DawnWatch: Stunning LA Times op-ed on vegetarianism and Bill Maher in NY Times on cage free eggs


Animals are having a great day in US newspapers from coast to coast! (Friday, July 10.) The Los Angeles Times carries an op-ed by Farm Sanctuary's Bruce Friedrich in which he argues that his understanding of the Pope's directive is that as a Catholic it is his duty not to eat animals, because it is not necessary. And the New York Times includes an op-ed by Bill Maher detailing the atrocious suffering of hens raised for their eggs and asking Costco to commit to a timeline for selling only cage-free eggs - the piece opening the door for a wider discussion of egg eating in our comments and letters to the editor.

Friedrich's Los Angeles Times op-ed, on page A15, is titled "Listen to the Pope: Hurting animals is wrong" The sub-heading, in major mainstream media, is heavenly: "And surely it is wrong to eat them for the sake of a brief, inconsequential gustatory pleasure."

On line that title is slightly different and the subheading is missing, but Friedrich makes the same point in the piece. He shares the Pope's recent Tweet:

"It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly."

He asks, "But what does it mean that we should not cause animals to suffer or die needlessly? Surely this admonition demands more of us than that we not personally injure and kill animals. I'm convinced that we are also obligated as Catholics to avoid paying others to kill or harm animals, absent some exceedingly compelling justification."

He shares:
"For me, not only opposition to factory farming but also a vegetarian diet is a requirement of my faith. Since I don't need to eat animals to survive, I believe Catholicism dictates that I must not."

And we writes:
"It would be entirely consistent with the pope's encyclical if the church positioned itself on the forefront of the animal protection movement; if it endorsed measures aimed at stopping the worst abuses, and even announced that the faithful cannot in good conscience cause other animals to suffer for something so inconsequential as a momentary gustatory pleasure."

It is a stunning piece, which I hope you will share widely. I will certainly be sharing it with all of my Catholic friends. You'll find it on line at

Bill Maher's op-ed in the New York Times is titled "Free the Hens, Costco" (The title is the same both on line and in print on page A27).

Maher notes that Costco has started to show concern on animal issues, and writes:

"So I don't understand how Costco can justify its refusal to set a timeline for getting rid of eggs from battery cages, which is the third system, along with pork and veal, in the factory farming cruelty trifecta.

"According to the industry itself, each hen in a battery cage is given less than 9 inches by 9 inches in which to live her entire life, crammed into a cage about the size of a file drawer with four or more other hens. (Costco sells some eggs that are organic and cage-free, but the vast majority are not.)

"Make no mistake about it: Battery cages torment animals. Physically, the animals' muscles and bones waste away from lack of use, just as yours would if you were unable to move around for two years."

He goes on to share more details of the horrendous suffering caused by battery cages.

I think those of us immersed in animal advocacy can forget that much of the public, probably most of the public, is still unfamiliar with battery cages - unfamiliar with where their eggs come from. So a piece like this is invaluable. It reminds people that hens suffer. And while its purpose is to persuade Costco to announce a timeline for phasing out battery cages, it presents a great opportunity for us to make the kind of points that Friedrich makes in his Los Angeles Times op-ed. It gives us the chance to share the benefits of plant based eating.

You'll find Maher's piece on line at Please share it with your contacts, many of whom have no clue what hens go through so that humans can eat eggs.

Both the Los Angeles Times and New York Times ask that you include your full name, address and phone number with your letter to the editor, and that your letter be specific to their publication. They ask for letters under 150 words.

The New York Times takes letters at and the Los Angeles Times takes them at

You can also join the spirited discussion taking place on the media websites where the articles are printed. The animals need your voice.

Yours and the animals',
Karen Dawn

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 Please go to to check out Karen Dawn's book, "Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way we Treat Animals," which will give you background on any issue covered by DawnWatch. When it was first published in 2008 it was chosen by the Washington Post as one of the "Best Books of The Year!" The brand new, updated, e-edition just came out in 2014.


From: Humane Society of the United States Sent: Saturday, July 11, 2015 11:00 AM   Big wins for NY's animals! New law enforcement training, and more

New York took steps to protect animals this legislative session: See all that we accomplished together and learn how you can get involved for animals in your home state!
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July 11, 2015
The New York State Legislature adjourned on June 26 after a productive session with some positive changes for animals. Highlights from the session include:
• A. 2778/ S.1081, The Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) Funding Bill, passed both houses and awaits the governor's signature. This bill authorizes key funding through NY's Animal Population Control Program to support community-based TNR initiatives conducted by animal protection groups and animal shelters.

• The New York state legislature will send a bill to the governor that increases training on animal cruelty laws for law enforcement agencies. A.7207/ S.5320, introduced by Assemblymember William Magee (D-Nelson) and Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-Oswegatchie), will require the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to work with the Municipal Police Training Council and the Division of Criminal Justice Services to develop training, create materials and provide information regarding animal cruelty statutes for New York’s police agencies, officers and district attorneys. This will strengthen the ability of these departments to identify, investigate and prosecute crimes against animals.

• Legislation aimed at dismantling New York's ban on a particularly cruel type of trap, known as a "relaxed" snare, has died in the state Assembly's Environmental Committee. A.927a/ S.2953a was intended to increase the killing of coyotes in certain parts of the state and was inaccurately portrayed as a humane method of controlling wildlife populations. The HSUS opposes efforts to legalize these traps and applauds the New York State Assembly for refusing to advance this ill-thought legislation.

• This year's Humane Lobby Day was our best attended event to date, with over 300 advocates coming to Albany to discuss animal welfare issues with their legislators. A big thanks to all the advocates and guest speakers who were able to attend and congratulations again to NYS Sen. Andrew J. Lanza and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, who both received Humane Legislator awards.
These gains would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of advocates like you -- thank you. We're looking forward to even more progress for animals in the next legislative session!
In the meantime, you can also stay connected by following The HSUS New York Facebook page or by texting HSUSNY to 30644. Want to learn how to get involved in the latest projects for animals? Email HSUS New York State Director, Brian Shapiro.
Thank you again for all you did on behalf of animals this session.

Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

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