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October 2009

Do Hens Suffer? 
[E]thology (the study of animal behavior) has advanced understanding of the effects of cage confinement on the well-being of laying hens and, without a doubt, shown that there are very serious welfare consequences. Studies have demonstrated that there are two basic reasons for this: 1) the animals are deprived of the opportunity to express important natural behavior; and 2) the constraints of the cage prevent exercise, which has profound physical consequences for the health of the birds.

Read the entire article at:

New Associate Member
ANDA, Brazil - Agência de Notícias de Direitos Animais - - ANDA promotes transformation with information. It's the first news agency dedicated exclusively to facts and details of the animal world.

Fish Farming Now Accounts for 50% of Fish Production 
First, there was factory farming of land animals. Now, factory farming of marine animals now produces a significant percentage of the fish that human eat. Fish farming has all the downside to the welfare of the fish, to the environment, to resource utilization that farming of pigs, chickens and other land animals causes. . . .

Vegetarian Society Memberships for Members of Other Species? 
The following question was sent to a listserv for vegetarian activists. Below the question are four replies, two which did not like the idea and two that did.
Question: Today, another member inquired about buying a membership for the dog who lives with her. Obviously, the dog wouldn't vote and wouldn't be included in official membership figures. I'm thinking of this mainly as a fundraising idea. I wonder if any societies already include members of other species. Thanks.

Reply 1: I do not understand why we need to add other species. If we start with the animal kingdom then we will need to add the plant and mineral kingdoms to membership status to make it equal and to continue with such logic.
We use animals for so many selfish and self gratifying reasons already, Please let's just leave them in peace to live their lives as animals.

Reply 2: With due respect to the dog owner, NO, it is not acceptable even for fund raising. Let us be reasonable and put some reason in rational expectations! A people Society can not be down graded to a level where animals (with due respect to animal lovers and activists) would join members like their owners. Any effort to do so will discredit the Society and will make it a laughing stock of the world out of which it will never be able to come out. If he or she wishes to donate, it can be done in many other ways. I am also sure there are many Societies around the world which will meet the "Animals need to join Societies".

Reply 3: Sorry to disagree with the general tone, but I don't find the idea that  ridiculous. Of course, animals must not have the right to vote, for the very simple reason that they are hardly able to have their opinion or transmit them. And obviously their owners are not entitled to vote for them.
But if their owners are proud to make them members of vegetarian organisations, I definitely see no problem in creating a special class of membership for animals. After all, many societies have honorary membership for "special" members, who often are also not entitled to vote in any issues.
Therefore, I see absolutely no problem in creating a special class of membership for animals in vegetarian organisations. This could be an interesting way to raise funds and also make pet owners happy. The "rights" and "benefits" of these non-human members, as well as the duties, would depend on the resources and goals of each organisation, but I definitely don't think that's so ridiculous.

Reply 4: Your [the author of Reply 2] explanation is understandable. It's not 'what' you said, but 'how' you said it, the words you used, to be more precise: "dog owner", "a people society", "down graded", "animals and their owners", "animal lovers", and so on. This is just a respectful reflection. If we who respect all sentient beings don't change the way we see nonhuman animals, who will?

‘Peaceable Kingdom’ Tours Film Festivals 
‘Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home’ - - is a new version of a previous pro-veg film of the same title. The new documentary, as stated on its website, “explores the awakening conscience of several people who grew up in traditional farming culture and who have now come to question the basic premises of their inherited way of life.

“Presented through a woven tapestry of memories, music, and breathtaking accounts of life-altering moments, the film provides insight into the farmers' sometimes amazing connections with the animals under their care, while also making clear the complex web of social, psychological and economic forces that have led them to their present dilemma.”

‘Peaceable Kingdom’ is now touring film festivals. See the website for details.  

Welcome to Organisations That Have Recently Registered with IVU

PAKISTAN : Animals Safety Organization Pakistan -
UK: Animals Count - a political party for people and animals -
USA: 600 Million Stray Dogs Need You -

September 2009

A Taste of Meat Eater Logic         
This article is written by someone from Ireland who keeps pigs as both pets and as a food source. The first sentence says it all: “The best thing about keeping pigs is, of course, the pork, but the companionship runs the meat a pretty close second”. You can read the rest of the sentences here: . . /The-joy-of-pigs.html
A lively debate among readers can be found below the article.

August 2009

New Book: ‘Why Animal Suffering Matters’      
Professor Andrew Linzey is Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, and a Member of the Faculty of Theology in the University of Oxford. He has published more than 20 books including: Animal Theology, Creatures of the Same God, and The Link Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence.

