Why Are Cows Meat, Pigs Pork, Turkeys Turkey, and Tunas Tuna?

Marc Bekoff Ph.D.

Animal Emotions https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/animal-emotions/202006/why-are-cows-meat-pigs-pork-turkeys-turkey-and-tunas-tuna

A 12-year-old asked, after his mother told him animals don’t have feelings.

Posted Jun 24, 2020

Names and labels used for “food animals” are psychological ploys to distance people from their meals and reduce cognitive dissonance.

A few weeks ago I received an email from a 12-year-old boy (Erwin) who was concerned and confused about the names and labels that are used to refer to so-called “food animals.” He asked, “Why are cows meat, pigs pork, turkeys turkey, and tunas tuna?” The COVID-19 pandemic is calling attention to the lives and plight of a wide variety of nonhuman animals. He had read about the horrific conditions at pork-producing meatpacking plants and, while he knew that what we call pork had previously been a sentient pig, he hadn’t really thought much about it.I reminded him that the meat and pork industries are more appropriately called the cow and pig industries, that a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich is really a pig, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, and that the real question at hand is “Who’s for dinner?” rather than “What’s for dinner”? A few other email exchanges showed me he clearly understood what I was writing. 

Erwin also mentioned that when he asked his mother this same question, she casually told him that animals don’t really have emotions or feelings, and “These words are used are for marketing and people don’t want to come to terms with the fact they are eating a cow or a pig.” Erwin wondered, rightfully, why birds, fish, and invertebrates who are eaten usually called by name, for who they are—chicken, turkey, goose, tuna, halibut, lobster—and wanted to know more about the names and labels that are used to refer to nonhumans who are regular features on countless humans’ meal plans. He also wondered why lamb chops are a popular food item, and I couldn’t say much about it given that it’s well known that sheep are fully sentient beings just like cows, pigs, and other mammalian “food animals,” but I was pleased he asked. I once asked a hunter why deer meat is called venison, but people freely talk about elk steaks. He said something like, “Many people don’t want to face the fact they’re eating a cute deer like Bambi.” 

Why are cows meat, pigs pork, sausage or bacon, chimpanzees bushmeat, turkeys turkey, chickens chicken, tunas tuna, and lobsters lobster?

Of course, there are many other examples of misleading speciesist names and labels used to refer to “food animals.” Indeed, they have become global memes. In my emails to Erwin I mentioned a few things that are easy to summarize. I began by writing that his mother was right on the mark—most people don’t want to know they’re eating cows or pigs, but don’t really think about who they’re eating when birds, fish, or some invertebrates are on the menu. Numerous people think that animals whose species’ identities aren’t hidden or disguised aren’t really sentient or emotional and they’re all the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth, given what solid science has shown us about birds, fish, and numerous invertebrates.2,3 We also know that mammals, birds, and fish don’t like being caged and brutally abused in ways that defy any compassion or empathy at all, that birds and fish don’t necessarily suffer less than mammals, and that they have unique personalities. Animal sentience isn’t science fiction and animal suffering isn’t an enigma

 Tito White, with permission

Walter, a rescued turkey, at Luvin’ Arms Animal SanctuarySource: Tito White, with permission

I also mentioned that the words and labels that are used are very effective psychological ploys that distance people from their meals and reduce cognitive dissonance for those who fully know—or should know—who they’re consuming, but want to forget about it. He fully understood what I meant. Also, some people know the animals suffer and still can’t stop themselves from eating them—eating misery—and can’t resolve the “meat paradox” by not doing what they well know causes pain, suffering, and death. 

The 3 Ds that influence meal plans: How denying and distancing work to reduce dissonance.

I went on to tell Erwin that his mother was incorrect in saying that nonhumans don’t have emotions or feelings. I wondered if she really meant this or if it was her way of denying and distancing herself from who she was eating. As incredible as it sounds, there still are people who deny that nonhumans are sentient and emotional beings. They’re clearly stuck in the darkest of dark ages and maintain that we don’t really know if other animals have emotions. These denialists go on to falsely and inanely claim that there’s no science to support the idea that other animals are sentient and emotional beings, so therefore they’re not. I won’t belabor the crude logic here, but it really does exist. For example, recently, The Ontario Federation of Agriculture made this absurd claim, despite clear scientific evidence that numerous nonhumans have rich and deep emotional lives.I told Erwin that the real question at hand is why emotions have evolved, not if they have evolved, and that they matter very much to the individuals experiencing them. article continues after advertisement

I also explained to Erwin that the vast majority of “food animals” produced by massive industries are numbered, rather than named. This is another way for people to distance themselves from who the animals—each and every individual—truly are. Animals on sanctuaries, such as turkey Walter (above), are invariably named, and this helps to establish close and enduring relationships and recognize every single one as the unique individual they are. Of course, unnamed animals aren’t less sentient than named individuals. All should be referred to as “who,” rather than “it,” “which,” or “that.”

