Hot off her silver medal win at the Sochi Olympics, figure skating
star Meagan Duhamel sat down with us to discuss her love of skating, the thrill
of victory, and how she thrives on a vegan diet. In a video released today,
Meagan discusses her decision to adopt a diet free of meat, dairy and eggs, and
how it helps her reach her top physical performance.
tells us that her choice to ditch animal
products was originally health-related
and adds: "Six years ago I became a vegan. I've noticed nothing but positive
benefits. First of all, my energy is higher. I sleep better at night. My skin
is better. I feel stronger. I feel like my body is in its peak condition at all
times. It was essentially done for health purposes and diet purposes, but as
time went on, I became a lot more compassionate and interested in animal
Check out our exclusive interview with Meagan Duhamel:
Canadian athlete who skated her way onto the Olympic podium gets her strength
from fresh green smoothies, spinach, kale, quinoa and tempeh. Duhamel is not
the only athlete
powered by plants--Georges Laraque, Hannah Teter, Carlene Wong, Surya
Bonaly, Lizzie Armitstead, Seba Johnson, and Carl Lewis are also all strong
first learned about Mercy For Animals Canada when she witnessed its shocking undercover investigation at
Puratone, one of Canada's largest pork producers. The disturbing hidden-camera
footage aired on CTV's "W5" program and exposed egregious cruelty, which is
commonplace on Canadian factory farms. Since learning of the horrors that take place behind the closed
doors of the meat industry, the Olympic athlete has championed the rights of
factory farms, animals are crammed into tiny, filthy cages and crates so small
many cannot even stand up, turn around, or lie down comfortably. Chickens
routinely have their beaks burned off, piglets are castrated and have their
tails cut off, and cows are branded and dehorned without any painkillers.
During slaughter, many animals have their throats slit while fully conscious
has a heart of gold! She is testimony to the fact that a vegan diet is a winner for your health. Not only does
it lead to peak physical performance, it helps prevent many of the leading
killers in Canada, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Meagan in supporting
our work to fight abuses on factory farms and help make
a difference for farmed animals today! You, too, can thrive on a
plant-based diet! Click here to turn over
a new leaf and get started with healthy, delicious, and easy recipes.
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Today, history was made for Canadian pigs with the agricultural industry committing to a national ban on gestation crates, mutilations without painkillers, and some of the worst forms of "euthanasia." These horrific practices were exposed by Mercy For Animals Canada in a groundbreaking investigation into a Canadian pig factory farm
The new guidelines from the National Farm Animal Care Council require all new or renovated facilities after July 1, 2014 to house pigs in groups rather than cruel gestation crates, which prevent pregnant pigs from turning around or lying down comfortably for nearly their entire lives. Gestation crates have been widely condemned as one of the cruelest factory farming practices in the world. The group housing must provide sows with separate space for eating, sleeping, and eliminating. By July 1, 2024, even existing facilities should have transitioned away from crates.
The new Code of Practice also acknowledges that castration is painful regardless of age, and recommends the use of painkillers before and after the procedure. The Code of Practice requires that after July 1, 2016, castration and tail docking at any age be performed with painkillers. Currently, piglets in Canada have their testicles ripped out and their tails cut off without any pain relief, a practice exposed and sharply criticized by Mercy For Animals Canada for causing acute and chronic pain and suffering.
In 2012, Mercy For Animals Canada released hidden-camera video from an undercover investigation at Puratone, a major Canadian pork producer, showing thousands of pregnant pigs crammed into filthy, metal gestation crates barely larger than their own bodies; piglets having their testicles ripped out of their bodies and tails cut off without pain killers; and piglets being slammed headfirst into the ground. The shocking exposé received national media attention and prompted tens of thousands of Canadians to demand that the nation's grocery retailers cut ties with pork producers that use gestation crates. In response, the Retail Council of Canada and its member grocers, Co-op Atlantic, Canada Safeway, Costco Wholesale Canada, Federated Co-operatives Limited, Loblaw Companies Limited, Metro Inc., Sobeys Inc., and Walmart Canada Corp., agreed to phase out inherently cruel gestation crates in their pork supply chains.
"This is an important step forward in preventing horrific cruelty to farmed animals in Canada. We are pleased that the new Code recognizes the inherent cruelty in confining social and intelligent animals for life in metal boxes barely larger than their own bodies," said Twyla Francois, MFA Canada's director of investigations. "This ban on gestation crates affirms what we have said all along--all animals should be given the freedom to move. We hope the Council extends this same consideration to other animals, including egg-laying hens, who are currently crammed in cages so small they can't even spread their wings, and calves raised for veal, who are confined to barren wooden crates barely larger than their own bodies."
