2015: Progress for Animals!


January 2015

Thanks to your energetic support, Compassion Over Killing hit the ground running in 2015 – and we’re excited to share with you these highlights and campaign updates from the past months:

COK Brings Meatless Monday Momentum to NYC: COK hasCompassion Over Killing successfully worked with several jurisdictions nationwide, including Los Angeles and Maryland’s Montgomery County, to officially endorse Meatless Monday. This January, after working with COK, New York City Council Member Helen Rosenthal introduced a Meatless Monday Resolution, which is now being reviewed by the Health Committee before it goes for a full floor vote. To show support, COK emceed a rally on the steps of City Hall with CM Rosenthal, Jane Velez-Mitchell, and over a dozen coalition organizations.

Lending Legal Expertise: Lawline, a leading online continuing legal education service in the US, invited COK to teach two courses on important issues related to farmed animals. Lawline also posted an additional interview with COK.

In the News:The Wall Street Journal published our letter about the mistreatment of hens in the egg industry, and after meeting Sen. Cory Booker, COK talked with The Dodo about his recently-announced vegan diet. COK was also interviewed on Animal Voices radio about the horrors of foie gras production.

Extending our Compassion:

Top Blog & Social Media Success: What’s getting the most engagement online?

Putting the Fun in Fundraising: Dedicated COK volunteer Evangeline Klingbeil is running 12 races this year to raise funds to help us help animals – and after running the Charleston Marathon this month, she’s now reached 50% of her fundraising goal!

February 2015

With you at our side, COK’s gaining even more momentum this year, putting compassion into action. That’s why we’re thrilled to share these monthly highlights and accomplishments:

Engaging Compassion: COK Speaking & Inspiring

This month, COK had 10993471_10152598117370895_3914791164032320973_nthe opportunity to lend our expertise and inspire others to get more active for animals through several speaking engagements, including events hosted by:

  • Yale Law School in Connecticut
  • University of Chicago Law School in Illinois
  • George Mason University in Virginia
  • California State University at Fullerton
  • El Paso Vegetarian Society in Texas
  • The Humane League in Philadelphia

COK Talks Truth #LikeAGirl on HuffPo: In response to the Pork Network’s misguided attempt to promote agribusiness by co-opting the popular hashtag #LikeAGirl, the Huffington Post published a powerful article by COK’s Erica Meier. In “Farm #LikeAGirl? Real Girls Don’t Abuse Female Animals,” COK highlights how “in much of animal agriculture, it’s actually the female animals who are the most abused.”

The Capital of Vegan Eating: COK’s popular website VegDC.com was recently revamped, making it even easier to find — and add your favorite – veg-friendly restaurants in and around the the DC-Metro area. This month, we’re excited to announce that VegDC.com surpassed 1,000 listings, demonstrating that DC is on its way to becoming the nation’s capital of vegan eating!

Top Blog & Social Media Success: What’s getting the most engagement online?

Putting the Fun in Fundraising: In addition to monthly benefit events hosted by several generous restaurants in the DC-area, COK was chosen as beneficiary of February sales on TheVegetarianSite.com.

March 2015

With your support, we’re making incredible progress for farmed animals in 2015! We’re excited to share these important advancements and victories you helped us achieve in March:

Taking Vegan Mainstream: Subway rolls out vegan menu in 400+ locationsThrough COK’s campaign website, WeLoveSubway.com, you along with thousands of consumers have been asking for vegan options — and Subway is listening! That’s right: the world’s largest restaurant chain is now adding vegan menus to more than 400 locations throughout Washington, DC and Los Angeles, CA. With enough positive feedback, Subway may introduce vegan options in even more cities nationwide!

Let Subway know you’re hungry for vegan subs in your town.

Sharing the Truth About Investigations: COK’s Investigation Manager Mike Wolf took part in an incredibly popular and well-received “Ask Me Anything” on reddit.  The Dodo featured  highlights from Mike’s online discussion in this inspiring article.