Finally, I mentioned to Erwin that many people who choose to unmind “food animals” and falsely rob them of their emotional lives don’t hesitate to attribute rich and active minds and a wide variety of emotions to companion animals with whom they share their homes. Uminding is a ruse by which some people claim certain animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, and others who wind up on humans’ plates are dumb and don’t have feelings, and this ploy allows them to eat and otherwise use and abuse them without a care in the world. While many people don’t like to admit it, in terms of harms, pain, suffering, and death, dogs and cats don’t really suffer more than individuals who find themselves on humans’ meal plans. When people ask me how can I work in China helping to rescue moon bears from the bear bile industry knowing that people there eat dogs and cats, I usually respond by politely saying something like, “Well, I live in the United States where people eat cows, pigs, sheep, and other fully sentient animals, and I dislike both practices. What’s the difference?”

While it may sound strange or heartless, there really isn’t a difference between eating traditional “food animals” and companion animals, because they’re all sentient and deeply suffer on the long and pain-filled journey on their way to peoples’ plates.Along these lines, in her book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, Melanie Joy “explores the many ways we numb ourselves and disconnect from our natural empathy for farmed animals.” She came up with the term carnism “to describe the belief system that has conditioned us to eat certain animals and not others.”

Youngsters offer hope and we must listen carefully to them.

I’m pleased that Erwin wrote to me. He raised a lot of issues, many of which he was unaware were so salient, current, and on the minds of numerous people. I’m also happy that he understood what I wrote to him, or came to understand it after a few exchanges. Along the way, his mother thanked me and said she was revising her ways of thinking about animal sentience and animal emotions. I was pleased that she and Erwin could have further conversations about who we eat, how they’re labeled, and why. I thanked her and noted it was a win-win for all.article continues after advertisementhttps://4a194d60cc7be2e2f602ef76b092b970.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

I’ve written a number of other essays motivated by great questions from curious youngsters.6 These discussions give me hope. We really need to listen carefully to what they’re are saying and asking. We must do the very best we can to leave future generations a more compassionate and friendlier world in which humane education and peaceful coexistence are high on the agenda.

Ontario Passes Controversial New Ag-Gag Law, But Animal Rights Activists Aren’t Backing Down

Kayo Brewster

Reading Time: 3 minutes  

On June 17, 2020, the Ontario government passed Bill 156, an ag-gag law that criminalizes whistleblowing on factory farms.

Under this law, it is now illegal for anyone to photograph animals in transport or to approach trucks to offer water to animals that have legally been transported without food, water, or rest for up to 36 hours in sweltering conditions. The new legislation also targets journalists, whistleblowers, and investigators, preventing them from exposing animal cruelty on farms and in slaughterhouses. 

Without the cruelty unveiled by undercover investigators and whistleblowers, animals will continue to live in squalid conditions and be subjected to inhumane treatment without repercussions for the farm owners or workers committing these acts.

Amy Soranno is one of the many investigators fighting back, with the support of the Canadian Association of Journalists, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and thousands of activists who believe the new law poses a serious threat to free speech.

In a recent video, Soranno discusses her life as an animal rights activist, including organizing Canada’s first mass farm occupation Meat The Victims, and investigating some of the country’s largest animal farming operations.

Following the video’s release, we chatted with Soranno about Ontario’s new ag-gag law and what the further criminalization of on-farm activism in Canada means for the rest of the animal protection movement.

“The animal agriculture industry wants to scare animal activists away from escalating their tactics or taking part in direct action because they recognize that these actions are highly effective,” Soranno states. “My hope is that Bill 156 (and other ag-gag laws) will have the opposite effect, lighting a fire within activists to fight even harder, challenging Bill 156 in court, and fighting for animals to be protected under the law.”
The Importance of Whistleblowers and Undercover Investigators
The meat and dairy industries’ unsavory practices are upsetting and unprofitable, so companies do what they can to “humane wash” their marketing strategies—giving the illusion that their products come from happy, well-treated animals. Undercover investigators, activists, and whistleblowers continue to risk their mental and physical health to expose the truth.  In June of 2019, Animal Outlook—formerly Compassion Over Killing—and the Public Justice Food Project brought suit on behalf of a whistleblower following a hidden-camera investigation inside the Superior Farms lamb slaughterhouse conducted in Dixon, California from May to November 2016. In a first for the animal agriculture industry, Superior Farms entered a consent decree with the USDA to reform its killing methods and other inhumane and otherwise misleading practices that Animal Outlook’s investigation brought into question.
 In July of 2019, Animal Recovery Mission’s (ARM) investigation at Natural Prairie Dairy stands as the first-ever cruelty investigation into an organic dairy farm in the United States, and the third installment of the largest dairy investigation of all time into Fairlife and Select Milk Producers, Inc. The first two investigations released by ARM were Operation Fair Oaks Farms and Operation Fairlife. After the investigations gained media attention, Fairlife milk and Natural Prairie Dairy products were pulled from grocery store shelves across the country.
 In October of 2019, Animal Outlook released the first-ever undercover footage of a salmon aquaculture farm—Cooke Aquaculture. The farm is a massive salmon hatchery whose subsidiary, True North, has partnered on a new seafood brand with Martha Stewart. The footage reveals heinous scenes of animal abuse, giving consumers a first look into the highly secretive salmon farming industry. Animal Outlook submitted their evidence to authorities, and after being contacted about the investigation, Cory Baker, COO of Marquee Brands—which owns the Martha Stewart True North Line—replied promptly. Booker stated that the company will be opening its own investigation immediately and is committed to “sustainability and of course ensuring cruelty free practices.”
Similar ag-gag laws are being introduced and implemented into provinces across Canada, including Alberta and British Columbia.

