Mercy For Animals 41-City Farm to Fridge Tour in South Beach Tonight

Mercy for Animals, the Chicago-based animal rights organization that targets factory farming, is in South Beach today as part of its 41-city Farm to Fridge Tour.

The tour features a mobile theater equipped with LCD screens that shows a continuous loop of their film, Farm to Fridge. The documentary is narrated by actor James Cromwell, who became an animal activist after filming the movie Babe. (Really!) The graphic footage in the film was taken by undercover Mercy for Animals staff who posed as employees in slaughterhouses and farms and filmed with hidden pinhole-sized cameras.

Phil Letten, campaign coordinator for the tour, said the goal is to bring awareness to the plight of animals on factory farms. "Every day, thousands of animals have their testicles and tails cut off, their teeth pulled out and are given third degree burns, all without painkillers or anesthesia", he said. "Then they're slaughtered fully conscious. If someone did these acts to a cat or a dog, they would go to jail, but farm animals aren't protected under the same laws as pets. They virtually have no rights. You wouldn't eat your dog, so why would you eat a pig?"

When asked about the trend in many South Florida restaurants to procure "humanely raised" meat and "cage-free" eggs, Letten agreed that these methods were less barbaric, but there are really no farms that are truly "cruelty free" and that cage free doesn't necessarily mean the chickens are free to roam open pastures. "Cage free basically means that while the chickens aren't in cages, they're still likely over stuffed into a closed up warehouse, unable to spread their wings or even move in some cases."

So what does a foodie/animal lover do? "Choosing a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is the best way to boycott animal cruelty," Letten said. "Pretty much every top restaurant has delicious vegetarian options."

The Mercy for Animals tour truck will be showing their film tonight from 7:45 to 8:45 p.m. at the corner of Lincoln Road and Jefferson Avenue. Tomorrow, the truck heads to Fort Lauderdale, where it will be at East Las Olas Boulevard and 10th Terrace from 11:00 a.m. to noon and at South Andrews Avenue and West Las Olas Boulevard from 7:45 to 8:45 p.m.

Personally, I think that everyone, sworn meat eaters included, should be made aware of where their meat comes from. There is also no excuse for animals to suffer pain and mistreatment - whether they be your beloved chihuahua or a pig meant for your plate. If you can't make it to the truck, watch Farm to Fridge here:

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