Protecting Animals & Defending Americans Right to Know: COK is working to fight Big Ag’s desperate attempt to keep you in the dark about what happens on factory farms. With your support:

Engaging the Community & Inspiring Compassion:

  • COK participated in an important panel discussion at Harvard Law about animal and human rights abuses in America’s factory farming system.
  • COK also spoke at American University’s College of Law on animal and environmental issues
  • Thanks to our amazing volunteers, COK hosted educational booths at several outreach events, including the NYC Veg Food Fest and the Northeast Florida VegFest.

What to Watch For: COK’s US VegWeek 2015 Kicks Off on April 20:

US VegWeek is a nationwide celebration that empowers thousands to explore vegetarian eating by taking the 7-Day VegPledge. This campaign is endorsed by Jane Velez-Mitchell, David Carter, Kathy Freston, and many more celebrities and politicians. Join the fun and bring your friends: USVegWeek.com!

Top Blog & Social Media Success: What’s getting the most engagement online?

Marathon for Compassion: A dedicated COK volunteer and avid runner, Pat Murphy recently ran the DC Rock-n-Roll Marathon and raised $2,500 to support our life-saving work.  Learn how you can Run for Compassion!

April 2015

Thank you: As a COK supporter, you are changing minds and saving lives every day. Our successes and accomplishments this month further demonstrate the power of compassion:

US VegWeek Success: With support from celebrities CelebGraphic_Estherincluding David Carter, Jane Velez Mitchell, Rich Roll, Kathy Freston, and Louie Psihoyos, this year’s event garnered significant media coverage and empowered more than 7,600 people to take our 7-day VegPledge.

The week-long celebration, first inspired by Md. Senator Jamie Raskin in 2009, also featured several members of Congress — from Tulsi Gabbard (HI) to David Cicilline (RI) to Raul Grijalva (AZ) and many more.

Visit USVegWeek.com for more details, including media coverage!

Extending our Reach: COK continues to speak at various events, host educational booths, and organize advocacy activities including:

  • April 4: Tabling at the Austin VegFest in Texas
  • April 11: Speaking at an event hosted by the The Humane League in Atlanta
  • April 17: Presenting at and sponsoring the Maryland Animal Law Symposium
  • April 30: Hosting a “How to be Great at Doing Good” book release party in our Washington, DC office with author Nick Cooney

COK Published in HuffPo Responding to Big Ag’s Fear of2015-04-10-1428678663-3800149-Picture3-thumb Burnout: After reading a meat industry article by an agribusiness lobby group lamenting their fears of burnout, COK wrote a response to offer some advice. It was published in the Huffington Post – COK’s top five tips for “Agvocates”. Tip #1: Stop defending the indefensible.

Top Blog & Social Media Success: What’s getting the most engagement online?

May 2015

Big Ag is desperately fighting to silence us, but with you at our side, we’re fighting back. Our brave investigators are shining a bright light on the hidden horrors forced upon farmed animals. Together, we’re exposing the truth, we’re changing minds, and we’re saving lives.

New Hard-Hitting Investigation: In May, we released a new undercover exposé filmed inside a chicken slaughterhouse in North Carolina revealing hidden horrors few people ever see: baby birds subjected to egregious abuses during the last few moments of their misery-filled lives. The footage shows chickens being violently thrown and punched, workers ripping out birds’ feathers, and injured birds piled up on the floor, treated like trash.

Our story broke in an exclusive in-depth report on ABC news and it continues to garner significant news coverage.

Watch our video and read more details.

North Carolina Ag-Gag Battle: Just days after our new investigation video was released, a dangerous ag-gag bill that was pending in the North Carolina state legislature was passed — and was sent to the Governor’s desk. Our investigator launched a petition on Change.org to stop the bill from being signed into law. Garnering more than 130,000 signatures, the petition was declared a victory on May 29 when the Governor officially vetoed this dangerous bill. (See our June update for details on the legislature’s vote to override this veto)

Investigator Appreciation: Our brave investigators are true heroes yet because of the nature of their jobs, they must keep their names and faces away from the spotlight. They’re unable to receive the public praise they so much deserve. That’s why we created a way for you to express your thanks and inspire our investigators to continue their important work on behalf of billions of farmed animals.

