I always knew I had finally landed at the best job ever here at ALDF, but this past week just confirmed it.
Last September, I bought my first house that has a beautiful backyard surrounded by large trees. Birds flocked to my home in the trees and bushes. I was so excited to finally be able to put out feeders and sit on my deck and watch the birds—finches, doves, blue jays. And, then a friend took me to a lecture on the “language of birds” and I learned to appreciate them even more.
So, when I got a call from an activist with a strange, non-believable bird story asking for help, of course I had to follow through to see if the story was true. It seems that a prisoner in a southern California facility had found a baby bird some months back and smuggled it into his prison cell, where he fed the bird on prison food. The bird thrived and became attached to the prisoner, sleeping on his chest at night. The prisoner soon learned that he was to be transferred to another facility and fearing the fate of the bird (would the guards release or would another inmate kill her?), he began reaching out to various organizations asking for help. One of the organizations called the prison and the prison denied there was any such bird.
Having worked in jails, myself, I was finding it really hard to believe the story. But, on the possibility that it could be true, I reached out to a prison ombudsman and asked him to help. Although his first reaction was similar to mine, and his second reaction was if it was true, the guards would just
release it. I reminded him, that since so many organizations had already been contacted about this bird, that would probably not be very good publicity for the prison.
As it turns out, the story was true—the bird was located and animal control was called. Animal Control picked up the bird and turned it over to a bird rehab, Project Wildlife. The little finch is thriving, doesn’t really know what to do with other finches and created a great story for all the groups involved about breaking a bird out of prison!
It's time for another edition of the Animal Legal Defense Fund Pinterest Board! Tofu-scramble, breakfast burritos, cupcakes, cookies, and smoothies—for an easy breezy brunch. It's time for all the sweets that spring holidays bring—but without the eggs and hold the cruelty. Click on any images in this article to visit our Pinterest board. See what it's all about!
Why are we so gung-ho about cutting out eggs and improving the regulation of egg-labeling? For one thing, we love happy hens! Did you know that the U.S. produces almost 75 billion eggs a year? Probably 95% of the hens that produce America's eggs live in truly unimaginable conditions of confinement. Many people like to believe that eggs from cage-free or free-range eggs are suitable alternatives, but the truth is the hens producing these eggs suffer too. A safe way to ensure that no animals are harmed, to improve your overall health, and to best steward the health of the environment, is to go egg-free.
That is why this week the Animal Legal Defense Fund brought you Egg Action Week. It's not too late for you to join in and take action for animals!
- On Monday, we asked you to take our quick survey about the kind of eggs you eat, or don't eat. Check out the results!
|321 people responded to the poll.
- On Tuesday, we asked you to take action by telling us if you were duped by the messaging of an industrial egg producer in California called Olivera's Cage Free.
- On Wednesday, we asked you to move Beyond Eggs with Josh Tetrick, CEO of Hampton Creek Foods, a company poised to take us into the future of plant-based foods, and heralded by Bill Gates as one of the top three innovative producers of alternative foods.
- On Thursday, we told you about our joint egg labeling lawsuit against government agencies, and asked you to join in our scavenger hunt by sharing photos of egg cartons that distort the fact that they come from industrially-produced eggs.
Today, we ask you to share your favorite egg-free recipes for the holiday weekend and to check out our Pinterest board. What do you make with egg alternatives like "Beyond Eggs"?
We've collected our favorite recipes for an #EggFreeEaster and #PlantBasedPassover. Chock-full of protein, vitamins, and yumminess, these eggless recipes are good for you and delicious too! Check out Zelana Montminy's egg-free "egg salad," it's low on cholesterol and has zero grams of cruelty to animals. Or maybe you want to make Joonbug's Vegan Easter Nest Cupcakes to share with friends or… to not share!
What to do with children who want to dye Easter eggs? Why not try Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Life vegan "marshmallow" dyeing guide?
The LunchboxBunch offers happy, healthy and 100% vegan recipes, including 30 recipes for Vegan Easter Brunch. I can't wait to try her lemon poppy seed muffins!
Of course, HealthyVoyager's Spring Frittata sounds pretty good too for a Passover Brunch—along with an Easter Bunny Ambrosia salad!
So check out our Egg Free Easter board! If you have a favorite recipe you want to share, please tweet us at @ALDF or post to our Facebook page. We can't wait to hear from you! Have a great weekend!
Share a Recipe with a Friend
Share our graphic on Facebook to encourage your friends to have a plant-based holiday!
Retweet our Recipes
The United States and the small African nation of Gabon are the only two countries in the world that continue to use chimpanzees as test subjects in behavioral and biomedical research. Such testing has brought little in the way of scientific breakthrough, but has, instead, inflicted a host of horrors on our closest genetic relatives. Tragically, many chimpanzees have served as research specimens for decades without relief, often confined to small cages with no access to other members of their species or the outdoors—conditions tantamount to physical, emotional, and psychological torture. It is widely acknowledged that such terrible conditions irreparably harm these highly intelligent and social creatures.
Late in 2010, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) forecasted that a change in policy might be on the horizon. After decades of scrutiny and pressure from animal rights groups, the general public and, increasingly, the international community, the NIH requisitioned a study from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to examine the use of chimpanzees in NIH-funded behavioral and biomedical research. That report, issued one year later in December 2011, concluded that "most current biomedical use of chimpanzees is unnecessary" and suggested that future research on chimpanzees be limited and guided by the following three principles:
(1) the research must be necessary to advance public health;
(2) there is no other suitable research model available; and
(3) the chimpanzee research subjects be maintained in an ethological environment focused on meeting both their social and physical needs.
