Green Vegans Fundraising Appeal for 2014-2015 Campaigns

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GVheader768px (1)We’re hoping you’ve recovered enough from the many requests for donations typical of the holiday season. Now it’s Green Vegans’ turn. We don’t ask for much because we work efficiently and with focus. Here’s a brief description of the campaigns we are working on and those proposed. The Green Vegans board will decide how much and where we will focus our resources once we see your response. Please use any “donate” button on the Green Vegans website to use PayPal. You can also send a check to:

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Green Vegans, 2122-8th Avenue N, #201, Seattle, WA 98109

In return we will email you a letter of thanks on our letterhead. It will also serve as your paperless receipt for tax purposes. Green Vegans is a 501(c)(3) organization and registered as a charity in Washington State. Our business license is through the City of Seattle.  For the first thirty donations of $50 or more, we offer you a Green Vegans 100% organic cotton logo tee shirt, five bookmarks and either a logo pin or refrigerator magnet as a thank you gift. Provide your contact information so we can arrange free shipping. 100_1801

 

 

 

 

Here are the 2014 – 2015 campaigns. Go to the “Campaigns” dropdown menue above to see the complete descriptions and updates from last year.

 

WhalesWe will return to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in September, 2014 (more on that below) contingent on funding. In addition, we will continue to work on behalf of whales in 2014-15 in these specific areas:

Humpback Whales

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Green Vegans is opposing the effort underway to remove the North Pacific humpback whale protections under the Endangered Species Act. As noted in the U.S. Federal Register, “The petition was submitted in April 2013 by the Hawaii Fishermen’s Alliance for Conservation and Tradition (HFACT) and asks for the identification of North Pacific humpback whales as a distinct population segment (DPS) and a delisting of that DPS under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).” (photo Humpback whale / Will Anderson)

Gray Whales

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We are focused on two areas of gray whale protection in addition to our activities at the IWC: (a) Makah tribal whaling against a sub-population of 200 genetically distinct Eastern North Pacific gray whales. They are often referred to as the Washington/Southern Vancouver Island (WA/SVI) gray whales. (b) There is a seasonal population of 10 – 12 gray whales, the NPS gray whales, who forage in Northern Puget Sound for a few months and then leave, possibly joining the larger population south of Kodiak Island, Alaska. Their habitat is under threat from a number of sources and activities. (photo Gray whale / Will Anderson)

Farmed Animal Transport

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Washington State transports farmed individuals from other species within the state and from other states. They are often on their way to a slaughterhouse or auction for slaughter. Sometimes, they are being moved to a different animal agriculture business to “finish” them off in a confined animal feedlot and fed corn, alfalfa, and other resource-wasting crops. Green Vegans is looking for volunteers to monitor farmed animal transport in Washington and Oregon. This is observation at a distance on public roads. Two-person teams are required (driving / taking notes on a form we provide).

Battery Reduction-Focus

Green Vegans has identified a specific product that uses countless batteries in public facilities. You’ve seen and likely have used them: the automatic paper-dispenser machines you often see in public restrooms at gas stations, malls, and stores in general. Those we have inspected contain four size “D” batteries. We are surveying the major machine-makers about recycling those batteries, and other options.

Active Opposition to the Incremental Welfare Reforms that keep animal agriculture profitable

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Several national “animal welfare” organizations have taken incremental reforms to the extreme. They are funding production-for-slaughter agribusiness, and partnering with major meat retailers. They are humane and green-washing meat, dairy, and egg production and  consumption. Green Vegans is actively participating in the growing opposition to this wrongheaded, environmentally unsustainable, cruel strategy. We and others are organizing to maximize effectiveness.

Meatopia Alarm System

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You may have heard about an event called “Meatopia”, a multi-city event initiated by Josh Ozersky. The largest Meatopias to-date are in New York City (Hudson, NY in 2014); San Antonio, TX, and London, UK. During the past few years “Whole Foods” has been an active sponsor and participant. They have supplied the meat in many instances, while their store butchers are sponsored as contestants in butchery.The Green Vegans campaign will focus on the Whole Foods Meatopia events held at its store locations. Green Vegans missed the Seattle Whole Foods Meatopia on 15th Avenue NE by just one day in 2013. All that remained standing was the banner in the parking lot.

Using social media, anyone finding an upcoming or imminent Meatopia event will SOUND THE ALARM. You will tell Green Vegans and the local animal advocacy group if known.