His new book is ‘Why Animal Suffering Matters: Philosophy, Theology, And Practical Ethics’. [link to] The following thought-provoking information was provided by the publisher, Oxford University Press.

Lots of people are disturbed by animal suffering, but hard pressed to say why it really matters. It is still sometimes supposed that caring for animals is just an ‘emotional’ issue with no rational basis. Our exploitation of animals rests on a range of ‘differences’ that are supposed to justify their inferior treatment. But when analyzed, these very differences, so often regarded as a basis for discriminating against them, are the very grounds for discriminating in favor of them.

When reconfigured, these considerations include:

    • The inability of animals to give or withhold their consent
    • Their inability to verbalize or represent their interests
    • Their inability to comprehend
    • Their moral innocence or blamelessness
    • Their relative defenselessness and vulnerability

When these considerations are taken fully into account, it becomes as difficult to justify the infliction of suffering on animals as it is to do so in the case of human infants. In ‘Why Animal Suffering Matters’, Andrew Linzey offers a radical new paradigm for our treatment of animals, maintaining that animals, like young children, should be accorded a special moral status. The argument is buttressed by a detailed analysis of three practical issues: hunting with dogs, fur-farming, and commercial sealing. After reading this book, it will be difficult for anyone to argue that any of these practices is morally defensible.

July 2009

Welcome to New IVU Member Society and Supporters

Humane Society of Louisiana - mission is to investigate and prevent cruelty to animals. The group also hosts the annual NOLA Veggie Fest in New Orleans.

Swine Flu and Factory Farming                           
According to Dr. Michael Greger, Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture for the Humane Society of the United States, the way animals are farmed in factory farms suppresses their immune system and gave rise to swine flu (now known as H1N1). American Public Health Association has called for an end of factory farming: . . /farm_moratorium.html  

New Movie – Food, Inc. 
This film, Food, Inc. - - is not a pro-veg movie, and right now, it’s only showing in North America, but people who’ve seen it say there’s lots of good stuff in it. Here’s a review by one of the top US film critics - . . /REVIEWS/906179985 and one from Time magazine - . .1904144,00.html

However, one North American vegetarian activist was less than thrilled with the film. He reported that there is a scene where a farmer "jokes" that the animals have many good days and one very bad day - as he is slaughtering chickens calmly on camera. The activist’s overall view is that it is “vegetarian neutral or even a bit antagonistic”.


  1. Minding Animals Conference 13-18 July, 2009, Newcastle, Australia
  2. FARM Animal Rights Conference – 16-20 Jul, 2009 - Los Angeles

June 2009

Government Regulator Backs Animal Cruelty Advertisement

The intensive pig farming industry in the UK lodged a complaint against an advertisement by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF). However, the complaint backfired when the UK’s advertising regulator, the ASA, backed CIWF’s claim that piglets feel pain just like a human would when their teeth are clipped without anaesthetic.
The advertisement appeared in the national press earlier this year, including in the magazine of food celebrity Jamie Oliver. The ad shows a picture of a pig and asks: “What noise does a piglet make when its teeth are cut off with pliers – without anaesthetic? Same as you.”
A farmer complained stating that piglets don’t get distressed if their teeth are clipped properly without anaesthetic. The ASA looked at the scientific evidence and concluded that Compassion in World Farming was truthful in stating that piglets squeal in pain when they have their teeth clipped without anaesthetic. This is because piglets’ teeth contain nerves and they feel pain as a result of tissue damage just like humans would.
Routine clipping of the teeth of young pigs is banned under EU legislation, yet it happens regularly in most standard intensive pig farms in the UK. Despite the ban, the British Pig Executive (BPEX) reported last year that 57% of pig farmers in the UK clip the teeth of all of their pigs.
View the advertisement

Review of ‘The Face on Your Plate’  
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson is a former Professor of Sanskrit and Project Director of the Sigmund Freud Archives who turned his attention to the emotional lives of animals around 15 years ago. Since that time he has written several popular books on the subject, including When Elephants Weep, Dogs Never Lie About Love, The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats, and The Pig Who Sang to the Moon, the last of which described the emotional lives of farmed animals and led to the author becoming a vegan. (Details of these and other publications can be found on the author’s website

The Face on Your Plate -WW Norton, 271pp, pbk - presents the case for veganism. Each of the book's five chapters, as well as the lengthy introduction, can be viewed as separate essays. As might be expected, The Face on Your Plate draws heavily on the author's experiences researching and writing his previous books, especially in the second and fourth chapters which deal, respectively, with the conditions under which farm animals are reared and the reasons why most people implicitly deny the realities of animal farming through their choice of diet. The other three chapters present the environmental case for veganism, "the fishy business of aquaculture", and, finally, a discussion of the consequences for health of a plant-based diet and the author's own experience of life as a vegan. This last chapter is rather self-indulgent (do we really need to know what the author eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner?) and, with its many references to US grocery chains and exotic foods not generally found in the UK will be of limited use to British readers. Some of the arguments presented here are unconvincing, and insufficient evidence is presented in support of the extravagant claim that "from a purely scientific and nutritional point of view ... there is no healthier diet than a vegan one".

