Last month Crate Free USA hosted Chicago’s first factory Farmed animal welfare town hall, an event to raise the public’s awareness of the major issues with factory farming—the documented inhumane treatment of farm animals (especially the millions of confined pigs and chickens), the huge environmental impacts, and the plethora of health issues related to eating meat or even living near a factory farm or CAFO (concentrated Animal Feeding Operation).

Our state is the fourth largest pork producer in the country. It is home to millions of mother pigs that churn out the piglets that grow into food for over 12 million people in Illinois, as well as for consumers around the world.

But we believe it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. We subscribe to the “three Rs:”

    • Remove meat and animals from your diet
    • Reduce meat and animal products in your diet
    • Reject any products from factory farms and work toward only buying meat from local and humane farms

It’s about making more humane food choices. It’s about holding every grocery store, restaurant, and farmer accountable to humane animal welfare practices.

It’s about our grassroots activism. Help empty the cages at factory farms by consuming less meat and buying from local farms where the animals are pastured-raised. Support organizations (like ours) that are working to ban the extreme confinement of farm animals.

Panel and Town Hall

During our event, we had a robust dialogue and panel led by Mike Nowak of The Mike Nowak Show with Peggy Malecki, featuring:

Watch the livestream of our entire town hall here:

Chicago’s First Factory Farmed Animal Welfare Town Hall Open Forum Discussion

Welcome to Chicago’s First Factory Farmed Animal Welfare Town Hall – An evening of food, film, and focus on the plight of animals on factory farms, hosted by Dovetail Brewery. Please join us for the panel discussion that followed the showing of the documentary, Carnivore’s Dilemma. The open forum discussion is led by Mike Nowak and includes Jessica Chipkin of Crate Free Illinois, Erin Kwiatkowski of Mercy For Animals, Josh Richards former grassroots coordinator of The Humane League, Marc Ayers of The Humane Society of the United States and Josh Lobdell of Food & Water Watch.

Posted by The Mike Nowak Show on Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Movie Screening

Preceding the panel we screened the documentary, “Carnivore’s Dilemma.

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Benoît Bringer questions what we give our children to eat. To feed a growing population, the world has embarked on a race to frenetic productivity that generates cruelty against animals, but also major health and environmental issues. Bringer reveals the terrible excesses of industrial breeding and meets women and men who invent another way of farming, respectful of nature and animals. “The Carnivore’s Dilemma” puts together positive and concrete initiatives that are already working and that could be our way of consumption tomorrow.



Chicagoans who want to help be a part of the solution turned out to learn about factory farming and its impact on animals and what ways we can all help.


Crate Free Town Hall

Animal Welfare meeting

How Can I Help?

First, we need your help in encouraging Aldi to ban gestation crates from their supply chain. Aldi is on pace to be the third largest grocer in the U.S., so them changing this would make a huge impact on our mother pigs.


Aldi Flyer

Crate Free Aldi

We have also added a new page to our website, dedicated to giving you other tools and ideas in how you can help and change your behavior. From deciphering product labels, to recommendations on specific ways you can take action to help factory farmed animals, we hope you will find this page to be a helpful resource.


Thanks to our generous donors!

Town Hall Vegan Food

Composting provided by The Urban Canopy.

Photographer: Sam Damiano


About the Author:  Lisa Lubin is an Emmy-award winning video producer and consultant, and writer and photographer. She’s a life-long animal lover from New Jersey who’s been living in Chicago for 20+ years. Lisa has also volunteered at PAWS and Feline Friends Chicago as a cat foster. She joined the Crate Free USA team in August 2016 and is now the executive director, website editor, and volunteer coordinator.  

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We are now Crate Free USA!


We have some news to share that we are pretty excited about…

We have changed our name to Crate Free USA!

But our mission remains the same: to reduce the suffering

of animals on factory farms.


We are still based in Illinois and will continue our grassroots efforts to support local farmers who pasture raise and treat their animals and the environment with respect. And, we’ll be as vocal as ever about the growth of factory farms in Illinois and beyond and all of the negative impacts on animals, the environment, and rural communities.


That said, we have also been working on national campaigns for a few years now — starting with our success in 2018 in getting Trader Joe’s to commit to a largely crate-free pork supply chain.  And now we are deeply engaged in two other campaigns, both national in scope, to get Aldi and Costco to take a strong stand for pig welfare and commit to a public timeline to go 100% crate-free.  


Our new name more clearly reflects the scope of our work and we are excited to continue our work on behalf of farmed animals across America. We hope you will continue to support us in this important work. Onwards!

Thank you!