“These bills would increase penalties for people who attempt to rescue animals from harm and would implement higher charges for those who trespass onto farm properties, like hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines or years in jail…This is for entering a business and taking out your phone to record. These new Bills are one of the biggest threats to Canadian farmed animals right now. Not only are the animals being silenced, but now so are their advocates.”

Read the full story here
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Help us share the facts during these uncertain times and make sure the world knows our species cannot survive if we continue our exploitation of the planet and nonhuman animals.

Joaquin Phoenix Attends Vigil for Animal Rights Activist After She Died Outside a Slaughterhouse

Joaquin Phoenix honored Regan Russell, an animal rights activist who was killed outside of a slaughterhouse in Toronto, CanadaBy Alexia Fernandez June 26, 2020 10:02 PMhttps://7df0782deefdfbba75c64735113f71eb.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.htmlhttps://7df0782deefdfbba75c64735113f71eb.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.htmlADVERTISEMENTFBTweetMore

Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix and Michelle Cho; (inset) Regan Russell BOBBY SUD

Joaquin Phoenix paid tribute to an animal rights activist after she died giving pigs water outside of a Canadian slaughterhouse.

The Oscar-winning actor, 45, joined more than 100 animal rights activists for a vigil to commemorate Regan Russell outside of the Farmer John slaughterhouse in Vernon, California, on Thursday night.

Phoenix, who has been an outspoken proponent for animal rights and veganism, stood outside of the slaughterhouse in a black hoodie reading “LA Animal Save,” a mask, and a sign that read, “#SavePigs4Regan.”

Standing beside him was his friend, Michelle Cho, with a sign that read, “Rest in power Regan.”

RELATED: Joaquin Phoenix Comforted Pigs at L.A. Slaughterhouse After SAG Award Win: ‘I Have to Be Here’

In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, Phoenix said, “Regan Russell spent the final moments of her life providing comfort to pigs who had never experienced the touch of a kind hand.”

“While her tragic death has brought upon deep sorrow in the Animal Save community, we will honor her memory by vigorously confronting the cruelties she fought so hard to prevent by marching with Black Lives, protecting Indigenous rights, fighting for LGBTQ equality, and living a compassionate vegan life,” he said.

Joaquin Phoenix

Regan Russell died on June 19 GOFUNDME

“The Ontario government can attempt to silence us with the passage of its Ag-Gag bill -Bill 156 – but we will never go away and we will never back down,” he said. “My heart goes out to the Toronto Animal Save community and to Regan’s lifelong partner, Mark Powell.”

Part of Russell’s fight was to repeal a new bill passed in Ontario, Bill 156, that will soon make it illegal for anyone to be on private property such as farms where animals intended for slaughter are usually held.

Russell died on the morning of June 19 outside of the Fearman’s Pork Inc. when she was hit by a transport truck as she was attempting to give water to pigs headed to slaughter.

A spokesperson for the Halton Regional Police Service did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, although an investigation into her death is being conducted, a spokesperson told CBC.

Russell’s partner, Powell, told The Hamilton Spectator shortly after her death he didn’t know how she ended up underneath the transport truck, but that he was willing to continue her legacy of fighting for animal welfare.

RELATED: Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix March with Dead Animals After Sparking Engagement Rumors

“She died fighting for what she believed in,” Powell said. “Whatever it cost, she would pay. Sometimes it’s money. Sometimes, it’s this.”

On Friday, Powell told the CBC he’d fight Bill 156 for “the rest of my life.”

“My life ended on Friday [June 19], so for as long as I’m left here, we have to pick up the torch and we have to fight things like Bill 156,” he said.

GoFundMe for Russell has been created by her family to provide funds for her funeral and legal expenses.

The Long History Of Murdered Animal Rights And Environmental Activists

Regan Russell and other activists killed

ActivismAnimal RightsArticlesEnvironmentFeaturedFeatured ActivistsLatest

 Brandon Kirkwood  0 CommentsActivistskilledmurderSpread the love

With the recent passing of Regan Russell who died when run over by a slaughterhouse truck at a vigil in Canada, a long horrible chain of violence has been added to.

Below is a timeline of vegan activists who died speaking out for the animals.

When possible I have posted pictures of the slain individuals so they can be more than just words on a page.

1976, January 6th: William Sweet, LACS member Anti-hunting activist, Murdered after an altercation with a man who was shooting birds. His murderer was jailed for life but was later released.

1985 October 7th: Fernando Pereira a Greenpeace photographer was murdered by the French Secret Service when the vessel “Rainbow Warrior” was sunk by two explosions in Auckland Harbor, New Zealand.

The Photographer Fernando Pereira (right) and Rongelap Islander Bonemej Namwe ride ashore in the ‘bum bum’. Born on Kwajalein, Namwe, 62, has lived most of her life on Rongelap. The Rainbow Warrior is in Rongelap to assist in the evacuation of islanders to Mejato. Rongelap suffered nuclear fallout in 1954, making it a hazardous place for this community to continue living in. Eyes of Fire: p49

1988, December 22nd: Chico Mendes an anti-deforestation activist was murdered in his own home after an assassination order by a cattle rancher. He was the 19th Brazilian rainforest activist murdered that year. 

