Mercy for Animals Farm to Fridge Tour Stop in Fort Lauderdale April 7

MercyForAnimalsTruck.jpg
The Mercy For Animals' mobile movie against factory farming.
Mercy for Animals, a nonprofit group best-known for its undercover investigations into practices used at factory farms, will be hitting South Florida just in time for spring break, though beaching and boozing don't really seem to be on the agenda. The visit also coincides with the recent passage of a bill by the Florida Senate Agricultural Committee that would outlaw the "behind the meat" footage used by MFA and other animal rights groups to spread their pro-veg message.

MFA is currently in the midst of a cross- country tour, the focal point of which is a customized truck outfitted with giant TV screens and a sound system. This roving media center is used to broadcast Farm to Fridge, a graphic documentary not rendered any less horrific despite the presence of actor James Cromwell's dulcet narration. 

The group will stop in Miami on Wednesday night before coming to Fort Lauderdale on Thursday. The truck will be stationed from 7:45 to 8:45 p.m. Thursday at the corner of Andrews Avenue and Las Olas Boulevard, though times and locales are subject to change based on weather, traffic, etc.  

Farm to Fridge (see the video below) uses footage captured in various undercover operations at industrialized farms in the United States. Be warned: The video is very difficult to watch, though not entirely new(s) for anyone who has seen movies like Food Inc. and Fast Food Nation, which show similarly vivid imagery of what goes on behind closed doors at large-scale farms and slaughterhouses. You could argue, of course, that animal rights groups sensationalize the situation and that certain aspects when taken out of context paint an unfair portrait of the industry. But it is hard to rationalize in what context it would be appropriate or necessary for a grown man to beat a calf about the head with his fists as can be seen during the "Dairy" segment of Farm to Fridge.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm vegetarian and have been for 16 years. Does that inform my views on such hot-button topics as animal rights? Probably, but I believe whether to consume meat is an incredibly personal matter. What is interesting to me in this debate is not how you feel about whether animals should be used as food but rather the consumer's right to know about what that process entails. 

Hence, the really interesting aspect of Farm to Fridge and the Florida segment of the tour. A piece of legislation introduced by Republican state Sen. Jim Norman that recently passed the Senate Agricultural Committee would criminalize some of MFA's actions. Senate Bill 1246 would make it a first-degree misdemeanor for anyone other than certain government agents and law enforcement to "enter onto a farm or other property where legal agricultural operations are being conducted and produce audio or video records without the written consent of the owner or an authorized representative of the owner." The original wording of the bill rendered such an act as a first-degree felony and didn't specify that the perp had to enter the property, meaning, someone snapping a pic from the roadside would have been subject to felony charges.

Even with the amended language in place, animal rights and consumer rights groups are none too pleased with the bill as it stands. When asked in an email interview about SB 1246, MFA founder and Executive Director Nathan Runkle said:

"This bill is a blatant violation of free speech and freedom of the press... Consumers have a right to know how their food is produced and how animals on factory farms are treated so they can make informed choices."

For his part, in a story in the St. Petersburg Times, Sen. Norman was quoted as saying he wrote the farm bill to protect Florida farmers from "unfair outside assaults."

Can't make it out to downtown Fort Lauderdale this Thursday? You can still have your appetite/day ruined here:


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5 comments
Alex Hall
Alex Hall

Organic farming is the way to go. I can't go vegan but I am very good to the animals that are going to be used for food at the farm that I work on. This is something that we should act on. Evan though the DEC has laws that specifically say that animals have to have certain conditions on witch to live in. People and there need to always be in a rush will cause fast food places on witch the cause for lot fed animals. The people should be arrested that are capable of doing such a thing to these animals because if it is the easy to do this to the animals what makes it so hard for them to do this to people. I am very moved by this video.

Alex.

Goldfoxxx2
Goldfoxxx2

If this becomes a precedent across the U.S., We may end up having to go the route of martyrdom. It's not just about animal rights anymore, but rather our freedom as americans. MFA would still need to continue their ops and possibly face jail time. We might also have to hungerstrike once in prison should they not have Vegan meals.

Dragonmaidendp
Dragonmaidendp

Here we go again, Big Pharma and the meat and diary lobbies own the US. They are fearful of people knowing the truth, or they would not mind people taking pictures. What are they hiding?People should know where their food comes from in order to make informed ethical decisions. Keep up the good work.

Maryjk23
Maryjk23

You guys rock. It is my prayer that you are further led to uncover every unjust treatment to animals wherever that may be. Although I'm finding it painful to watch the videos, I understand the movement. Your movement will heal the world from anger. People eat these animals and eat the toxic experience before they died, thus becoming unknowingly angry. Thank you for your work and be encouraged. Mj

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