Artwork to help the animals

Do you want to bring a little bit of sanctuary to your home? Maybe without the beat of hooves? Now is your opportunity to enjoy a piece of Animal Place through the artwork of Sheila Tajima. Each piece is lovingly painted using oil, rendering a special moment in the lives of the animals at the sanctuary.

Even better, Sheila is kindly donating all proceeds (minus cost of materials) to Animal Place!

First up is Nate, the goat. Even though he is the second youngest goat, he's the patriarch of the herd. Nate's previous caregivers were planning on shooting the goat because he kept jumping the fences. Nate was just lonely, looking for some caprine buddies to keep him company. He has never tried to escape Animal Place, choosing to spend his days with the other goats. His favorite food is leaves.

The medium is oil, the size is 7.75" x 7.75". It is signed by the artist.

You can bid on the Nate painting here.

Next up is Summer and Sadie, two of the sweetest bovines to ever walk the earth. Sadie never got a chance to nurse her own babies when she lived in a dairy farm, they were all taken from her at birth. Summer never knew his own mom. Now they both find comfort in one another - Sadie will groom Summer, while Summer does his best to copy all the things Sadie does.

The medium is oil, the size is 8"x10". It is signed by the artist.

You can bid on the Summer & Sadie (Cow Kisses) painting here.

Please bid and help make a difference in the lives of Nate, Summer, Sadie and all the animals at the sanctuary. In exchange, enjoy a colorful and beautiful tribute to the animals who make Animal Place home.

Also, visit Sheila's blog here. We cannot thank her enough for this generous donation.

Sebastian the goat is beautiful

Some people have claimed (erroneously) that Sebastian is not a handsome goat, that his ears are too small, his head too big, his belly too round and his legs a little uncoordinated.

Sebastian says ha to that:

Land O'Lakes abuses cows

Land O'Lakes is a $12 billion dollar diversified corporation. It runs a dairy "co-operative" with 7,000 dairy farms across the country.

PETA recently investigated one of the suppliers to Land O'Lakes (the video depicts animal suffering):

If you want to click on the hyperlink above, you will be taken to PETA's page on the investigation, along with a Land O'Lakes contact form.

But here is the deal: The animals do not care if Land O'Lakes requires its suppliers to implement a welfare policy of any type - they care about living, sleeping comfortably, eating, being with friends, nursing their babies. Which is why a dietary change is a lot more helpful to the animals than policy change. We encourage you to remove dairy and cheese from your diet, starting today! Try soy milk in your cereal or almond milk for your baking. Moving toward a compassionate diet is easy - take it as slow or fast as you want and make it an enjoyable, delicious experience!

And as a sadly amusing aside, here is what Land O'Lakes has to say about the video and investigation.
Land O'Lakes does not own cows.
Thus apparently Land O'Lakes is not culpable for buying milk from suppliers that treat cattle horribly? Excellent failure of logic.
Land O'Lakes supports efforts to develop national animal care guidelines and to urge producers to adopt these guidelines
But Land O'Lakes apparently does not feel it is important enough to warrant developing their own animal care guideliness for its suppliers. It's like the classic "bystander syndrome" in which people just hope someone else will fix the problem displaying itself front and center. See a flaming car on the side of the highway? I'm sure one of the thousands of other drivers will call 911! Notice that your dairy supplier sticks knifeblades into the backs of cows? Certainly someone else will develop guidelines to stop that sort of inhumane practice! Way to avoid any ethical responsibility, Land O'Lakes.

PS: Land O'Lakes owns Moark - keeping 24 million hens in cages, it's the egg industry way.

A hen profile in black and white

Black and white hen

Isn't she beautiful with her feathered toes, her pea comb*, and full plumage. I cannot say I know her name, but I recognize her uniqueness, her individuality and her intrinsic specialness. She poses for this shot, peering up at me with a curious gaze, wondering what this shiny black object might be to her. Peck, it does not taste edible. Scratch, it cannot be perched upon. So she stares gloomily ahead, concerned by the lack of engagement the whirring camera provides. Seconds later, she is gone, off in the thick, dead grass where her friends cavort. She talks, clucking and chirping, yelling indignantly when someone tries to take her spot. I watch, mesmerized. She is all motion, flapping wings, darting legs, yet all I can capture is stillness, pressing  the pause button in her moving life.

And then there is Tulip, a name I cannot forget. My sweet, glaring, seemingly stressed out friend. She does not do black and white, because she does not do refined poses or elegant stances. She is in your face, a little perturbed with the world, always squawking indignantly. Newman, the rooster, follows at a safe distance, never sure when Tulip's ornery glare will focus on him. He is wise not to boss Tulip around, she is dazzling color, confidence blooming from deep within her chicken soul. She let me get this shot, but she is already moving off frame, after more important pursuits. Newman follows her too, hoping against all hopes, she might change her mind and perhaps become more than friends, more than mere acquaintances in Tulip's mind.

Tulip hen looking at grass

I love these moments captured with the chickens and turkeys. They have conversations and friendships, fights and arguments, theirs is a world I pretend to understand...but really I remain woefully ignorant. There are nuances I cannot begin to understand, different gestures and words that convey something. It is all sound and motion, some touch but mainly sound, a truly cacophonous affair.

If you ever get a chance to visit Animal Place, do so. Or a sanctuary near you or maybe a friend who has companion chickens (adopted from a shelter, of course). Just sit and be with these animals, these small beings who sometimes let us into their orbits. It will bring you great joy, trust me. And if you bring grapes and a kind word, the chickens will reciprocate (with kind words, they will eat the grapes). That is how it should be.

*The fleshy proteruberance on a chicken's head.

Bruce, the pig who never gave up

To fully appreciate Bruce, you must learn a little about pigs. One, they are gustatory creatures, their daily moments are filled with thoughts and acts bringing them closer to food. Partly because of breeding for fast-growing animals to slaughter and partly because they really enjoy eating. Two, pigs are vocal animals, singing and grunting, snorting and sighing their way through life. Every vocalization is an expression of emotion, a verbal barometer of their inner world. And finally, pigs are social. They extend their circle of friendship to all species, a behavior that is sometimes appreciated, but more often inspires annoyance from the cows, sheep and goats. Chickens love pigs, though, and sometimes I wish the pigs and chickens lived together - a dream made of sound and conversation. It would be wonderful.

Which brings us back to Bruce.

Bruce grew up on a farm, alone. Sometimes a pony kept him company, sometimes it was a town of Bruce, population one. Of course, he didn't have a name then. It was just "pig" or "hog", nothing to identify him as an individual with inherent worth, a being unto himself.