Although the NFACC guidelines are not law, they are a powerful indicator of what law enforcement and courts will consider to be acceptable behaviour under both provincial welfare statutes and the Criminal Code. Generally accepted agricultural practices are exempt from provincial welfare laws, so the Code of Practice's bans on the above indicate that they will not be considered generally accepted and therefore will run afoul of the law. And the Criminal Code prohibits causing unnecessary pain and suffering, which necessitates looking at both the purpose and the means by which the suffering was caused - if the means are not acceptable, inflicting the suffering is illegal.
The new guidelines from the National Farm Animal Care Council are a response to a public that increasingly refuses to tolerate cruelty to farmed animals. However, the industry has dragged its feet in creating even these common sense bans, and cannot be trusted to ensure the welfare of animals without meaningful oversight. As Mercy For Animals Canada's exposés have demonstrated, the industry is incapable of self-regulating.
Mercy for Animals Canada will continue to act as the eyes and ears of the public and ensure that factory farmers are held accountable for how they treat farmed animals.
The only sure way to take animal suffering off our plates is by adopting a compassionate vegan diet. Visit ChooseVeg.ca
to learn how.
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On February 25, the Australian Capital Territory (home to Canberra, the capital city of Australia) passed the Animal Welfare (Factory Farming) Amendment Bill
. This act bans some of the cruelest factory farming practices currently in existence.
The new law makes it an offence to keep hens in battery cages, to keep pigs in gestation or farrowing crates, and to debeak hens.
Battery cages are defined under the new law as cages that do not allow hens to fully stretch, perch, access litter, and lay eggs in a nest.
Pigs must now be kept in "appropriate accommodation," which means accommodation that allows each pig to turn around, stand up, and lie down without difficulty; have a clean, comfortable and adequately drained place in which to lie down; maintain a comfortable temperature; and have outdoor access. If the accommodation is for more than one pig, each pig must be able to lie down at the same time. In addition, if the person keeps more than one pig, the pigs must be allowed to see other pigs, unless they are farrowing.
The law prohibits "removing or trimming the beak of a fowl" unless it is performed by a veterinary surgeon for a therapeutic purpose.
A previous Mercy For Animals Canada investigation revealed the inherent cruelty
of keeping pregnant pigs in crates so small they can't even turn around or lie down comfortably. These mother pigs are left alone to suffer from horrific physical illnesses and driven mad from boredom and loneliness.
MFA Canada also exposed the horrors of barren battery cages
- tiny wire cages in which hens are crammed for virtually their entire lives, unable to stretch their wings, build a nest, or even take a single breath of fresh air.
Canada should follow the lead of the Australian Capital Territory and ban the most inhumane practices employed by factory farms. It is simply common sense that intelligent and sensitive animals should be spared a life of misery.
Compassionate consumers, however, always have a choice when it comes to refusing to support cruel factory farms: by choosing a vegan diet
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Breaking News from Mercy For Animals
Despite protests and widespread opposition, yesterday Idaho
governor C.L. "Butch" Otter signed into law a dangerous ag-gag bill
that aims to prevent whistleblowers from taking photographs or video inside
factory farms that abuse animals. The bill was backed by the state's corrupt dairy industry,
which desperately seeks to hide evidence of the horrific
animal abuse that runs rampant on factory farms throughout Idaho.
Mercy For Animals founder and executive director, Nathan Runkle, had this to
say about today's ag-gag bill becoming law:
Governor Otter has failed Idaho and the
American people. By signing this bill into law, he has sided with those who
seek to keep Idaho's corrupt factory farming practices hidden from public view
and created a safe haven for animal abuse and other criminal activity in the
state. Mercy For Animals is exploring all legal avenues to overturn this
dangerous, unconstitutional, and un-American law.
Not only will this ag-gag law perpetuate
animal abuse, it endangers workers' rights, consumer health and safety, and the
freedom of journalists, employees, and the public at large to share information
about something as fundamental as our food supply. This law is bad for
consumers, who want more, not less, transparency in food production.
Bowing to pressure from the corporate
factory farming interests in Idaho, Governor Otter betrayed the will of his
constituents and the majority of Americans who strongly oppose efforts to
criminalize whistleblowers who dare to expose cruelty and corruption on Idaho's
farms. Clearly Governor Otter knows that Idaho's factory farmers have a lot to
hide from the American people if he is willing to go to such despicable lengths
to conceal their cruel and abusive practices.
Although similar ag-gag bills have been
proposed in states all across the country at the behest of the multibillion-dollar meat, dairy, and egg
industries, the majority of those bills have been defeated.
