Friday, October 31, 2008

Follow the Leader: Vote Yes on Prop 2

The Field Poll report released today says it all: 60 percent of California voters will likely vote YES on the hotly-contested Proposition 2.

In the final stretch to Election Night on November 4, encourage all your friends, family and co-workers to support this important proposition to give farm animals for space to live. Check out the last minute updates at

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Happy Ending for a Happy Flock

It's once again National Chicken Month. We are happy to report that all the chickens from the Oakland Flock have found homes. Many of the brave birds found sanctuary at California havens for farm animals. We would like to send a huge THANK YOU to:

Animal Acres

Animal Place

Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary

We encourage everyone to support these sanctuaries by making donations and visiting them.

Following the feathers,
East Bay Animal Advocates

Friday, August 22, 2008

Round two for "The Advocate"

If you liked the freshmen edition of EBAA's The Advocate, there is no doubt you will be delighted to read the second issue of the magazine.

It features a one-on-one with the King of Food Politics, Michael Pollan, an inside look at aquaculture, and important updates on PROP TWO.

Download a free copy of The Advocate - Summer 2008 today!

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's Time for Tuesday!

EBAA is extremely excited to promote Tofurky Tuesdays. Turtle Island Foods, in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States, wants to help you reduce the amount of meat you eat each week. It’s easy! Just sign–up for Tofurky Tuesdays and you will get the Tofurky Tuesday Care Package. It includes:

* Complimentary magazines from the Vegetarian Resource Group, Vegetarian Times and VegNews.

* Educational materials on vegetarian nutrition and factory farming information.

Take the Tofurky Tuesdays Pledge!

On another inspiring note, don't forget to tune in tomorrow for a good show with a good message about animal advocacy. Shani Campbell, EBAA's Outreach Director, will be featured on the Womens Entertainment Network on Tuesday, August 19 at 10 PM. Check out the newest installment of Secret Lives of Women to see Shani protect animals. It's a must-see!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Right on the Mark

Mark Hawthorne is a fixture in the Bay Area animal protection community, and the author of the invaluable new book, Striking at the Roots. A book that is both inspiring and informative, it should be required reading for budding activists, seasoned advocates, and everyone in between. Guiding us through the myriad ways we can make a difference for animals, from leafleting and corporate outreach to protesting and direct action, Striking at the Roots provides an in-depth yet easy-to-read look into each type of activism. What’s more, this book is chock full of personal anecdotes and advice from activists across the globe that are sure to resonate with anyone working on behalf of the animals.

Mark took some time from his busy schedule to talk with EBAA's Karin Olsson and Eileen Mello about his own experiences as an animal advocate, his views on the shape of activism today, and the ever important topic of vegan beer.

What are your own personal favorite forms of activism?

I love one-on-one activism -- getting into discussions with one or two people, like when you leaflet or table. Or when you bring cookies into work and everyone is amazed you baked them without eggs or butter and people remark that maybe being vegan isn’t hard after all. A lot of my activism is in the written word: letters, magazine articles, op-eds, newsletters and, of course, my book.

In your research, did you find that a particular form of activism made more of an impact than another in attempting to eradicate animal suffering?

All forms are important, because you never know what is going to inspire someone, and it’s usually not just one thing that does it. Having said that, I think it’s hard to beat leafleting at a college. It’s easy to do, the students are ripe for change and it helps disabuse people of the myth that activists are in some way different from the mainstream.

I think what is really important is how we frame our message to the public, whether we’re leafleting to one person or speaking in front of 200. It is critical that people understand why animals are suffering and how their choices do make a difference for beings who are no different than their dogs and cats – except that abused animals are being raised for food or fashion or vivisection or used in circuses or some other torture. All these animals feel pain, and they all deserve a life free of exploitation by humans. People have to make that connection. Activists have to connect the dots for them.

The title of your book refers to a quote from Walden by Henry David Thoreau: "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." What do you believe is the fundamental root cause of non-human animal abuse?

I believe the root cause is the public’s nearly total lack of knowledge about what is happening to animals every moment of every day. This in turn is enabled by animal enterprises like agribusiness and medical researchers, which work to make people feel good about eating animals, using them as test subjects, exploiting them for our amusement and so on. That’s why effective animal activism addresses both the public and the businesses abusing animals. People need to understand animal cruelty is happening all the time, not just when an undercover video is shown on the news, and that our daily choices directly impact how animals are treated. Businesses and policymakers need to know people won’t tolerate animal abuse.

In writing this book, you reached out to activists across the globe. Did you encounter any methods or forms of activism that were new to you, or that you felt American activists would benefit from employing?

I learned a lot about corporate outreach – that is, encouraging companies to adopt animal-friendly policies. In the book, I include restaurant outreach as part of that, since food is such a vital part of veganism and animal rights – food is our common touchstone. Activists in Europe seem to be doing a really fantastic job of reaching out to companies. In fact, Lush, the cosmetics company based in England, even hired an animal-rights activist to help them become 100% vegan.

