4502371454_86f5a924fa_o.jpgAs of January 1, 2015, newly built egg factory farms in Alberta will be prohibited from housing hens in battery cages - tiny cages that prevent crowded chickens from so much as stretching a wing for virtually their entire lives.

The chair of the Egg Farmers of Alberta concedes that battery cages "don't allow the hens to express all of their natural behaviour."

In late 2013, Mercy For Animals Canada exposed unconscionable abuse of hens at an egg factory farm in Alberta, including:

• Thousands of hens crammed into wire battery cages, each hen with less space than a single sheet of notebook paper to live her entire miserable life

• Workers smashing the heads of chicks and then throwing them still alive and conscious into garbage bags to slowly suffocate

• Chickens trapped in cage wire, mangled by factory machinery, and left to suffer from open wounds and torn beaks without proper veterinary care

• Dead hens left in cages with live hens still laying eggs for human consumption
 

Although larger cages improve hens' welfare, the only sure way to eliminate suffering from our diets is to drop eggs in favour of healthy and humane alternatives. Get free tips and recipes at ChooseVeg.ca.

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In a sad example of how money talks in the animal agriculture industry, researchers from Purdue University have turned to pricing out the financial costs of the painful practice of dehorning versus using semen from polled breeds of cattle (animals who naturally don't grow horns).

 

Presumably the study is an attempt to persuade cattle producers to move away from the cruel practice of dehorning, which involves the burning, gauging, or cutting off of horns or horn buds. Dehorning and disbudding are excruciatingly painful, but tragically, producers rarely make decisions based on the costs incurred by the animals.

 

The study determined that expected costs for dehorning average US$11.79 per animal, while polled genetics cost an average of US$10.73 per animal. The difference is attributed to "expected veterinary treatment" after the practice, which is estimated to be between 1 and 8 percent for animals who have been dehorned.

 

You can prevent the unnecessary pain and suffering caused by dehorning simply by transitioning toward a plant-based diet. To learn how, visit ChooseVeg.ca.

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The government of Saskatchewan is launching a wolf hunt in an attempt to control what it considers a wolf population problem due to livestock predation. Minister of Environment Scott Moe says the wolf hunt has been put in place as a result of an "unusually high number of livestock predation claims in the Weekes area." The province is hoping the program will reduce the number of wolves in that area. From September 15 to March 31, 2015, licensed hunters will be permitted to hunt wolves in the east central part of the province.

Animal agriculture not only tortures and needlessly kills millions of farmed animals but also adversely affects wildlife populations through deforestation, drought, pollution, climate change, and hunting.  "Take Extinction off Your Plate," a new campaign by Center of Biological Diversity, urges people to significantly reduce meat consumption to protect wildlife from the negative effects of the meat industry.

You can reduce the senseless slaughter and suffering of animals living in the wild and on factory farms by choosing a compassionate vegan diet. Visit ChooseVeg.ca to learn how. 

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earthimage.jpgUnless we humans significantly reduce our intake of meat and dairy, we are unlikely to avoid catastrophic climate change fallout, new research finds.

According to an article published in Climatic Change, there are three main options for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture: improving productivity, using technology, and changing our diets. The calculations predict that without dietary changes, the other two mitigation strategies would be insufficient to keep rising temperatures in check.

This is the latest in a series of reports, peer-reviewed articles, and documentaries that link animal agriculture to climate change and expose the role of dietary choices in saving the planet from climatic disaster.

Fortunately, dramatically lessening our environmental footprint through diet has never been easier. ChooseVeg.ca has tips, inspiration, and recipes for transitioning toward a planet-friendly diet.

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Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 7.51.29 AM.png A recent article in the print edition of Ontario Farmer revealed that Dairy Farmers of Canada plans to use its $75 million advertising budget to promote dairy as a "health and wellness" product.

According to the article, the executive director of Dairy Farmers of Canada plans "for dairy farmers to promote dairy products like Nike promotes running shoes. Nike doesn't talk about the qualities of its footwear." He states that "[Nike] doesn't position the product; it positions people in a healthy environment using the product."

Dairy Farmers of Canada considers the rise of dairy alternatives to be a "threat" to the dairy industry.

Earlier this year, Mercy For Animals Canada documented unfathomable cruelty at the largest dairy farm in the country. Mother cows were kicked, beaten, hanged, and left to suffer with oozing infections. The abuse was so sadistic that eight workers now face criminal charges.

Consumers who are uncomfortable being manipulated by the scheming dairy industry can instead choose to purchase the many dairy-free alternatives that are flooding the market. Visit ChooseVeg.ca to learn more.

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a food recall warning for certain pork products due to possible E. coli contamination. CFIA says that no one should consume, serve, or sell any raw pork sold by V & T Meat and Food in Calgary or Hiep Thanh Trading in Edmonton between July and September 2014.

Alberta Health Services has confirmed 153 cases of E. coli, with at least 17 people hospitalized. CFIA is investigating and has yet to confirm a definite link between the recalled pork products and this recent outbreak. However, all E. coli outbreaks can be traced back to human or animal feces. A recent post on MFA Canada's blog reported poop on meat is such a problem that health officials advise meat be thoroughly cooked before consumption to reduce chances of E. coli contamination.

By choosing to leave animals off your plate, you can eliminate your contact with potentially tainted meat and also help reduce animal suffering. For delicious meal ideas and tips on making the transition, check out ChooseVeg.ca.

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Confirming what animal rights activists long suspected, a U.S. study recently concluded that porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED), the infectious disease that has claimed the lives of over 8 million piglets in the U.S. alone, can indeed be transmitted through animal feed that has been sprayed with dried pig's blood. In fact, even minute traces of the feed, such as dust, can spread the disease.

It seems common sense that feeding blood from pigs who died from unknown causes to other pigs could have disastrous consequences, but in the livestock industry's never-ending quest to cut corners and costs, the practice took off.

Thankfully, you can avoid eating animals who have been fed dead animal bits by adopting a healthy and humane plant-based diet. To learn more, go to ChooseVeg.ca.

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photo-18.JPGEsteemed medical practice and research institution Mayo Clinic promotes eating meatless meals as a means of improving health and saving money.

In an article in its website's health section, Mayo Clinic notes that vegetarians weigh less and have a lower risk of heart disease than non-vegetarians. Even simply eating less meat has a protective effect against cancer.

Dietary guidelines already recommend ensuring our diets incorporate a variety of protein sources, including beans and peas, soy products, and nuts and seeds. Foods that are high in solid fats, such as meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products like cheese, according to Mayo Clinic, should be replaced by healthier options.

For those not ready to make the leap into full-on vegetarianism, Mayo Clinic suggests starting with a couple of dinners each week. Protein-rich plant foods like beans, legumes, and tofu can be substituted for meat in familiar recipes.

Choosing to leave animals off of our plates is good for our bodies, our wallets, the planet, and of course, the animals themselves. Check out ChooseVeg.ca for inspiration.

Image: Vegan Japanese-inspired pancake at Live in Toronto

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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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