And for years, he was deprived of nourishment. Toward the end, before he made his way to a more hopeful place, he was a skeleton with a hide draped over him. Remember, pigs love food. To see an animal so enamored with edible things be so painfully denied that which makes him joyous is heart-wrenching and anger-inducing. It took some convincing, but the farmer finally agreed to give up Bruce. Every time I hear that, "it took some convincing", I am left both perplexed and in awe of the ego of some humans.

It's not the greatest photo, but for me and Bruce, it captures the first moment of kindness he experienced. Bread! Everywhere! New things to smell and investigate - a porcine dream come true! He had to check out the pig boards, unnecessary devices in his case. He inhaled the chunks of bread, life giving sustenance he needed. As rescues go, he was one of the easiest animals to load up and transport to his new home. He wanted to leave, anyone who was nice enough to share food with him was a someone he wanted to befriend. And that person was Kim, director and cofounder of the sanctuary, also certified pig whisperer (or perhaps Pig Whisperer, to emphasize the specialness of her Whispering abilities). It would be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

When Bruce arrived at the sanctuary, he was confined to a stall, perhaps a smaller area than he was accustomed. But this mattered not, because before his eyes was a veritable feast, perhaps to last a life time. Oh, the food! The different fruits, vegetables, grain, pellets, anything he wanted to try, he did. All the different tastes and textures of things he had never before enjoyed, oh how he scarfed and gnawed and slurped and chewed. He was in heaven, but it was a quiet place, save for the sound of his smacking lips. Bruce didn't talk. No grunts of contentment, no screams of displeasure, no gracious greetings or loud departures. Just silence and in it Bruce, still population one.

There were times when we thought he'd never talk, never seek out the contact pigs thrive on. We felt sorry for Bruce and, in those moments, we dishonored him. It's in our nature to want the animals who arrive at the sanctuary to emerge from their battered shells and love their new life. But every now and then, an animal arrives who just isn't ready or who is content in his own world, away from all the normal things his species typically enjoys.

So we gave him time. We let him eat and eat and eat some more until he gained 300 lbs. And then we let him out to be with his own kind, his own nation of pigs - we were hoping to expand his town's population. He thwarted us, choosing to go off on his own, sleeping under the stars out in the compost pile, mostly avoiding the other pigs. Some of the pigs tried to bond with him, including Aloha - she'd follow him and sleep near him. Infrequently, we'd see him try to reach out and engage, pausing to wait for Aloha or choosing to sleep in, say, the same compost pile. But Bruce was still in a town of his own making with strict rules of admittance.

Kim was the only one Bruce would try his rusty language skills with. She'd crouch in front of him, palms extended, grunting so softly. Bruce would seem interested and confused, unsure of these new words spoken by his rescuer. And then it happened! The smallest, quietest, gentlest of grunts. The sound reminded me of the strange, small whimpers a dog might make while dreaming a good dream. Bruce could talk! This was cause for celebration, a little dancing and laughter.

Little by little, Bruce started to loosen up. It took years, not weeks or months. We respected that, we had to. He started to develop friendships and bonds with the other pigs, but he never opened up to them, never really shared his words with them.

Until Owen. A sickly piglet with an insatiable curiosity brought out Bruce's porcine-side in spades. He would let Owen chew on his ears, leap gracelessly onto his belly, even allowed him to sleep on his back. Owen followed Bruce and learned from Bruce and talked incessantly with Bruce, sharing all of his secrets and fears and wishes - or at least where all the good sleeping spots were located! And Bruce listened, took it all in and, every now and then, responding in his own small way. A miraculous friendship!

Bruce never gave up. He trudged on tirelessly, sometimes lost in his socially stunted world, sometimes fully present in his new, enriched universe. He's never been all that outgoing or interested in spending time with other pigs or people, but he won't say no to a back scratch and cantaloupes are on the top of his Must Have list. Five and a half years after his arrival, Bruce made another positive step in his long-road of recovery. Earlier this week, I watched in uninhibited happiness as Bruce ran with all his might over to Kim. She had gone out to say hi, calling his name. He was perhaps 50-60 feet away when he heard her, a light bulb went off and Bruce decided the best way to greet her was to trot feverishly over. All he wanted was a small connection, some attention and scratches, a moment with a human he really liked. It was such an amazing moment, so small and insignificant in the grand scheme, but so powerful and perfect in our world at the sanctuary.

Bruce never gave up. He took his time, savoring the moments of contentment, reveling in new moments created by him and for him. The years he spent isolated and alone have traumatized him, he will never forget the longing and absence. I like to think the years of tranquility, the hours of zen spent in compost piles and strawbeds, the hundreds of pounds of food...well, I like to think they too have taken their toll, have guided him to a new location, a safer place. We wish that for everyone, a safe haven of kindness and respect. Bruce has certainly found his!

Morningstar Farms Asian lettuce wraps

First, a picture of the results:
Vegan garden lettuce wrap

You know you want it. If not, I'll have it. In fact, I did.

Anyway, this recipe was stolen from the box of Morningstar Farms Vegan Grillers box. THE BOX. Sometimes boxes lie, but this box told a delicious truth.


1/4 cup
sliced green onions
Grillers® Vegan Veggie Burgers
3 tablespoons
reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon
cider vinegar
1 teaspoon
ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon
ground red pepper
2 cups
packaged cole slaw mix or shredded cabbage
butterhead lettuce leaves or leaf lettuce leaves


1. Cook onion in nonstick frypan coated with vegetable cooking spray over medium heat for 1 minute. Stir in burger strips. Cook and stir until heated through.

2. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and red pepper.

3. Add soy mixture and cole slaw mix to burger strips. Gently toss until combined.

4. Spoon some burger mixture into each lettuce leaf. Wrap leaf around filling. Secure with wooden pick. Serve immediately.

Also, you can get a coupon and print it out, take it to the store and be all "GIVE ME MY VEGAN GRILLERS" but not in caps.  

Morningstar Farms can make my life complete if they would just veganize their "bacon" strips. With chocolate. Or not, because that may sound gross to some of you non-chocolate-loving HEATHENS. Just kidding about the heathens part, we love you too.

Cows fed chicken waste

I don't know how I came across this article from care2 causes, but I did and it left me with mixed emotions.

If you eat feedlot meat, chances are you may be eating chicken waste!
Unless science has progressed so much that we are already raising meat on feedlots, let's call a spade a spade. Animals, in this case cattle, are fattened for slaughter on feedlots, not meat. You are not eating chicken waste, you are eating the flesh of a cow who has been fed chicken waste.

