A sign of the times: The cover article of the Wednesday, July 25 New York Times Dining Section (Pg F1) is headed, "Bringing Moos and Oinks Into the Food Debate."
Kim Severson's article focuses on Farm Sanctuary, a wonderful organization that runs sanctuaries for rescued farm animals and works on animal friendly legislation. The article also looks at the growth of the animal advocacy movement as a whole.
About Farm Sanctuary it reminds us:
"A $200-a-seat gala dinner in Los Angeles this fall will feature seitan Wellington and stars like Emily Deschanel and Forest Whitaker."
(Note: That wonderful gala will be on September 8. I will be sending out more about it, but if you know you would like to learn more and perhaps receive and invitation in the mail, please let me know by responding to this alert -- I will make sure you get more information.)
"As Farm Sanctuary has grown, so too has its influence. Soon, due in part to the organization's work, veal calves and pregnant pigs in Arizona won't be kept in cages so tight they can't turn around. Eggs from cage-free hens have become so popular that there is a national shortage. A law in Chicago bans the sale of foie gras.
"And earlier this month, the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed to hear a case concerning common farming practices that a coalition led by Farm Sanctuary says are inhumane."
The article discusses the growth of animal advocacy influence and the change of styles:
"Among animal rights groups, the 1980s were considered the decade of grass-roots activism. The 1990s saw the rise of court actions and ballot initiatives. This decade is about building budgets, influencing policy and cultivating elected officials, all with a deliberate focus on livestock.
"Farm Sanctuary and other groups still know how to make the most of gory slaughterhouse footage from hidden cameras. The animals they call 'rescued' -- some abandoned, some saved from natural disasters, some left for dead at slaughterhouses -- clearly started life as someone else's property.
"But in recent years they have adopted more subtle tactics, like holding stock in major food corporations, organizing nimble political campaigns and lobbying lawmakers.
"While some groups, like the Animal Welfare Institute, work with ranchers to codify the best methods of raising animals for meat and eggs, most, like Farm Sanctuary and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, ultimately want people to stop using even wool and honey because they believe the products exploit living creatures.
"But all of these believers have learned that with less stridency comes more respect and influence in food politics. So they no longer concentrate their energy on burning effigies of Colonel Sanders and stealing chickens. They don't demonize meat -- with the exception of foie gras and veal -- or the people who produce it. Instead, they use softer rhetoric, focusing on a campaign even committed carnivores can get behind: better conditions for farm animals.
"In some ways, it's simply a matter of style.
'''Instead of telling it like it is, we're learning to present things in a more moderate way,' Mr. Baur said. 'When it comes to this vegan ideal, that's an aspiration. Would I love everyone to be vegan? Yes. But we want to be respectful and not judgmental.'''
The article discusses top chefs, such as Charlie Trotter and Wolfgang Puck, who are showing a serious in animal welfare issues.
And it shares this good news for the animals about the next generation of people:
"The image makeover has been so successful that a 2006 survey of 5,000 people ages 13 to 24 showed that PETA was the nonprofit organization most would like to volunteer for, according to the market research firm Label Networks. The American Red Cross was second."
It also discusses good cop/bad cop tactics in the movement, with PETA still being willing to use some in-your-face tactics while "the Humane Society, which is 30 years older than PETA, has emerged as the reasonable, wise big brother of the farm animal protection movement."
"The arrival of Wayne Pacelle as head of the Humane Society in 2004 both turbo-charged the farm animal welfare movement and gave it a sheen of respectability.
"As the organization's first vegan president, he quickly sharpened the group's focus to farm animals."
The article also cites some of the success that PETA and other groups have had at getting corporations to move away from some egregious practices -- success those corporations won't dare credit to the animal rights groups.
You'll find the whole article on line at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/25/dining/25sanc.html
Don't miss this great opportunity for veg-friendly letters to the editor. And people who have visited farm animal sanctuaries might like to briefly share their experiences with New York Times readers.
The New York Times takes letters at firstname.lastname@example.org
Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Remember that shorter letters are more likely to be published. And please be sure not to use any comments or phrases from me or from any other alerts in your letters. Editors are looking for original responses from their readers.
Yours and the animals',
(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts if you do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line. If somebody forwards DawnWatch alerts to you, which you enjoy, please help the list grow by signing up. It is free.)
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Date: Wed Jul 25 21:05:38 2007
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An animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets.
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