Wildlife and Ecosystems Management Reform

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Wildlife management and ecosystems oversight is within the jurisdiction of several state and federal agencies in the U.S. They are absurdly cruel and harm ecosystems because they serve a small minority of hunters, fishers, trappers, and the immense animal agricultural industry. Everyone who lives a vegan lifestyle along with the rest of the new human ecology reduces the excuses those agencies make to justify their wanton cruelty and lack of long-term ecological effectiveness. This will be a long, multi-year campaign that seeks to motivate other organizations to challenge the status quo. Here are our 2014-15 goals for this section: Stop State Agencies from promoting invasive species; Change Name and Legislated Mission of WDFW (test state, Oregon also if funding permits); Active Opposition to Bow Hunting / Muzzle-Loader Hunting; Wolves.

Chickens

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The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are still considering “the rotten egg bill” that would condemn nine billion chickens to continued suffering. This incremental reform bill that would take up to eighteen years to fully implement would block everyone in every state from implementing better reforms and bans. Some major animal welfare organizations are pushing hard for passage of this legislation and have split the community with their radical strategy that denies all other activists the right to stop continuing abuses, cruelty, and killing. In 2012, Green Vegans campaigned against the ritual Kaporos in which chickens suffer. We will return to this issue for 2014 if the budget allows.

International Whaling Commission 2014 (IWC)

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The next biennial International Whaling Commission (IWC) Meeting will be held 15-18 September, 2014 at the invitation of the Government of Slovenia, on the Adriatic coast at Portoroz.  The sub-committee meetings will take place from 11-14 September.  As in 2012, Green Vegans intends on sending an experienced three-person team for a week of on-site work. Of the three Green Vegans representatives, this will be our second, fourth, and ninth IWC meeting. This is our most expensive campaign. See our 2012 report for background. The biennial IWC meeting is a high-level, government-to-government convention that saves more, or kills more whales depending upon which side wins the votes. There are no other vegan environmental organizations represented. As a repeat, registered organization, Green Vegans has access to lobby the national delegations who operate at the State Department level. When they vote to save whales and create whale sanctuaries, Earth’s whales are saved. Progress in this forum is never easy. Though we will hold a separate fundraising event for this campaign, please pledge now. Most effective now would be a matching-grant donation.

Road Barriers

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Road barriers are the sections of concrete wall that run between lanes of opposing traffic on interstate highways. They are safety dividers for vehicles and their occupants that can stretch for miles without interruption. Studies about some of their impacts on wildlife have been contradictory. This issue is not getting enough attention. These barriers must be modified to allow wildlife passage. We have a proposal applicable to many places where these barriers are placed but first Green Vegans will need to update its library of studies. Then, Green Vegans will present a petition for changes to barrier systems to state and federal agencies based on those studies. This is about preventing pain, terror, suffering and reducing environmental impacts that include habitat fragmentation.

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Lolita Killer Whale

 

 

 

 

 

 

See our campaign page.

Birds versus Glass

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This is an important issue currently on our website but American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is doing the best job of reforming, city by city, the architectural building standards that currently allow buildings to have reflective glass on their exteriors. Seeing the sky reflected on building exteriors, birds continue forward and slam into the hard surface, falling to their deaths. Hundreds of millions, perhaps a billion birds in North America alone are killed by reflective building exteriors. A related issue is urban lighting that attracts and confuses migrating birds. From a past conversation, ABC was interested in Green Vegan’s help for Seattle but we didn’t have the funds to follow through. We will be contacting them for a reassessment when we get the donations needed.

Operations Budget

The Green Vegans office is based in the home offices of board members. We utilize online technology so our educational materials are normally not printed. Board members have donated most of the office supplies and communication functions, and all administrative tasks excepting legal. We do need to pay for website maintenance, hosting, business and corporate licensing and reporting, postage/shipping, and at this point, need travel reimbursement.

Please Donate Now. Your support makes Green Vegans possible.

Thank you,

The Green Vegans Board of Directors and Volunteers

Part 15 of the Michael Pollan Critique Posted

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For the past few months, I’ve been posting twice-weekly excerpts from This Is Hope: Green Vegans and the New Human Ecology / How we find our way to a humane and environmentally sane future at the book’s website.

http://www.thisishopethebook.com/micheal-pollan-and-his-omnivores-disappointment/

I chose this section of the book because it responds to the false assumptions and inaccuracies Pollan employs in his book; these are the most common misconceptions held by people who believe in the myth of “humane” meat, dairy, and eggs (see www.humanemyth.org). Since I do not post my blog regularly on the Green Vegans website, I ask that you subscribe to www.thisishopethebook.com.

