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Newly proposed U.S. dietary guidelines should include meat and dairy reductions to create a sustainable food system in the United States that helps curb climate change, reduce environmental destruction and protect wildlife, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, currently in the process of developing the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, is taking sustainability concerns into account for the first time.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has released new data showing that the California-based drift gillnet fishery targeting swordfish killed an estimated 53 marine mammals from May 2013 through January 2014. Fishery observers monitored 34 percent of the drift gillnet sets made last year; they documented that the fishery killed an estimated three California gray whales, six short-finned pilot whales, nine northern right whale dolphins, nine California sea lions and 26 short-beaked common dolphins.
On August 21, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) announced a settlement on behalf of plaintiffs Animal Place
, Farm Sanctuary
, and Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary
in the animal groups’ lawsuit against egg industry defendants Andy Cheung and Lien Diep. The defendants abandoned 50,000 hens without food at a facility near Turlock, which led to the largest farmed animal rescue in California history. The settlement permanently prohibits Cheung, who managed the facility, from working directly with animals again—and places similar restrictions on Diep.
“The egg industry is rife with routine animal suffering, but today’s settlement ensures that those responsible for the tragedy in Turlock are permanently out of the business of raising animals,” said Matthew Liebman, senior attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
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Animal Legal Defense Fund
In response to pressure from conservation groups, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced an area closure for the swordfish drift gillnet fishery in the Pacific Ocean off California from July 25 through August 31 to prevent entanglements and drownings of endangered loggerhead sea turtles. This year’s El Niño conditions, warmer than normal waters, attract the endangered loggerhead sea turtles to the nutrient-rich waters where the deadly fishery operates.
California is experiencing a serious drought and the media is filled with recommendations about how to save water: Switch to dry landscaping; don't run water when you are shaving or brushing your teeth; install low-flow showerheads; and don't wash your car. All those ideas would help, but much less than people think.
According to a 2012 report by the Pacific Institute, only 4% of California's water is used by individuals. An astounding 93% of California's water goes to agriculture; and most of that 93% is misused or wasted. Humans drink less than one gallon of water per day. A cow drinks 23 gallons per day — and we have 5.5 million of them.
Low-flow showerheads help save much less water than people think. Most people shower once a day and use an average of 14 gallons of water. You could save more water by reducing your beef intake by one pound than by not showering for six months!
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"California's Water Footprint" report by the Pacific Institute
On March 29, Chipotle Mexican Grill closed a San Francisco restaurant in response to protests by animal rights activists. Demonstrators with Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) arrived at the Chipotle at 121 4th Street in San Francisco to protest against the restaurant, surprised to find it closed. A police officer informed the activists that the restaurant had closed for the afternoon in order to avoid their demonstration, and it remained closed and empty of customers for the duration of DxE’s two-hour protest.
Since October 2013, DxE has held monthly protests against Chipotle as part of the group’s “It’s not Food, It’s Violence” campaign. The activists say that despite Chipotle’s marketing itself as a purveyor of humane and “responsibly raised” meat and dairy, animal agriculture – including inevitable slaughter – is inherently violent. The monthly international demonstrations have now reached 29 cities in 8 countries.
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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
’s latest report on March 31 highlights the increasing threat from rising global meat and dairy consumption to limiting global warming, especially as the world population continues to grow. The study says that beef and lamb account for the largest agricultural emissions, relative to the energy they provide. By 2050, estimates indicate, beef and lamb will account for half of all agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, while only contributing 3 percent of human calorie intake. Cheese and other dairy products will account for about one quarter of total agricultural climate pollution.
“We can’t ignore the devastating impact of meat consumption on our climate and our planet anymore,” said Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director at the Center for Biological Diversity, which just launched a campaign to reduce meat consumption. “The IPCC report shows that our appetite for meat is not only harming the environment, but is a threat to a livable climate for people and wildlife around the globe. We need to drastically reduce the amount of meat in our diets if we hope to fight climate change and the extinction crisis.”
