GROUNDBREAKING NEWS: McDonald’s Has Just Announced the Elimination of Cage Confinement of Laying Hens from its Egg Supply Chain!

I just received an email from the Humane Society’s President and CEO Wayne Pacelle announcing this pivotal move in factory farming: “McDonald’s has just announced that it will eliminate the cage confinement of hens from its egg supply chain in the U.S. and Canada. Over the next decade, McDonald’s will lay the groundwork for a cage-free future that will impact millions of animals each year and have a ripple effect across the industry.”

This is huge news, especially for the millions of hens currently confined to cages. Speaking up and speaking out makes a difference! Always take advantage of opportunities to make your voice heard when you see animal cruelty.

To read the entire article, go to the Humane Society’s page. For those who’d rather not click out, I’ve copied and pasted the article below. This is such huge news! I’m in awe of this major decision. Kudos to McDonalds and to all the other businesses who are making the move to humane farming practices.


Chickens in chicken house 5 at Hilliker Ranch Eggs are in San Diego, California, U.S., on Saturday, March 28, 2015. Photograph by David Paul Morris

Chickens in chicken house 5 at Hilliker Ranch Eggs are in San Diego, California, U.S., on Saturday, March 28, 2015. Photograph by David Paul Morris

“Breaking News: McDonald’s Announces Cage-Free Commitment for Laying Hens

Following years of dialogue with The HSUS and extensive research, McDonald’s has announced a firm timeline for eliminating the cage confinement of egg-laying chickens from its U.S. and Canadian supply chains, by switching to 100 percent cage-free eggs. The company announced this policy just moments ago, and we’re lauding the move.

Like its decision nearly four years ago to phase out pork from operations that confine breeding sows in gestation crates, this hen-welfare announcement makes plain that the future of egg production is cage-free. In practical terms, it now looks like simply swapping battery cages for larger, colony-style cages would be a very dangerous investment for anyone in the egg industry.

Following McDonald’s gestation crate announcement three years ago, more than 60 major food companies announced similar policies. We expect the cascade of laying-hen-welfare announcements – already in motion with pledges from Compass Group, Sodexo, Aramark, Burger King, Starbucks, Unilever, and others – to similarly accelerate, thereby hastening an end to the era of extreme confinement of farm animals.

Battery cages are perhaps the cruelest factory-farming invention. HSUS undercover investigations have documented the suffering caused by the extreme overcrowding in these wire contraptions, where birds are confined to cages so small and tight, they can’t even flap their wings – let alone perch or nest. It’s a near-complete deprivation of all that comes naturally to these animals.

Currently, McDonald’s U.S. and Canada supply chains annually use over two billion eggs from caged chickens—meaning this shift, once implemented, will directly improve life for nearly eight million animals per year. That’s eight million fewer individual animals enduring the misery of suffering virtual immobilization in cramped cages on factory farms. These eight million animals will be able to walk inside a barn, spread their wings, perch, lay their eggs in nests, and engage in other important natural behaviors denied to caged hens.

These are big numbers—almost unimaginably so – but it’s real animals we’re talking about, and this decision can alleviate a good share of their misery. While McDonald’s is taking 10 years to complete the shift, we’re optimistic that the switch can occur even quicker, and that other companies will do the same.

McDonald’s has already implemented a similar policy in other parts of the world, including Europe, thanks in large part to the good work of our friends at Compassion in World Farming, which of course also is supportive of the cage-free-egg policy in the United States. The HSUS is proud to have spearheaded a movement that, over the last decade, has resulted in sweeping change in how our nation farms and eats. We’re getting calves out of veal crates and pigs out of gestation crates. We’re getting hens out of cages. We’re making these practices illegal or at least unacceptable.  The public gets it, and increasingly so does the food industry. We’re driving the market away from caged products and toward more humane and sustainable practices.

For years, many in our movement considered it an almost fanciful and far-fetched idea that we could actually end cage confinement of veal calves, breeding sows, and laying hens. But that day is coming, and faster than almost anyone expected. There’s no turning away from it. Animals built to move should be allowed to move. It’s time for all of these industries to accept the inevitability of that outcome.

These changes are now inexorable and consumer attitudes irreversible, driven by a combination of ballot measures, courtroom victories, corporate policies, public awareness campaigns, and innovations in agriculture.

Side by side with so many major food companies, we’re working to assure a better future for farm animals. Today’s announcement from McDonald’s is surely one of the biggest moments in our long march forward.”


A Significant Step Forward for Animal Welfare Legislation!

