tail feathers proudly flashing.
You tried to impress the turkey girls - they clucked and turned away.
You attempted to woo the chickens - they ran away in horror.
So you turned to us humans, following us around, vibrating your feathers to make an impressive whirring sound.

You did not need to do much to find favor with humans - we adored your shining personality, your mood-bearing color changes and, of course, your quintessentially "turkey" display.

You lived life as a turkey should, with his own kind, safe from human predation and free to do what turkeys do. You dedicated your life to patrolling the poultry enclosure, monitoring the turkey ladies (hoping they might one day change their mind), and breaking up fights between the chickens. You have even saved a human or two from being attacked by Killer, the feisty (though tiny) rooster.

And, blessing of blessings, you lived most of your life free of pain and suffering. Your last few weeks were not the best but you made the best of them. And when your caregivers knew it was time to let you go, you did not resist but sighed heavily, in relief almost, and died peacefully.

We hope your life here was as enriching for you as it was for us and the thousands of people who were amazed by your beauty and splendor. Still, at the heart of it, we wish you were here, strutting and patrolling and just being you.