1991, February 9th: Mike Hill an 18 year old hunt saboteur was deliberately run over and killed during a meet of the Cheshire Beagles. Death is deemed “accidental”. No charges are brought against the driver Allan Summersgill. 

1993, April 3rd: 15-year-old hunt saboteur, Tom Warby, is deliberately run over and killed by a fox hunter as other huntsmen stand and laugh, proclaiming a “victory”. The driver, Alan Ball, is not prosecuted. 



1995, February 1st: Jill Phipps was a 31-year-old British activist and mother, who was crushed to death under the wheels of a veal transporter truck carrying live animals for export at a protest at Coventry airport. The Crown Prosecution Service decided not to bring any charges against the driver.

1995, March: Dr. Karel Van Noppen was a Belgium veterinarian who was assassinated in 1993 by hitmen after exposing mafia connections to the meat industry. Dr. Van Noppen was the victim of a powerful, international mafia who violently imposing its rule on the meat business, ruthlessly bullying anyone daring to stand in its way. In 1995, a few days before his murder, Van Noppen was explicitly threatened by people linked to the “hormone black mafia” underworld.

Dr. Karel Van Noppen

1998, September 17th: David “Gypsy” Chain was an American eco-activist who was crushed to death after an irate logger fell a tree on him in California’s redwood forest. On September 17, 1998, the 24-year-old environmental activist was crushed to death by a falling tree at the Headwaters Forest in Northern California.

Activists from Earth First! accused loggers of deliberately cutting down trees in their direction, part of escalating violence against activists condoned by the Pacific Lumber Company and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department.

Gypsy was part of an action to stop PL from destroying one of the last ancient redwood forests in the world.

The logging operation was illegal as a survey had yet to be done for the marbled murrelet, an endangered species of bird. PL attempted to portray the death as a “freak accident” and even tried to blame the victim as well as Earth First! According to PL spokesperson, Mary Bullwinkle:https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html


“Despite all our precautions, a trespasser was apparently killed by a falling tree at one of our logging sites on our private property.”

On September 18, Earth First! released a videotape revealing that loggers not only knew that demonstrators were in the area, but were angrily threatening them shortly before Gypsy was killed.

A logger shown shouting profanities and threats was, according to Earth First!, the very same logger who felled the tree that struck David. The video also showed activists scrambling up a steep hillside to escape falling trees. According to a witness statement:

“Gypsy’s death is not an isolated incident of violence. In the last several months trees have been intentionally felled at nonviolent activists at the Luna tree sit and in the Mattole watershed in Humboldt County. This is part of an escalation of violence against nonviolent forest defenders in the Northwest and all over the world.”

On September 18, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department issued preliminary findings concluding that the death was “accidental”. According to an Earth First! activist speaking at a press conference, “Police have routinely refused to file charges against anybody who assaults a forest activist.” In 1999, Mr. Chain’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against PL. The company settled out of court in October of 2001, just three days before the trial was set to begin.

A collage of David “Gypsy” Chain made by a morner

2003: Animal rights activist Jane Tipson is murdered in an alleged contract killing after protesting against the construction of a dolphin aquarium in St Lucia. To this day, her killers have not been found or prosecuted.

2005: 73-year-old anti-deforestation campaigner, Dorothy Stang, is approached in the Amazon by 2 armed men working on behalf of an animal agriculture organization. Asked if she has any weapons, she produces her Bible and says that’s all she has. She is shot in the stomach, then fatally shot 5 more times as she lays on the ground.

Dorothy Stang



2006: Joan Root, a conservationist, and activist against poaching and illegal fishing is murdered by 4 gunmen in her own home. To this day, her killers have not been found or prosecuted.

Joan Root and Alan Root

2010, May 12th: Elvio Fichera a volunteer for the Association of Abandoned Animals was murdered while trying to serve a warrant with police on Renzo Castagnola for cruelty to animals. Renzo Castagnola shot Elvio dead.

Elvio Fichera

More: https://vegannewsnow.com/2020/06/24/regan-russell-history-activists/

May 12, 2010: Paola Quartini, animal activist for LIPU (Italian League for Bird Protection – UK) from Genoa, Italy was murdered whilst trying, with police, to serve a warrant on Renzo Castagnola for cruelty to animals. Renzo Castagnola shot him dead.

2011: Two anti-deforestation activists, Jose Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espirito Santo, are shot dead by hired thugs, after years of constant death threats from cattle ranchers. The main suspect is acquitted. No other prosecutions.



2013: Jairo Mora Sandoval, a sea turtle activist, is bound, beaten, then fatally shot in the head by sea turtle poachers, after being kidnapped along with 4 other activists.

2020, June 19th: Regan Russell, an activist with the Animal Save Movement was murdered by a slaughterhouse truck driver that by all accounts did so on purpose.

Regan Russell


We remember our fellow fallen friends by continuing on with the activism they died for. Any single one of their deaths could easily have been ours and that’s one reason their deaths hit so hard.

Every time we go to a vigil, protest, shutdown, undercover investigation, or any form of protest we place our lives at risk so that we can help change the world.

Never forgetting those who have sacrificed everything for a more just and equal world is the least we can do but it’s even better if we remember on the days we are too tired, or sick to go to an event.

In the end we are all brothers and sisters in this together fighting for what’s right. We are all in this together.

Help Vegan News continue to get the news that matters to our community and help us move forward in these hard times.