Reaching out with Compassion: COK participated in the annual Baltimore VegFest in May, distributing over 1,000 pieces of pro-veg literature. We also finished revamping our DC VegFest website and officially launched our sponsor and exhibitor registration for the 2015 celebration, which will be held on Oct 3.

Top Blog & Social Media Success: What’s getting the most engagement online?

June 2015

With our new investigation footage featured in two major CNN news reports in June, COK is shining a spotlight on factory farming abuses, reaching millions of viewers through mainstream media. We’re focused on exposing the truth, telling the animals’ stories, and empowering others to choose compassion — and we’re succeeding thanks to your support.

CNN Releases COK’s New Investigation Showing Abuse at Foster Farms:

CNN ran a powerful, exclusive story breaking our latest undercover investigation exposing shocking horrors forced upon baby birds—from painful mutilations to being ground up alive—inside a Foster Farms turkey hatchery in California. This heart-breaking footage offers a glimpse of the miseries that newly-hatched turkeys endure on their first—and sometimes only—day of life. It was recently announced that Foster Farms will be raising the 2015 Presidential Turkey to be presented to the White House this November.

Watch our video, sign our petition, and check out more media coverage, including the Los Angeles Times, Fresno Bee, and CBS San Francisco.

North Carolina Ag-Gag Update & Media Coverage: Last month, COK released an undercover video inside a NC chicken slaughterhouse, and days later the state legislature passed an ag-gag bill, sending it to the Governor’s desk for signing. COK’s investigator launched a petition and we joined a coalition effort successfully urging Governor McCrory to veto the bill! In early June, however, the state legislature voted to override that veto, and this dangerous ag-gag bill will become law, going into effect on Jan 1, 2016.

Amid this battle, COK’s investigation video continued to garner significant media hits, including a hard-hitting story on CNN.

Campaign News: Subway Wants You to “Get Your Vegan On!”  

SubwayGetYourVeganOn (1)You’ve been asking for vegan options and Subway is responding: More than 1,000 Subway locations are now dishing out the popular all-vegan Black Bean and Malibu Garden subs in DC, Los Angeles, Connecticut and Southern Florida! And the company is proudly promoting its new vegan menu through advertisements, like this one encouraging you to “Get Your Vegan On!”

Vegan Food Give-Aways Offer a Taste of Compassion: At two popular events in DC — the GreenFest & Pride Festival, COK and our incredible team of volunteers shared more than 7,000 samples of vegan food as a way to introduce people to the flavors of plant-based eating. We also distributed over 3,000 pieces of pro-veg lit.

Legal Advocacy Fighting Factory Farming

  • Truth in Egg Labeling – 9th Circuit Appeal filed: In our ongoing effort to urge the federal government to require the clear disclosure of egg production methods on cartons (such as “eggs from caged hens”), COK and its co-plaintiff-appellants filed an opening brief in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. We argue that FDA, USDA, and FTC acted contrary to law and arbitrarily and capriciously in denying petitions to implement mandatory egg production labels. COK is currently awaiting a response.
  • California’s Ban on Battery Cages (Prop 2) – Amicus Brief Filed: CA’s Proposition 2, which prohibits the use of battery cages and was passed by popular vote in 2008, is being challenged by other states that want to continue to sell eggs from caged hens in the Golden State and therefore don’t want to comply with this law that went into effect in 2015. In Missouri v. Harris, COK, along with a coalition, filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the State of California in an appeal by several states challenging Proposition 2.

Top Blog & Social Media Success: What’s getting the most engagement online?

Lisa-TofurkyFarewell to a Friend & Advocate – Lisa Shapiro: It’s with a heavy heart that we shared the sad news about the loss of a dedicated advocate, powerful voice for animals, and caring friend.

May we stand strong to honor Lisa Shapiro’s legacy by furthering her work of building a kinder world.

Read More: We miss you, Lisa!