There’s probably not a company anywhere that at some level doesn’t have influence over how animals are treated. AT&T and Coors Beer both sponsor rodeos, for example, and many pet-food companies, like Iams, kill animals in their testing labs. We can even be doing outreach to our own government, which abuses animals in the military, in research labs, on public land. Heck, the USDA’s Wildlife Services kills animals just for eating flowers or frightening people. And all of this is funded by our tax dollars. So there’s a lot of opportunity for activists to use the outreach model. Writing letters and making phone calls, and getting others to do the same, makes a difference.

How has writing this book influenced both your understanding of activism and the way in which you personally work to aid animals?

Writing Striking at the Roots showed me how large the animal-rights community around the world really is and how even one person can make a difference. Wendy Parsons in Australia, for example, got McDonald’s to stop sponsoring rodeos all by herself.

But more than anything, I learned to go easier on myself. This movement has lost too many good people – people who pushed themselves a little too hard, thinking they were superheroes, and burned out. We have to focus on our victories and not get bogged down in the mire of bad news we hear all the time as activists. Josh Balk at HSUS, uses guilt as a motivator – it keeps him going. Whatever it takes, we need to keep our heads up. If not, the animals lose. So that’s my focus now.

Your book cites methods of activism that range from "small" to "large" acts of support. While doing research, did you ever encounter individuals who believe that activism is only effective or beneficial when performed in a grandiose way? What is your response to that belief?

Actually, I encountered just the opposite. I thought activists would be extolling the importance of large protests, but they were emphasizing the need for smaller, smarter demonstrations, and I agree with them. Patty Mark of Animal Liberation Victoria, for example, told me about a protest they did to raise awareness about whaling. They brought a large, clear box to the ocean, filled it with red water and an activist, and labeled it with their anti-whaling message and Web site address. That image ended up in newspapers around the world. It’s much better to use your resources wisely, like being organized and following up with the media after a protest, than to spend your time trying to get a hundred people to a demonstration.

Of course, as we speak, the world is watching Oprah Winfrey do a three-week vegan detox on television, which may end up doing more for the movement than all the intelligent protests in history put together.

How did you become vegan? At what point did you consider yourself an activist and what actions were you taking? How do you define your own activism today?

After being vegetarian for about 10 years, I read Diet for a New America and began examining my consumer choices. Eggs were the tipping point for me. I really liked eating eggs and baking with them, so I asked Karen Davis at United Poultry Concerns if it was okay to buy free-range eggs. She basically told me, no, if I really cared about chickens, I shouldn’t be eating any eggs. Shortly after that, I went on a tour of Animal Place, a sanctuary for farmed animals here in the Bay Area, and learned more about how hens are exploited in the egg industry. And I got to meet some hens. That was the day I went vegan and started learning how easy it is to bake without eggs.

I had long been a human-rights activist, but after going vegan, I started working to advance the interests of animals. I joined the writers groups for Compassion Over Killing and PETA, and I began volunteering at Animal Place. I also started fostering rescued rabbits. Although I enjoy tabling and speaking to groups, I reach more people with my writing, so that’s probably the model I use the most now. I mean, one article in VegNews magazine might be seen by 150,000 people.

What is your favorite beer?

That may be your toughest question! Unfortunately, a lot of beers aren’t even vegetarian. I used to love Guinness stout, for example, but they use gelatin from the swim bladders of fish to refine the beer. I enjoy having seasonal beers at local breweries, and my favorite bottled beer right now is probably Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Partying n' Poultry

The last few weeks has delivered some amazing experiences for EBAA--none of which would have been remotely possible without your support and interest. Our Five-Years of Advocacy Celebration was a hit. We raised nearly $1,500. We would like to share a photo series from the party with you:

Our July 4th was a complete success as well. We safely transported 196 chickens to Animal Acres in Southern California. Every bird survived the long journey on Interstate 5. You will love to photos of our road trip:

Hugs & Cheeps,
East Bay Animal Advocates

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Gallon for the Gallos: Donate $5 to EBAA's Chicken Run to L.A. on July 4th!

Last month, we shared news with you about an amazing rescue in
the East Bay. On May 13, 2008, Oakland Animal Services
impounded a "shipment" of 500 day-old broiler chicks bound for
meat production in Washington. Visit the flock online at

East Bay Animal Advocates has been working with Oakland Animal
Services to ensure these young, bubbling birds are well cared for
and find good homes. Finding broiler chickens suitable homes is a
daunting task because of their lifelong health troubles. Chicken
adoption inquiries had been scarce. The future plans for the
Oakland Flock was unknown.

In an amazing turn of fate this week, EBAA received a phone call
from Animal Acres, a Los Angeles farmed animal sanctuary. Read
an excerpt from the miracle phone call transcript:

Animal Acres: We heard about the Oakland Flock. That's a lot of

EBAA: Roger that, L.A.

Animal Acres: We have room to take 200 birds.

EBAA: Holy feathers. Let's celebrate the Fourth of July with a
road trip to Animal Acres!