It is astonishing that herbivorous mammals are being fed feathers and feces, but not any more astonishing than their diets on feedlots. A cow is biologically predisposed to consuming grasses. Yet on feedlots she is fed grain, a diet so high in protein that it can ruin her digestive system and mess up how her blood flows to her extremities. Too much grain can restrict bloodflow to her legs, causing laminitis and other joint and leg problems. Grain as the primary source of nutrition is abnormal for ruminants, as much as feathers and feces are.

The author then goes on to explain why cows eat feces and feathers:
Because cows eat what is in front of them...
There is an implication here, unintended or otherwise, that suggests cattle are machines too stupid to figure out what to eat and not eat. At the sanctuary, we compost all the chicken feces and straw. While the cattle love to lie in the compost piles (primarily straw), I cannot recall a time when I've seen them just eating every feather, piece of manure or straw in front of them. They are not vacuum cleaners. That isn't to say they eat inappropriate things, but that is not because they have some insatiable drive to eat whatever is in front of them.
Regardless of your dietary choices, no one (animals included) should be allowed to eat floor waste. It's disgusting, unsafe and inhumane.
And then there is a link to sign a petition to stop the feeding of feathers and feces to cattle. The problem is not feeding feathers and feces to cattle, the problem is that people eat chickens. The most obvious solution to this problem is to not participate in the cycle at all. Don't eat chickens - there won't be an overabundance of feces and feathers. Don't eat cattle - there won't be a viable mechanism to dispose of those feces and feathers.

The lives of cattle or chickens will NOT improve in any significant manner by removing feces and feathers from cattle's diet. Your health will not improve by eliminating this practice - it isn't the feeding of feces and feathers that is unhealthy, it's the feeding of grain. It isn't removing feathers from a cow's diet that will alter your risk of high cholesterol, it's not eating the cow that will.

So yes, it's about choice. You can choose to do something as meaningless as signing a petition that changes nothing. Or you can choose to be part of something that saves lives and improves health. It really is that simple.

Californians, the claw stops here, help stop declawing

The first time I saw an onychetomy or declaw was on a 10-week-old kitten. I worked at the vet hospital where it was performed and asked if I could witness the procedure. A sedative with local anesthesia was given and each toe was tied off to stem bleeding. And then snip! Each toe was, in my view, violently removed from the kitten's body. The kitten twitched a couple of times. When I made up his cage, I had to use special bedding and special cat litter because, in the vet's words, "Declaws hurt a lot." When the kitten woke up, it was to a new and painful world. He refused to get up and walk, instead meowing plaintively. The reason for the declaw was to prevent possible scratching on furniture.

In California, West Hollywood passed an ordinance outlawing declawing for non-medical reasons. The California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) was perturbed by this, claiming cities and counties do not have the authority to infringe upon veterinarians' supposed "right" to mutilate cats. West Hollywood responded that state law allows localities to ban practices they feel are inherently cruel. It was a city v. state law battle brewing. The CVMA took it to the legislature and sponsored legislation to restrict cities' rights to outlaw egregiously cruel practices, like declawing. Declawing, according to the CVMA, is a necessary part of being a veterinarian and to outlaw it would infringe upon vets' normal job duties. The 2008 bill failed but was brought back in 2009 and has tragically become state law.

But any local law introduced or passed before January 1, 2010 (when the state law goes into effect) will be exempt from the state law. This means there is still a chance to prevent unnecessary suffering in house cats. The Paw Project is working tirelessly to implement laws that ban declawing before the deadline. San Francisco, Santa Monica and Los Angeles are all considering prohibiting declawing in their cities.

If you live in San Francisco, Santa Monica or Los Angeles, please contact your elected represenatives and ask they ban the unnecessary, cruel practice of declawing. Visit The Paw Project for contact information.

Cattle do hold grudges

Scientists long ago (and by long ago, I mean 2005) discovered cattle form cliques and even go so far as to hold grudges. I've seen that in the herd of cows, bulls and calves who live next to the sanctuary and are, tragically, raised for consumption. There are probably 3-4 different sub-groups amongst the eighty some odd cattle, and they generally do not mix company. Except for the bulls who are equal opportunity flirters. My favorite sub-sub group is comprised of Long Face, Skinny Cow and White Tail. Yes, silly names, but I have a hard time getting even more personal than that. Long Face is a beautiful brown-brindle cow with a loooong white-blazed face. Skinny Cow is a smaller, slender, black cow and White Tail is a black cow with white tail-hair. They do not hang out with anyone else - it's just them and their calves. Sometimes they'll be standing twenty feet from their sub-group with their backs turned, snubbing the rest. When they get separated, they'll moo for hours, guiding the lost cow back to her small clan.

At the sanctuary, there are five cattle - Sadie, Howie, Nicholas, Summer and Freedom.They're a tight-knit group and I can't say they bear any grudges toward one another. Sadie is enamored with Howie and rarely leaves his side, while Nicholas, Summer and Freedom sometimes spend time frolicking away from the two older bovines. This is all besides the point, which is that I learned first-hand what a cow-grudge entails.

Every day, I like to go out and see Sadie. I've worked hard to build up a positive relationship with her, often around food. So I usually bring her an apple or two and tell her she is a Very Nice Cow while I brush her. I always make sure to pay attention to all the other cattle, because I love them too. But I rarely bring them apples. Yesterday, Howie had had enough. He would not talk to me at all. Every time I tried to scratch his big neck, he turned away. Panic!!

Mulling his behavior over, I decided to bring him an apple the next day. In fact, I brought out five apples, one for each cow. Sadie's eyes got real huge, thinking she had scored in the apple-eating department. As she scarfed down her apple, I approached Howie - he eyed me warily but stretched out his head to inspect the apple. Taking it gently in his mouth, he rolled it around and then he spit it back out at me. This seemed like an attempt at insulting my apple selecting abilities, so I let him taste-test each apple. He spit them all out. Fine, be that way. Nicholas got a Howie-spit drenched apple while Summer and Freedom thought the apples were a rather silly thing to try and eat. Sadie nudged me, demanding that I stop trying to share HER apples and give them to HER. So I did. Howie felt it was the opportune time to amble over, nearly crushing my foot, and demand attention. He let me scratch and brush him thoroughly. So I guess I was forgiven? I'm not sure, but I hope to remain in his good graces; being snubbed by a bovine buddy is no fun.