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The Cotati-based national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) announced the settlement of a false-advertising lawsuit against defendant Steven Mahrt, doing business as Petaluma Farms and owner of Judy’s Family Farm Organic Eggs (“Judy’s Eggs”). The lawsuit alleges that imagery and statements used on Judy’s Eggs packaging led consumers to mistakenly believe the eggs came from hens with significant outdoor access. The lawsuit also alleges that consumers bought Judy’s Eggs because of these representations.
As a result of the settlement, and without admitting wrongdoing, Petaluma Farms has: (1) agreed to modify the packaging by removing the illustration of hens on a green field, and removing the language that Plaintiff alleged could lead consumers to mistakenly believe the eggs come from hens with significant outdoor access; (2) obtained Certified Humane certification (which includes a minimum animal welfare requirements) without changes to its facilities; and (3) agreed to donate $14,666.67 to Sonoma Humane Society for hen rescue efforts, $14,666.67 to the Public Justice Foundation to provide assistance to the victims of consumer fraud and false advertising, and $14,666.66 to Consumer Action to provide assistance to the victims of consumer fraud and false advertising.
After several months of litigation and extensive negotiations, the parties agreed to settle the lawsuit on an individual basis rather than as a class action. Petaluma Farms will also provide $1,000 compensation to Plaintiff Glover in lieu of any recovery to which she would have been entitled had she prevailed in this action through class-certification and trial, and pay some of the attorney fees Plaintiff’s counsel incurred to prosecute this lawsuit.
Read More | Animal Legal Defense Fund
David Hayden, a frontline activist and advocate for animal and human rights, passed away on January 31. He was the primary driving force at No Compromise
magazine and an S.F. Grand Jury resister. David lived in Santa Cruz and worked in Information Technology Services at UCSC. In the announcement of David's passing, Greg Gaither, a director at ITS, stated that David's coworkers appreciated him for his "hard work, positive contributions and fun and easy going nature".
Gaither went on to describe David as a, "devoted animal and human rights advocate and loved the natural world. He had a great sense of humor and was known for his personal and professional integrity. He loved Warriors basketball and was an avid roller derby fan, a sport he liked to share with his friends and colleagues."
In a memorial published in the Talon Conspiracy, a comrade of David's writes, "our movement lost a dedicated, gentle warrior by the name of David Hayden. It would be impossible to summarize all of the ways that he worked on behalf of animals, partly because there were so many ways, and partly because his humility kept us from knowing them all...His passing is a reminder that the best fighters are also the best people: kindhearted, soft spoken, humble, and ready to raise hell when injustice rears its ugly head. We will miss you, David, always."
Saturday, February 22: Remembering David Hayden
Read More with Photos | See Also: Probing the Bay Area Animal Rights Underground
| SHAC 7 Benefit at AK Press in Oakland
| Interviews from Behind The Mask Screening in Oakland
In January 2013, Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit on behalf of the organization Stop Animal Exploitation Now, using the California state anti-cruelty code against an animal testing facility known as Santa Cruz Biotechnology. The company “harvests” blood from tens of thousands of animals, including goats and rabbits, and the case is currently on appeal. Last week, the Court denied a motion filed by Santa Cruz Biotech to keep secret the names of those who have a financial interest in the outcome of the animal cruelty lawsuit.
The California Court of Appeal requires all parties in every case to disclose the names of those with vested interests in the case. Santa Cruz Biotech sought to file its certificate “under seal,” that is, to make it secret and unavailable to the public, purportedly because they are “fearful of harassment by animal rights activists.” ALDF fought this request, arguing that the public has a right to access court documents. The Court denied the animal testing facility’s request, ordering Santa Cruz Biotech to file its certificate publicly, and ALDF feels this is a small but important step in the appeal, stating, "as animal research facilities try to stay in the shadows, we are committed to exposing cruelty to animals used in research."
The Court of Appeal will hear oral arguments in the case sometime in the next several months, and ALDF expects a decision on the appeal later this year. The organization is confident that they will be able to hold the testing facility accountable for its illegal neglect and mistreatment of sick and injured animals.