You can help us continue creating and telling the stories of animals and activists by becoming a Patreon supporter at: https://www.patreon.com/vegannews

Or with a one time donation through:

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‘My life ended’ Friday: Regan Russell’s supporters want justice, Bill 156 overturned

‘I’ll fight it the rest of my life,’ says Regan Russell’s husband, Mark Powell

Samantha Craggs · CBC News · Posted: Jun 26, 2020 12:55 PM ET | Last Updated: June 26


Regan Russell, says friend Julie Maue, “taught me how to have long friendships. How lucky am I?” (Agnes Cseke)

As far as Mark Powell is concerned, his life ended last Friday when his wife, Regan Russell, was hit and killed by a transport truck during a Burlington animal rights protest.

Now he’ll spend the rest of his days, he says, trying to get rid of the bill that haunted her.

Powell, a west Hamilton contractor, says there’s been an international outpouring over Russell’s death, from artwork to YouTube tributes, and it’s helped make the grief a little lighter. His wife was deeply rattled by Bill 156, which creates “animal protection zones” that prohibits animal rights activists from “interfering or interacting with the farm animals in the motor vehicle.” 

He’s hired a lawyer for two reasons: to see justice in her death, and to try to get the new bill repealed. 

“I’ll fight it the rest of my life,” he said. “My life ended on Friday, so for as long as I’m left here, we have to pick up the torch, and we have to fight things like Bill 156.”

The notion of Russell having a legacy is comforting to Powell and others who knew her. The 65-year-old activist often protested in front of Fearman’s Pork Inc. as part of Toronto Pig Save. The group gives a last gulp of water to pigs packed into hot trailers, moments before they’re slaughtered.

That’s what she was doing at 10:20 a.m. June 19. Somehow, witnesses say, she ended up being hit by the transport truck.

Regan Russell (left) and Katherine Wightman are shown as young models in the photo on the left. In the more recent photo, Russell is on the right. “I’ve lost my right arm,” Wightman says. (Katherine Wightman)

Halton Regional Police Service said Thursday that the collision reconstruction unit is doing a “thorough investigation.” 

“A determination on charges will be made by the collision reconstruction unit once the investigation is complete,” said Const. Steve Elms in an email. “At that time, investigators will issue a media release to update the community.”

Russell was also a women’s rights and Black Lives Matter supporter and attended a rally days before her death, says close friend Katherine Wightman. She believed strongly, Wightman says, that all beings are equals, and that informed her activism.

Russell often posted her thoughts on Facebook, most recently about Bill 156. “Bill 156 has passed,” she wrote on the day before she died. “Now, any time an animal is suffering on a farm in Ontario, no one, not even an employee, has the right to expose it.”

Animal rights activists have been rallying against the Security From Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2019  since January. 

The bill was introduced in the Ontario legislature late last year. Agriculture Minister Ernie Hardeman said it’s in response to complaints from farmers about animal rights groups trespassing on their private property. 

Friends and community, including Russell’s parents and husband, gathered for a vigil last weekend. (Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals)

The bill, he said, is a “bio-security” measure. It increases the fines for anyone caught trespassing on farms or food processing plants, and makes it illegal to gain access to a farm under “false pretenses,” which effectively makes undercover filming an offence.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture rallied support for the bill, saying it “protects our farms, families, livestock and food supply” from increasingly aggressive tactics from animal rights groups.

“Ontario farms have come under increasing threat from trespassers and activists who illegally enter property, barns and buildings, breaching biosecurity protocols,” president Keith Currie said in a June 12 media release

“Once peaceful protests have now escalated to trespassing, invasions, barn break-ins, theft and harassment.”

There’s precedent, however, to what Powell is considering. In Idaho, Iowa and Utah, courts have struck down similar “Ag-Gag” laws as being unconstitutional. That’s led Ontario animal rights activists to consider whether Ontario’s law could be struck down in court.

“She was dynamic,” friend Julie Maue says of Russell. “She was confident. She always made you feel like you were as beautiful as her.” (Toronto Pig Save)

Powell has retained Anandi Naipaul at Ross & McBride LLP. Russell’s family has also launched a fundraising campaign “to continue Regan’s work and assist the family.”

Powell says it’s the best way he knows to honour his wife’s life. Russell’s activism began when she was 24, he says, and living in Winnipeg. She made her own sign that said “Stop the seal hunt” and stood outside a downtown government building on a frigid winter day. After several hours, she thought she’d instigated some change.

“She went home, freezing cold,” Powell said. “She took a hot bath and thought, ‘There, that’s done. What’s next?'”

Russell was born and raised in Hamilton, Powell said, and moved to Moose Jaw and then Winnipeg. In Winnipeg, she became a model, an occupation that continued until 2002. She also enjoyed spending time with the family’s seven rescue cats, which Russell warned Powell about when they started dating. 

“She said, ‘You have to understand there will be cats, plural,'” he recalled. “I accepted that, and it’s grown to a family of seven cats.”

Animal activists embrace at the scene on June 19. (Andrew Collins/CBC)

In 1985, Powell says, she read Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals by Peter Singer, which changed her life, and she became vegan. She gave her dad Bill, now 89, the book, and he became an animal rights activist too. The pair protested together at Marineland, Powell says, and also at a 2017 Bill Cosby show in Hamilton.

