August 20, 2001 (To Search This Page Press Ctrl F)
1. Animal Advocacy and "Agroterrorism"
2. Protesting Pate Production
3. European Egg Rules and Consequences
4. Update: "Recovered" vCJD Victim Dies
5. Drugs and Bugs
6. Waste Wars
7. The Global Skin Trade
8. How Vegetarian Diets May Reduce Heart Disease and Cancer
1. ANIMAL ADVOCACY AND "TERRORISM"
Egg Industry, a national trade magazine, warns that the animal protection
movement is making progress. The recent ISE egg facility expose' (see issue
#11) "was extremely damaging to the whole industry." The article notes with
concern the elevation of animal cruelty from a misdemeanor to a felony. The
resources of the animal "welfare" community (HSUS, PETA, etc.) are
mentioned, and the author urges the egg industry to devote more resources
to "fighting the adverse activities and publicity of the 'Vegan' groups." A
summit on this topic will be held October 16th, the day before the United
Egg Producers' annual meeting.
The AgroTerrorism Act of 2001, a recently introduced federal bill, will
protect animal research facilities, establish the National Animal Terrorism
and Ecoterrorism Clearinghouse at the FBI, and increase penalties for
"animal terrorism." In early August, North Carolina enacted a law which
provides civil damages for unlawful or willful injury to or destruction of
agricultural commodities or production systems. Damages equal to double the
value of the loss can be claimed.
In early August, 3 activists broke into a Swedish slaughterhouse and
disabled equipment to draw attention to the industrial way animals are
slaughtered. The activists, members of Bye Bye Meat Industry, claimed full
responsibility for their act of civil disobedience. They have been released
by the police and face up to 4 years in prison.
"Animal Welfare Will Not Go Away," Industry Beat, Egg Industry, John Todd,
"Zero Tolerance for Agroterrism" (sic), Lean Trimmings, August 6, 2001.
"N.C. governor signs bill to protect agricultural commodities from
eco-terrorists, vandals," Industry News Briefs, Watt Poultry USA, August
"Civil Disobedience in Sweden: Killing Machine Disarmed," Bye Bye Meat
Industry communique, AR-News, August 9, 2001.
2. PROTESTING PATE PRODUCTION
Activists have been globally protesting Israel's production of pate de foie
gras: "the sick liver of tortured geese." Israel is the world's third
largest producer of foie gras, using 700,000 geese and 100,000 mallard
ducks each year. Over a dozen countries in Europe have banned the
force-feeding of geese. Israel's Agriculture Ministry comments "all raising
of livestock for food involves force, which may cause the animal to suffer."
"What's bad for the goose," The Jerusalem Post, Leora Eren Frucht, August
3. EUROPEAN EGG RULES AND CONSEQUENCES
If the next round of World Trade Organization negotiations do not produce
regulations prohibiting the importation of eggs into the European Union
(EU) from countries which permit battery cages, the EU probably cannot
compete and will be flooded with eggs from these countries. The potential
consequences of caging regulations in Europe are the topic of this
statistics-heavy article. Global egg production, which rose 44% from
1990-2000, is examined in detail. The industrialization of the egg industry
is discussed, and the impact of the animal protection movement is touched
on. Differences between production systems are explained.
"Enriched Layer Cages and Open Markets for Agricultural Products - Is there
a Chance for the European Egg Industry?" Egg Industry, H.W. Windhorst, July
4. UPDATE: 'RECOVERED' vCJD VICTIM DIES
In the last issue, we reported on a possible treatment for human victims of
mad cow disease. The 22-year-old woman who was said to have made a
"remarkable recovery" has since died. Her grieving father angrily blamed
repeat failures by government officials for the spread of the disease.
A lengthy article in the International Herald Tribune reports on the
effects which mad cow and foot-and-mouth disease have had on the global
trade and economies.
"Father's fury as Donna loses battle against CJD," Guardian Unlimited,
Stephen Khan, August 19, 2001.
"Cattle Crises Reverberate Through the World Economy," International Herald
Tribune, August 18, 2001.
5. DRUGS AND BUGS
In a 2-part series, August 15-16, National Public Radio's "All Things
Considered" news program examined the use of antibiotics in farmed animals
and the growing resistance of bacteria to these drugs. Evidence of the link
between antibiotic use in farmed animals and bacterial resistance to the
drugs has been known for decades. The government, however, backed down from
addressing the issue due to pressure from industry. Now the FDA is looking
at banning the antibiotic, Ciprio. The reporter visited Denmark, where
agricultural antibiotic use has dropped by 2/3rds. Bacterial resistance
rates have plummeted there since certain antibiotics were banned for
agricultural use. Next month, in a report entitled, "Who Bought the Farm?"
the program will examine what an increasingly streamlined food production
system means for family farms and consumer health.
