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In the latest issue of Ontario Hog Farmer, U.S. agricultural economist Dr. Steve Meyer called the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus, which is responsible for one of the largest animal disease outbreaks in North America and the deaths of eight million piglets in the U.S. alone, a financial boon for Canadian pig producers.

The PED virus was first detected in May of 2013 in the Midwestern U.S. and moved into Canada this past January. The virus causes severe watery diarrhea in piglets and results in nearly 100 percent mortality. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in affected barns, each mother pig loses three of her piglets, who writhe in pain as they wither away, to the virus.

Speaking at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, Dr. Meyer boasted that the steep reduction in pork supply because of the massive death toll has led to record-high pork prices:

There is a negative for some producers, but as an industry we are going to have the best year we ever had. ...

... I am hesitant to suggest that PED has had a negative impact on the industry when the market is rewarding us for those shortfalls; as an industry the market is compensating us quite well.

Surprisingly, Dr. Meyer is not the first to publicly applaud the PED outbreak; pig producers across Canada have made similar comments in the agricultural press.

If revelry in the misery of animals by the livestock industry turns your stomach, you can withdraw your support by adopting a healthy and humane plant-based diet. Visit to learn how.

Photo credit: Dr. Olivier Berreville

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"Boon," the word for bean in Dutch and Afrikaans, in English describes something bringing blessings or benefits, or to be thankful for. And with Boon Burger, a 100 percent vegan burger restaurant with two locations in Winnipeg and a third that opened earlier this month in Barrie, Ontario, we certainly do have something to be thankful for!

Established in 2010, Boon Burger was the first all-vegan burger restaurant in Canada. Initially offering nine different burgers, Boon now offers 14 delicious vegan burgers with a creative, world cuisine-inspired combination of toppings, most of them local, organic, or fair trade.


The bombay talkie burger creates exotic flavours by incorporating sweet tangy bombay sauce with roasted yam, while adding a more "conventional" taste with smoky "bacun" and vegan cheddar. The thanksgiving burger allows diners to experience fall harvest meals year-round with its cranberry sauce, glazed yam, and gravy over a grilled potato-crusted "turkey" patty. 

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Thanksgiving Burger: Grilled potato-crusted "turkey" patty, cranberry sauce & gravy

While the delicious yet healthy and affordable burgers are filling, those with a larger appetite can add oven baked sesame-potato fries, soups, or healthy salads.


Delicious coconut milk-based shakes with flavours that change daily are a tasty complement to any meal.  And no one should leave without tasting Boon's unique take on the banana split -- a sumptuous combination of bananas, coconut milk ice cream, berry sauce, pineapple, and dark chocolate sauce.

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Banana Split 

Whether in Winnipeg or Barrie, don't miss the extraordinary culinary experience of Boon Burger. As proudly announced on its menu board, you'll be "making a better choice for your overall health, the environment, as well as eliminating animal suffering."


Boon Burger is a great place to get a taste of vegan dining. If you're ready to jump in and move toward a plant-based diet, visit for delicious cruelty-free recipes and tips on transitioning.


Written by:  Twyla Francois

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According to a recent article by the Canadian Press, Quebec will amend the Civil Code to better protect animals from abuse.

Under the proposed change to the Civil Code animals would no longer be considered "personal property" but instead viewed as living, sentient creatures. This means that courts would consider pain and suffering when dealing with charges of animal cruelty; however, it does not mean that animals would be given the same rights as humans.

Quebec's new agriculture minister, Pierre Paradis, has acknowledged Quebec's reputation for animal abuse and is promising swift change.

The article recognizes Mercy For Animals Canada's undercover investigation at a Quebec veal factory farm as a motivating factor for this change. The undercover footage from the veal farm showed calves crammed into tiny wooden crates, often chained at the neck and unable to turn around or lie down comfortably, and workers violently kicking and beating them.

"Gandhi said the evolution of a society can be judged in the way it treats its animals," said Paradis. "There's room for evolution here."

Factory farming causes tremendous pain and suffering to millions of farmed animals in Canada each year. By adopting a compassionate vegan lifestyle you can help eliminate the suffering of these sentient beings. Visit to learn how.

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Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 6.31.03 PM.pngAccording to an article in the peer-reviewed publication The Veterinary Journal, more than half of dairy cows suffer from inflamed leg wounds.