As EBAA prepares for our six-hour trip to Animal Acres next week,
we are calling on you to donate $5 for a gallon of gas. We
expect our transportation costs, including a cargo van rental, to
top at $500. Your support is critical. Donate online

To L.A. or bust!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Party with Pia the Chicken this Sunday in Oakland!

As we celebrate our five years of animal protection work, enjoy seasonal vegan appetizers, Sugar Beat Sweets, Lagunitas brews, straight-edge mojitos and much more!

You will have an opportunity to meet our guest of honor—Pia. Our friend, Pia is a young chicken recently rescued from certain-death in meat production.

From 3:30 to 5:00 PM, Micio Mambo, the premier vegan boutique, will be open for your shopping pleasure. All attendees are welcome to ten percent off Micio Mambo store times (excluding any sale items, skincare & cosmetics).

At 5:30 PM, join us for a champagne toast to the animals.

Throughout the party, we will host a silent auction. Check out the auction line-up:

· Zuzu Luxe Cosmetic Gift Basket

· Frey Vineyards Vegan Winetasting and Lunch with Wine Teaser

· A 75-minute Swedish and/or Deep tissue massage

· Autographed Book: Why Animals Matter

· Autographed Book: Striking at the Roots

· Bizarro and Other Strange Manifestations of the Art of Dan Piraro

· Farm Animal Art

· Pangea Printed sweatshirt and tote bag

· Guitar Lessons: Three Sessions

· Candle Illumination Gift Basket

· Vegan Home-Cooked "Dirty South" Dinner for Six People

$25 Donation Minimum

Can't attend, please consider making a donation online at

Friday, June 20, 2008

Shopping Right in Oakland: Micio Mambo

Later this month, Micio Mambo will host our five-year birthday bash. EBAA's Emily Ziebell recently chatted with Ursula Calderon, the owner of Oakland’s new vegan boutique:

What made you decide to open a vegan boutique?

I became a vegetarian in 1992 and made the transition to veganism almost four years ago. I had been looking to incorporate non-leather, cruelty-free products in my personal life, but was never very impressed with the way it was pulled together in a store and I was tired of buying online. My sister, Erika, and I were in New York about 3 years ago when I had an "ah-ha" moment. We were on the subway after a day of shopping for fashionable vegan accessories and I said to her, "I could do just as good of a job as the stores we visited today"! She looked at me and said "Why don't you?". I thought why not! I had been in retail for over 12 years and 10 years in design/advertising and knew that would give me a good foundation for success. Two years later, I quit my advertising job as an account executive and opened up Micio Mambo last November.

What kind of items do you carry?

I'm out to prove that you can be stylish and make good choices for the animals and the environment. I have everything from shoes, handbags and jewelry to skincare and cosmetics. I also just started carrying shoes, belts and wallets for guys. Everything is leather-free, cruelty-free and environmentally friendly.

What's behind the name, Micio Mambo?

Micio is pronounced "Mee-cho" and it means kitty in Italian. My sister Erika lived in Milan for awhile and we've been referring to our kitties as "micios" ever since then. When I was thinking about a name for the store I knew I wanted to use micio somehow. Mambo came about as a nod to my latin background (my father is from El Salvador). I thought Micio Mambo was unique and fun to say!

Location and contact information:

Micio Mambo
474 Santa Clara Avenue
Oakland, CA 94610
(510) 836-4246
Store Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11 AM - 5 PM; Sunday Noon - 5 PM.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Seal of Approval

EBAA is proud to be apart of the Independent Charities Seal of Excellence Program, which is awarded to the members of Independent Charities of America and Local Independent Charities of America that have, upon rigorous independent review, been able to certify, document, and demonstrate on an annual basis that they meet the highest standards of public accountability, program effectiveness, and cost effectiveness. These standards include those required by the US Government for inclusion in the Combined Federal Campaign, probably the most exclusive fund drive in the world. Of the 1,000,000 charities operating in the United States today, it is estimated that fewer than 50,000, or 5 percent, meet or exceed these standards, and, of those, fewer than 2,000 have been awarded this Seal.

Friday, May 30, 2008

What's your vision for California?

Should California be a home to factory farms? Should farm animals in the Golden State have room to move around?

California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura wants your thoughts on the future of agriculture. This is a classic opportunity to speak up for millions of farm animals.

Visit to learn more about some of the cruelties that occur in California everyday. As well, it is a good occasion to plug the Humane California Campaign.

Namely, the CDFA wants your thoughtful answers to the following questions:

* What is your vision for California agriculture by 2030?
* What will be the biggest challenge in achieving that vision?
* In 2030, how has the public perception of agriculture changed?
* What is a "must have" in an Ag Vision for California?

By July 18, 2008, please send your opinions to

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Five-Years of Advocacy Anniversary

Please join us for a very special event!

"Five-Years of Advocacy Anniversary"

Sunday, June 29, 2008
3:30 - 6:30 PM

Micio Mambo
474 Santa Clara Avenue

Enjoy Seasonal Vegan Appetizers, Specialty Beer & Non-Alcoholic
Cider.Admission is $25. Please RSVP at Can't attend, please consider making a donation online at

Friday, May 23, 2008

Oh, those old hens...