Alternatives to eggs

Today is the day you shall step forth, make your way to the grocery store and proclaim "I am egg-free!" but not outloud, only in your head. You will proudly take on the fun challenge of baking and making scrambles without a cholesterol-laden egg. I have great faith in you, my new egg-free friend.

Step One: Buy vegan cookbooks. You will thank me or the author or yourself for making some delicious vegan baked goods. Your very most important baking cookbook will be Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World because it is their time for world domination. Cupcakes rock. Come November, 2009, pair that little bad boy of a cookbook up with its sister Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar who walk right back out into your mouth. Heck, you can safely eat this cookie dough raw, yeah. There's also The Joy of Vegan Baking and it has lemon bars in it that will make you want to marry a lemon tree. For many of vegans, our bible is Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. It is the ultimate vegan cookbook. There are a lot of great cookbooks out there, so find one that fits your culinary skills and tastes.

Step Two: Buy some Ener-G egg replacer. It's a powder that magically binds like magic. This is great for pancakes, baked goods and recipes that require a secret binding agent.

Step Three: Get creative with your egg alternatives. Go beyond the powder and straight into the fun zone of applesauce, flaxseed and banana.
Flaxseed: Flax was sent here by unicorns who wanted world peace and a great goopy binding agent full of omega-3 love. I would not lie to you about that. 1 T of flaxseed + 3 T of water = 1 normal sized egg. Grind up those tiny, adorable seeds and mix with the water. You'll notice it gets a distinct gel-like texture, that's a signal that it's ready. This is great for baking muffins, pancakes and other real earthy, grain-tasting food items. Keep your flaxseeds all nice and cool in the fridge.
Applesauce or banana: Use 1/4 cup applesauce or 1/2 banana for one egg in sweet baked goods. Adds a nice flavor.
Firm/extra firm tofu: Do not be afraid of the 'fu. In appropriate quantities, it's super awesome for you (except if you are allergic, then not so much). Crumble into small pieces and fry up with onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, HOT CAYENNE PEPPERS, tumeric and maybe some cumin for a nifty tofu scramble. There are other recipes, you may google-fu the tofu 'fu for more information.

None of this needs to be scary. Test all these recipes on yourself first. Maybe 2-3 times, just to perfect them. Especially the ones with chocolate, you should test those at least ten times. Maybe more, it's up to you. The chickens will thank you in their birdy way. You may receive their gratitude by feeding them grapes at a sanctuary near you. Do not question why receiving gratitude from chickens involves giving them food, that is just the way of the avian world, people.

He let me scratch his butt!!

<--- This guy, yes he did!

I consider Gilbert the most handsome goat at the sanctuary. He's got these creamy pendulous ears, soulful eyes and beautiful markings. BUT HE WILL NOT LET ME PET HIM. And this makes me sad, but this does not make me give up my dreams of snuggling with him. Okay, it does actually, but I am still convinced we'll be become best friends forever if I could just get his favorite tree leaves to grow out of my head.

In any event, I was out checking on Sadie, the cow, because I do this every day. Not because I think Sadie will magically disappear but because I have to keep reassuring her that my presence = apples and that is a good thing. This is how I often maintain excellent relationships with the less human social of the sanctuary denizens.

So there I was, giving Sadie an apple and massaging HER butt when Gilbert thought to himself, "Self, this is an excellent opportunity to receive appropriate scratches on my haunches where my hornless self cannot reach." This is actually what I imagine him thinking, of course, and perhaps not exactly what he thought. That is unimportant. What is important is that Gilbert planted himself right behind me while I discussed the best apple eating strategies with Sadie (I prefer mine sliced and covered in peanut butter, she prefers ten in her mouth whole). As I turned around to leave, I nearly face-planted because there was a hip-high goat in my way.

That is when I took advantage of the situation and scratched Gilbert's butt. He leaned into me and sighed. I thought briefly, very briefly, about hugging him and maybe asking him to prom but thought better of it. He hates hugs and would not look good in a tux. Nevermind all that, the point is that he let me scratch his butt. It was only for twenty-five seconds and he glared at me the whole time, but we had a connection, yes we did.

So, for today, that was my great victory. Scratching a goat's butt. Good times, good times.

Dunkin' Donuts egg supplier up to code

When Compassion Over Killing asked Dunkin' Donuts to offer vegan donuts and to eliminate or reduce their reliance on eggs, they got a less than thrilling response. Mainly, they were told that Dunkin' Donuts sources their eggs from farms that meet or exceed the United Egg Producers (UEP) standards, including Michael Foods.

Here are some of the UEP welfare standards:
Housing: Space allowance should be in the range of 67-86 square inches of usable space. A standard piece of letter paper has 93.5 square inches. The UEP guidelines provides less space than an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper. Spacy!
Beak Trimming (euphemism for de-beaking): The beaks of chicks must be trimmed when chicks are 10 days old or younger. Birds have nerves and blood vessels that run to the tip of their beak. Beaks are vital for preening, eating and interacting with other birds.
Euthanasia (euphemism for killing): Methods currently considered acceptable for euthanasia and on-farm depopulation...include...cervical dislocation.

Michael Foods, by the way, is a $1.4 billion dollar producer of eggs and other products. Seventy-percent of their sales is from the sale of eggs. They are the largest producer of "extended life" egg products. Michael Foods has several farms that house between 12-15 million hens at any given time.

Back to Dunkin' Donuts. After COK received their less than thrilling response, they decided to investigate from where these eggs come. This is what they found:

Animal Place co-founder and board member Dr. Ned Buyukmihci was asked to view the video and had this to say:

As a result of crowded conditions and low height of the cages, the hens could not lie down or walk, spread their wings or rest without causing major disturbance to the rest of the birds in the cage.

The cages contained many dead birds. Many of these had been long dead as evidenced by their mummified state and sometimes being in pieces. This would take weeks to develop.

Even "properly" done cervical dislocation, the industry standard, may  not result in a painless and instant death.

You can certainly contact Dunkin' Donuts and ask them to offer vegan alternatives as well as eliminate their use of cruelly produced eggs. 

The best thing you can do is to start the process of eliminating animal-based foods from your diet, eggs included. Nearly 98% of all hens in the egg-laying industry are housed in battery cages, like that in the video. The male chicks are all killed. There are no laws defining "free-range" or "cage-free". There just are not any viable, commercially profitable humane egg farms. Not when male chicks are slaughtered. Not when hens are debeaked. Not when birds are denied expression of natural behavior. And certainly not when hens are killed at the young age of two. Be a part of the solution by going vegan.

A big thank you to Compassion Over Killing!

This is our opposition. Sort of.