Wightman met Russell as a teenage model in Winnipeg, and “she was instantly like a big sister.” The pair talked on the phone as often as five times a day. Wightman called Russell’s cell phone on June 19, not knowing Russell had died until Powell answered it and told her. 

Now, “it feels like I’ve lost my right arm,” Wightman said. Their last conversation, she said, was about Bill 156. “She said, ‘I am so tired. Do you realize now the work that lies ahead of me?'”

If there is a bright spot, she said, it’s that “the word has become global about who she is and what she stood for.”

Russell’s friend Julie Maue says the last time she saw her friend, they went to the office of Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas MPP Sandy Shaw to talk about Bill 156. Russell, Maue says, was compassionate, intelligent and logical.


Activist killed after being struck by vehicle during Burlington pig plant protest

  • 8 days ago
  • 0:54

A animal activist protest in Burlington has turned deadly after Halton police say a vehicle struck and killed one of the activists. 0:54

“She was dynamic,” Maue said. “She was confident. She always made you feel like you were as beautiful as her.”

Anita Krajnc, founder of the Save movement, says Russell’s death has inspired vigils in multiple countries. She wants to keep the momentum going.

Krajnc made headlines at the Burlington plant in 2016 when she was charged with mischief for giving water to pigs. She was ultimately found not guilty after a lengthy trial that included slaughterhouse footage and testimony from a variety of experts. Russell attended the trial.

“I wake up multiple times a night, and I’m instantaneously thinking about her,” Krajnc said. Then “I go online and I watch the vigils.”

“I believe that site where Regan was killed, there will one day be a plant-based facility. I truly believe that.”

Understanding Euthanasia: When Life and Words Become Worthless

Animals subjected to “euthanasia” often die by carbon dioxide poisoning, ventilation shutdown, and other mass-killing techniques that prolong suffering for minutes, even hours.Reading Time: 4 minutes

hen cage animal
Jo-Anne McArthur/Animal Equality

The American Veterinary Medical Association’s Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals rightly defines euthanasia as a “good death.” But the Guidelines make all kinds of exceptions for situations in which the inhumane killing of animals—a very bad death—may be considered “euthanasia.”

People take their beloved companion animals reluctantly to the veterinarian to be euthanized, not to get rid of an inconvenience or for some other selfish purpose, but because their pet’s suffering is profound, cannot be alleviated, and will only worsen. Euthanizing a hopelessly suffering nonhuman animal or human being is an act of mercy. In such cases, the decision-makers implicitly understand the true meaning of euthanasia. The sufferer is not going to die slowly and painfully with an infusion of, say, carbon dioxide gas (CO2), or be baked to death “humanely,” as described in “How to Kill Half a Million Chickens at Once” and in “Pigs Roasted Alive in Coronavirus Mass-Extermination, Probe Uncovers” where the investigators errantly refer to the killings as “euthanizing.”

This verbal corruption confounds our discourse when, instead of a companion animal or human sufferer, the subject is a chicken, a pig, a turkey, or a mouse on a farm or in a laboratory. In these settings, the individual is one of the hundreds, thousands, or millions of captive individuals who exist solely for human use. They are born to be harmed—injured, infected, killed—for human “benefit.” When the researcher or the farmer decides in the interest of expedience to kill them, by whatever means, the term that is used to characterize the procedure is “euthanasia.”

An example appears in the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine publication, Water-Based Foam for Poultry Depopulation, which cites the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in support of the mass-suffocation of poultry under rolling carpets of chemically irritating fire-fighting foam:

Euthanasia of large numbers of birds in a quick, efficient manner with welfare consideration. The process is used to control disease spread or end the suffering of dying birds during a disease outbreak or natural disaster situations.

Though decades of research have confirmed that exposure to CO2 gas causes pain, panic and slow suffocation in mammals and birds, who will desperately seek to escape a CO2-filled chamber, the AVMA Guidelines 2020 equivocate, as in this directive for killing small animals in experimental settings:

In addition to humane outcomes, an important consideration in the choice of method for euthanasia of laboratory animals is the research objectives for the animals being euthanized.

For small animals like mice and rats in laboratories: Carbon dioxide, with or without premedication with halogenated [inhaled] anesthetics, is acceptable with conditions for euthanasia of small rodents.

In other words, a “humane outcome”—a manner of death that is painless, swift, and compassionate—may be sacrificed to “research objectives” and still be called “euthanasia,” and even absurdly at times, “humane euthanasia.”

Appallingly, the AVMA has fostered a language of impunity for agribusiness and the animal research industry to the point of elevating, in public and industry discourse, the opposite of what euthanasia and humane treatment literally mean. This fraudulent usage is a perfect example of Orwellian “newspeak,” which Merriam-Webster defines as “propagandistic language marked by euphemism, circumlocution, and the inversion of customary meanings.”

It’s easy for the public and for animal advocates to get lulled into a sense of complacency when all around us the authorities use terms like “euthanasia” to not only characterize but endorse the mass killings of farmed animals and animals in laboratories by asphyxiating, baking, or engulfing them in deadly chemicals with fire-fighting foam. Animals subjected to the cruelties of carbon dioxide, fire-fighting foam, and ventilation shutdown can take up to ten minutes, even hours, to die while struggling together in agony; and many survive these automated, crude procedures only to be trashed, buried or bulldozed, alive.