My posts often contain my opinions and attitudes about our egregious animal welfare legislation and how desperately I advocate for change. This is HUGE news and a giant step forward for animals everywhere…and especially so in New Zealand. Hopefully the rest of the world will follow suit now:

This article appeared in The Independent (U.K.) on May 17, 2015. Written by Sophie McIntyre:

Headline: Animals are now legally recognized as ‘sentient’ beings in New Zealand

(Sunday, 17 May 2015) – The New Zealand Government has formally recognized animals as ‘sentient’ beings by amending animal welfare legislation.

The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill was passed on Tuesday.

The Act stipulates that it is now necessary to ‘recognize animals as sentient’ and that owners must ‘attend properly to the welfare of those animals’.

“To say that animals are sentient is to state explicitly that they can experience both positive and negative emotions, including pain and distress,” said Chair of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee, Dr Virginia Williams, according to

“The explicitness is what is new and marks another step along the animal welfare journey,” she added

In addition, new material has been added to the section of the Act pertaining to animal testing for other research purposes.

The Government now demands that checks be made as to whether there has been ‘assessment of the suitability of using non-sentient or non-living alternatives in the project’ and ‘replacement of animals as subjects with suitable non-sentient or non-living alternatives’.

“Expectations on animal welfare have been rapidly changing. The bill brings legislation in line with our nation’s changing attitude on the status of animals in society,” according to the President of the New Zealand Veterinary Association, Dr Steve Merchant.



This is so significant. The absence of viewing animals as sentient beings has been a major part of the problem in animal welfare policies. Now maybe we will see considerable strides in how our world interacts with the animals with whom we share this planet.

istockphoto-pet collection illustration-16578131-pets

Questions: How long do you think it will take the rest of the world to incorporate the sentient nature of animals into legislation and policy-making decisions? How do you feel about New Zealand’s recent act (animal welfare amendment bill) and what effect do you think that will have on other countries? Will the U.S. be far behind?



Man Arrested for Saving Dog in Hot Car

This really makes me angry. I heard about this incident a few days ago on the news and in digging deeper found the following article from Gawker:

“This Saturday, an Army veteran in Athens, Georgia smashed the window of a hot car to free a dog in distress and was subsequently arrested for criminal trespassing, The NY Daily News reports.

According to police, the animal’s owner was furious [that] Desert Storm veteran Michael Hammons had broken the window of her Mustang and demanded he be charged.

Georgia Army Veteran breaks car window to save dog

“We didn’t want to charge him,” Chief Deputy Lee Weems told WAGA-TV, “but he told us he broke the windows and when you have a victim there saying she wants him charged, we had no other choice.”

Hammons was then arrested and the dog’s owner was issued a citation by animal control.

According to The Associated Press, Georgia state law allows bystanders to break windows to rescue children in distress but not pets. Nevertheless, Hammons says he would do it all again.

“I knew there’d be consequences, but it didn’t matter,” he told WAGA-TV. “Glass, they make new glass every day, but they could never replace that dog.” “

* * * * * * *

Here is yet another instance in which we can see the glaring problems in current laws with regard to animals. It’s perfectly legal to break in the windows of a hot car to rescue a child but not so for an animal. What?? The laws on the books regarding animals are so in need of major overhauls.

I’m glad the woman in this incident at least got a citation. Maybe –and hopefully—she’ll never leave her dog in the car again during hot days. I was peripherally involved in a dog-in-a-hot-car situation last year. I was walking to my car in a store parking lot and noticed an Animal Control vehicle parked right behind a car, blocking it into its parking space, while the Animal Control officer was walking around the vehicle. Then I noticed a small dog in the car. A few minutes later the owner of the car came out and he unlocked his car and handed the dog over to the Animal Control officer, who proceeded to examine the dog’s condition. Thankfully the dog seemed to be okay. I couldn’t tell whether or not the man was given a citation but they did have a long conversation. Then animal control pulled off. I backed out of my parking space and yelled over to the man, “Do you need some water for your dog? I have a bottle of water here.” He said no. And then, very politely I added, “Please don’t do that again. It gets scorching hot in the cars.” He came back with “Mind your own fucking business.”

THAT pissed me off. I said “It IS my business. I’m an advocate for animals.”

He screamed, “So am I!”

I said “Well, you’re obviously not very good at it!” I probably added “Asshole” at the end of that comment, knowing me.

It just blows my mind the number of people who continue to leave dogs in hot cars. Are these people not aware of the consequences? Do they not understand just how hot it can get in a closed car, even with the windows cracked? Certainly there are broad and far-reaching public awareness campaigns that warn people about the dangers so where have these people been, living under rocks? I just don’t get it.