 Perhaps "opposition" isn't the fairest of terms, but this author does posit much of the opposition's rhetoric. It's hard not to imagine the by-line reading "Foster Farms Fred".

Note: Please do your best to ignore the grammatical and spelling errors.

So let's see what the opposition is saying about "Animal rights loony tunes".
Two of the worst offenders are Farm Sanctuary and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which it should be pointed out, is a multi million dollar organization that runs no animal shelters and is not affiliated with your local animal shelter.
It is true that HSUS does not operate a traditional dog and cat shelter. That does not preclude them legally using humane society in their non-profit's name. Both concerns (that HSUS doesn't run a dog and cat shelter & that it receives millions in donations) beg the question - what bearing does this have on the discussion?

As an aside, HSUS does operate five animal care facilities - Black Beauty Ranch, Duchess Sanctuary and three wildlife care centers. They may not be traditional dog and cat shelters but, by definition, they provide shelter to animals.
HSUS takes advantage of the confusion of many good hearted animal lovers who have been mislead by the pictures of dogs and cats on their fun raising literature. The Humane Society of the United States has 113 million in assents according to a watchdog web site called
I'm confused (which is apparently a sign of HSUS taking advantage of me). How does using dogs and cats, animals the organization helps, a disingenuous form of fund-raising? Setting aside personal feelings for an organization, there is no doubt that the non profit in question has used funds to rescue, for example, dogs from puppy mills or cats from hoarding situations., in case you were wondering, is a website run by the Center for Consumer Freedom, an organization funded and created to support the tobacco, alcohol, restaurant and agriculture industries. They may have a vested interest in presenting a damaging view of the competition, in this case the animal rights/welfare movement. does not offer an unbiased presentation of fund management; instead it inserts editorialized commentary on groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Farm Sanctuary, Natural Resources Defense Council and the American Corn Growers Association.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to know where and how your donations are used. Perhaps a more useful resource would be a non-biased organization that looked at how your donations are used. For example, Charity Navigator takes into consideration financial efficiency and the organization's capacity to grow. If you are interested in how organizations optimize their incoming donations, this is a far more effective tool than
American farmers, already struggling with tough times are operating on a very slim profit margin in most cases.
Defining should occur. What is a "struggling American farmer"? Is it Pilgrim's Pride who's annual sales top $8 billion and net income is nearly a billion? Is it Perdue, one of the largest chicken processors, with $4.3 billion in sales and a 28.5% increase in profit? Or are we limiting the "struggling American farmer" term to those farmers that help bolster the author's argument? These are fair questions that could help to shape the debate a bit more squarely.
The veal farming laws passed in New Jersey, land of no veal farmers, mandates that calves be fed iron and fiber. Sounds very humane don’t it? Again, the law is bad for the animals and the farmers alike. Iron promotes diarrhea, and fiber tears up a calf’s digestive tract.
Let's ignore the nutritional requirements of calves. Crating male dairy calves is still legal in New Jersey, as far as this author knows. Bills were introduced in 2002-2003 and 2004-2005. They failed. Now had they passed, this is what it would have said about iron and fiber: " b. The calf must be fed a daily diet containing sufficient iron to prevent anemia and maintain it in good health and vigor and, if the calf is more than 14 days old, it must be provided each day with food containing sufficient digestible fiber to prevent impairment of the development of its rumen." There is no reading between the lines here - the calf needs enough iron to prevent anemia and maintain good health (diarrhea = not good health). Getting into the details of rumen development in calves is interesting but a bit labor intensive. The bill would have required some non-milk food to be introduced into a calf's diet after the age of 14 days which is absolutely normal (i.e. a calf would start nibbling on grasses as young as 1-2 weeks of age, even though milk remains his primary source of nutrition). The bill never suggested calves be fed inordinate amounts of grain or hay, it stated that the calf be provided sufficient digestible fiber to promote normal rumen development.

Farm Sanctuary now has California on its list of things to do, and a legislative agenda in every state in the union. A story in the Sacramento Bee, by Aurelio Rojas, shows the same old list of destructive demands to change live stock agriculture plus demands for changes in the way chickens and eggs are produced.
California passed Proposition 2 last November, almost a year ago. It requires calves raised for veal, pregnant sows and hens in the egg-laying industry be given enough room to turn around, lie down, stand up, stretch their limbs/wings without touching the sides of their enclosure. Again, it has already passed and goes into effect in 2015. Ideally, a journalist should gather all their resources and, to the best of their ability, present factual, updated information. A simple Google search would have yielded the desired results, in this case.

How effective is Farm Sanctuary’s  Hog farming law? From Britain there comes disturbing indications.This (ban on the tether-crate system) was blamed for the parlous state the UK’s pig producing industry is now in, by a committee of MP’s called The Commons Environment Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.

If you so desire, you can read the actual 160+page report here.You can also read here how pig farmers are faring poorly because of the incredibly high increase in feed prices. There are many reasons why the British pig industry is doing poorly. Lack of government support meant pig producers had to cover the cost of transitioning away from a crate system. Many of those who submitted evidence considered feed prices as the number one reason for the poor pig flesh market - 50-60% of the cost for raising a pig is from the feed. Further, the farmers rely heavily on imported soya for their feed. Supermarket and grocer retailers were not compensating for the increase in feed, meaning a farmer may need $1.6/kg to raise a pig but is only going to get $1.44/kg from the retailer. Welfare requirements other than the crate issue also play a role, including the regulations regarding how close slaughterhouses have to be to farms (they have to be much closer than their continental counterparts) - it means either moving farms closer to slaughterhouses, increasing number of slaughterhouses or going out of business. Another welfare issue is that Britain does not castrate its male pigs - great for the pigs but also means they are slaughtered at a smaller weight to avoid "boar taint", an unpleasant smell and taste a small percentage of consumers experience when cooking the flesh. Several disease outbreaks also affected the industry. The committee does not conclude that bringing back gestation crates will be the sole determining behavior in rectifying the problem.

I mean, I'm not running home crying when I read that British pig farmers aren't doing well. But it isn't solely because of the ban on tether/crates, as this author states. It's a whole host of reasons that, combined, meant a poor market for pig farmers.

These aren't the only inconsistencies and unsound arguments made by the author. You can read the article and see for yourself, there's a whole host of inaccuracies.

Now, this person does not run a multi-billion dollar industry. He doesn't have a lot of lobbying power or a government subsidy to keep his stuff published. His methods of diversion and logical fallacies certainly falls in line with how agribusiness tends to promote themselves. So maybe the only sad thing is that there are people who believe this person's arguments, who read all the errors and blatant misrepresentations and thinks "this person is on to something." I mean, that's scary.