At two to three years of age, matured hens complete their egg production cycle within the industry. 'Spent hens' are slaughtered without any protections under California's 1990 Methods of Slaughter law. California producers no longer have a facility to bring its 'spent hens' for processing. In May 2006, Valley Fresh Inc., California’s only 'spent hen' slaughterhouse, ended its live poultry processing operations.

Now, the slaughtering of 'spent hens' is carried out by the individual egg companies. Producers have used gassing/composting and woodchippers as methods of euthanizing 'spent hens'.

As The Modesto Bee reports today, a Ceres egg producer was caught red-handed illegally burying its old hens. Read the full news report:

"Dead hens, possibly numbering in the thousands, were illegally buried in a trench by a Ceres-area egg producer, Stanislaus County officials said Thursday.

The carcasses were dumped at Niemeyer Farms on Crows Landing Road before the practice was halted about three weeks ago, said Sonya Harrigfeld, director of environmental resources for the county.

'We issued a cease-and-desist order to them,' she said. 'My staff witnessed dead carcasses on the ground.'

Owner Jack Niemeyer said the burial was part of a legal composting operation for hens past their egg-laying prime.

'We're converting it to fertilizer to market,' he said.

Harrigfeld said composting livestock is illegal without a permit from the California Integrated Waste Management Board. Niemeyer Farms is not on the state agency's online list of permitted composting sites.

The case will be referred to the district attorney's office, which can seek fines of up to $5,000 for each day the violations took place, Harrigfeld said. When the burial began is not known, she said.

The county responded to neighbors' complaints about odors and flies.

Niemeyer declined to say how many hens were buried, but Rowe Barney, assistant director of the county department, said it likely was in the thousands.

Barney said about 25,000 dead birds were awaiting disposal when the county ordered that they be taken to the Darling International rendering plant near the town of Crows Landing.

Rendering, which extracts useful products from carcasses, is the preferred method of disposal, Harrigfeld said.

Too degraded for rendering

The buried carcasses are too degraded for rendering, so Niemeyer will have to dig them up and haul them to an approved landfill, she said. They will be reburied with extra precautions to prevent pollution, similar to the handling of the cattle and poultry killed in the extreme heat wave of July 2006, she said.

Harrigfeld said county officials aim to have the cleanup done within two weeks. The county has given Niemeyer until today to estimate the number of buried hens and the extent of the operation.

Burying dead animals can pose an environmental hazard because decomposing biological material could percolate through the soil and into into groundwater in the surrounding areas.

Barney said groundwater in the area is 10 to 20 feet from the surface, and the trench appears to be 4 feet deep, so prompt removal is needed to prevent seepage of contaminants.

Complaints are rare

Niemeyer said he has had the business for more than 30 years but might retire soon. No live hens are there, he said. The farm is relatively small compared with other egg producers in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

Harrigfeld said complaints about illegal carcass burial are rare, happening perhaps once every three to five years.

The egg industry strives to follow the laws on hen disposal wherever it operates, said Stevan Allen, spokesman for the Pacific Egg and Poultry Association in Sacramento.

'The industry guidelines do allow for composting, but the caveat there is that it is done in accordance with state and local ordinances,' Allen said.

Niemeyer said composting hens, a process that takes about nine months, is part of the nutrient cycling that is vital to agriculture.

'If you stopped all of this conversion,' he said, 'the cultivation and the crops and everything would be gone.'"

Before the holiday weekend, e-mail your opinions about this distributing topic to The Modesto Bee.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Troubling ag policy is down and out

The plight of disabled cattle has once again been spotlighted in the public eye. As The Associated Press reports today:

"Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced Tuesday a total ban on meat plant slaughter of cows too sick or weak to stand. The planned change comes in the wake of the nation's largest beef recall. It would shut down an exception — which critics call a loophole — that allows a small number of so-called "downer" cattle into the food supply if they pass veterinary inspection."

Get the full report online.

Friday, May 16, 2008

EBAA provides emergency relief for impounded broiler chicks

Earlier this week, Oakland Animal Services impounded a "shipment" of 500 day-old broiler chicks bound for Washington State. Thanks to your generous support, EBAA was able to provide emergency supplies to care for the young birds at the shelter. If you are able to provide homes for a group of these birds, please contact us at or (925) 487-4419.

Read an excerpt of a NBC-11 news report about the rescue:

"Oakland Animal Services took into custody 500 day-old chicks at the airport that were being transported by the United States Postal Service from a Santa Cruz hatchery to a destination in Washington State.

The Oakland Airport Postal Service discovered many sick and some dead chicks among the shipment of five boxes.

The workers contacted Oakland Animal Services for assistance who found 47 birds dead.

The chicks were from Cal Cruz Hatchery in Santa Cruz and by the time they reached the Oakland airport they had already been traveling for over 24 hours.

Animal Place, which frequently works with animal control agencies to help find adoptive homes for farmed animals confiscated in cruelty cases, is working to help place the chicks.

