February 2024

Monthly Impact Report

February 2024

Monthly Impact Report

February
2024

We celebrated a huge victory in our aim to inspire local governments to shift purchases toward plant-based foods. We also released a new undercover investigation calling out one of the 20 largest U.S. restaurant chains for failing to keep animal welfare promises. In Brazil, several companies reported important progress on their pledges to eliminate cages from their egg supply chains.

Inspiring the Most Populous U.S. County to Serve More Plants

United States

Mercy For Animals worked closely with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on a motion to offer more plant-based foods across county-run facilities.

Under the adopted motion, the county will update its nutritional standards to incorporate best practices for purchasing, selling, and serving more plant-based foods. The county oversees several departments, including Children and Family Services and the Department of Public Health, and it holds 111 contracts with foodservice providers.

The impact of this decision will be far-reaching. For example, the county runs the Department of Health Services, which operates 26 health centers and four hospitals, in addition to providing health care to youth in the juvenile justice system and inmates in the LA County jails. These institutions purchase large quantities of food for their cafeterias and in-room patient meals.

The Department of Health Services will take the first step in collecting data on the department’s food purchases to estimate its food-related greenhouse gas emissions. This will help illustrate the positive environmental impact of purchasing more plant-based foods.

Shutting Down a Slaughterhouse in Brazil

Brazil

In 2022, we launched a horrific undercover investigation into a government-run slaughterhouse in Brazil. The footage is heart-wrenching. In one scene, a worker holds a cow by the tip of her tail while another worker slams her in the face with a sledgehammer. She desperately scrambles to escape and slips on the wet cement floor. Another worker helps restrain her, and the worker with the sledgehammer pounds on her head repeatedly. She eventually falls to the ground. Blood streams across the floor, and the worker continues hammering her head.

Using evidence from this video footage, we presented a claim to the region’s public prosecutor’s office that listed our findings at this facility.

Over a year and a half, the prosecutor’s office held meetings with the slaughterhouse administrators and other stakeholders involved and determined that the slaughterhouse needed to be shut down. We received notice on February 16 that it had shut down.

This case is powerful. It shows that investigations can bring slaughter lines to a halt and torturing farmed animals will not go without justice.

Revealing How Chipotle Treats Chickens in New Undercover Video

United States

While Chipotle touts the motto “food with integrity,” our undercover cameras found a starkly different reality. At a slaughterhouse supplying chicken to Chipotle, we found birds suffering on slaughter lines and torn-off legs hanging from shackles. Some chickens were fully conscious when their throats were slit. The birds had also been bred to be unnaturally large, which caused them more pain and suffering.

In 2017, Chipotle promised to stop using oversize chickens and to end cruel live-shackle slaughter. Seven years later, Chipotle has not released any plans for achieving this. Meanwhile chickens suffer immensely in their supply chain. Join us in calling on Chipotle to take meaningful action.

Getting Rid of Cages for Hens

Brazil, Global

We persuaded several companies and one egg producer in Brazil to report on their progress toward eliminating cages in their egg supply chains.

  • Grupo Bimbo is the world’s largest baking company with operations in 34 countries. The company recently reported 17% progress toward using only cage-free eggs across their global operations. We have been calling on them to make more progress through our MICA scorecard.

  • After years of discussion with Mercy For Animals, Patroni Pizza published a report on their cage-free egg policy and declared their operations 84% cage-free.

  • In 2017, we persuaded Divino Fogão, a Brazilian restaurant chain, to publish a cage-free commitment. We’ve been in contact with them about releasing progress, and the company recently reported 45% cage-free sourcing for shell eggs and 7% for non-shell eggs.

  • Brazilian egg producer Granja Killer eliminated all cages from their egg farm. We estimate that this will reduce suffering for about 100,000 hens annually.

  • Brazilian grocery chain Hippo privately reported a 90% cage-free egg supply after months of pressure from us.

  • Mania de Churrasco, a Brazilian steak house with more than 90 locations, completed their transition to 100% cage-free egg sourcing.

  • At the end of 2023, Nestlé reported 73% progress toward their global cage-free pledge.

Holding Companies Accountable to Their Chicken Welfare Pledges

United States

Several other companies also made progress on pledges to reduce suffering for chickens.

  • WOWorks, the parent company of several popular health food chains, published detailed plans for meeting their Better Chicken Commitment pledge.

  • Metz Culinary Group, a foodservice company that runs cafeterias in schools and healthcare facilities, published a roadmap for meeting their chicken-welfare policy deadline.

  • Evermore Pet Food, a small dog food company, fulfilled their Better Chicken Commitment promise, becoming the second dog food company to do so.

Reaching Eight Million with Our Ban Live Export Message

Brazil

A Brazilian ship carrying oxes to slaughter docked in Cape Town, South Africa, for refueling. The city woke up to an unbearable smell of ammonia and feces. The situation drew international media attention. Our team in Brazil used this event to amplify our call for the government to ban this cruel export practice.

Independent media outlet Reporter Brasil interviewed our manager of investigations in Brazil, and the interview article was reposted to Uol, the country’s largest online news aggregator. Uol shared part of the video interview on Instagram, where the outlet has two million followers.

Brazilian TV program Domingo Espetacular also aired an interview with us where we denounced live export. According to the program’s ratings, the interview reached an estimated eight million people plus.

Building Partnerships with Restaurants

Mexico

Our EligeVeg team in Mexico partnered with Hacienda de los Morales, a famous restaurant serving traditional Mexican food, to support their staff in introducing plant-based dishes. We’ll work with everyone from front-line servers to restaurant managers, the culinary team, and the company’s PR agency. We also introduced the restaurant to Forma Foods, which 3-D prints plant-based meat.

Additionally, we are working with Tacos Don Manolito, a restaurant chain with 30 locations, to help them relaunch their vegan menu.

Lastly, we are partnering with Alacarta, a subsidiary of OCESA, which has just been acquired by one of the largest companies in the entertainment business: LiveNation. We kicked off this partnership by delivering a class on plant-based food and its relationship to sustainability. About 80 attendees joined, including chefs and their culinary teams. We will help Alacarta improve their plant-based offerings and develop new ones for a variety of entertainment venues.

 Attendees of Mercy For Animals' plant-based eating seminar

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VIEW OUR YEAR-TO-DATE PROGRESS AT MERCYFORANIMALS.ORG/IMPACT

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“What keeps me focused is to remember that we are their only hope.”

—Camilla, an undercover investigator in Brazil