But for those of us who argue for animals, it's easy. We don't have to lie or twist the truth. We don't have to create ads with pastoral settings to mask the dry-lots, crates and slaughterhouses. There is nothing mysterious or difficult.

All we have to do is speak the truth with integrity. It's that simple.

Mom and Lamb Moment, it's a classic

This was taken almost a year ago. Lenny is on the left, a small, week-old lamb seeking and finding solace with his wise, old mother, Virginia. She had spent years on a wool farm, then her fleece quality declined and, well, her "service" was honored with a trip to an unsavory feedlot that slaughtered the animals on-site. We didn't know she was pregnant, she was so emaciated. And then! A small form, a little life trailing behind his mother on the hillside. Beautiful opportunity for us, so used to seeing animals deprived of maternal contact, to see that most sacred and wonderful of bonds.

This afternoon, I noticed Lenny calling and calling. His head was down, he seemed agitated. Ah, then he found her. His mother. He's almost a year old and mostly spends time with a few other sheep, but ever so often he has these moments of panic. Must find mother! And then they are connected once again, hearkening back to these early moments of bonding, sniffing, touching. This, this moment right here, it is never ever forgotten. It will be remembered by Lenny and Virginia every day of their lives, and they will seek to reenact it, just to keep the lock on this door primed, well oiled, ready to be opened and seen, smelled, experienced again.

Have a happy weekend. Kiss someone on the nose, will you?

Virginia touching noses with baby

Californians: Help completely ban dairy cow tail docking!

Back in March, we posted about a bill presented to the California legislature that would ban the painful, unnecessary practice of tail docking dairy cows. The bill, SB 135, prohibits tail docking in cattle (medical/emergency reasons excluded) ending a practice that no veterinary medical association approves and even the American Association of Bovine Practitioners opposes.

The bill passed through the Assembly with a 72% majority and through the Senate with a 52% majority. Now it needs to be signed into law by the Governor. Please ask the Governor to sign SB 135 using the form email or call (916)-445-2841 today.

Background information on tail docking dairy cows:

What it is: The amputation of up to 2/3 of a dairy cow's tail.
When it is performed: At 21-months-old, prior to their first calf, or after weaning when they are 6-8 weeks old.
How it is done: The common practice is to use a rubber ring. This reduces the oxygen supply, causing atrophy and the tail to fall off within a week. On calves, a hot cauterizing knife is used to remove the tail.
Why it is performed: Supporters claim it reduces the risk of mastitis and increases udder cleanliness. It improves worker convenience in certain milking parlors where the worker must milk the cow from behind. A University of British Columbia study showed no difference in udder cleanliness between docked and undocked cows. Literature reviews show an increased fly count on rear legs of docked cows versus undocked cows and no reduction in the somatic cell count in milk from docked cows, showing no improved milk quality. According to Dairy Care Practices: Animal Care Series, Dairy Workgroup at UC Davis, "No data have been published to support the claims of improved milker comfort and health or better udder hygiene and milk quality (e.g. lower somatic cell counts) in cows with docked tails. "
How common the practice is
: Between 50.5 - 80% of dairy farmers tail dock some of their dairy cows. Approximately 15% of dairy farmers tail dock their entire herds.

Sadie is in the middle. You can see she has very little of her tail left after it was docked on a dairy farm. Cattle tails, like Nicholas' (left) and Howie's (right) are long and incredibly vital for fly protection.
Get your butts in a row

Vertical Farming, feeding the future

While I was reading this article, I mistakenly thought they were referring to vertical integration of the farming industry.

I'm happy to report my wrongness or, at the very least, my inability to read slowly.

Vertical farming is way cooler than vertical integration. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the coolest, vertical farming is a twelve. There is even a project aptly titled The Vertical Farm Project. At it's most fundamental vertical farming optimizes the use of space to create beautiful, sky-bound gardens to feed communities. There may be cons to this nifty idea, but you will not convince me of them until you convince me that pyramids suck. They don't, by the way. We could have pyramid gardens! Sign me up, The Vertical Farm Project! Click on the Pyramid of Green Goodness to see more possible designs.

This is just a neat idea. Animal Place won't have a vertical farm, but we will have a community garden. It will be vegan and little children may romp and pull carrots to consume like rabbits (twitching nose optional). We'll educate people on how to create their own community garden or how to grow small, urban gardens. Mainly, we want people to learn how to feed themselves - it's beautifully simple, really.

And if you are anywhere near NJIT (which sounds like n-idjit, but I won't hold it against New Jersey's science and technology school) on September 30, definitely head on over to hear vertical farming advocate Dickson D. Despommier speak. The event is free (yes, please!) and is from 3:00-4:30 pm in the NJIT Campus Center Atrium.

Would "pain-free" animals take suffering out of farming?

Washington University philosopher and vegetarian, Adam Shriver, in Neuroethics proposes that if society is unwilling to shift to a vegetarian diet then nonhuman animals should be genetically modified to fit our cognitive dissonance over eating them. Specifically, an argument is made that we could down a guilt-free slab of cow flesh if we just made sure the cow felt no pain. "NewScientist" recently published an article discussing the issue.

Pain is an integral aspect of human and nonhuman life. It is one way in which we relate and react to the world around us. But it is not the only way nor is it, in our view, the most important way.

Eliminating pain in farmed animals does not eliminate the horror of cutting a life short for a moment of gustatory pleasure. It does not address the rich, intricate social and emotional worlds of farmed animals. In fact, it further reduces them to simple, sensory beings who have no other moral worth than how much pain they feel.

Look at this picture of Summer and Freedom. This is a moment. This is a connection being made, a touch, togetherness. They are not reaching out to one another because of nociceptors or synapses, they are doing so because it is part of being bovine. It is who they are and how they relate to each other. Even if they could not feel pain, this moment would have occurred. They would still groom one another, frolick in the fields, seek out each other's companionship, call to one another. Nothing about who they are would change, so why would our perception magically shift from discomfort at ending their lives to a strange joy at comfortably being able to eat their flesh?

Or take Arturo and Cleo. Their lives are filled with a language we only vaguely understand. He is unwavering in his patience with Cleo and so many other hens. When faced with a new, young hen, he did not pick on her as so many of the other hens and roosters did but instead called her over for some of his food. He knows what camaraderie and sharing means, even if it is strictly from an avian perspective. Cleo revels in dust baths and sun bathes and cavorting with her friends. These behaviors and feelings do not cease because pain sensation stops. Their desire to retain their light, their life does not go away because pain is not experienced. They (and us) have so many enriching experiences that have little to do with physical hurt.