Unfortunately, Idaho's flawed and misdirected new law will now throw shut the
doors to industrial factory farms and allow animal abuse, environmental
violations, and food contamination to flourish undetected, unchallenged, and
Consumers have a right to know how their
food is produced and how animals on factory farms are abused so they can make
informed choices. But now, due to this misguided law, consumers would be wise
to assume that food produced on Idaho farms is the product of systematic
cruelty and corruption.
Undercover investigations by Mercy For
Animals and other groups have led to landmark corporate animal welfare policy
reforms, new and improved laws to protect farmed animals and the environment,
felony convictions of animal abusers, increased
consumer protection and food safety initiatives, and the closure of
particularly corrupt facilities. Without undercover investigations, there are
oftentimes no effective watchdogs protecting animals from egregious cruelty in
these facilities or the public from serious health violations.
Why was Idaho's corrupt dairy industry so
determined to silence undercover investigators? See for yourself:
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Last week, MFA Canada supporter and vegan Meagan
Duhamel won the silver medal for figure skating at the Olympic games in Sochi.
In a Global News interview, Meagan shares her
favourite foods: "My favourite indulgence dish is nachos - I use cheese
that's made without any dairy or soy, kidney beans, black beans and mango
salsa. I also love sweets, like cupcakes and cookies but I do a lot of my own
baking, all without eggs, milk or butter."
But Meagan isn't the only
Olympian known to follow an animal-friendly diet. Here are five more Olympic
athletes you didn't know were veg:
1. Hannah Teter
This gold and silver Olympic
medalist went vegetarian after watching the eye-opening film
"Earthlings." In an interview with "The Huffington Post,"
Teter says, "My plant-based diet has opened up more doors to being an
athlete. It's a whole other level that I'm elevating to."
2. Charlene Wong
This Canadian figure skater
competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics and states: "I would call myself a
'conscious eater.' It all started with my desire to be as lean and healthy as
possible as a teenager around 17-years-old. With more education, as well as
trial and error, it also turned into an expression of my attempt to show
compassion for all living things."
3. Surya Bonaly
Competing in several Olympic
games as a professional figure skater, Bonaly is a three-time World silver
medalist, and a five-time European champion.
4. Lizzie Armitstead
Famous for winning the
silver medal in the road race at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Armitstead has been
a vegetarian since the age of 10.
5. Seba Johnson
A vegan since birth, Johnson
was the youngest Alpine ski racer in Olympic history.
6. Carl Lewis
most well-known vegan Olympian, Lewis says, "I've found that a person does
not need protein from meat to be a successful athlete. In fact, my best year of
track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet."
Written by Sarah Von Alt, MFA
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We hope that you have a sweet day filled with vegan chocolate, affection from
loved ones, and that warm feeling knowing that you are making the world a
better place for farmed animals!
Our amazing volunteers in cities across Canada celebrated
the holiday by encouraging the public to have a heart for farmed animals!
Volunteers in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa
and Montreal handed out vegetarian starter
guides and held Valentine's-themed posters that featured a cute pig
exclaiming, "Love Me, Don't Eat Me!"
Sweets from the Earth bakery showed
its love and generously donated hundreds of vegan cookies to support the Toronto
event! Passersby who stopped to learn about the heart-healthy benefits of a plant
based diet received delicious vegan treats.
Thanks to our dedicated volunteers,
countless hearts were opened to the plight of animals on factory farms.
Here are some photos of our
volunteers in action:
Want to show your love for
animals? You can make a difference today!
a monthly donor and help fund our important work for animals!
Leave animals off of your plate and go veg!
action to help animals!
Become a volunteer today!
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impacted so many lives worldwide, whether through the loss of a friend or
family member, or a battle with cancer yourself. It is a major killer here in
North America and the leading cause of death in Canada, responsible for
approximately 30 percent of deaths. According to The Canadian Cancer Society, an estimated 187,600 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed and 75,500
deaths from cancer will occur in Canada in 2014.
Today marks World Cancer Day. Why not start this day by turning over a
new leaf? Studies
have shown that a plant-based diet can help lower the risk of some cancers.
3 Things You
Get Informed: Knowledge Is Power!
Visit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine's site.
for a New America" by John Robbins.
China Study" by Dr. T. Colin Campbell.
Watch "Forks Over Knives!"
Fight Cancer with Your Fork!