Where does this leave us—the animal advocacy community—in confronting the massive, unrelenting, painful carnage of living, breathing beings? Do we ignore it because the problem is too big for us to change? Do we justify our position because, as even animal advocates have said on occasion, fraught with frustration that can degenerate into apathy, “They’re going to die anyway”?

Of course, we’re all going to die, but when it comes to our own species and our beloved companion animals, we do not invoke our mortal fate as an excuse for abuse. The conundrum in the case of laboratory animals and farmed animals isn’t simply that they are “going to die anyway.” It’s that they are going to die inhumanely in a slaughterhouse or as part of an experiment, or in the inhumane circumstances that surround slaughter and experimentation—transportation, neglect, rough handling, overwhelming stress, fear, and learned helplessness.

There is no quick or easy answer because if there were, animal advocates would champion it. But this much we know: Silence and euphemisms like “euthanasia” are not the answer. We may be uncomfortable with a problem that is so immense and seemingly intractable, but we need to speak up—and speak accurately—even if we feel we’re shouting in the wind.

As animal advocates, we cannot allow animal exploiters to define the conversation for us, lull us into false rhetoric, or determine how we regard animals. Succumbing to these pressures, we degrade the lives of the animals down to the level at which the exploiters abuse them. By submitting to linguistic subterfuges, we accommodate virtually any mistreatment of animals as acceptable. This is the moral downslide that allows agribusiness and animal researchers to inflict pain, torment, and death on animals unfazed. It’s the type of “convenience” that debased language facilitates. As advocates for animals, let us not call the brutal mass-extermination of innocent, defenseless creatures for the sake of human convenience, “euthanasia.”

For the animals’ sake, we cannot let ourselves, or the public, be “put to sleep.”

Karen Davis, PhD is the President and Founder of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl including a sanctuary for chickens in Virginia. She is the author of numerous books, essays, articles, and campaigns advocating for these birds. Her latest book is For the Birds: From Exploitation to Liberation: Essays on Chickens, Turkeys, and Other Domesticated Fowl (Lantern Books, 2019).

Barbara Stagno is the President and Founder of Citizens for Alternatives to Animal Research & Experimentation (CAARE). Since 1995, Barbara has worked to oppose the exploitation of animals, especially the use of animals in experiments. She founded CAARE in 2014 to disseminate information about the power of emerging science to end the use of animals in research, while also raising awareness of their immense suffering. Before starting CAARE, Barbara was a campaign director for a national animal protection organization.

Lewis Hamilton Urges Fans To Watch New Vegan Documentary On Amazon Prime

‘Please watch this. We need to find compassion in our hearts to see what we are doing to this world’MARIA CHIORANDO6 HOURS AGO



Lewis Hamilton has urged his fans to watch a new pro-vegan documentary.

The film, created by leading animal protection agency Viva!, is called HOGWOOD: a modern horror story. It will be available to stream on Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Google Play Movies from tomorrow (June 25).

Hamilton said of the movie: “Please watch this. We need to find compassion in our hearts to see what we are doing to this world.”


The film centers around Viva!’s four undercover investigations into Hogwood Farm. According to the organization, ‘we recorded a catalogue of cruelty including extreme overcrowding, routine mutilation, sick and dying pigs abandoned in gangways, painful lacerations and live cannibalism’.

The farm was eventually dropped by supermarket Tesco and food verification organization Red Tractor – but it took years of campaigning. Now the film goes beyond its investigation to explore the reasons behind factory farming and expose the negligence and inaction by government bodies and corporations alike.https://www.instagram.com/p/CB0PLguAUbw/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=12&wp=658&rd=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.plantbasednews.org&rp=%2Fculture%2Flewis-hamilton-urges-fans-watch-new-vegan-documentary#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A17420.819999999367%2C%22ls%22%3A16394.29999998538%2C%22le%22%3A16443.28999996651%7Dhttps://fb51260ad01f7304469310c0d56d7300.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

‘A gripping tale’

In a statement sent to Plant Based News, Viva said: “The conspiracy unfolds as we fight against some of the most powerful players in the animal agriculture industry. This is a gripping tale of negligence, greed and inaction, and our unrelenting fight to help the pigs trapped in Hogwood Farm.

“Join us as we take you through our battle for justice against Hogwood Farm, a Red Tractor approved farm who were supplying supermarket giant, Tesco, supposedly representing some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world.

“This is a huge milestone for us and we could not have done it without your support. You helped us show the demand for this film to be made and now, it will be screened to the masses from June 25.”

HOGWOOD: a modern horror story

The film, which has a running time of just over 30 minutes, is presented by actor Jerome Flynn.

Speaking about the movie, Flynn said: “”It is an honor to be presenting this very important film. After seeing the horrendous conditions and animal abuse that is happening behind Hogwood’s walls I had to do something. The pigs of Hogwood aren’t just meat products, they are sensitive, emotionally aware beings just like us and they deserve better than this.”https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/v_kHNUwm3Yw


Director Tony Wardle added: “I have been producing investigative documentaries for many years and no film has been more harrowing than HOGWOOD. The name ‘a modern horror story’ could not be more apt; there are modern horror stories taking place each day in the British countryside. 

“Not only are these horrors hidden from sight, but they are endorsed by huge corporations and the government. That is why this film had to be made – because the public has a right to see what takes place beyond the factory farm walls.”

