The Lives of Modern Chickens

In the 1920s, chickens raised and killed for meat lived 112 days, growing to 2.2 pounds on optimal feed before being slaughtered. Now, after decades of genetic manipulations, they are butchered after only about 45-55 days, at 5.5 pounds or more.

This report by Watt Poultry shows some producers with an average weight of more than 8 pounds at slaughter, and this report from the University of Alberta has a strain reaching more than 9 pounds in 56 days.

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In the latter case, this means chickens are growing more than four times larger in just half the time.

It is now truer than ever what John Webster, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at the University of Bristol and Former Head of the Bristol Vet School. has said about modern industrial chicken production: “in both magnitude and severity, the single most severe, systematic example of man’s inhumanity to another sentient animal.”

This is all the more reason to keep chickens off our plate, and instead try some of the amazing plant-based meats available to us today!

Check Out the Power of Online Outreach!

Many of our online advertising campaigns lead people to watch our powerful “What Came Before video, which introduces viewers to three Farm Sanctuary residents: Nikki pig, Symphony chicken, and Fanny cow, making the case against factory farming and for a compassionate diet. Our cost per click depends on the target audience and length the campaign runs, but generally varies between 8-10¢ per person clicking through to the video page.

As noted previously, getting millions of people to see the content of our Facebook ads can be as important as having people click through. This is why we make each ad as powerful as possible, and continue to refine our outreach efforts, varying them in terms of the text, picture, and target audience.

Below, you can see one week’s comments on just one of the ads in one of Farm Sanctuary’s current campaigns. Note also that, in addition to nearly 100 likes and other reactions every single day, hundreds of people are enraged and engaged enough to share the ad with their friends, giving a personal endorsement to our message of helping farm animals. This makes our outreach even more cost effective!
>Watch Now & please share with your friends, family, coworkers, and social networks.

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Kristina Reports In from Santa Cruz

“I wanted to thank you again for the advocacy booklets you sent.  I handed some out today along with Vegan Rice Crispy Treat Square samples.  I spoke with many people about vegan food options and told them about Farm Sanctuary’s shelters and about some of the lasting bonds our animals have developed over the years.  It was a wonderful opportunity to speak for our dear animals, raise awareness and expand compassion.  I met Keith of ‘Food Not Bombs’ and he invited me to bring vegan food dishes to hand out on Sundays in downtown Santa Cruz.  He said I was also welcome to hand out Farm Sanctuary animal advocacy literature at these community events as well.  So that might be a good option, as well as leafleting at University of California, Santa Cruz and Cabrillo Community College.  I’m grateful I had a positive experience, I was a little nervous when I was setting up but once I began talking with people all my nerves quickly dissipated into love and an open heart.  Thanks for all your support. ”

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The Vegan Handicap & the Art of Vegan Conversation

From our good friend Tobias Leenaert!

If you’re vegan or vegetarian: you may have experienced it more than once: you are at the dinner table with other people, and the conversation turns to not eating meat. Some people at the table may be able to have a rational conversation about this, but others get a bit (or quite) angry, defensive, or sometimes downright nasty.

For some of your table partners to turn defensive, you probably actually didn’t even have to start to talk. Your mere presence as someone who doesn’t eat meat/animal products, is enough to make them uncomfortable. And this discomfort may impact the whole ensuing discussion. This is what I call the vegan handicap.

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My guess (and I think it’s a pretty reasonable one), is that at the basis of the discomfort lies guilt. Most people in their right mind will know there’s something wrong with what’s on their plate. They may believe that it is ok to kill animals for food, but most of them also believe that when we choose to do that, we should give the animals “a good life” and make sure they “don’t suffer” (whatever those words mean to us). They believe there exists something like “humane meat” and that there is no problem with that. At the same time, however, most of them are buying meat from just any source: at the supermarket, in restaurants, in the cafetaria at their work… They are quite aware that they could at least get meat in organic stores, which they might think meets their criteria for “humaneness”, but almost none of them do that. Apart from all this, there may be a voice inside them that tells them that killing animals for food is unfair.

