News in a Flash

January - February 2014

2014: A year for family farms... and farm animals 

The United Nations has declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines family farming as "all family-based agricultural activities", and notes that "Family and small-scale farming are inextricably linked to world food security."

To mark the year, the Ottawa-based magazine Diplomat & International Canada recently published a special report on factory farming in Canada, with an emphasis on how practices and protective laws here compare with (and lag behind) that of the European Union. Four of the articles were contributed by CCFA; they look at how Canadian farm animals are raised, transported and slaughtered, addressing issues such as gestation crates — now banned in the EU — and Canada's voluntary Codes of Practice, which compare with mandated directives in the EU based on “Five Freedoms”.
While we all have a long way to go toward achieving these freedoms for farm animals, we’re hopeful that improvements will continue to be made. Here in Canada, for example, 2014 will see the implementation of an updated Code of Practice for pigs. While the Code's content is still being finalized, the draft version calls for, among other things, pain control for castration as of July 1, 2019, and the phasing out of gestation crates by 2024. The Code is scheduled for release this spring.
In Canada and elsewhere, we hope this year's global focus on family farms will also focus more attention on the animals in their care.

Exposing the dark underbelly of "Big Meat"

Rolling Stone Magazine’s In the Belly of the Beast may be the most compelling 7,000 words you'll ever read on industrial agriculture. In the article, writer Paul Solotaroff delves into the dark world of undercover activism and the systemic abuse it exposes in animal production today.

Interviewing several activists with the Humane Society of the United States, along with its CEO Wayne Pacelle, the article is a pull-no-punches look at "Big Meat" and the havoc it has wreaked on not only animals but also workers, the environment and family farming as a whole.

Solotaroff especially notes the lack of government oversight in agriculture, and the industry's attempts, most notably through Ag-Gag legislation, to muffle the activists who "are our only lens into what goes on in those plants — and soon, if Big Meat has its way, we’ll not have even them to set us straight."

You can read the article here.


Fauna Foundation

Introducing a new feature in News in a Flash that focuses on a different member organization of The Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals. 
Fauna Foundation is recognized around the world as a leading sanctuary for and centre of expertise on chimpanzees. Founded in 1997 on about 100 acres of land east of Montreal, Fauna provides permanent refuge for various animals, but has focused its efforts on chimps, rescued mainly from labs and zoos and other similar places where they are exploited for research or entertainment.
Fauna was the first sanctuary to accept HIV-infected chimps. It also has taken in chimps with severe behavioural issues, as in the case of Rachel, profiled on the Fauna website and pictured below.
"Before Rachel was abandoned at LEMSIP," her profile reads, "she lived in Florida. Taking bubble baths and wearing frilly dresses, Rachel was someone's pet. Then when she was not even 3 years old, her 'nanny' brought her to the lab. There Ch-514 was involved in 3 studies enduring 39 punch liver biopsies. Mostly she was treated for the wounds and abrasions to her wrists and neck that were self-inflicted during the many anxiety attacks she had. She also suffers from the 'phantom hand' syndrome. She has bitten all of her nails to the quick rubbing them until there is nothing left..."
Rachel sleeping 
Rachel's story is a stark reminder of not only the intelligence and sensitivity of chimps, but also the importance of a place like Fauna and the people who run it: founder Gloria Grow; her partner, veterinarian Richard Allan; her sister Dawna Grow; Advisory Board experts such as Jane Goodall; and the countless volunteers who help out.
You can learn more, visit the Foundation on Facebook and sign up for the Fauna newsletter here.
And you can find out about CCFA’s other supporting organizations here.

"We're all animals" 

2013 was no doubt a banner year for Jo-Anne McArthur. Not only was she the (human) subject of the critically acclaimed film The Ghosts in Our Machine but, just as the year came to a close, her stunning book We Animals came off the presses. (Whew!)

Together, the film and book make for a telling profile of not only the animals in front of the camera, but the woman behind it. McArthur, a Toronto-based photographer and activist, has gone to incredible lengths to open the doors and remove the blinders that too often disconnect people from the non-human animals they eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.
“Exposing these issues is really important — for the animals, for us, for the environment, for our health,” she says in a recent CBC Radio interview. “So it needs to be done.” When questioned about the title of her book, McArthur replies simply, “We’re all animals, aren’t we? And in all my work, I’m trying to bring it back to that: That we’re all…sentient creatures, and we’re all capable of suffering and happiness and curiosity — and even jealousy. I want that to come across in the title and in all the photos that I take.”

The wide-ranging media coverage received by both book and film includes not only the above-noted CBC interview but also this article in Psychology Today, which takes a deeper dive into animal intelligence and emotion, and the compelling argument for animal rights.
As a sidenote: McArthur has been a longtime CCFA supporter, and her book (page 178) documents a CCFA battery-cage protest several years ago outside Loblaws. Way to go Jo-Anne — thank you for everything you do for all animals.
In early December, one of CCFA's directors was able to rescue a hen who had escaped from a facility that sells chickens. Wandering outside, frightened, cold and hungry, she was rescued the night before a big snowstorm. She was very difficult to secure because she was so afraid of people. Some wonderful supporters of rescued farm animals have taken her into their barn, and she's now slowly getting used to humans — and has grown deeply attached to a rescued duck! 
Salted chocolate peanut butter drops
The holidays may be behind us, but Valentine's Day is just ahead, and if you're looking for a sweet, simple something to wow someone special (or indulge yourself :), look no further. This recipe was adapted by CCFA from the book Chloe's Kitchen, by renowned vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli. For all your amazingly approachable recipes, thank you Chloe!

- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3/4 cup icing sugar
- 1 cup dark (non dairy) chocolate chips
- kosher/rock salt 

Prepare a cookie tray by covering it with a sheet of tin foil. In a bowl, add icing sugar to peanut butter and mix well. Meanwhile, heat chocolate chips over the stove on low or in the microwave until melted.

Roll peanut butter into small balls about one inch in diameter and, using a small fork, spear and dip in melted chocolate. Gently drop chocolate-covered balls onto foil-covered cookie tray. When finished, sprinkle top of each drop with a few grains of rock salt. Let cool fully and enjoy!
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