July 2015

Compassion Over Killing is on a mission to make vegan eating business as usual – and by teaming up with caring consumers like you, from coast to coast, we’re winning! After persuading Dunkin Donuts to offer almond milk and Subway to roll out vegan menus in 1,000+ locations, we just launched a new campaign asking you to ask Starbucks for vegan food!

starbucks-vegan-COKlogo-narrowNew COK Campaign: Ask Starbucks to Offer Vegan Food! A growing number of consumers looking for dairy-free coffee beverages can turn to Starbucks for soy milk or coconut milk – but that’s where Starbuck’s menu falls short. Wish you could get a vegan muffin or cookie with your soy latte? Make it happen: COK just teamed up with Jane Velez-Mitchell to launch a Change.org petition asking Starbucks to offer vegan pastries and sandwiches.

CNN Report Featuring COK Investigation Wins Award: CNN reporter Chris Frates just won an award from the National Press Club for his hard-hitting in-depth report on the importance of undercover videos and the dangers of ag-gag laws that aired last June. His story featured COK’s heart-breaking investigation inside a North Carolina chicken factory farm exposing shocking cruelty that includes unwanted birds being dumped in outdoor pits and buried alive.

New Issue of Compassionate Action: CA2015COK’s Summer 2015 member magazine is hot off the press! Featuring our former undercover investigator, Chrystal, on the cover, you’ll also find an interview with her inside along with highlights from our most recent investigations, corporate campaign successes, and so much more!

TryVeg.com en Espanol: Nearly 13% of Americans speak Spanish at home. That’s why, in addition to our popular Comida con Amigos recipes in print and online, our entire website TryVeg.com is now available in Spanish! Lea y comparta (read & share)!

2015 Veg Guide to DC: Newly updated for 2015, our Veg Guide to DC is a convenient way to discover some of the best vegan cuisine in and around the nation’s capital. You can download a free copy as well as find more than 1,000 listings at VegDC.com.

Spreading a Message of Compassion:

  • National Animal Rights Conference: COK spoke on several different panels and plenaries at this annual event, sharing our expertise on legal strategies, investigations, and corporate campaigns. We also distributed over 3,000 pieces of literature to conference attendees and collected over 250 thank you notes to share with our undercover investigators.
  • Our summer outreach interns also hosted lunchtime leafleting events in DC this month as well as coordinated a volunteer day at the Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary!

Top Blog & Social Media Success: What’s getting the most engagement online?

August 2015

The summer may be winding down, but with so much support and motivation from members like you, we keep gaining more and more momentum! This month, award-winning musician Moby helped us shine a spotlight on the crucial work of our undercover superheroes, we teamed up with other organizations to speak out for animals on the legal front, and we’re gearing up for the most anticipated event of the year: The DC VegFest!

COK’s Brave Investigators in the Spotlight!:11953117_10153018110110895_2102570742661918698_n

On the Legal Front:

  • COK joined a coalition that submitted a federal rule-making petition urging the USDA to better enforce existing federal “Humane” Slaughter Laws
  • COK also joined a broad coalition to oppose legislation in California allowing routine use of antibiotics on animals on factory farms.
  • As part of another coalition effort, COK submitted a letter to Board of the Los Angeles United School District urging them to vote “no” on 5-year supplier contracts with Tyson and Pilgrim’s – and instead to provide students with protein-packed plant-based Beyond Meat. In considering of this public feedback, the vote has now been rescheduled.

Exercising Our Compassion:

  • Our incredible outreach interns hosted several DC-area outreach events where we shared hundreds of free vegan food samples along with thousands of pro-veg brochures
  • COK volunteer Evangeline, ran her 9th race – a 10K trail run! – this year for Compassion. Want to join our team?

Top Blog & Social Media Success: What’s getting the most engagement bm5aoqionline?

  • Best Blog: You were inspired to read and share Crystal’s story about becoming an undercover investigator!
  • Top Tweet: You asked and Chrystal answered on Reddit.
  • Facebook Favorite: As this rhinoceros and baby zebra show us, sometimes everyone needs a helping hand.