The author is on much firmer ground in other sections of the book where he appeals to the reader’s compassion rather than their self-interest. The first three chapters in particular contain plenty of valuable material and cogent arguments for veganism that will be of benefit to both the converted and the unconverted. The author’s informal, anecdotal style will appeal to many readers. He is astonishingly well read, as shown by the extensive recommended reading list, and some telling quotations are presented at the beginning of each chapter.

Masson’s arguments are unashamedly emotional. He wants the reader to empathise with farmed animals, to recognise the cruelties and deprivations inflicted upon them, to imagine themselves in their predicament, and ultimately to stop eating meat and other animal products – in short, to become a vegan. In answer to the charge that vegans care more about animals than they do about people, he asserts: “There is nothing more important to think about than the heart of empathy, which in the final analysis is nothing other than the ability to love. Becoming a vegan is simply one manifestation of that love.” Like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, quoted at the beginning of chapter four, Masson likens the adoption of a vegan diet to "a change of perception akin to a religious conversion". Though not the most cohesive argument for veganism, The Face on Your Plate has the potential to create many more converts.

Paul Appleby, May 2009

New Book for Kids – ‘That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals’
Here’s the blurb from the book’s website
‘That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals’ takes a candid, compassionate look at the plight of animals on factory farms, using gorgeous artwork and lively text to introduce vegetarianism and veganism to early readers.
An endearing cast of animals is shown both in their natural state—rooting around, bonding, nuzzling, cuddling, grooming one another, and charming each other with their family instincts and rituals—and in the sad conditions of the factory farm. The book also addresses the effect eating animals has on our environment, rainforests, and endangered species. At the end, a section entitled “What Else Can We Do?” suggests ways children can learn more about the vegetarian and vegan lifestyles.
The boldest step yet in children’s literature, this heartfelt, informative book offers a key resource to inspire parents and children to talk about a timely, increasingly important subject.

May 2009

Animal Protection Petition in Bolivia
IVU received the following petition.

Dear Friends, Friends of Friends and Animal Rights Defenders,

We are pushing to exceed the 5,000 signatures goal to demand a proper Animal Protection Law in Bolivia. Why is there a need for such a law? Basically, because there is none. In the name of the suffering voiceless,

You can read the petition in Spanish, Portuguese and English and sign it at

The Animal Activist’s Handbook

Here’s a new book by two people active in promoting animal welfare:
The Animal Activist’s Handbook: Maximizing Our Positive Impact in Today’s World by Matt Ball (of Vegan Outreach) and Bruce Friedrich (of PETA).

Here is a review from Compassion Over Killing:

‘The Question Is Not, Can They Reason? Nor, Can They Talk? But, Can They Suffer?’

Here’s a piece by a New York Times columnist about the ascendance of the idea that the welfare of our fellow animals deserves consideration.


April 2009

Animal Welfare Workshop in Mumbai 

On 8 March, an Animal Welfare Workshop was held in Mumbai by the newly formed Indian Animal Federation with support from Humane Society International and Sharan. More than 30 representatives from such organisations as People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta India), Beauty Without Cruelty, People for Animals, In Defence of Animals, Plant & Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Karuna Society, Animal Aid Charitable Trust, Actasia for Animals, TSPCA, Indian Vegan Society and International Vegetarian Union came to discuss various animal issues in India.

There were presentations on animal issues by Mr. Arpan Sharma, Dr. Nandita Shah of Sharan, Mr. Jayasimha of Peta and Ms. Chetana Mirle of Humane Society, followed by a lot of time for discussion among the delegates. Mr. Shankar Narayan, representing Indian Vegan Society and International Vegetarian Union, spoke on the diet angle of the animal issues. He received a lot of support from the delegates when he said that ‘animal welfare is only a journey and not a destination’, and the animal movement in India has to abstain from using animals (go vegan) as a first step.

During the lunch and tea breaks, delicious vegan food was served by Ms. Meghna Raj of The Farm, Mumbai.