The birds were "broilers," or chickens raised for meat that are bred for rapid growth so they can be slaughtered at six weeks of age.

'Shipping chicks through the postal service is common practice,' said Adam Parascandola, Oakland Animal Services director. 'It is a given that many will die in route, but the losses are expected and accepted by industry. These poor chicks were less than a day old before their nightmarish journey began.'

It is legal to ship young birds through the mail, as long as they are under 24 hours old when presented for shipping, and delivered to the receiver within 72 hours.

The practice of sending chicks through the postal service began over 100 years ago, when the first commercial hatchery in America sent 50 chicks from New Jersey to Illinois in 1892."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Egg-actly the right time

It's that time of year again. May is National Egg Month. This is the best time to educate the public about egg factory farming in California. Our friends at Compassion Over Killing and Mercy for Animals have great ideas for you to help chickens this month and every month. Please visit and for the 4-1-1!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Do you have a sweet tooth?

If the answer is YES, you won't want to miss our Advocates Forum on Saturday, May 17 at 3 PM at Berkeley's Herbivore--The Earthly Grill. We want to treat you to a vegan dessert in exchange for writing a few good letters to stop animal abuse in agriculture. Enjoy some good company and sweet eats with EBAA. To RSVP, email

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008

Youth in Action

Students from Vallejo's St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School showed their support for the chickens yesterday at Lunardi's Supermarket in Danville. We are always looking for advocates--ages 1 to 92--to encourage Lunardi's to ban the sale of battery cage eggs. Email us at!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Corn on the Crisis

The ever-increasing price of corn for poultry production and other animal farming is a mega-media affair. Producers are modifying their business activities dramatically. By modification, we mean cutting down on production. A recent article entitled The End of Cheap Meat by Solve Climate's Sangamithra Iyer touches on this emerging issue.

This week, we've learned of the closure of a couple of turkey processing plants owned by Cargill. Some of the production activities will be diverted to Californian facilities in the next few months.

As Charlie Brown says, good grief!

Local high students and activists speak out against Lunardi's foul store policy

Danville, Calif.- St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School students will join East Bay Animal Advocates in urging Lunardi's Supermarket to stop selling eggs from chickens raised in overcrowded 'battery cages':

Date: Sunday, April 6, 2008
Time: 3:00 PM
Location: Lunardi's Supermarket, 345 Railroad Avenue, Danville

Lunardi's Supermarket is the lead competitor of Andronico's Markets and Whole Foods Market, which both stopped selling eggs from caged chickens. Both Andronico's Market and Whole Foods Market have joined a growing national network of cities, educational institutions, farmers, and retailers that oppose the intensive confinement of laying hens -- a notorious egg industry practice.

Each year over 19 million egg-laying hens in California are raised in concentrated confinement to produce eggs for consumers. According to the California Poultry Workgroup, the vast majority of egg-layers in California are confined to tiny cages. Each bird is limited to less than 67 square inches of space for her entire life.

Online at

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Game On: Get Active

As a watchdog group, East Bay Animal Advocates critically analyzes the impact of California agriculture on animals. EBAA encourages consumers to make caring, informed food choices. There are a variety of ways to get involved with EBAA, such as:

- Helping ban the sale of battery-cage eggs at Lunardi's grocery stores in the San Francisco Bay Area by leafleting at one of their stores. It's simple. Join EBAA's consumer campaign by adopting a store near you. Learn more about the campaign at

- By writing letters-to-the-editor, EBAA's Advocacy Author Group is designed to increase public visibility of humane issues and create opportunities for individuals to develop advocacy skills right from your computer.

- Getting your hands dirty at our monthly Farm Days at Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary in the San Joaquin Valley.

- By subscribing to EBAA's free email newsletter, you are supplied with a helpful dose of breaking news, campaign reports, upcoming events and action alerts. Join the e-news list.

Please contact Shani Campbell, our new Outreach Director, at to get active.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Must Read: "The Truth Behind Humane Slaughter Law"

The Animal Welfare Institute released an illuminating 150-page report concerning the reality of humane slaughter in United States. Read a sample of the cited inspection notes:

“At approximately 1:00 p.m. [a Holstein cow] had a 1 cm hole in its forehead from a captive bolt stunner. At 1:10 p.m. the cow had not been moved and was breathing regularly. An establishment employee tried to re-stun the animal twice but the hand held captive bolt stunner did not fire.”

“The hog was lying in the cradle and all four feet had been removed. The hog was observed to be kicking and shaking its head. It exhibited skin twitching and irregular but rhythmic breathing with deep abdominal and thoracic movement. It appeared to be gasping for breath.”