The wounds are caused by the unnatural, barren environments in which dairy cows are forced to spend their lives. Cows' lower leg joints are not cushioned by fat or muscle. Consequently, these large animals are particularly susceptible to discomfort and injury when they have no choice but to lie on the abrasive, hard surfaces that characterize dairy factory farms.

Mercy For Animals Canada documented horrific abuse and neglect, including numerous festering leg wounds, at the country's largest dairy farm earlier this year. Eight workers now face criminal cruelty to animals charges, and the company itself is under investigation for its role in the abuse and neglect.

With or without an epidemic of painful leg injuries, the dairy industry is built on cruelty. Cows are kept in an emotionally and physically demanding cycle of constant pregnancy and birth. They have their calves taken away from them within hours after birth, causing immense distress for both mother and baby. Newborn male calves are sent to languish, frightened and alone, on veal farms.

Consumers who can't swallow animal cruelty can join the growing number of Canadians who are experimenting with delicious and nutritious plant-based alternatives to dairy products. Check out to get inspired.

Image: A painfully inflamed leg wound at Canada's largest dairy factory farm.

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1024px-Portrait_of_Cod.jpgA study in the peer-reviewed journal Animal Cognition has found that Atlantic cod have the capacity to solve problems using innovation and tools.

From the abstract:

This study describes how three individual fish, Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.), developed a novel behaviour and learnt to use a dorsally attached external tag to activate a self-feeder. This behaviour was repeated up to several hundred times, and over time these fish fine-tuned the behaviour and made a series of goal-directed coordinated movements needed to attach the feeder's pull string to the tag and stretch the string until the feeder was activated. These observations demonstrate a capacity in cod to develop a novel behaviour utilizing an attached tag as a tool to achieve a goal. This may be seen as one of the very few observed examples of innovation and tool use in fish.

Although it's harder for us to relate to aquatic animals, they may be more like us than we can imagine. Science is only beginning to understand the emotional complexity and intelligence of creatures who live underwater.

Sadly, industrial fishing and intensive aquaculture are sources of tremendous suffering and environmental degradation. Visit to learn how to transition toward a plant-based diet.

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A recent article in The Huffington Post noted that "sales of bacon, sausages and some other products at Maple Leaf Foods fell by double digits in the last quarter, as large price increases convinced many Canadians to stay away from the meat counter."

The price of bacon has increased nearly 27 percent in the past year. Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or "PEDV," has been killing piglets across North America and is said to be a main cause of the price increase.

According to Statistics Canada, ground beef prices are also up 15.4 percent from last year. The reduction in beef supply was due to a 2012 drought that drove up feed costs and prompted widespread culls.

The great news is that the costs of fruits and vegetables account for some of the smallest price increases in the last year, making it easier than ever to ditch meat.

Switching to a vegan diet is the most cost-effective and compassionate choice we can make. Visit for delicious cruelty-free recipes and tips on transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle.

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This week, Mercy For Animals Canada made nationwide headlines for confronting Saputo the country's largest dairy company for failing to lead dairy industry animal welfare reform. Krista Osborne, executive director of MFA Canada, used the question period of Saputo's annual shareholders meeting on Tuesday to ask Saputo's CEO why the company had not kept its promise to work aggressively to prevent animal cruelty.

Last month, an undercover investigation by MFA Canada at Chilliwack Cattle Sales, a supplier to Saputo, exposed egregious cruelty to animals, including workers kicking, beating, dragging, and punching cows. Following the investigation, Saputo released a statement announcing it would be "strongly advocating for the implementation of strict animal welfare standards into BC law." Unfortunately, despite repeated requests, Lino Saputo has refused to even meet with MFA Canada to discuss and outline the steps his company is actually taking to address the abuse and neglect of cows by his company's milk suppliers.

"Lino, you said you'd do all in your power to reform the dairy industry in Canada. Would you spend an hour with me discussing the kind of reforms you're making? We have no evidence of reforms taking place," said Osborne during Saputo's shareholders meeting. Lino Saputo finally agreed to meet with MFA Canada and stated that his company would use its "power and clout" to encourage others to initiate the changes.

Saputo has the power and the ethical responsibility to help end some of the worst forms of animal cruelty in the dairy industry.

Please sign and share the petition urging Saputo to implement meaningful animal welfare policy reforms.

It's important for Saputo to take action to lessen the suffering of animals used in the dairy industry; however, each of us also has the power to withdraw our support from this cruel and exploitative industry by ditching dairy and going vegan. Visit to learn how.

