LEAP's Campaign Against Animal Cruelty and Support to Vegetarianism
One of LEAP's current campaigns involves heightening awareness with respect to the preparation of food in restaurants. When American restaurants fail to provide a meat-free surface and meat-free utensils for the preparation of vegetarian dishes, they do not respect the wishes of vegetarians and others who are conscious of their food choices. For example, how often does a vegetarian find pieces of chicken in his or her supposedly vegetarian salad? Studies show this is all too common.
According to the Roper Poll (1994), 3% to 7% of the population consider themselves vegetarian. This means that roughly one out of every twenty people who visit a restaurant order a meal with the intention of avoiding meat. There is no assurance that their needs are being met. In fact, evidence suggests that their needs are largely overlooked by sloppy employee practices and restaurant policies that neglect the desires of vegetarian patrons.
Burger King and McDonald's can be congratulated for recently adding the veggie burger to their menus, but patrons need to know that the burger will be contaminated by beef if it is prepared on the grill with the regular burgers. Patrons must ask that the burger should be microwaved to preserve its vegetarian condition.
Subway offers a vegetarian sandwich, but only offers a method of preparation that involves employees contaminating the bins of lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and onions with their meat-saturated gloves, thereby contaminating the veggie sub. Subway should make an effort to respond to its vegetarian customer's needs.
Several years ago, the city of Los Angeles implemented a program in which eating establishments can voluntarily agree to be periodically inspected for cleanliness and then receive a ranking (i.e., "A," "B," "C," etc.) that must be emblazoned on their storefront indicating their sanitary or unsanitary conditions. Unfortunately, the establishments are not judged on their ability to provide pure food—that which has not been contaminated by meat—for vegetarians. LEAP strives not only to change this policy in Los Angeles but to make it a goal for which all American restaurants can strive. LEAP believes public awareness on this issue is crucial.
To emphasize the importance of LEAP's campaign, one only need look back a year or so to a dining incident in which 500 people became ill from E. coli contamination, and a little girl died. They all consumed watermelon from a Sizzler restaurant. Apparently, the fruit had been prepared on the same surface where the meat had rested.
LEAP is extensively researching the efforts made by America's restaurants to accommodate vegetarianism (with respect to non-contamination with meat products) and will release findings at the conclusion of the research project. This campaign also involves public education on the subject; letters to governmental leaders, to restaurant owners, and to restaurant inspection committees. If we all work together, changes can be made.
Pound seizure is the practice, which refers to the taking of cats and dogs from shelters and pounds, to supply the biomedical research industry. When dogs and cats are obtained for research, their fate is terminal. Some animals die quickly, while others are allocated for long-term, agonizing studies. Once the animal is turned over to the research facility, the Animal Welfare Act and anti-cruelty laws are close to nonexistent. Although there is no law pertaining to pound seizure, fourteen states prohibit it. Most other states have no declaration regarding pound seizure and leave it up to the county or town governments to decide. Several anti-pound seizure bills have been presented before Congress, but it has yet to be ratified.
AB 588, as introduced 2/18/03 by Assemblyman Paul Koretz, (D-West Hollywood), is intended to prohibit the pain and suffering of animals who are sold or given away by animal shelters to entities that perform biomedical research, product development and safety testing, and educational demonstrations.
SB 542 & SB 543, as introduced 6/4/03 by Senator Valde Garcia, Senator Laura Toy, and Senator Tony Stamas, will put a stop to the horrendous practice of pound seizure in the State of Michigan. SB 542 & SB 543 has been referred to the Committee on Local, Urban and State affairs. Contact your senator and ask them to support these very important bills.
Approximately 500,000 puppies per year are bred in puppy mills, facilities known for their filthy, overcrowded conditions and the unhealthy animals they produce. Each of the 4,000-5,000 puppy mills in the U.S., most of which are located in the Midwest, houses between 75 to 150 breeding animals. Only half of the dogs bred at puppy mills make it to the pet store; the other half die from the mill’s squalid conditions, hypothermia starvation, or other horrors of transport. Cat breeding occurs on a smaller scale but under similar conditions. Most of the dogs sold in pet stores come from puppy mills.
"No Kill" Animal Shelters Throughout California
LEAP is working to help end the killing of shelter dogs and cats through education and alliances with other nonprofits. LEAP founder, Charlotte Laws, is specifically writing proposals for various cities and counties around the state with hopes that her ideas and efforts will expand nationwide.