And if you’ve not yet purchased the paperback using the Green Vegans link on the home page, or the eBook version from any online book retailer, please do so now. The book is the foundational document upon which the purpose of Green Vegans the organization rests. Though the book and organization are separate entities, a donation will be made to Green Vegans if you order from the home page.

Time is not standing still. Please get the book, read it, and then use its contents to educate friends and strangers about how veganism is required for ecosystems and us to survive. There’s more as well, but we need to raise the level of discussion about veganism. It is at the core of what comes next on Earth.

Action Needed for Chickens Now

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In collaboration with other organizations, Green Vegans sent variations of the letters you see below to our Senators Maria Cantwell (a co-sponsor of the bill) and Patti Murray and Congressman Jim McDermott, all from Washington State. Other organizations will be urging their members and people opposed to the “rotten egg bill” now sitting in House and Senate committees to email and call their congressional delegations to oppose these bills.

The hens need all state congressional delegations to get this letter and your calls. AFTER reading the letters below, immediately contact your congressional representatives. Tell them you oppose the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments (Senate bill 820; House, H.R. 1731). Just cut and paste these letters and enter your Senators’ and Congressperson’s name and address, then “sign it”. Go to http://whoismyrepresentative.com/  for their contact information, send the email and then call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Defeat this bill.

Senate Bill Letter:

Date: __ June 2013

Sen.  _____________

Address _______________

Re: S. 820: Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013

Dear Senator_______________,

S. 820, the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013, is a far worse bill than proposed in 2012. Though the bill amends an Act that addresses itself entirely to the quality of table eggs and concerns about maintaining public health, the S. 820 amendments take on an entirely new subject: changes in the housing of hens who produce table eggs. Though this letter does not cover all the flaws and threats of the bill, these are our major concerns. We oppose this bill in its entirety and ask you to oppose it for the following reasons.

First, no person, organization, or state government may improve the welfare and treatment of egg-laying hens if it differs from the inadequacies of the Act.  There is no sunset language in this bill. According to the proposed bill, no person, agency, or act of Washington State government could implement science-based improvements based on studies of animal behavior before or after 2029 when the bill comes into full implementation: Requirements within the scope of this Act with respect to minimum floor space allotments or enrichments for egg-laying hens housed in commercial egg production which are in addition to or different than those made under this Act may not be imposed by any State or local jurisdiction [Section 4(b)(c) of the bill]. S. 820 will disenfranchise your constituents from this matter—completely. We hope this issue alone, the disenfranchisement of the people of Washington State, will move you to oppose this misleading bill.

Second, S. 820 removed important definitions and deadlines. It currently states: “(a) The term ‘adequate environmental enrichments’ means adequate perch space, dust bathing or scratching areas, and nest space, as defined by the Secretary of Agriculture, based on the best available science, including the most recent studies available at the time that the Secretary defines the term.” The deadline schedule for the Secretary of Agriculture to define “adequate environmental enrichments” has been deleted from the 2013 version of the bill. The deleted section from 2012 read, “The Secretary shall issue regulations defining this term not later than January 1, 2017, and the final regulations shall go into effect on December 31, 2018.” The number of nesting spaces serves as an example of the need for clearly defined implementation. Research demonstrates that the lack of nesting opportunity is extremely stressful to the hen as it is one of several innate behavioral needs. Yet the Secretary is not required to specify any interior changes to cages excepting square inches per hen, itself a gross denial of the hens’ basic needs.

Third, the 2012 version of the bill used the word “must” consistently as the implementing mandate, as in “must provide environmental enrichment”; the 2013 bill (the “Amendments”) replaces “must” with “shall” throughout. We believe “must” was replaced with “shall” to further weaken the minimal, humane-washing changes it proposes. Going to the U.S. Federal Register Website, “Drafting Legal Documents / Principles of Clear Writing / Section 3” you will see they believe it correct to, “use ‘must’ instead of ‘shall’” because: “shall imposes an obligation to act, but may be confused with prediction of future action” while “must imposes obligation, indicates a necessity to act”. The plain English use of “must” in the 2012 bill is obvious when compared to “shall” in the 2013 bill. That change must be opposed along with the bill. Continue reading

Stop the Devil’s Egg Bill aka the Rotten Egg Bill

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iStock_000012708963XSmallUnmoved by critics who condemned what was called the “rotten egg bill” in 2012 (US Senate Bill 3239), the same nonprofit animal welfare organizations have returned with their 2013 effort, The Devil’s Egg Bill. It is weaker and more harmful to egg-laying chickens than last year’s version. The 2013 Senate Bill 820 is a misguided return to an animal welfare mistake that locks you, me and every organization and state out of improving the lives of chickens forever entombed in animal agriculture. Go here to see a side-by-side comparison of the 2012 and 2013 bills. S.820 is fairly convoluted with special rules applicable to California only because of that state’s legislation, Proposition 2, that had set cage and confinement standards for chickens and individuals from other species.

