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News in a Flash

November - December 2014

CCFA urges Nepal to end Gadhimai

CCFA is appealing to the Government of Nepal to bring a halt to a cultural festival that involves the brutal slaughter of up to half a million animals. The Gadhimai Festival, which happens every five years, sees animals beheaded with swords and their throats cuts with blunt knives, all without stunning. Their leg tendons are also cut so they cannot stand. The animals are killed in front of each other in large pens, resulting in a bloodbath of water buffalo, sheep, pigs, rats, pigeons and chickens. CCFA supporter and Canadian writer Erika Ritter has written an open letter to Nepal’s prime minister, Sushil Koirala, asking him to end the festival, which is scheduled to take place this year on November 28th and 29th. In her letter, Ritter notes: 

“A sacrificial slaughter festival of this scale is unlike any other in the world, and is something that would cause outrage amongst the public in many countries were they to be made aware of it. As you may also know, sacrificial slaughter is illegal in much of the world including in the Indian states neighbouring Nepal. Greater international knowledge about this festival could very negatively impact the view that people around the world hold about Nepal as a country.”
 
There has been much opposition to the festival internationally, including statements from the Hindu Council of Britain that reject the mass slaughter of animals as part of Hinduism.
 
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of India has passed an interim order to prevent the movement of animals across the border from India to Nepal for sacrifice. Approximately 70% of the animals killed in the festival come from India, so the order could have significant impact. The order comes in response to a petition submitted by Humane Society International – India.
 
CCFA also has contacted the Nepalese ambassador to Canada, Mr. Dilip Kumar Paudel, who indicated he has informed his government of Canadians’ concerns about the festival.
 
What you can do: Email Prime Minister Koirala at info@opmcm.gov.np and let him know the world is watching him, and that the Gadhimai Festival will have serious social and economic repercussions for Nepal.
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More people eating less meat

Almost three quarters of respondents in a recent market survey say they have reduced their meat intake — reinforcing the ongoing movement toward meatless diets. Market research firm Datamonitor Consumer found that, when asked “Have you ever thought about reducing your meat consumption?”, people responded: 
  • “Yes, and I have reduced it.” — 74%
  • “Yes, but I haven’t changed it.” — 8%
  • “No, I don’t see the need.” — 18%
“The reasons for exercising such restraint are varied,” the researchers noted, “and include religious and cultural beliefs, ethical and environmental considerations, rising grocery prices, and a desire to eat more healthy.”
 
The survey was conducted in 2013, and was based on responses from 25,000 consumers in 25 countries. It’s in line with similar findings such as those in The New York Times which note that meat and poultry consumption in the U.S. was 12.2% lower in 2012 than in 2007.
 
You can learn more about the Data Consumer findings here.
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HSI shares Five Freedoms on Facebook & Twitter  

A cool campaign to promote farm animal welfare has hit a news feed near you. Created by Humane Society International/Canada, the social media campaign is designed to raise awareness of the importance of the Five Freedoms for farm animals.
 
The Five Freedoms are:
 
1. Freedom from hunger and thirst
2. Freedom from pain, injury, and disease
3. Freedom from distress
4. Freedom from discomfort
5. Freedom to express behaviours that promote well-being
 
The Five Freedoms were first identified in the 1960s in response to a UK investigation into intensive farming. They have now been codified and adopted internationally by groups such as HSI and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). They are considered a minimum standard for animal welfare and related policy-making.
 
HSI/Canada is asking supporters to share the campaign on social media and “sign our call for a national strategy on farm animal welfare to help improve life for hundreds of millions of farm animals”.
 
Check it out on Facebook and Twitter @HSI_Canada — then spread the word!
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MEMBER PROFILE
Aequo Animo

Aequo Animo is a Quebec-based non-profit organization that promotes animal welfare, vegetarianism, and environmental protection. This dedicated group of volunteers participates in local public events, conferences, fairs, information-tabling, peaceful demonstrations, post-secondary presentations, and leaflet distribution.
 
Their current campaign is called "Breaking the Chains of Cruelty" and is aimed at bringing awareness to the plight of many dogs who are neglectfully tied up and left to a lonely outdoor existence, often without basic necessities such as water, shelter or food.
 
Aequo Animo believes in the need to work together to build a society where moral progress includes justice for all animals. Learn more about what they do here.
 
The Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals would like to commend Aequo Animo for their efforts for animals, and thank them for being a CCFA member organization.
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BOOK REVIEW

Known for his insightful, articulate and often pull-no-punches observations on eating animals, writer, teacher and activist James McWilliams begins his latest book, The Modern Savage: Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals, with a surprisingly simple anecdote: a short vignette about a dairy cow. He describes a video he watched — one in which the cow has just given birth. The calf has hardly hit the ground when he's dragged away, still covered in afterbirth, by the farmer. The cow tries to follow, but a gate is slammed in her face. She bellows in frustrated anguish, then buries her nose in the placenta still lying on the ground — all that's left of her newborn. 
 
It was this moment, back in 2007, that McWilliams, recalling the birth of his own son ("...I thought 'If they take him out of this room, I'll go crazy'...") decided to stop eating animals. "I was in a trance," he says of his reaction to the video. "I had no idea what was happening respecting brain chemistry, animal instinct or bovine behavior. I just knew that I was upset. Repulsed. I knew I wanted nothing to do with what I'd just seen."
 
And with those words, he establishes the premise which underpins the entire book: that to raise and eat animals -- industrially-farmed or otherwise — is to deny that instinctive repulsion we feel at doing so. It is, essentially, to shut off part of our brain and, despite the emotions that connect us with animals, make an unthinking decision to eat them. 
 
Yes, as so-called conscientious consumers, we are trying to be kinder and more humane about how we raise and slaughter them. But the fact remains that, as McWilliams points out, "The omnivore's contradiction encapsulates our aspiration to grant animals moral status and yet eat them." And yes, he concedes "...the small-scale option, compared to factory farming, is, in the reality in front of us, a better choice." At the same time, he notes, "The whitewashing that characterizes the vast majority of small-farm promotions — which is endemic to so much food writing today — obscures daily realities of on-farm life that concerned consumers should know about."
 
McWilliams presents his arguments clearly and passionately and, as always, gives readers the kind of food for thought that makes them think hard indeed about what's on their plates. 

The book is available on amazon.com from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press — $29.99 CDN; 304 pages.
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Taking Action

CCFA sponsors ad promoting government funding for open sow housing

With generous support from donors Vicki and Gilles Fecteau, CCFA is sponsoring a full-page ad in the upcoming issue of Ontario Hog Farmer magazine, to encourage Ontario pig producers to take advantage of funding available under Growing Forward 2 (GF2), the five-year federal-provincial-territorial agricultural policy.  Grants are available to producers to convert their sow barns from restrictive sow stalls to loose housing.
 
Producers may be eligible for up to 35% of their conversion costs (to $100,000) if their applications meet GF2 criteria with well-thought applications.

You can learn more and apply here, as well as obtain a video from  OMAFRA titled "Making the Switch to Group Housing" by emailing kathy.zurbrigg@ontario.ca

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RESCUE PROFILE

The Magnificent Seven

Kaylie MacIntosh is a generous, compassionate friend to farm animals who leapt to action in September when she discovered a group of seven rooster chicks being mistreated. Kaylie was visiting the Western Fair in London, Ontario when she discovered the newborn chicks in a box, being used for entertainment and waiting to be discarded. Although Kaylie doesn't live on rural property, she saved the seven chicks, which in fact have turned out to be six roosters and a hen! 

Kaylie has invested a lot in building an enclosure for the birds, but now that they're growing and developing, they need more space and care. She has searched for the perfect rescue homes for them, but good forever homes for birds are hard to come by. Anyone who can provide one is asked to contact Taunya at CCFA (
taunyaahier@yahoo.ca), and she will put Kaylie in touch with potential homes.

Thank you, Kaylie, for saving their lives and giving these birds so much love!


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Have a rescue story you'd like to tell us? Or a simple vegan recipe you want to share? We'd love to hear from you! Email us at info@humanefood.ca. 



 
 
 
COOKIN' IN A FLASH
Grapefruit-Blueberry-Vodka Sorbet
We came across this recipe on Allrecipes.ca and thought, "Snow cones for grown-ups!" Yes, 'tis the season for heart-warming fare, but 'tis also a reason to wow guests with exotic desserts that took you no time at all. By the way: no ice cream maker needed!

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 cups pink grapefruit juice
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1-1/2 cups white sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup vodka (optional)
 METHOD
1. Pour the grapefruit juice, blueberries, sugar and vodka into a blender, and blend until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth, about 2 - 3 minutes.
2. Pour the mixture into a container, and freeze until solid, about 3 - 4 hours.
3. Thoroughly stir the sorbet to break up the ice crystals to a slushy consistency, and return to freezer until firm, about 3 hours.
4. Garnish with fresh fruit slices and a sprig of fresh mint. 
 
Helpful tip: Freeze the container beforehand to make sure it's REALLY cold.
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