Following the IOM study, a Working Group was tasked with reviewing the IOM proposals and advising on their implementation. The Working Group issued a report on January 22, 2013, which offered twenty-eight recommendations. The NIH published this report as part of a "Request for Information" through which it sought public comment on the recommendations.
ALDF, together with pro bono legal counsel from the law firm of Proskauer Rose, once again welcomed the chance to defend captive chimpanzees from the agonies of behavioral and biomedical research.
Although long overdue, the Working Group's recommendations are an important step forward in the fight for chimpanzee rights. Importantly, the report recommended that "[t]he majority of NIH-owned chimpanzees should be designated for retirement and transferred to the federal sanctuary system." The report also proposed dramatic improvements in the housing of research chimpanzees—by requiring them to cohabit in social groups of at least seven individuals and improving the size and layout of their living space, as well as requiring access to the outdoors and veterinary care. These changes to policy, if implemented, would help to alleviate the suffering of chimpanzees used in research.
But they do not go far enough.
To demonstrate that NIH policy is out-of-step with international standards and still lags behind the rest of the world in its treatment of chimpanzees, our comments included a survey of the laws of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, which, particularly in recent years, have banned or otherwise restricted chimpanzee-based research.
Our comments also urged the NIH to embrace public opinion, as polls have shown that a majority of Americans favor banning the practice of experimenting on chimpanzees. Moreover, we exhorted the NIH to follow the lead of other federal government agencies taking steps to provide greater protections for captive chimpanzees. In particular, we highlighted the recent petition to the Fish & Wildlife Service to classify captive chimpanzees, like their wild counterparts, as endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.
Accordingly, our comments insisted that the NIH go beyond the Working Group recommendations and implement a ban on all future chimpanzee testing in any NIH-funded research. With such a ban, not only would there be no need to retain at government expense the proposed colony of fifty research-ready chimpanzees, but such resources could be better invested in developing non-animal research models. Indeed, it is our long-term goal that the NIH will forego the recommendation to explore alternative animal research models (such as genetically altered mice), and instead adopt more humane, ethical, and reliable research protocols.
Given recent trends, the NIH should seize this seminal moment in history and stop the suffering of research chimpanzees once and for all. As the Working Group report conceded, "[i]n light of evidence suggesting that research involving chimpanzees has rarely accelerated new discoveries or the advancement of human health for infectious diseases," it is not logical, ethical, or humane to squander precious government funds to exacerbate the plight of our fellow primates.
Do we have the right to know how eggs are really produced? Consumers are increasingly concerned about the abusive, intensive confinement of the vast majority of the millions of egg-laying hens in the U.S. Strictly regulated labels like "cage-free," "free-range," and "eggs from caged hens" marking all egg cartons would allow U.S. consumers to make informed decisions about the origins of their eggs. That is why the Animal Legal Defense Fund, along with Compassion Over Killing, filed a lawsuit today against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for not regulating labeling on egg packaging. We have already requested full disclosure of egg-production methods—yet government agencies have taken no action.
The more people learn about the inhumane conditions hens suffer to produce these eggs, the more willing they are to spend more on eggs they think come from humanely treated hens. Several studies indicate that more than 75% of Americans find the harsh confinement of hens to be totally unacceptable. Thus, the multi-billion dollar egg industry provides producers with colossal incentives to mislead the public.
This is where the need for truth-in-advertising comes in. Images on egg cartons often imply egg-laying hens are raised in natural, outdoor environments that allow them to move freely, engage in natural behavior, and be amongst their chicks or roosters. But this is almost never the case, and nearly every carton fails to admit it when the eggs come from caged hens. Our lawsuit would require egg producers nationwide to mark their egg cartons with one of three statements: "Cage-Free," "Free-Range," or "Eggs from Caged Hens."
Meanwhile, this Easter, as a part of our Egg Action Week, we have a special "Easter-egg hunt" for you. We need your help finding deceptive egg packaging in grocery stores, farmers markets, or anywhere eggs are sold!
What to look for:
- Images of chickens in green pastures, small red barns, shining sun, green grass.
- Words like "all-natural," "open-air," "free-roaming," "animal-friendly," "lovingly-cared-for," or "gently-cared-for," or "farm-fresh."
- Names like "Sunny Meadows" or anything suggesting open space, ranch, family farm, ranch, happy hens, or havens.
If you are one of our many Twitter followers, tweet a photo to @ALDF of egg packaging that you believe might be deceptive. Make sure to include the brand of the egg in question. You can also email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy hunting!
In March 2013 ALDF visited Josh Tetrick, CEO of Hampton Creek Foods, at his SOMA headquarters to talk about the future of humane eggs. The company is getting lots of attention in the media and was recently endorsed by Bill Gates for having a unique and visionary mission. Its goal? To make factory farmed eggs obsolete by replacing them with plant-based ingredients—a truly humane egg.
Watch our latest 30 Second Animal Law to learn more about how Hampton Creek Foods is aiming to revolutionize our food system, one muffin at a time.
Cracking the Code
Founded on the premise that the majority of uses of eggs—muffins, cookies, bread—can be easily replaced with more healthful, humane, and environmentally sustainable plant-based ingredients, the company's flagship product, Beyond Eggs, has already won over numerous critics in taste tests. See our full interview with Josh Tetrick below for more insights on how his egg replacer can drastically improve the lives of animals, simply by eliminating an unnecessarily cruel ingredient.
Sit, Speak, Share!
No trip to Hampton Creek Foods would be complete without meeting Jake, Josh's best friend and co-commuter who greets all visitors with a wagging tail.
Click on Jake to share this interview with your Facebook friends!