The highlights of S. 820: Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013

AFTER reading this posting, immediately contact your congressional representatives. Tell them you oppose the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments in all bills. Use the information below and feel free to cut and paste it into your emails to them. Call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or go to http://whoismyrepresentative.com/

As proposed and posted online 25 April 2013:

  • The 2012 version of the bill used the word “must” consistently as the implementing mandate, as in “must provide environmental enrichment”; the 2013 bill (the “Act”) replaces “must” with “shall” throughout. I’m not an attorney, but “must” and “shall” are implementing words that I fear were changed with intention to weaken the bill. Going to the U.S. Federal Register website, “Drafting Legal Documents / Principles of Clear Writing / Section 3” you will see they believe it correct to, “use ‘must’ instead of ‘shall’” because:

“shall imposes an obligation to act, but may be confused with prediction of future action”
“must imposes obligation, indicates a necessity to act”

The impacts that this (must/shall) language change will have on egg-laying hens is up to Senators and attorneys to debate, but the plain English use of “must” in the original bill appears far more robust than “shall” in the 2013 Act. That change should be opposed.

Environmental Enrichment

  • The 2013 Act: “(a) The term ‘adequate environmental enrichments’ means adequate perch space, dust bathing or scratching areas, and nest space, as defined by the Secretary of Agriculture, based on the best available science, including the most recent studies available at the time that the Secretary defines the term.” The deadline schedule for the Secretary of Agriculture to define “adequate environmental enrichments” has been deleted from the current Act. The deleted section from 2012 read, “The Secretary shall issue regulations defining this term not later than January 1, 2017, and the final regulations shall go into effect on December 31, 2018.”
  • New cages have 9 years to implement environmental enrichment; existing cages have 15 years.

Floor Space

  • Existing cages. At the end of four years and until 15 years post passage of the Act, the larger brown hens get 76 square inches to live within; white hens get 67. After 15 years, browns get 144 square inches; white hens 124.
  • New Cages. Beginning year three and until year six, browns get 90 square inches, whites get 78 square inches of floor space. Between years six and nine, the allotment is 102 for the browns, 90 for the white hens. Nine to twelve years, 116 browns, 101 whites. From year twelve to fifteen years out from passage of this Act, browns get 130, whites 113. After fifteen years, the grand prize is 144 square inches for brown hens, 124 for white hens.
  • Allotted floor space for chickens “shall” be increased incrementally over many years uses a few ways to measure progress. Remember that brown hens are larger than white hens and thus are allotted additional square inches.
  • The first measure is floor space divided by the number of birds still in a cage by certain deadlines as I described above.
  • A second measure was added. At years six and twelve, surveys are taken to see if 25% and 55% respectively of the hens are caged according to the Act. By 31 December 2029, all environmental enrichments, and the glory of 144 square inches for brown hens and 124 for white hens, is the end result of S. 802. A report is made at each of these incremental stages. HOWEVER…

 No person, organization, or state government may improve on any provision of this Act if it differs from the Act though betters the lives of hens. And, there is no sunset language in this bill that would allow individuals, organizations, or states to make improvements after 2029—in effect, forever—unless Congress passed a newer bill.