Anyway, what do you think of the news article and the man getting arrested for doing the right thing? I think he did the right thing. The dog’s owner should be grateful that someone cared enough to prevent what could’ve ended in a tragedy. Do you think she learned her lesson? Do you think in hindsight she regrets having the man arrested? I wish there could be follow-up to this story because I sure would like these questions answered. Let me know how you feel about all this…

CASE UPDATE: After much public outcry, the charges have been dropped against the man and a Ford dealership has offered to replace the busted window for the owner at no charge. Happy ending for all involved. Thanks to John Holton at The Sound of One Hand Typing for giving me the heads up. You can read more about the case here.

Which States Are the Best at Prosecuting For Animals?

As many of you may know, one of my passions is improved legislation for animal welfare. Nothing makes me crazier than when someone gets charged with an animal cruelty, neglect or endangerment crime and then they walk away with a slap on the wrist because there are not adequate laws or punishments set up or because those doing the prosecuting and sentencing aren’t thinking about the rights of the animals.

Slowly but surely, the tides are turning. As more and more people become enlightened and bring animal welfare to the forefront, changes are becoming evident. It is important to highlight these wins and to celebrate those who are brave enough to swim in the treacherous political waters where they encounter swells of lobbyists and “Big Money” whose only objectives are to curtail the progress being made on behalf of animals and to continue operating in ways that are detrimental to the precious sentient beings.

The Dodo, the community who follows the profound shift in the way people regard animals and reports on important issues and developments, came out today with an article about which states in our nation are the best at prosecuting for animals.  Here’s what they had to say:

scales of justice

“Last week, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring burnished his pro-animal record when he established an Animal Law unit in an attorney general’s office. The unit will serve as a resource for local law enforcement and state agencies on animal fighting and animal cruelty prosecutions, providing the expertise and firepower to bring those responsible for animal cruelty, suffering, and abuse to justice. For the unit’s first project, it’s partnering with The HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) to reach out to Virginia pet stores as part of an effort to crack down on puppy mills.

In New York, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched an Animal Protection Initiative to shut down criminal animal fighting rings, protect consumers from unscrupulous pet sellers, and prevent other forms of cruelty to animals. Just last month, Schneiderman secured felony convictions in the case of two men who ran the largest known cockfighting ring in New York history, and he specifically requested that their guilty pleas include bans on them owning animals in future. In November, Schneiderman wrote to all of New York’s 1,034 municipal and local governments offering to help them draft enforceable laws to crack down on puppy mills and the pet stores that sell dogs and cats from mills.

In Florida, Attorney General Pam Bondi has made animal protection a serious priority. Last July, she shut down a Jacksonville puppy mill and puppy importer, who had been hawking sick English Bulldog puppies to unsuspecting sellers over the Internet for as much as $2,300 a puppy. She’s strongly supported decoupling greyhound racing and casino-style gambling, and also supported legislation to require greyhound tracks to report injuries (greyhound euthanasia rates have fallen sharply in states that have adopted injury reporting laws). On a personal level, Bondi brings an adoptable shelter dog to every cabinet meeting to promote adoption.

And in California, Attorney General Kamala Harris has defended a series of pioneering animal protection laws. Alongside HSUS attorneys, she’s now been on the winning side of four separate challenges to Prop 2 and AB 1437, California’s new farm animal welfare laws that went into effect earlier this month. (Unfortunately, a court recently overturned California’s pioneering ban on the sale of force-fed foie gras, though we’re hopeful that Harris will appeal that ruling.) And, drawing on the work of the HSUS Animal Protection Litigation division, she successfully defeated a challenge to California’s ban on the possession and sale of shark fins, which has helped us crack down on the brutal practice of shark finning.”

scales of justice

These are important milestones that need to be built upon so that other states will follow suit. It is critical that people – We the People – keep pressure on our elected officials, with our voices and our votes, and encourage them to make changes in how animals are regarded and how issues involving animals are legislated in their jurisdictions.

The fight is a big one and not everywhere are the battles being won. The Dodo also reports on how Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt are pushing back against progress and taking their states backward in terms of animal welfare. If you want to read about just what these two attorney generals are up to, the Dodo article will open your eyes. And it should anger you to discover that such barbaric mentalities are in positions of power.

The battles rage on and the fights seem endless, but we all must soldier on to ensure that we provide a world to animals in which they are treated with dignity and respect and love.

a world of animals

Please share your thoughts in the Comments section.





IFAW Video Highlights 2014 Successes in Animal Welfare & Rescue

I just received this video in my email. It shows the many successes of IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) around the world over the last year. Kudos to the many who work tirelessly to help the animals and to those who support this group! Please continue to support their good works.