March 2024

Monthly Impact Report

March 2024

Monthly Impact Report

March
2024

In March, Mercy For Animals supported passage of the first octopus-farming ban in the United States. We also secured a novel policy from a foodservice company that sets concrete meat-reduction goals.

A new undercover investigation in Brazil highlighted the horrors of cattle slaughter performed with sledgehammers and axes.

Banning Octopus Farming in Washington

United States

Along with local groups, Mercy For Animals moved legislators in Washington State to pass the world’s first law banning octopus farming.

The United States does not currently have any octopus farms, but this law is an opportunity to deter the industry and prohibit the practice before it starts. Hawaii and California are considering similar bans.

To promote the law’s passage, we sent out action alerts asking Washington residents to urge their legislators to support the important bill. Our senior state policy manager also testified before the Washington State Legislature.

Like other forms of factory farming, octopus farming entails raising animals in crowded spaces with little room to move. This is especially cruel for octopuses, as these solitary, territorial animals naturally avoid one another and prefer to live in dark, quiet places. Octopuses are also very intelligent, with a keen ability to recognize and remember faces.

Exposing Workers Hitting Cows with Axes

Brazil

Just weeks after we received notice of the shutdown of a Brazilian slaughterhouse we investigated in 2022, we released another heartbreaking investigation into four municipal slaughterhouses.

Our undercover investigators found evidence of extreme animal suffering, with footage showing workers using sledgehammers, axes, and metal bars to kill cows. In one clip, a worker repeatedly slams the sharp pick of an ax into a cow’s head. The animal is tied up with a rope around his neck and frantically tries to escape.

The investigation landed front-page coverage in a leading daily newspaper in Brazil. We are calling for a federal ban on the use of sledgehammers as a method of slaughter, and our supporters have already sent more than 750,000 emails to Brazilian officials.

Securing a Landmark Policy

United States

After months of dialogue, Guest Services Inc. pledged to make 40% of the entree options on its menus plant-based by 2028. The company also committed to reducing the amount of animal protein it purchases by 5% by 2027. Guest Services is a foodservice provider that operates at more than 250 facilities and serves over 35 million guests annually.

This landmark policy marks the first time that a company we’ve worked with has firmly committed to reducing the animal products it purchases by a specific quantity.

Mercy For Animals delivered a presentation about the sustainability benefits of plant-forward menus during a meeting of Guest Services’ sustainability committee and has been in active dialogue ever since to create this policy. We will also collaborate with the company to implement and track the impact of this new commitment. The company estimates that roughly 10% of its entrees are currently plant-based, meaning that once the policy is implemented, the company’s plant-based menu volume will have roughly quadrupled.

Ensuring Companies Follow Through on Commitments

United States

  • Compass Group USA, one of the country’s largest foodservice providers, published a full roadmap detailing how the company would implement its Better Chicken Commitment policy after conversations with Mercy For Animals. Compass Group included annual milestones in the plan and adjusted some of the timelines from a previous one in light of conversations with suppliers.

  • After an Open Wing Alliance campaign that we supported, international chain Meliá Hotels reported 30% progress toward fulfilling its commitment to cage-free egg sourcing. The chain operates around 375 hotels in 40 countries.

  • A few years ago we persuaded Mantiqueira, one of South America’s largest egg producers, to pledge to transition all its egg facilities to cage-free housing. This will impact about 11.5 million hens each year. We continue to follow up to ensure this happens, and recently the company reported that 15% of its operations were cage-free.

  • Supermercados Pague Menos, one of Brazil’s largest grocery retailers, worked with us in 2022 on a policy that would ensure all eggs sold in its stores were cage-free by 2028. The company has now reported 35% progress toward this goal.

  • In 2019 we were part of a coalition of organizations that persuaded Hilton to pledge to use only cage-free eggs in its hotels. The company recently reported its percentage of progress toward this goal in various regions: 53% in the Americas; 46% in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; and 7% in Asia Pacific.

  • Louvre Hotels runs 1,700 hotels in 70 countries. After an Open Wing Alliance hospitality campaign, which we supported, the chain started reporting global progress on its cage-free egg commitment. The company also committed to reporting regionally by July 2024.

  • Metz Culinary Management recently published a progress report for the first time along with a detailed plan for meeting its commitment to ending the worst suffering for chickens raised for meat in its supply chain.

  • We reached out to Parkhurst Dining after the company deleted its public cage-free commitment from a few years ago. After conversations with our team, the U.S. foodservice provider posted 90% progress toward the original commitment. The company also reaffirmed its pledge to meet its welfare commitment for chickens raised for meat and published progress and a detailed plan for fulfilling that promise.

Presenting on Public Attitudes Toward Farmed Animals

United States

We co-hosted a webinar with the Kirkpatrick Foundation featuring Mercy For Animals researcher Dr. Courtney Dillard and Dr. Adam Feltz from the University of Oklahoma. The scholars discussed differences in public attitudes toward farmed animal issues between residents of low-animal-agriculture states (primarily in the Northeast) and high-animal-agriculture states (primarily in the Midwest). The webinar was well attended, and participants learned that very few meaningful differences were found between the two segments. While more research is needed, these initial findings bode well for advocates interested in campaigning for farmed animals in the Midwest.

Gracing the Homepage of the Guardian

Mexico

Mercy For Animals’ Transfarmation™ program gained attention in a recent article in UK news outlet the Guardian, “Out with the Animal Cruelty. In with … Mushrooms? These Farmers Are Leaving Factory Farming Behind.”

Farmers Craig Watts and Tom Lim told their stories and provided insight into the financial pitfalls and injustices that have led some farmers to turn from industrial animal agriculture to specialty-crop production.

The article has been reposted by Yahoo! news outlets in the United States, the UK, and Canada. It was also one of the top environmental stories on the Guardian website.

New Videos Produced This Month

Sharon Carpenter Shares a Powerful Call to Action This Women’s History Month

Kris Carr, Known for Empowering Others to Become the Best Version of Themselves: What Motivates You?

Foreign Material in Chicken Flesh. Hold Chipotle Accountable!

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

Become an Animal Ally

Your monthly gift will fuel the fight to end factory farming.

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

—Camilla, an undercover investigator in Brazil