Read More | Animal Legal Defense Fund | Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! | See Also: The HSUS Applauds USDA Citations Against Animal Testing Facility Santa Cruz Biotechnology
Previous Coverage: Federal Investigations Reveal Severe Neglect of Animals at Santa Cruz Biotechnology
Animal rights activists demonstrated at the Chipotle Restaurant on River Street in Santa Cruz on January 24. A letter was delivered to the manager without notice reminding the company of the abuses animals farmed for food experience. It was a public delivery for patrons to witness.
The demonstration was part of an international campaign
organized by Direct Action Everywhere, which released the following statement: "....on the weekend of January 25, activists all over the country will rally in this new year to see that Chipotle's broken promise is redeemed. We will show the world that the corporation has broken its founding promise: to serve food with integrity. And we will march into stores all over the country to deliver to the corporation's management a simple letter and message: Redeem your broken promise. It's not food. It's violence."
According to Direct Action Everywhere, standard practices at Chipotle's “natural” farms involve brutal exploitation: chickens are painfully debeaked with a searing blade; baby calves are torn from their crying mothers and killed; and pigs have as little as five square feet of space to live, with a 300 pound individuals stuffed into a space shorter than the length of a human arm. Direct Action Everywhere believes the company is engaged in consumer fraud about this exploitation, calling it “humane washing” – marketing that disguises the violent reality of animal agriculture. Chipotle has produced ads that are filled with pictures of happy cows in grassy fields, as well as videos showing employees freeing pigs from factory farms into sunlit forests.
View Photos | An Open Letter to Chipotle | Chipotle's Seven Deadly Sins | Direct Action Everywhere
On October 5, the eighth U.S. fur farm raid since July saw 2,000 mink freed from a farm in New Holstein, Wisconsin. Wisconsin is the largest fur farming state in the U.S., killing over 1 million mink annually. This raid is the first release of animals in the state in nearly 15 years. Cages were opened and 2,000 of the farm's reported 5,000 mink were released. Across the U.S., over 10,000 animals have been released since July — a level of activity not seen since the late 1990s. The latest raid also marks the 100th (known) release of animals from a fur farm since the Animal Liberation Front officially began it's fur farm campaign in 1995. A single release of foxes was reported in Oregon in 1986, before this tactic was widespread.
The ALF appears to be targeting newly discovered farms, with six of the eight farms visited this summer having been made public in the last two years. The address for Bolander Furs was first made public in 2012, after a list of 60 previously unknown fur farms surfaced
. Sites like Coalition Against Fur Farms
and Final Nail
track changes in the fur industry, including posting addresses of farms as they become known.
2,000 mink released in Wisconsin, latest in massive ALF campaign |
Seventh Fur Farm Rescue This Summer: ALF Releases Up to 300 Mink in Ohio |
Hundreds of Mink Released in Pennsylvania; Sixth Fur Farm Rescue This Summer |
Fur Auction House Executive's Home Attacked |
Two animal rights activists arrested with "burglary tools" in rural Illinois |
2,000 mink released in Illinois |
San Francisco fur shop vandalized |
Minneapolis fur store windows smashed |
Bobcat Freed from Decrepit Fur Farm in Montana |
Furs By Graf Heavily Targeted By Activists |
Marin Sun Farms sabotage
The first-ever lawsuit against an animal research lab under California's cruelty and unfair competition laws was filed in early January in a complaint with the California Superior Court of Santa Cruz County against Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc., for violating state animal cruelty and unfair competition laws by failing to properly care for their animals according to numerous Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspections.
Santa Cruz Biotech operates a 200-acre animal research facility in Santa Cruz, where it confines 10,000 goats and 5,000 rabbits. National nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed the suit on behalf of Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN). APHIS investigations have documented multiple violations over the past six years at Santa Cruz Biotech, and have repeatedly cited the corporation for unlawful neglect of goats. Emaciated and severely malnourished animals were discovered with untreated skin conditions and painful respiratory ailments, and one goat had an untreated broken leg.
“Thousands of animals are suffering from illegal neglect and abuse in this lab to bolster corporate profits. Allowing Santa Cruz Biotech to get away with breaking the law and harming animals sets a dangerous precedent for the safety of all animals exploited in testing facilities,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of ALDF.
Read More | Santa Cruz Biotech Lies to USDA Inspectors, Hiding 841 Animals | Animal Welfare Institute Requests Action from Federal Agencies