Viva! adds: “We realized that Hogwood is part of a bigger story, one that aims to end factory farming for good — and so we created HOGWOOD: a modern horror story. Now we need your help to get this film seen by the masses.”

You can find out more about the film here

Animal activist died trying to expose what Bill 156 will hide


By Jessica Scott-ReidContributor

Tue., June 23, 2020timer2 min. read

Late last week an Ontario woman was run over and killed by a semi-truck
outside of Fearmans Pork slaughterhouse in Burlington. Details surrounding
the incident have yet to be revealed, but what is known now is that Regan
Russell, 65, was a long-time animal and human rights activist who was there
to bear witness to the pigs on that truck. She was there because the secrecy
enshrouding meat, dairy and egg production, and lack of legal oversight
concerning farmed animal welfare forced her to be there. She was there
because it is only outside of those trucks that concerned citizens can gain
a mere moment of interaction with the animals, to document their conditions,
and to show compassion before they are trucked off into the darkness. On
this day in particular, Russell was there because soon, the newly passed
Bill 156 will make it illegal to do so, and soon that darkness will grow
much darker.

Russell witnessed animals used and abused in awful ways for many years, says
Jenny McQueen, a well-known Toronto activist and friend of Russell. Russell
was absolutely committed to speaking up on behalf of the animals and showing
that, week after week, people need to do the right thing. Russell attended
slaughterhouse vigils regularly, participated in a recent Black Lives Matter
protest, and was a strong women’s rights advocate. There are so many
instances when she was standing up for the oppressed, McQueen says.

Vigils have been held outside of Fearmans Pork for several years, organized
by international animal rights group The Save Movement, which originated in
Toronto. Typically, peaceful activists stand outside of slaughterhouses on
public land, and, when trucks hauling live animals pull up, drivers are
asked to stop for two minutes to allow activists to provide water, document
conditions, and offer some words of apology, love and comfort. Vigils are
extremely powerful, says McQueen. If you go, and connect, and look an animal
in the eye, in person, it’s life-changing.

With the passing of Bill 156, the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food
Safety Act, however, individuals who interact with animals in this way could
soon be fined up to $15,000.

Tensions between vigil participants and some truck drivers have been
bubbling for years, but for the most part the requested two minutes is
usually provided without incident. Since the passing of Bill 156 just days
before Russell’s death, though, activists can’t help but wonder if the
industry, including that truck driver, may be feeling emboldened.

In Canada, there are no laws overseeing the daily treatment of animals on
farms. An accepted form of on-farm euthanasia for piglets is bashing their
heads into concrete. Pigs are transported in open-sided,
non-climate-controlled trucks for up to 36 hours without food, water or
rest, regardless of the weather. Fearmans Pork kills approximately 10,000
young pigs every single day. These are things Russell would want you to
know. These are the things she was trying expose with her activism. These
are the things Bill 156 will drive further away from the public eye, further
into the darkness.

Plant-based meat is a trend investors should not ignore

Plant-based meat is a trend investors should not ignore

CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Wednesday that investors cannot ignore the rising popularity of plant-based meat products.

“This movement is happening. You’ve got to get on the bus or … get left behind,” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street.”

Cramer acknowledged there are not huge sales just yet for a company like Beyond Meat, which after-the-bell Tuesday reported quarterly revenue of $97.1 million, a 141% increase from a year ago.

“It starts like this. It doesn’t begin with a billion dollars. This is not blockbuster drug, but watch this trend,”  Cramer said. “I think it’s very exciting for investors.”

Shares of Beyond Meat were up about 17% on Wednesday morning to around $118 each.

Beyond Meat, at a $7.2 billion market value, has been at times one of Wall Street’s hottest stocks but also one of the most volatile since its May 2019 initial public offering. Priced at $25 per share, the stock saw a meteoric rise to nearly $240 by last July. But come December, it had lost about 70% of its value. In the early part of this year, the stock rebounded before falling off a cliff, bottoming at about $48 in mid-March. Since then, the stock has more than doubled.

On Tuesday evening, in addition to strong revenue, Beyond Meat posted quarterly net income of $1.8 million, up from a net loss of more than $6 million last year. It did warn of a hit to its restaurant business due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the “Mad Money” host said he believes the plant-based meat industry may ultimately be beneficiaries of the Covid-19 crisis.

Meatpacking plants across the U.S. have seen significant virus outbreaks, forcing some to slow down production or temporarily close as workers became sick. The developments ignited concerns about the country’s food supply, although President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week requiring the plants to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think there are people who are getting appalled by what’s happened at the meat packers. … I think these stories make you become not necessarily vegetarian but to think twice about beef,” Cramer said. “If you think twice about beef and then you try to Beyond, you kind of realize it’s very, very similar.”

While plant-based meat options have typically been more expensive than traditional meat, Cramer said the rising costs of beef, in particular, due to the coronavirus represents an opportunity for alternative producers.

One of Beyond Meat’s chief rivals in the plant-based meat category, Impossible Foods, is not publicly traded. But it is widely available as well. Grocery store chain Kroger also has launched private-label beef options.

Cramer noted that food giant such as Nestle have entered the plant-based burger market. He said the plant-based meat industry is “a really important ethos, not a hobby.”