Click here to read the full report online.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Another Reason to Contact Mr. Ed at the USDA

With Easter 2008 upon us, it's the perfect time to examine the hidden truth of rabbit meat production. Today, metropolitan grocery stores and high-end restaurants are the chief retailers of commercial rabbit meat. Rabbit meat is also sold via the Internet. Each year over two million rabbits are raised and slaughtered for their meat across the country. Known primarily as a cottage industry, American rabbit-meat production is largely unregulated by the federal authorities and removed from the public eye. Watch our mini-film about this topic now:

American rabbit meat production is largely unregulated. Federal agencies deny meat rabbits legal protection from even the worst slaughter abuses. Urge the USDA to create a mandatory inspection program of meat rabbit processing facilities:

Secretary Edward Schafer
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Room 200-A
Washington, DC 20250

Phone: (202) 720-3631
Fax: (202) 720-2166

Friday, March 7, 2008

Protection Denied: Humane Slaughter Not Applicable to Birds

It's not a surprise. But, it's unfortunate to hear. Judge Marilyn Hall Patel dismissed a joint lawsuit filed in 2005 by EBAA and The HSUS against the USDA - challenging the exclusion of poultry from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1958. Read about the dismissal in today's report from World Poultry:

"According to a US judge, chickens are not 'livestock' and are therefore not subject to the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. A lawsuit brought by the Humane Society of the US (HSUS) against the Agriculture Department has argued that the USDA had misinterpreted the 50-year-old Act, reports Cattle Network. 'The court finds the legislative history strongly demonstrates unambiguous congressional intent that livestock, as used in the HMSA, does not include poultry,' US District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel reportedly wrote in her opinion. Judge Patel granted summary judgment in USDA's favour and dismissed the lawsuit.

HSUS's argument was based on a 1958 dictionary definition of livestock that said that the word encompassed 'useful' animals on a farm, while USDA said that the term has always internally meant to exclude poultry.

'The plain language of these bills indicates that Congress intended to exclude poultry from the definition of livestock when it enacted H.R. 8308, the bill that eventually became the HMSA,' Patel wrote."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Lucky Number 790,486

As one of the key grassroots endorsers of the Humane California Campaign, EBAA is pleased to announce the ballot initiative drive reached its six-month signature gathering goal. Not only did the California-based consortium of progressive organizations and concerned individuals meet the monstrous goal, the campaign exceeded it. The total number of signatures captured for the November-bound ballot initiative was 790,486. Approximately 2 percent of Californians signed on to de-intensify animal agriculture.

As campaign officials were busy delivering the signatures to county election offices, ag industry officials pulled out their calculators for a math problem: How much will it cost California egg farmers to go cage-free?

Feedstuffs FoodLink answers: "For California producers to maintain egg production at current levels, they would need to convert all existing cage-production houses to cage free and construct 515 new cage-free houses to accommodate larger space requirements for cage-free production systems at a cost of $500 million, not counting land costs, according to the analysis."

Industry officials are making a good move by calculating costs now. November is right around the corner. Soon, livestock and poultry farmers will need to start writing checks for the costs mentioned above.

Ah, democracy is a sweet thing.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Creative Giving: Adopt-An-Advocate

A practical approach to sustaining our organization's work is to "Adopt-An-Advocate". With a $400 donation, you can make it possible for EBAA to expand its vegetarian outreach campaigns and California factory farming research through the hiring of our first part-time coordinator. All donations are tax-deductible. Make a donation today.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Read and Respond

The Associated Press released an informative news bite today, entitled Film Prompted First Humane Slaughter Law. The story is a brief historical piece that chronicles the birth of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act in 1958 and its connection to the recent beef recall.

Read an excerpt from the AP story:

"A film showing slaughterhouse workers abusing animals spurs demands for the federal government to put a stop to the abuse. That happened this year — and also a half-century ago, when a Seattle animal rights activist filmed hogs being mistreated at a Washington state slaughterhouse.

The 1950's film helped trigger a fierce debate on Capitol Hill over whether animals deserved some federal protection in their final moments. Congress ultimately decided that they did, and 50 years ago this summer, lawmakers passed the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which required that meat purchased by the federal government come from processors that humanely kill their livestock.

Now Congress is taking another look at slaughterhouse practices following undercover video filmed by the Humane Society of the United States. The video showed workers at Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. in Chino, Calif., shoving and kicking sick, crippled cattle, forcing them to stand using electric prods, forklifts and water hoses. In response, the Agriculture Department shut down the plant, citing 'egregious violations of humane handling regulations.' Two fired workers have been charged with crimes."

Later in the article:

"Fifty years ago, the hog slaughter film by Arthur P. Redman similarly galvanized animal welfare advocates to pursue legislation. The film was shown at a congressional hearing in 1957 and Congress passed the landmark humane slaughter law the following year.

Speaking during debate on the day of the bill's passage, then-Sen. Hubert Humphrey, a Minnesota Democrat and future vice president, said: 'We are morally compelled, here in this hour, to try to imagine — to try to feel in our own nerves — the totality of the suffering of 100 million tortured animals. The issue before us today is pain, agony and cruelty — and what a moral man must do about it in view of his own conscience.'"

The article also highlights a key vehicle for change - citizen action:

"In the late 1950s, Congress was awash in debate on the humane slaughter issue. The New York Times, in a May 4, 1958 story headlined 'Humane Appeals Swamp Congress,' described how constituent letters on the subject dwarfed those on foreign policy, the economy and defense. Four days of Senate hearings, the Times reported, attracted large crowds, mostly of women. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation despite the Agriculture Department's opposition. 'If I depended on my mail,' he said after the hearings, "I would think humane slaughter is the only thing anyone is interested in.'"