A BBC survey found 69% of the chickens tested in U.K. supermarkets are
contaminated with Campylobacter, which can cause illness in humans.
Free-range poultry was just as likely to be contaminated. Earlier this
year, EU veterinarians condemned the way birds in Britain are reared and
"How Safe is the Food Supply?" All Things Considered, National Public
Radio, Daniel Zwerdling, August 15-16, 2001.
"Antibiotics and Agriculture," The Journal of the American Veterinary
Medical Association, Joan Stephenson, August 8, 2001.
"Shop chickens 'rife' with food bug," British Broadcasting Corporation,
August 16, 2001.
"Two-thirds of fresh chickens are health risk," Guardian Unlimited, James
Meikle, August 17, 2001.
6. WASTE WARS
Industry opposes the EPA's proposed new regulations for the disposal of
farmed animal wastes, and is calling on the government to help pay the
costs. Opponents say such aid would be more corporate welfare for the rich.
The House Agriculture Committee recently approved an increase in the size
of operations eligible for aid from the USDA's Environmental Quality
Incentives Program (EQIP). If approved by the Senate and signed into law,
even the largest, most profitable operations would be eligible for up to
$50,000 in assistance per year, up to $200,000 over 10 years. Funding for
the EQIP program would increase from $200 million to $1.2 billion per year.
Since the program gives priority to operations with the biggest
environmental challenges, resources could be diverted from small
operations, hastening the demise of family farms.
In response to the Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) recent report
on manure problems, "Cesspools of Shame," ProAg, an Oklahoma-based
agriculture advocacy group, and the Hudson Institute's Center for Global
Food Issues have challenged NRDC to a debate.
A Marion, Kentucky chicken "grower" under contract with Tyson Foods faces
daily fines of $100 million. The city claims odors from the 400,000 bird
facility are a public nuisance subject to fines of $250 per animal per day.
At question is whether each bird should constitute a separate offense. In
April, a judge ruled the fines excessive, saying state law limits the
penalty to $500 per day, but refused to dismiss the case. The defense
claims the state's Right to Farm Act should have stopped the case since it
limits the terms in which an agricultural operation can be declared a
nuisance after one year.
"Farm Groups Tell EPA 'No More Livestock Regulations,'" Rooster News
Network, August 3, 2001.
"For Big Hog Farms, Big Subsidies," The Washington Post, John Lancaster,
August 17, 2001.
"Agriculture groups seek debate over water report," The Oklahoman, Sonya
Colberg, August 19, 2001.
"Kentucky judge hears arguments in closely watched chicken odor,"
Associated Press (Evansville Courier & Press), August 16, 2001.
7. THE GLOBAL SKIN TRADE
An article in The Western Producer examines the global leather industry.
Insect bites, mange and ringworm, urine and manure stains, and brands all
reduce the value of leather, as does tears which occur when the skin is
removed. Some 60-70% of the world market consists of damaged skin. The
North American leather market brings in over $3 billion a year. Leather
from India is mostly from "fallen cattle" rather than from slaughtered
animals, and is of poor quality. About 45 square feet of skin can be
derived from a 1,200 pound steer, for which a tanner's gross sales can vary
from $63-$180. The shoe industry is the largest leather user, utilizing 65%
of world production. A shoe requires about 1 square foot of skin.
A new method of removing hair from cattle skin will benefit the tanning
industry. Prior to skinning, the animal's body is sprayed with sodium
sulfide, which breaks down hair. A neutralizing agent is then applied.
Developed 10 years ago, the process was not employed due to the high cost
of wastewater treatment it entailed. Experimentation has allowed the
sulfide to be recycled and the hair to be retrieved, and has reduced the
overall impact on the environment. The quality of the leather can be
determined prior to shipping, saving tanneries time and expense. A Kansas
meatpacking facility opening this month will be the first to use the process.
"Flaws can be fatal in cowhide business," The Western Producer, Barbara
Duckworth, August 14, 2001.
"New Tanning Process Good for Industry and the Environment," Agricultural
Research, ARS/USDA, Jim Core, August 15, 2001.
8. HOW VEGETARIAN DIETS MAY REDUCE HEART DISEASE AND CANCER
Scottish researchers have found that vegetarians may be at lower risk of
heart disease and bowel cancer than those who eat meat and fish because of
an acid in fruits and vegetables. Salicylic acid, the active ingredient in
aspirin, is also found in fruits and vegetables. The researchers found
vegetarians had salicylic acid levels 12 times higher than those who eat
flesh. The acid reduces inflammation, which is a contributing factor to
both heart disease and bowel cancer. Many fruits and vegetables contain
salicylic acid, but herbs and spices have the greatest concentrations. The
research results were published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology.
"Why Veggie Diet May Reduce Heart Disease, Cancer," Reuters (London), June