So the people at your table, looking at you, feel guilty – at a conscious or less conscious level – about the discrepancy between what’s on their plate and what they believe they should do. You confront them with that guilt, and they get defensive. They get the feeling that you are or are going to attack them, while your opinion merely represents that dissenting opinion within themselves: that gnawing little voice inside them, that they actually don’t want to hear.

It is very important to be aware of this dynamic. Assuming this attitude of guilt and defensiveness is not a good basis to work on, I suggest that the vegan at the table needs to go a certain extra length to put the omnivore at ease, and not put oil on the fire. All of this means that things you say may sound accusing and guilt-inducing much easier and faster than you expect or intended. It means that – pardon the expression – you should walk on eggshells.

There’s a lot of points you can give attention to in order to put others at ease and make the conversation go better. Here are some of them: behave very pleasantly, have a sense of humor, make it clear that you’re not accusing them, avoid charged words like “murder”, talk in terms of “we/society” and not “you”, explain how you have eaten meat yourself before (and how it possibly took you a while to see things clearly). Avoid sounding holier-than-thou. Don’t tell them things like they are complicit in humanity’s biggest crime ever (even though you may believe they are).  Admit that you are not perfect and that you don’t have the answer to everything. Above all, don’t talk all the time but listen and ask smart questions.

I would summarize this as: be nice. Being nice not just makes the world a better place for everyone (so I’m not talking about faking stuff), but it is crucial if you want to be effective at helping animals.

This whole attitude of yours is, in my view, a lot more important than the content of the actual arguments you will bring to the table. Your conversation is first of all about the relation between you and the others, not about the content. When you have established a good relationship, when there is the trust that you are not accusing or attacking the other, then you can give more attention to the arguments themselves.

Vegan conversation is an art that we all need to master.

Global Warming and a Better World

Make a Better World for Today and the Future!
Matt Ball

When talking about a complicated, far-ranging issue like global warming and climate change, it is often useful to step back and review the bottom line – what really matters.

None of us care about greenhouse gas emissions in and of themselves. What matters are the consequences of global warming and climate change. Floods, droughts, famine, habitat loss, spread of disease – the bottom line is that more carbon in the atmosphere will cause more suffering. And that is the reason to do our utmost to lower carbon emissions.

Fortunately, there is an incredibly powerful way we can each massively lower our carbon footprint – and thus reduce future suffering – while also having a significant and immediate impact on the amount of suffering in the world today!

What is this powerful and profound action? Taking chickens, pigs, turkeys, and cows off our plates, and replacing them with some of the amazing new plant-based foods out there!

Not only does changing our diet have a huge influence on our carbon footprint, it has powerful impacts in the short term. Even if we don’t consciously admit it, most of us know that factory farms are brutal. Every week a new investigation reveals just how barbaric the modern meat industry is.

And although many have stopped eating some animals, we often don’t give consideration to chickens. But we really should. John Webster, professor of Veterinary Science, has noted that industrial chicken production is, “in both magnitude and severity, the single most severe, systematic example of man’s inhumanity to another sentient animal.”

Of course, this inhumanity alone is reason enough to boycott the meat industry. But the long-term impacts of our dietary choices are also profound. Feeding the world’s grain to animals, and then killing and eating part of the animal, is not only inefficient, but also a leading driver of environmental degradation. The United Nations notes that raising animals for food is “one of the major causes of the world’s most pressing environmental problems, including global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.”

Globally, meat production accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than every single plane, train, and automobile in the world! The international affairs think tank Chatham House summarizes: “We cannot avoid dangerous climate change unless [meat] consumption trends change.”

This is not something we have to wait for. We don’t have to win an election. We don’t need the government to act. We don’t need to negotiate a treaty. We can each make the world a far better place, today and in the future, by taking our animal friends off our plates!