Moral of the story: Urge our Secretary of Agriculture Edward Schafer to ban the entry of sick and injured cattle into the human food supply. Email Secretary Schafer at

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Scientific Solution?

The Daily Democrat reports: "Animal welfare and poultry science experts from UC Davis, Michigan State University and other universities across the country are teaming up to study what are the most humane and commercially viable methods for housing egg-laying chickens. Leading the team of researchers in tackling this controversial issue are internationally recognized animal welfare scientist Joy Mench of UCD, and animal welfare researcher Janice Swanson and philosophy professor Paul Thompson, both of Michigan State University.

The research team has recently received $400,000 from the American Egg Board, an egg-marketing organization, to fund the planning stage of the research program. The issue of whether it is better for egg-laying hens to be housed in cages or to roam freely in large barns is particularly contentious in California, where an effort is under way to place an initiative on the November 2008 ballot that would ban the use of cages in raising laying hens."

It will be interesting to see the results of this well-funded study. With an industry trade group sponsoring this measure, it won't be a surprise if the study will reinforce the status quo: cage egg production.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

East Bay Congressman Weighs in on Hallmark Beef Recall

KCBS News reports: "Congressman George Miller, D-Martinez, Wednesday called for Congressional hearings in the biggest meat recall in U.S. history. He said more than a billion pounds of beef could be tainted and blamed the U.S. Department of Agriculture's inspection process for the problem. Miller claimed USDA has a conflict of interest because they're responsible for promoting food consumption and sales as well as safety. Even worse, Miller accused some slaughter houses of duping USDA inspectors. 'They know when the inspectors are coming to the plant so they can prepare for those inspections and delay the inspectors,' said Miller. That means USDA inspectors might never catch slaughterhouse workers doing something that could put consumers at risk."

Thank Congressman Miller for taking a stand for the animals!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Shooting Against the Mainstream Meat-dia

Whether it’s a chained dog in your neighbor’s back yard, a dairy cow with swollen utters, a protest to stop animal cruelty, or a hen who only wants to spread her wings. Animal rights media is extremely important to the animal rights movement, and far too often over looked by the mainstream media.

Who needs the mainstream meat-dia in the world we live in today! We have every form of getting our voices heard, from web pages to video blogs the information is out there.

Making animal rights media is easy. Making interesting and engaging animals rights media is the tricky part. A good thing to keep in mind is what you want to make of your story. Do you want it to be, censored or uncensored, biased or unbiased. And where oh where should you put it to get it seen by people outside the animal rights community? And the even more gripping question is, how can any compassionate human being desensitize themselves to the violence and torture?

When making a media for animals it’s crucial to be as uncensored as humanly possible. The more we censor the lives of these constantly tortured animals, the more we lean to the direction of: “Happy cows come from California.”, and “Always natural. Always fresh.”, or everyone’s favorite, “Milk, does a body good.”. On television there may be some feathers raised for such uncensored material, and in that case by all means censor, because it’s better to be seen censored than to not be seen at all. But on the Internet all bets are off. Even if the viewer clicks off the minute they see cruelty, the significant point is they see it, and the more it’s out there the more they will have no choice but to look.

Starting a video blog, posting on Indy Media, uploading to You Tube and myspace, are all great ways to impact people that wouldn’t normally be in your community. And love it or hate it, but You Tube and myspace are here to stay and probably the best way to be seen by people outside of any activist world.

As far as desensitizing yourself to the cruelty and torture you will be seeing on a daily basest, well… This is different for different people, some are never able to completely desensitize from these images, and others just pretend to be. Remember being effected by this cruelty is what makes us fight for what’s right, so don’t be afraid to shed a few tears, just remember after you wipe your eyes clear get back up and keep working. The animals will never stop dieing if we stop working to help them.

-Njeri Sims, EBAA Interactive Media Director

Friday, February 1, 2008

Be your own food inspector

The Washington Post ran a wonderful piece, entitled The New Food Inspector: You, about empowering individuals to unearth the truth about the food they purchase, especially meat, dairy and eggs. The article touches on humane issues. Check out some of the interesting factoids within the news story:

"Traditional retailers are working to earn customer trust. Whole Foods, of course, has made a business of being a trusted proxy. It has developed its own, higher standards for the humane treatment of animals and for "natural" products -- a label that 86 percent of consumers say falls short of expectations, according to a survey by Consumer Reports. Current USDA standards prohibit only artificial colorings and additives in foods labeled "natural"; high-fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oil still can be used.

When the GfK Roper survey asked consumers who they thought had their best interests in mind when it comes to food choices, advocates and activist groups led the list of responses, at 64 percent. Retail grocers were second, at 62 percent, and food manufacturers were third, at 53 percent. The U.S. government ranked fourth at 47 percent, ahead of fast-food companies at 26 percent."