The Face on Your Plate: The Truth About Foodby Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson Here is an excerpt from the following review: . ./story

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson wants to help all meat eaters wake up from the dream of denial they are experiencing. He wants to prepare us for what he describes as a "transformative moment," when we look at the meat or animal product on our plate (fish, fowl, mammal, egg, milk, cheese) and acknowledge that it came from a living being, capable, he has no doubt, of suffering and happiness. Like children when they are first told that the drumstick is actually a leg, the tongue is really a tongue, the bacon was once a pig like Wilbur in "Charlotte's Web," Masson hopes, with all his heart, that we will say, "Eeeuwww, yuck."


Animal Care Expo – 6-9 Apr, 2009, Las Vegas

The Humane Society of the United States is organising this event on animal protection and emergency services.

March 2009

Launch of Animal Ethics Book Series 
The publisher Palgrave Macmillan in partnership with the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics has launched a book series in a new field of enquiry: animal ethics.

The new Palgrave Macmillan book series will be jointly edited by the internationally known theologian the Reverend Professor Andrew Linzey, Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, and Professor Priscilla Cohn, Emeritus Professor in Philosophy at Penn State University and Associate Director of the Centre. The book series will publish work written by new and established academics from a wide range of disciplines including anthropology, ethics, history, law, literature, linguistics, political theory, religion and science. The aim of the series is to provide a range of key introductory and advanced texts that map out ethical positions on animals.

Palgrave Macmillan aims to publish the first set of books in early 2010. Commenting on the new series, Professor Linzey notes, “Interest in the ethics of our treatment of animals has increased markedly over the last 40 years. This series will explore the challenges that Animal Ethics poses, both conceptually and practically, to traditional understanding of human- animal relations.”

Academics working in relevant areas of enquiry are invited to send ideas and proposals via email to Professor Linzey by emailing to request a proposal form.

Review of Book on Ducks 
Paul Appleby contributed this review of Duck by Victoria de Rijke, Reaktion Books, 192pp, paperback, 124 illustrations, 74 in colour; ISBN 978 1 86189 350 5, £9-99

Ducks, in many parts of the world, are such a familiar sight that we tend to take them for granted. Whereas other species of waterfowl such as the reclusive heron or the stately swan might prompt us to stare in admiration, ducks are rarely afforded a second glance unless we have set out to entertain ourselves by feeding them our leftovers. There are around 250 species and sub-species of duck, and fossil records suggest that they have existed for at least 50 million years, surviving the extinction of the dinosaurs. Today, several species are endangered owing to loss of habitat, climate change, hunting and pollution, including the eider duck (the original source of eiderdown and still farmed for this purpose in Iceland) and the Spanish white-headed duck, the purity of the species being threatened by interbreeding with the ruddy duck, a native of North America, leading to the controversial culling of its more numerous relative.

Like other titles in Reaktion Books’ Animal series, Duck is more concerned with the cultural significance of ducks than their natural history, although the latter topic is covered in the first chapter of the book. Here Victoria de Rijke, Reader in Arts and Education at Middlesex University, describes ducks’ habitat (anywhere that is wet), migration (all ducks are either completely or partially migratory), feeding (varied and voracious) and their reproductive behaviour (promiscuous, occasionally deviant and often downright dangerous for the females, as many as 7-10 per cent of whom can die from drowning or injuries sustained as a result of forced copulation). Other chapters discuss the rich use of duck metaphor in language, mechanical and animated ducks (notably Walt Disney’s Donald Duck), quack doctors, ducks in art and ducks as toys, including the ubiquitous rubber (actually vinyl plastic) duck, an incredible 165,000 of which were launched into the River Thames at Hampton Court in September 2007 to compete in the Great British Duck Race.

Unfortunately, ducks’ sociability has made them easy to domesticate and rear for food: 2.5 billion ducks and geese were killed for food worldwide in 2005 alone. Chapter 2 deals with the hunting and farming of ducks, but the author rather ducks the issue of intensive farming, noting only that “factory farmed duck has its critics”. One can only hope that readers will browse the Viva! website (, listed in an Appendix, to find out what makes the factory farming of ducks so objectionable. The force-feeding of ducks (and geese) to produce foie gras (literally ‘fat liver’) is covered in greater detail. Although the practice has now been banned in twenty countries, a typical EU compromise prohibits force-feeding of animals for non-medical purposes except where it is current practice, and around 20,000 tons of foie gras are still produced worldwide each year.

Duck generally makes interesting reading, and it is refreshing to find a book about ducks that is not aimed at children or backyard farmers, but the author’s detached and rather academic approach to her subject matter makes the book less engrossing than it might have been. Nevertheless, Duck would make a reasonable primer for anyone eager to learn more about the inhabitants of their local pond.