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An alarming article in the The Western Producer says a recent meat recall was due to tumours found in the animal carcasses. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued the recall last month, originally stating that Harvest Brand meat products were recalled due to "unsuitable ingredients."

Initially, the agency didn't go into detail about what those ingredients might be and classified the health hazard level as low-to-no risk. CFIA is now confirming that the "unsuitable ingredients" found had tested positive for bovine lymphosarcoma -- a form of cattle cancer.  The recalled products included wieners, sausages, and cold cuts.

This is not the first time that cancer has been discovered in these poor animals bred for meat. A California slaughterhouse is currently under investigation after a recall of 9 million pounds of beef that may have come from cows sick with cancer.

Does the thought of eating tumours make you lose your appetite? Switching to a vegan diet not only protects you from many foodborne illnesses, but is also kinder to animals. Check out for more info.

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catcher-with-4-hens-held-by-1-leg-each.jpgTemporary foreign worker Mario Rodolfo Garcia worked as a chicken catcher in Canada from 2006 until he was fired in 2013 after sustaining a work-related injury. Chicken catchers round up "meat" chickens and shove them into transport crates to be taken to slaughter facilities.

In an interview with CBC News, Garcia described inhumane working conditions, including working up to 105 hours per week without overtime pay, being subjected to verbal abuse and threats, and being forced to sign a contract in a language he didn't understand that entitled his employer to keep his passport and look through his personal mail.

Temporary foreign workers are bound to a specific employer, which means that if they lose their jobs, they lose the right to remain in the country. This inhibits workers from complaining about even the most abusive practices for fear of losing both their livelihoods and their immigration status.

Chicken catching is not only a human rights concern. Manual catching is severely emotionally and physically harmful for chickens. Chickens are caught at night, when they are sleepy, confused, and afraid and thus easier to catch. The birds are grabbed by the handful, causing broken bones, dislocated joints, and other injuries.

It is no surprise that mistreated, exhausted workers do not have animal welfare foremost on their minds. Given that more than 85 percent of the animals killed for food in Canada are chickens, the amount of suffering caused by abusive conditions and practices is staggering.

Consumers who are loathe to support abuses of human and animal rights with their dollars can leave chickens out of their diets. Visit to learn how.

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10370617736_353e741e72_o.jpgThe federal government, through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, has granted $2.25 million to the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) to update the codes of practice that establish standards of care for farmed animals.

NFACC is an industry-led animal agriculture group. Instead of legislating standards, the government opts to fund the industry's own creation of guidelines.

As Mercy For Animals Canada's investigations have shown, Canadians are compassionate people who have no appetite for abuse and neglect of farmed animals. MFA Canada urges NFACC to consider the will of the Canadian taxpayers who are funding the development of these codes of practice and establish stringent animal welfare guidelines.

The codes of practice relating to egg-laying hens and turkeys are currently under revision.

A 2013 MFA Canada investigation documented egg-laying hens crowded into cages so small they couldn't stretch their wings or do anything that came naturally to them for their entire miserable lives. The current code of practice deems battery cages acceptable, even though they are inherently so cruel that they have been banned by the entire European Union, Switzerland, New Zealand, and the states of California and Michigan.

In addition to leading to animal cruelty prosecutions, MFA Canada's recent investigation at the country's largest turkey breeder revealed turkeys bred to grow so large so quickly that they became crippled under their own weight. Following our investigation, almost 70,000 consumers signed our petition calling on NFACC to do away with this horrific practice. That petition can still be signed here.

The current veal code of practice, dating back to 1998, is also due for an update. MFA Canada's investigation at a veal factory farm revealed lonely calves living their entire lives in feces-encrusted crates, sometimes chained by their necks -- a practice considered so cruel that eight U.S. states, Australia, New Zealand, and the entire European Union have banned it. Following our investigation, veal producers representing 97 percent of the industry, as well as grocers accounting for 50 percent of the market, agreed to phase out veal crates by 2018. Yet Canada's code of practice is entirely silent on the use of these archaic crates.

MFA Canada is calling on NFACC for meaningful updates to the codes of practice under revision, including prohibitions of cruel battery cages and veal crates, and an end to the breeding of suffering into the very DNA of turkeys.

Meanwhile, consumers hold the power to eliminate animal cruelty from their diets by making compassionate food choices. Visit for more. 

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