Read the full story online.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

So Fresh, So Easy...

EBAA's activities revolve around improving the lives of animals in agriculture, which leads us to regularly work with local companies to bolster animal-friendly policies.

We were greeted with wonderful news this week of the expansion of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets to the Bay Area in 2009. This supermarket chain is a cut above the rest when it comes to poultry egg purchasing. Fresh & Easy has the right idea: “We believe everyone deserves fresh and wholesome food they can afford. Our eggs come from cage-free chickens.”

The celebrated grocery chain is apart of a growing national network of cities, educational institutions, farmers, and retailers that oppose the intensive confinement of laying hens--a notoriously common egg industry practice.

Join EBAA in thanking Fresh & Easy for its Good Egg Policy. Please send the company an email today!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

California animal ag hit hard this week

Two important stories pertaining to farm animals in California have surfaced in the media this week:

Farmer John rethinks pig breeding in California

As you may recall, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and EBAA last year sued a California-based hog producer over the use of the controversial gestation crate. With the exit of Farmer John, it looks like intensive pig breeding may soon be disappearing from the Golden State landscape all together:

"Hormel Foods' Farmer John unit is getting out of the hog breeding business in California, selling about 9,000 sows at its Corcoran, Calif. operation. 'The market has grown increasingly competitive and the rising cost of feed and fuel is making it that much more difficult for livestock operations to compete,' spokesman Steve Duchesne said in a telephone interview. He also said an increasingly difficult regulatory environment in California played into the decision. 'We could not fool ourselves into thinking the regulatory environment would become any more favorable,' he said, citing an upcoming ballot initiative expected in California's November election to ban sow stalls, field crates and battery cages." Read the full story online.

The horror of school lunch meat unmasked

Today, we learned about the use of waterboarding and other cruel acts on "downer cows" at a California slaughterhouse. The video footage captured at Southern California's Westland Meat Company/Hallmark Meat Packing speaks for itself. Westland is a key supplier of the USDA's National School Lunch Program. The federal agency suspended its purchasing relationship with Westland. Read the announcement from the USDA's Ed Schafer.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What is the California egg industry saying about cage-free egg production?

Gary West, the president of a leading California egg company and chairman of the United Egg Producers, recently voiced his opinions on the California ballot initiative underway to ban caged egg production. Check out the video interview of Mr. West online.

Speaking of battery cages, San Francisco became the fourth California City to oppose caged egg production this week. One more wing up for the birds!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Let's meet up in the City by the Bay!

Do you want to speak up for animals in your area but don't know how to get started?

Join EBAA at Speak Up for Animals in San Francisco. Hosted by PETA, this mini-conference will be the perfect place for you to meet like-minded people in your area and find out how to get involved with the efforts of local animal protection organizations. Learn how to be a more effective advocate for animals and what each of us can do to make the world a kinder place.

When: Saturday, February 2, 12 noon-3 p.m.

Where: The Fort Mason Center, Meeting Room D-100

Registration: $10 in advance, $15 at the door

Registration is easy. If you have any questions, please email

Friday, January 4, 2008

What's an antibiotic? Even USDA isn't sure.

In recent times, poultry producers, including Foster Farms, have been mulling over the meaning of 'natural' with respect to meat products. A revealing news report was released this week by Meat & Poultry:

The case seems straightforward enough. Tyson Foods petitions USDA to use the words "Raised Without Antibiotics" on the labels of its chicken products, and the department gives a go-ahead. Then some naysayers complain that such a label is misleading, since a category of antibiotics called ionophores are present in the chicken feed Tyson specifies and uses for its so-called antibiotic-free chicken. USDA goes back to Tyson to say it had approved the previous label too quickly. The company and the government negotiate a deal, and new wording is approved: "Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans."

Yet a scent of mystery hovers in the air. The naysayers, gathered and organized as the Truthful Labeling Coalition and claiming a membership of "thousands of grassroots citizens in all 50 states," use a Washington, D.C., address but dont have a phone number; email sent to the TLC address bounces back. However, the TLC did issue a statement back in December congratulating Perdue Farms on becoming a member. The huge poultry processor joins other "grassroots citizens" in the TLC such as Foster Farms, Gold'n Plump Poultry and Sanderson Farms.

For its part, Tyson Foods feels no need to add to comments already made in a release announcing the new agreement with USDA. Carol Tucker Foreman, the consumer advocate, former assistant secretary of agriculture, and frequent thorn in the side of the mainstream industry, actually endorsed the agreement -- but she’s not returning phone calls either.

And the third leg on this wobbly beast, USDA, evidently isnt positive whats an antibiotic and what isnt.

To a degree, the matter is tangled politically in USDA’s consideration of a comprehensive new definition of the word "natural" for beef. Up to now, "natural" has meant, in USDA labeling regulations, "minimally processed," a definition that bears little, if any, resemblance to the word’s use by consumers and in food-product marketing campaigns. The Department will accept comments until Jan. 28 on its new proposal to allow use of "natural" to describe certain livestock-production protocols.