DCVegFest_2015What to Watch for: DC VegFest! Our annual DC VegFest celebration is Sat. Oct 3 in the nation’s capital. Join us, over 15,000 festival-goers, 125 exhibitors, and incredible speakers including Gene Baur, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Rich Roll, and award-winning chefs Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby – the event is filled with fun and lots of food, plus it’s FREE and open to everyone! Details at DCVegFest.com

September 2015

Your dedication and commitment to compassion is working: together, we’re keeping up the momentum for animals! Shortly after you reached out to Starbucks asking for vegan food options, the company shared an exciting update with us. Read more details below along with other highlights from September. 

Campaign Update: Starbucks & Vegan Food Options!starbucks

A few months ago, we teamed up with Jane Velez-Mitchell to launch a petition on Change.org asking Starbucks to continue taking progressive steps forward by expanding its menu to include food. After hearing from thousands of consumers who are hungry for plant-based options, Starbucks shared this exciting update with us:

“We are in the testing stages of several new products that would qualify as vegan… we have our vegan customers in the forefront of our minds and can’t wait to present some new food options to accommodate the vegan diet and our loyal customers that have requested these options.”

Read more and stay tuned for more updates!

On the Legal Front — Seeking Truth in Egg Labeling:

In our ongoing effort to urge the federal government to require the clear disclosure of egg production methods on cartons (such as “eggs from caged hens”), earlier this year, COK and its co-plaintiff-appellants filed an opening brief in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. We argue that federal agencies acted contrary to law and arbitrarily and capriciously in denying petitions to implement mandatory egg production labels. COK received a response in September that we actively reviewing and will submit our reply brief next month.

Compassion in Action

  • COK spoke at two events this month — one in DC and one in Arizona – reaching out to hundreds of people about the benefits of leaving animals off our plates.
  • Thousands of pro-veg materials were shared in and around the DC-area, thanks to the help of our dedicated volunteers!

DC VegFest Media Preview!DCVF-preview

In preparation for our annual DC VegFest celebration on Oct. 3, COK hosted a special Media Preview party at Busboys & Poets to give local news outlets and bloggers a taste of what’s to come. The event featured free vegan food from our sponsors, several of our DC VegFest speakers, members of our host committee, and fully-loaded gift bags.

Stay tuned to a full list of the extensive media coverage of the DC VegFest!

Putting the Fun in Fundraising:  This month, COK was honored to team up with and be the beneficiary of two popular online marketplaces:

Top Blog & Social Media Success: What’s getting the most engagement online?

October 2015

Our mission is to build a kinder world for all animals – and with your continued support and inspiration, we’re bringing about meaningful, lasting changes that are indeed having a powerful impact! Compassion is shining through in all we do, and we’re thrilled to share these highlights from October that you helped us achieve.

DC VegFest: A Shining Success!

On October 3, more than 10,000 people joined us to celebrate the many joys of vegan eating at our 7th annual DC VegFest in the nation’s capital. Despite some rain and cloudy weather, the crowds were shining with smiles!  

This incredible energy was felt all around the festival — from the main stage with special guests including vegan NFL player David Carter Jr., to the music tent with live performances throughout the day, to the kids’ activity area which also featured speakers, cooking demos, and story time, and so much more.

Re-live the fun: Read the full story!

Campaign Update: Quorn Rolls Out More Vegan Products!

We’re thrilled to announce that Quorn, the popular, UK-based maker of meat-free foods, will be rolling out an expanded line of vegan products in the US starting in early 2016. COK starting working with Quorn in 2010, and the following year the company launched its first-ever vegan product while also reducing its use of eggs overall. In all, since 2010, COK’s efforts have led to Quorn using 21 million fewer eggs, preventing an estimated 84,000 hens from suffering on factory farms!  

Hungry for more? Read the details.

WOW: Team Compassion Runs 100 miles!12193698_882249428181_2252657532121499680_n

COK volunteer Erin Brown put together a powerhouse team that completed an impressive 100-mile run around DC to support our work!  She raised over $20,000 while also inspiring others to dedicate their upcoming races to COK — thank you Erin!

Read more and join Team Compassion today!

Top Blog & Social Media Success: What’s getting the most engagement online?

Want to help keep up this momentum? Make a special donation today – you can even sign up as monthly-recurring supporter!

Thank you: Together we’re making a world of difference for farmed animals.