3801840598_a30282b836_o.jpgEarlier this month, the Oregon Supreme Court released two important judgments recognizing that animals are more than merely property and have moral worth in the eyes of the law.

In one case, the court disagreed with the defendant that criminal animal cruelty laws are about protecting the public from immoral human behaviour. Instead, the court ruled that animals who have been abused are victims in their own right who deserve to be considered by the sentencing judge.

In the other case, the court created an exception to the usual requirement that law enforcement obtain a warrant to enter private property or seize an animal. The court ruled that if an animal is facing imminent harm, the animal can be removed, even from private property, without a warrant.

Although the law considers animals to be property, courts and legislatures are increasingly recognizing what animal advocates have long been saying: animals have moral worth and deserve to have basic rights protection.

The best way each of us can respect animals' rights to live free from harm and exploitation is to opt out of supporting industries that profit from animal suffering. ChooseVeg.ca has plenty of inspiration for eating in alignment with our ethics.

Image: Rescued calves, unwanted by the dairy industry, at Animal Place Farm Sanctuary.

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At least 130 people have been wracked with severe abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea in the latest E. coli infection outbreak in Alberta. Although officials haven't determined the cause of the outbreak, all E. coli outbreaks can be traced back to poop: farmed animal poop in particular. 

E. coli bacteria primarily live in the intestines of cattle (although they have also been found in the intestines of chickens, sheep, and pigs). The bacteria spread to the outside, and subsequently onto the meat people eat, during the slaughter process. Poop on meat is such a problem that health officials advise meat be thoroughly cooked before consumption.

The problem is compounded in meats like hamburger, where outside poopy bits can end up on the inside during the grinding process. Mechanical tenderization whereby metal needles are pushed into meat such as steaks also push poop from the outside to the inside. Just last week, Canadian health officials announced mandatory labelling on all mechanically tenderized meat so consumers can know that poop may not only be on the outside of the meat, but on the inside as well.

Luckily, you can avoid poopy meat and bloody diarrhea by moving toward a plant-based diet. To learn more, visit ChooseVeg.ca.

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August 25, 2014

Canadians Eating Less Meat

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Results from Statistics Canada's recent survey of Canadian food consumption for 2013 indicate a nearly 10 percent drop in meat consumption since its 2001 high, and a 1.5 percent decrease from 2012.

While a general decrease was noted across the meat categories, the greatest decline was seen in pork consumption, with a decrease of 4.5 percent. Beef consumption dropped 1.5 percent from the previous year. While consumption of chickens and turkeys remained steady, it too is down from peak consumption levels in 2008.

Canadians have never been more aware of the impact of their dietary choices on themselves; the environment; and the animals, who suffer needlessly for the production of meat, dairy, and eggs. To join the trend, visit ChooseVeg.ca for great recipes and tips on moving toward a plant-based diet.

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August 25, 2014

Vegan Oktoberfest

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The first-ever Vegan Oktoberfest will take place in Santa Monica, California, on Saturday, October 4, 2014.

Traditionally, Oktoberfest is a 16-day festival held in Germany that features beer drinking and dining on many animal-based foods such as beer brats and schnitzels.

However, this one-day American take on the Oktoberfest will be 100 percent vegan and complete with plant-based versions of traditional Bavarian favourites, such as sausages, potato pancakes, chicken, and ice cream!

"Our one-of-a-kind event will feature traditional food, live Oompah bands, Bavarian maidens, and of course, refreshing and delicious beer poured to perfection by a bevy of great breweries," boasts the event's website.

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There will be all kinds of festive entertainment, including stein-holding competitions and a mix of traditional German music alongside some of LA's most entertaining performers. Early bird tickets are now on sale with prices ranging from $15 (non-drinker) and $40 (unlimited beer). Check out the Oktoberfest website for more info.

With so many plant-based alternatives to your favourite animal-based foods, switching to a vegan diet has never been easier. Check out ChooseVeg.ca to learn more. 

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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 ChooseVeg.ca 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 ChooseVeg.ca 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 ChooseVeg.ca 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 ChooseVeg.ca 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 ChooseVeg.ca 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 ChooseVeg.ca for delicious cruelty-free recipes and tips on transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle.

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