Get ready to discover some of
the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet! These plant-based powerhouses can
boost your energy, keep you fit, and even help prevent cancer:
This dark leafy green is full of vitamins, calcium, and
cancer-fighting phytonutrients. Eaten raw or cooked, this vegetable will keep you strong and super healthy.
contains allicin, an organic compound known for fighting infections, and is
packed with other incredible health benefits. Studies also show that regularly eating garlic may lower your chances for certain types of cancer.
Grill some portobello
mushrooms and use for filling a delicious veggie wrap. Mushrooms may possess anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and immune-boosting effects.
Visit ChooseVeg.ca for more health info and
delicious recipe ideas !
Written by Lucas Solowey, national outreach coordinator.
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In the pork industry's unending
quest to cut corners, producers have started feeding pigs mouldy
grain that's been otherwise deemed only worthy of destruction.
The grain is contaminated with
mycotoxin (Fusarium fungi), but according
to researchers at the
Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the negative effects of the
toxin can be counteracted with the addition of spray-dried animal plasma (i.e.,
animal blood). Animal blood is a by-product of the slaughter industry, and
shockingly, most animal plasma is derived from pig's blood.
To recap, when feeding toxic
grain to pigs, make sure to spray it with pig blood first to reduce the risk of
You can enjoy a diet free of blood
and toxic mould by adopting a plant-based diet. To learn how, go to Choose.Veg.ca.
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At the Canadian pork industry's
annual meeting in Banff last Friday, Canada's agriculture minister, Gerry Ritz,
proudly announced a 15 million-dollar federal commitment to promote the
Canadian pork industry and its "products" in foreign markets, most
notably China and South Korea.
According to a media
release by Sask
Pork and the Manitoba Pork Council, the minister stated: "The government
and the pork industry share an aggressive trade agenda. The bottom line is our
government has been there for the Canadian pork industry and will continue to
It was just over a year ago that
we exposed the pork industry's standard practices of confining pregnant pigs
for nearly their entire lives in gestation crates so small they are unable to
even turn around or lie down comfortably, workers slamming
piglets into the ground and leaving them to slowly suffer and die, and workers mutilating
fully conscious piglets without the use of painkillers. Is this really an
industry the public wishes to support with its taxes?
According to public response to
our exposé, the answer is no. Nearly 50,000 people signed a petition calling
for an end to the use of gestation crates and all eight of Canada's major
grocers vowed to end their support of the crates.
Could the pork industry's
interest in foreign markets be related to its failing image here in Canada?
Could the higher standards required by Canada's retailers be the real impetus
for this agenda of "aggressive trade" with countries possessing little
to no animal welfare standards?
You can send a strong message to
Canada's government by withdrawing your support from the animal
"products" industry by adopting a plant-based diet. To learn how, go
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animals are complex, sentient beings, who possess a wide range of cognitive and emotional capabilities. They have elaborate
communication systems, great memories, a sense of the future, and are able to
solve intellectual challenges. Farmed animals also have rich social lives: they
form deep friendships, learn from each other, and help each other. They feel
empathy, and can make decisions based on altruism.
In ways similar to human beings, farmed
animals also experience a wide variety of emotions, from happiness and pleasure
to fear, sadness, boredom, despair, pain and suffering. In fact, in the 2012 "Cambridge
Declaration on Consciousness in Non-Human Animals," a group of internationally recognized experts in cognitive neuroscience and related fields confirmed what observations
suggest: animals, including mammals, birds, and possibly many others, are
conscious and aware in the same way humans are.
Canada, neither federal nor provincial legislation recognizes farmed animals--or
for that matter any non-human animals--as individuals with their own desires,
needs, and capacity to feel pleasure and pain. Instead, Canadian laws treat non-human
animals as property, afforded little more protection or consideration than would
be given to a chair or other inanimate object.
of the present legislation, and of our increased scientific and moral understanding
of animals' cognitive and emotional capabilities, the Montreal SPCA recently
sponsored the release of a "Manifesto for the Evolution of Animals' Legal
Status in the Civil Code of Quebec." The Manifesto calls for all animals
to be granted a legal status distinct
from that of property, which would recognize animals as sentient beings and entitle
them to basic rights.
25,000 people from all walks of life have already signed the Manifesto. Regardless
of whether or how the Manifesto will effectively bring forward changes to the
legal status of animals in the province of Quebec, the response to its release sends
a clear message: the public is more than ever aware of the sentience of
animals, and is demanding profound changes to society's treatment of non-human animals.
You too can
help support the initiative to change the legal status of animals in Quebec by signing the Manifesto. You can also
take steps right now toward reducing the suffering and exploitation of farmed
animals by switching to a compassionate plant-based diet. For tips on transitioning to a humane and healthy vegan diet,
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