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.”

Amen!!!

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.

 

 

 

 

This is GREAT NEWS: The FBI Now Tracking Animal Cruelty!

It’s about time! I have been voicing my outrage for years at the inadequacies of law enforcement agencies in dealing with animal cruelty and neglect cases. The major announcement this week that the FBI is beginning to track animal cruelty is a HUGE STEP toward the law recognizing the atrocity of acts of cruelty and neglect to our animal brethren as being worthy of serious legal attention and action.

For so long, crimes against animals were dealt with as misdemeanor offenses and viewed as crimes against PROPERTY as opposed to crimes perpetrated on sentient beings who experience real pain and anguish. Slowly over the last several years, states have enacted these crimes into felony status but even so, they often weren’t taken as seriously as they should’ve been and were often relegated down to misdemeanors in plea bargains and the offenders receiving nothing more than slaps on the wrists.

Animal-Neglect-horses

But this may mark the beginning of a much needed shift: now that the FBI is tracking animal cruelty cases and giving the crime its own category in federal crime reports, the trickle effect to state and local law enforcement may mean significant change in how these cases are prosecuted. And it means that more resources will be devoted to the fight against animal cruelty and neglect. Let me say it again: IT’S ABOUT TIME!

Save Shelter Dogs

Save Shelter Dogs

Here is the article by Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) as reported on The Dodo:

BIG NEWS: FBI to Start Tracking Animal Cruelty Cases by Wayne Pacelle

(September 17, 2014)  Cruelty to animals will get its own category in federal crime reports for the first time. I got that word yesterday from John Thompson, my friend at the National Sheriffs’ Association, who told me that Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comer has signed off on including animal cruelty offenses in the Uniform Crime Report. Local agencies will also track them to report to the FBI.

No longer will extremely violent cases be included in the “other offense” category simply because the victims were animals. Just as the FBI tracks hate crimes and other important categories, we will now have critical data on animal cruelty. The HSUS has been pushing for this change in policy for years, along with our affiliates, the Humane Society Legislative Fund and Doris Day Animal League.

Before this expansion of the FBI’s focus, there was no process for capturing animal cruelty data on the statewide or national level. Capturing such data is especially difficult because animal cruelty laws are enforced by a very large number of local police, sheriffs, and humane society agents and animal control officers.

But now that animal cruelty, including animal neglect, is included in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, there is a real incentive for law enforcement agencies to pay closer attention to such incidents. With accurate data, law enforcement agencies will also be better able to allocate officers and financial resources to handle these cases, track trends and deploy accordingly.

The decision by the FBI is especially good news for The HSUS, because we are on the frontlines of the battle against animal cruelty in so many ways. We are upgrading state and federal laws, and just this year South Dakota became the fiftieth state to enact felony penalties for malicious cruelty, and Congress banned attendance at animal fights. Besides the thousands of cases on which we work with law enforcement agencies every year to rescue animals from animal cruelty and fighting, we also travel across the country to train law enforcement officials on how to investigate these crimes.

So far this year, we have provided training to more than 1,200 officers, representing 300 agencies, and in areas of the country where it is needed most. It is a new training program designed by experts from across the United States (including our own) and we look forward to expanding it in 2015.

I am enormously grateful for the work of the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Department of Justice in recognizing the importance of animal cruelty. This new development, which has been on the radar of the animal protection movement for years, is a practical way of cracking down on cruelty. The decision is also significant in affirming, at the highest levels of our government, that animal cruelty is a vice just like so many other violent crimes. It is the latest tangible gain in our effort to make opposition to animal cruelty a universal value in our society.

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Your thoughts?