These are two small examples of how farmed animals are more than just pain reflexes. To think that by removing their natural, physical experience of pain means they stop feeling joy, stop talking with their kin, stop forming relationships, stop bickering, stop wanting to live is the height of arrogance on our part. It would not excuse their slaughter. The reality still remains - we do not need their flesh, milk or eggs to survive. We just do not. Let's stop trying to make it easier on our conscience to kill these animals and start directing that into positive energy, into doing something good for them and us - choosing a plant-based diet.

In an emergency, can you be there for us?

In an emergency, can you be there for us?
The fires in southern California and a nearby fire that cost the lives of 1,000 chicks (being raised for slaughter) have forced us to re-evaluate our current fire safety protocols. We want to give the rescued animals in our care the greatest chance at survival and, to do that, we need your help.
Emergency Transporters
Do you have a stock trailer? We need people who are willing to assist in the load-up and transport of sanctuary residents to a temporary holding site.
We will not be moving to Grass Valley until April 2010, so for now, we are looking for emergency transporters within 1-2 hours of our Vacaville facility.
Please note: While we do appreciate offers of personal help, we must limit the number of people who enter the properties. Please only contact us if you have a stock trailer or can refer us to someone who does.
Think you can help?
Email us with the following information:
Size of trailer (carrying capacity):
Size of vehicle hauling trailer:
Phone number:
Temporary Housing
To ensure we do not take up space at large animal evacuation sites, we are seeking temporary housing facilities for cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, rabbits and potbellied pigs. We are particularly concerned about finding safe, temporary housing for our large pigs.
Animal Place staff and volunteers would be completely responsible for the care and management of animals, we are only asking for temporary living quarters during an emergency evacuation.
Temporary housing facilities must be within 60 miles of our Vacaville location.
If you think you have space available, please contact us with the following:
Species that you can accommodate (cattle, goats, sheep, large pigs, potbellied pigs, chickens, turkeys, rabbits):
Number of animals you can house:
Type of housing available:
Pasture size and fencing available:
Is water easily available?:
Crate Donations
Many of the sanctuary residents must be crated for transport, including rabbits, chickens, turkeys and possibly potbellied pigs. As of now, we do not have enough carriers and crates to easily move all of the animals.
If you have a sturdy dog or cat carrier that is in good working condition, please contact us. Collapsible crates are preferred. We are also interested in cardboard cat carriers that can be easily stored.
Email us with the following information:
Phone number:
Number and size of crates:
Can you deliver the crates or do you need them picked up:
Lead Ropes and Halters
Do you have used halters or lead ropes that are in good working condition? We are looking for sturdy goat, sheep and cattle head halters and/or lead ropes.
If you have any available for donation, please email us the details.
Please note: All in-kind donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law.

Rescued hens settling in

Several weeks ago, we received a call from a local shelter. They had confiscated twenty-five hens from a small educational farm. The farm receives complaints every year. In exchange for avoiding charges, the owner signed over 25 hens. Business as usual in the world of farmed animal prosecution - it just does not happen all that often.

Ten of the hens were in pretty bad shape with significant feather loss. The location of the feather loss indicates that the farm has too many roosters for their hen population. The hens are a variety of different breeds and have been moved into a special-needs enclosure until they are healthy enough to be with the rest of the birds, including our resident roosters. We maintain a healthy rooster:hen ratio which helps avoid fighting amongst roosters and overmounting.

In addition to taking in the ten hens, we agreed to take in one adorable polish crested hen with a split beak. We hope when she is released into the main group, she will fall totally in love with Diablo. I have named her Anastasia which may or may not be approved by the rest of the staff.

Some more photos:

Pretty red hen is serious Rescued hen Speckled Sussex hen The gang's all here

They're murdering baby chickens. What's next?

People have been appalled at footage from Mercy for Animal's investigation of Hy-Line hatchery, the world's largest producer of hens for the egg-laying industry and embryos for vaccine research.The footage depicts how male chicks are killed - thrown fully conscious into an industrial grinder.

I was reading this article about one young girl's response to seeing the video. She, like so many children, loves animals. When she heard about Hy-Line's treatment of male chicks, she burst into tears. She's gone so far as to collect signatures at a grocery store for a petition. More importantly, she's done the easiest thing anyone can do to help both the male and female chicks in the egg industry - she's stopped eating eggs. It's that simple. Not extreme, not crazy, far-out stuff, just the most mundane thing you can do to stop contributing to a cruel problem.

But what struck me most in this article was a comment made by the girl's mother, the title of this post.

They're murdering baby chickens. What's next?
What's sad is how unlikely she is referring to the systematic slaughter of 8.9-9.3 billion 6-week-old baby chickens raised for consumption every year in the United States. Agribusiness accuses animal activists frequently of hiding the truth or appealing to emotion when highlighting how animals are raised on farms. Yet they have subverted reality for decades with their ads of pastoral settings, their claims of kind treatment, and worst of all, their lack of honesty on who once walked and ran in the whole body now neatly plastic-wrapped in pieces.

So now you know. You know that male chicks are killed the day they are born, females are debeaked and thrown into cages for two years before slaughter. You know that chickens raised for their flesh are bred to grow so fast, gain so much weight that in just six short weeks they can be shackled and killed by the billions. Knowledge is power. Use it to help animals - go vegan.

Fire Danger

Fire is always an issue for sanctuaries in California; we're in the third year of a drought and often the best land for sanctuaries puts us in higher-risk fire zones. The massive, 150,000 acre arson fire in southern California is still only 42% contained - the danger is not over. Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by that fire, from the sanctuaries who had to evacuate to the families who lost everything. That this fire, which claimed two humans lives and countless nonhuman lives both wild and domestic, was set intentionally breaks out hearts.

Animal Place was reminded of how quick and frightening fires are when a 6-alarm blaze a stone's throw away set a hillside and barn ablaze. The fire was about 2 miles from the sanctuary. Thankfully, no injuries were reported and none of the animals on the farms near the fire appear to have been harmed. It is unknown, as of this, time how the fire started. Thank you to everyone who sent us well-wishes and checked in to make sure the animals were okay. We're fine, safe and sound. The fire reminded us we need to update our fire protocol. We will soon be reaching out to friends, family, coworkers, colleagues and our member base for assistance. Keep your eyes open for that post.

It's a good reminder to make sure you have emergency plans in place for yourself, human family and nonhuman alike.

