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Peter Dinklage Is New Spokesman for Anti-Foie-Gras Group

NBC reports that Peter Dinklage, the 42-year-old Game of Thrones star who’s been a vegetarian since he was a teenager, will spend the show’s off-season as a national spokesman for Farm Sanctuary’s Walk for Farm Animals.

The campaign will promote better treatment for animals in factory farms — Farm Sanctuary has also promoted veganism, worked against cloning animals for food, and advocated the foie gras bans in California.

He said he joined the cause because he felt “animals used for food are treated like unfeeling machinery.”

Via NBC

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Scientists Grow Meat in Labs (OMG!)

Meat made in a petri dish is apparently a real thing.

In what appears to be the culinary world’s latest interpretation of Mary Shelley, scientists have already solved the riddle of making animal flesh in a lab, and are now figuring out how to sell it profitably, according to Food Safety News.

Lab meat is significantly different than your run-of-the-mill vegetarian substitute.

Food Safety News notes: “In vitro or cultured meat is not imitation meat — like all those vegetable-protein products that don’t taste anything like beef or chicken. In vitro or lab-grown meat is animal flesh, except it never was part of a living animal.”

There are at least 30 projects under development worldwide to come up with more of these cultures. NASA scientists have already proved the process possible.

And a lot of companies want to invest in these products because they see a potential windfall in selling cruelty-free meat to vegs worldwide.

The rub? Researchers need to make sure that man-made meat is commercially viable.

Many are now scrambling to do so because People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has promised $1 million to the researcher who can develop “lab-grown chicken with the same taste and texture as real chicken meat, and sell at least 2,000 pounds of the in vitro product in 10 states by early 2016.”

One of the contest’s first deadlines will take place in June. The ultimate cutoff for the contest is February 28, 2016, when “PETA judges and ‘a panel of 10 meat-eating individuals’ will reportedly be involved in the comparison tasting,” Food Safety News reports.

 

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FDA Says ‘No’ to Drugged Up Livestock

Cows, chickens, and pigs in America are on lots of drugs — and even account for 80 percent of the country’s antibiotic consumption, Time reports.

But now, Food and Drug Administration officials have called on the ag industry to limit antibiotic use in livestock, as they think it might lead to the growth of deadly, drug-resistant bacteria: On January 4, the FDA banned farmers from using a class of these medicines in excess or for preventative reasons.

This particular group of antibiotics, cephalosporins, gets used frequently in humans to treat strep throat and bronchitis, Time notes.

The livestock industry commonly doses animals with antibiotics before they get sick, though they are not intended to prevent disease.

About 100,000 Americans die each year from infections related to drug-resistant bacteria, Time reports, and many fear that the situation will only worsen if animals routinely ingest antibiotics in their food and water.

This is not the first time the FDA has moved to enact such a rule.

In 2008, the administration tried establishing a similar regulation, but got too much flack from the ├╝ber-wealthy ag lobby.

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The Humane Society and the Egg Industry Agree That Egg-Laying Hens Deserve Better Lives

Consumers may not like the idea of spending more for healthy menu items, but studies have found they are willing to pay a bit more for eggs that come from chickens living in humane conditions. And that’s a good thing, because thanks to a new agreement between the Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers, pricier eggs and happier chickens may soon be a reality.

As Nation’s Restaurant News reports, the unlikely agreement was signed yesterday after years of conflict between the two groups, who are now proposing legislation that would have a major effect on the welfare of egg-laying hens. If it passes, the law — which would be the first federal law to deal with the way animals are treated on farms — would require farmers to house their hens in more spacious “enriched housing facilities” equipped with nesting boxes, perches, and areas for dust-bathing and scratching. Each hen would get 124 to 144 square inches of cage space, as opposed to the 67 currently mandated by the UEP.

The legislation would also require the labeling on egg cartons to disclose whether their contents come from free-range hens, cage-free hens, hens in enriched cages, or caged hens. Sales of eggs or egg products from farmers who fail to comply with the regulations would be banned.

Should the law pass, farmers will have 15 to 18 years to update their facilities, at their own cost. It’s estimated that the transition will cost $4 billion, which works out to roughly $14 per hen.

Given the horrors recently documented in a video made at an industrial pig farm, the HSUS/UEP agreement sets an important precedent for the welfare of farm animals. Particularly since the factory-farm industry wants to make it illegal for undercover videographers to in any way record instances of animal cruelty in their facilities. Such legislation would in effect keep the public blissfully ignorant of the abuses perpetrated every day on farms across the country — and thus of the true cost attached to the food on our tables.