  • Box labels are defined loosely, but there appears to be no penalties (confiscations, fines, criminal charges) for mislabeling. There is only a vaguely worded prohibition in commerce.
  • Insanely cruel practices will continue under this bill: burning of the sensitive tips of beaks; the whole sale slaughter of male chicks at birth; and not a single hen will be spared from slaughter after living a life confined to at most, 144 square inches, a floor area square 12 inches to a side. Aggressive birds may get more, the cooperative, less.
  • There appears to be no companion appropriations bill to pay for overseeing compliance of S.802.
  • There appears to be no penalties for violating the provisions of this bill. If the Secretary of Agriculture in any of his reports finds noncompliance, he submits the reports to various committees, and perhaps declares that provisions are now in effect regardless of compliance (unclear to me if this moves up the timetable for reforms). Eggs without carton labels describing how the hens were raised “shall” not be part of commerce. Eggs coming from covered sources that do not provide the “enrichment” and tiny space allocations less than those as scheduled in the Act are prohibited from commerce. But, again, there are no provisions for confiscations, fines, or any other impediment that would stop that commerce even after a notice, if any, were given. I’m hoping I missed something on this point.
  • S.802 does not protect over 56 million commercial laying hens every month, and many more millions over the course of every year as the egg-laying hens are killed and replaced when productivity declines. Why? “All layers in the United States on April 1, 2013 totaled 348 million…. The 348 million layers consisted of 292 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 53.0 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.11 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs.” S.802 only covers table eggs. IN ADDITION, all flocks of less than 3,000 hens are excluded from this bill. According to the USDA, “Flocks with more than 30,000 layers account for over 80 percent of all layers.” So, the remaining, unknown number of flocks below 3,000 hens are part of this percentage, inferred somewhere below 20%, and not covered by this bill.
  • Forced molting (the deprivation of water, food, and light to increase egg production) is allowed to continue for two more years AFTER the act is passed.
  • The Act allows 25 ppm of ammonia in the air in egg-layer housing but the 2013 version allows temporary increases for unusual conditions. At 25 ppm, “Marked eye, skin, and respiratory irritation” occurs in humans. (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) at here.
  • This bill is an ecological disaster. I will post a separate blog on that aspect in the coming weeks.

Specific to California

  • Environmental enrichment. For new cages installed after the Act is enacted, enrichment commences three months after passage of the bill, an item that I would expect to affect a fraction of total cages in California; existing cages have until 1 January 2024. Last year’s bill simply stated that “All caging devices in California must provide egg-laying hens housed therein, beginning December 31, 2018, adequate environmental enrichments.” For the vast majority of California hens, this adds five years before enriched cages are required.
  • Floor Space. There are similar benchmarks and phasing in of environmental enrichment and allocations of floor space in California over time, excepting they are structured differently. The California Department of Agriculture is eventually handed back authority over the provisions of this ACT—after 15 years. California Proposition 2, driven primarily by the Humane Society of the United States, the same organization behind S.802, was decisively passed by voters there in 2008. In part, it provided that, ““Fully extending his or her limbs” means fully extending all limbs without touching the side of an enclosure, including, in the case of egg-laying hens, fully spreading both wings without touching the side of an enclosure or other egg-laying hens.” It is set to go into effect 1 January 2015. If this Act passes, all the work of volunteers and monies spent will be cast aside. Chickens will be denied Prop 2’s provisions for an additional nine years. A similar initiative was stopped mid-signture collection in Washington State as a sign of good will by HSUS to United Egg Producers, the entity they tried to negotiate a fair bill with, but failed in decency.

S. 802 is convoluted and complex in its proposed changes. I’ve not included all of them. Though there are deep disagreements about what strategies best serve laying hens, in this case the end result of this Act leaves intact an insanely cruel industry. For whatever relief supporters of this Act believe they are providing for these hens, most consumers will certainly think the issues about chickens in animal agriculture have been settled. For all the petition-gatherers, and the once believable reputations of mainstream “animal groups”, it is essential they take another look at this disaster of a bill. You tried to negotiate with the largest industry imaginable and lost. This bill must be defeated. Your alliances with industry, pig slaughter businesses, retail meat outlets, and celebrity chefs must stop. Their intent is to increase the slaughter and all the terrible consequences chickens and other species experience in animal agriculture in their awareness minute by minute.

We must review the vegan movement’s mission and the diversity of its messaging. Diversity can be a strength, and I believe it is still. But there are lines that have been crossed. One of them is the arrogant assumption any subset of organizations has a right to stop all future “improvements” and lessen the remaining cruelties, if not end them, by the rest of us, including state governments. We operate within a constantly changing environment that requires adaptive strategies. It’s time to refine those strategies, and stop legislating the institutionalization of the slaughter billions of chickens who need us to stop the industry, not enable its continued existence.

Do we believe consumers are too stupid, uncaring, overwhelmed, and incapable of personal change? Or do we follow the examples of other justice movements that succeeded when it seemed impossible? When we defeat this bill, we will have an enhanced responsibility to stop animal agriculture’s harm and death for all chickens and other species. What could we otherwise accomplish by 2029, when this act “shall” allow up to 144 square inches of living space for some chickens? The New Human Ecology, a vegan human ecology, is an efficient platform we will continue to promote for all chickens, individuals from other species, people, and ecosystems. Kill the bill. And then work together on a different strategy.

FOR ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND and documentation about this proposed Act, be sure to study these websites and support their work as well: United Poultry Concerns and Humane Farming Association.