Cal-Fire's animal evacuation information
University of Florida farm preparation

Californinans: Help protect wildlife and companion animals

AB 979 is being heard in the California senate and would prevent cities and counties from enacting local laws affecting hunting, trapping and fishing.

The bill would affect local cities/counties rights to ban or restrict the use of painful snares and traps used by "nuisance wildlife" trappers. These traps cause undue suffering to target animals and also trap and harm "non-target" animals, including companion dogs and cats. Threatened and endangered animals may also be caught in these traps.

Counties and local municipalities should retain the power to restrict trapping devices that they deem pose an unacceptable hazard to family pets and children.

You can help - do it today! :
1) Please call Senator Pavley’s office and indicate that you are OPPOSED TO AB 979 (this is also helpful if you are from the Santa Monica area). Her office can be reached at either (916) 651-4023 or (310) 314-5214. Please ask your friends to do the same.

2) If you are from Sacramento, please call Senator Steinberg’s office and urge him to VOTE NO ON AB 979. His number is (916) 651-4006. Please ask Sacramento-area friends to do the same.

3) Pass this information along to friends, family, coworkers, neighbors in California and ask them to do the same.

All you need to say when calling your representative is "I am asking the senator to oppose AB 979". That's it.

Jersey Calves on the Run

When Abby, sanctuary manager, asked me if it would be okay to allow Freedom and Summer, our two youngest bovines, out in the big pasture with the rest of the animals, I asked when. Oh, now? Panic attack!! Will they be big enough to defend themselves? Will the other cows like them? Will they know not to run off into the hills and abandon ship? WILL THEY STILL LOVE ME? Abby patiently answered all my paranoia-based questions and, finally, I just had to agree - everyone else was fine with it, so there (no one said it like that, of course, it was just implied).

Freedom and Summer have been spending the past three months in a smaller pasture with Matt, the rooster, and a rotating cast of goats and potbellied pigs. They were getting to be a lot more rambunctious and ready for a new scene with bovine friends. Cattle are not like any other species when it comes to introducing new animals. Even though they are the largest animals here, they are by far the gentlest with each other. With any other introduction, we'd be on guard ready to intervene when things got too rough. Not so with cattle. The second Freedom and Summer were released, they became part of the herd. It's that simple.

Nicholas, the nearly two-year-old Jersey (also from auction), was overjoyed. Finally, cattle he can play with - at 12 and 13, Howie and Sadie are well past the age of "frolicking". Nicholas was extremely gentle with both calves and modified his head-butting to their small stature. Howie, not so much. When Freedom challenged Howie to a head-butting contest, Howie obliged and accidentally tossed Freedom a good three feet. Undeterred, Freedom came back for more. Sadie, who is from the dairy industry herself, was interested in sniffing and grooming the calves.

As I write this, all five of the cattle are up by the big barn, just hanging out. I spent time taking photographs of them and, as I left, both Freedom and Summer mooed to me - THEY STILL LOVE ME. This is good. Howie even took time out of his busy schedule to put his head on my shoulder and drool on me. How's that for love?

Now, I took way too many photos to share in this blog. But they are up on our flickr page, so you can see them in all their glory.
Summer and Howie touch noses
Nicholas waiting for Summer to play
Nicholas using Jedi mind tricks to try and get Summer to play
A frog (seriously, he's a frog) <--- WRONG! He's a toad, apparently. :)

Veggie Grill, why have you forsaken us?

By us, I mean northern Californians. The Veggie Grill is set to open its FOURTH restaurant in West Hollywood. It's other three are in Irvine and El Segundo. Which is great for them. Really.

But us northerners who have tasted the deliciousness that is Veggie Grill want to know when they will start their migration up the coast. We demand satisfaction! I mean, one's a test, two's a training, three's a magic charm of goodness, but four indicates it's time to move on up (and by up, I mean maybe into my kitchen). Is that too much to ask?

This doesn't mean we'll stop loving the Herbivore or the Cha-Ya or the Millenium or the myriad other veg-friendly restaurants in the greater Bay Area. That would be insane. But another vegan, affordable, restaurant would be nice. And by nice, I mean delicious.

So, if you are a northerner like us, and you have tasted the goodness of Veggie Grill, how about sending them an email suggesting an expansion to their northern californian vegetarian compatriots? You can email them. Be nice. They hold the key to the Santa Fe Crispy Chickin' Sandwich, which is so good you might sell your soul just for a nibble.

Hy-Line hatcheries, industry gold

Hy-Line hatchery is the world's largest producer of chicks for the egg-laying industry and embryos for vaccinations. Their "products" include: Hy-Line W-36 (world's most efficient layer!); Hy-Line Brown (pretty and balanced, an excellent combo!); Hy-Line W-98 (quick to mature, pops out big eggs); Hy-Line Silver Brown (she's silver. and brown!); and the Hy-Line Gray (tinted eggs is her specialty). It's great when living, sentient, intelligent beings are referred to as "products", really allows for us to disconnect from the cruelties we inflict upon them.

To say Hy-Line is a behemoth is an understatement, it is The Standard, the industry go-to corporation when it comes to egg productions, genetics, vaccine research and all the ways humans can use chickens to satiate or benefit humans. The company has a huge reach across the world with production facilities in dozens of countries.

So when you watch this video, know that it is not abnormal. It is not the outlier, it is the standard, the bell curve normal. This is what your average sorting facility looks like and this is what happens to your average male chick and your average female chick.

According to the AVMA's euthanasia guidelines, maceration is a really great death. It's so good that if you scroll down to its entry on page 17, you'll notice it's even underlined, that's just to emphasize is awesomeness. No one is signing their sick puppies or kittens up for this "good death" but it is how most of the 200+ million male chicks are killed in this country and across the globe, animals who have the same ability to experience fear and pain, perhaps even more so as sensitive, young animals.

Now, it very well may be true that maceration is more instantaneous, less painful than gassing or suffocation, a couple other methods of killing male chicks. Which misses the point, that male birds should not be killed at all - we don't need eggs to survive, we don't need those poor debeaked hens to produce eggs and thus we don't *need* male chicks to be grinded up alive or suffocated or gassed. It's an unnecessary cruelty that you can help stop - don't eat eggs, start today. You won't find a commercially viable egg farm where male chicks are not killed, where hens are not slaughtered at a young age. So why contribute to what is, by most people's moral compass, an unethical and cruel way to treat, raise, house, manage, kill nonhuman animals?

Mercy for Animals produced this undercover investigation - thank you! Visit their website for recipes and reasons to commit yourself to an animal, health and earth friendly diet.