Farmed Animal Watch
September 3, 2001                                                     (To Search This Page Press Ctrl F)
Issue #26


1.  Avian Veterinarians Denounce Force Molting
2.  N.Z. Animal Welfare Developments and Challenges
3.  Sara Lee Knowingly Distributed Contaminated Meat?
4.  Vegetarian Demand Not Being Met by Schools
5.  Lawmakers Benefit from Agricultural Subsidies
6.  Ostrich Farming in the U.S.
7.  Industry Insights

In its June-August 2001 newsletter, the Association of Avian Veterinarians
(AAV) denounces the practice of force molting and urges readers to support
pending legislation against it. The AAV is a constituent member of the
American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)'s House of Delegates. To
date, the AVMA has been resistant to efforts to prohibit forced molting.

When Congress reconvenes on Sept. 4th, one of the first votes may be on the
2001 Agriculture Appropriations Bill (S. 1191). This includes the
Leahy-Fitzgerald amendment, which seeks to prohibit tax dollars from being
spent on eggs from force molted hens.

"Bird Veterinarians Speak Out Against Forced Molting," United Poultry
Concerns News Alert, August 30, 2001.

The Royal N.Z. SPCA has expressed horror over the condition of farmed
animals in the south part of the country. Drought, a cold winter, and poor
soil condition has resulted in a dearth of green grass. The Ministry senior
adviser for animal welfare reported a "huge uprising" of cases of starving
animals this year. The SPCA warned that exports could suffer if photos of
starving sheep or cattle begin appearing in foreign newspapers.

The RSPCA is also calling for mandatory reporting by the poultry industry
of any incidents leading to significant animal deaths. The suffocation of
60,000 hens in August led to the request after the Poultry Industry
Association commented that it had no obligation to report such incidents.
(An anonymous tip revealed the tragedy.) The SPCA will be seeking to have
the mandatory reporting of such incidents included in the country's animal
welfare codes, which are currently under revision.

After N.Z. poultry giant, Tegel, announced it will no longer feed chickens
genetically modified feed, it was challenged to apply the same
decision-making process to its animal welfare standards - surveying the
public. Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) is confident the public will
strongly object to the "cruel intensive farming methods" Tegel uses to
produce over 30 million "broiler" chickens annually. SAFE is also
challenging Tegel on the use of genetically engineered birds. A survey
commissioned by the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification found that 70%
of the public did not approve of the genetic engineering of farmed animals.

The N.Z. dairy industry is stepping up its efforts to protect the country's
"clean green" image with the release of environmental and animal welfare
policy guidelines. The guidelines ask farmers to comply with policies on
the physical and behavioral needs of animals, tail docking, inductions,
bobby calf and casualty cattle collection, in addition to environmental

"Starving stock a threat to exports, says SPCA," Dominion (Industry Watch,, August 22, 2001.
"SPCA Calls for Mandatory Reporting," SPCA Press Release, The Newsroom,
August 27, 2001.
"Tegel Challenged Over Animal Welfare And GE-Free Birds," SAFE Press
Release, The Newsroom, August 30, 2001.
"Dairy Industry Guidelines Promote Clean Green Image," Dairy Board Press
Release, The Newsroom, August 10, 2001.

Workers and a meat inspector report that months before a 1998 Listeriosis
outbreak, managers at a Sara Lee plant likely knew some meat being shipped
was contaminated. A report by federal investigators concluded that managers
at the Michigan plant knew or should have known the meat was contaminated.
The nationwide outbreak triggered the largest meat recall in U.S. history
(35 million pounds) and left 15 people dead. In June, Sara Lee was allowed
to plead guilty to 1 misdemeanor count of producing and distributing
adulterated meat. The company was fined $200,000. It reached a $1.2 million
civil settlement with the government and agreed to pay $3 million to fund
food safety research as part of a plea bargain.

"Workers: Bil Mar Knew Meat was Bad," Detroit Free Press, Jennifer Dixon,
August 30, 2001.

School food service providers acknowledge that a growing number of children
are rejecting meat, but their needs are not being met. The federal
government now allows schools to calculate meal ingredients by nutrients,
making it easier for them to offer meatless options. Over the past 5 years,
most schools have begun to serve a vegetarian item every day. But
vegetarian advocates, including parents of vegetarian children, complain
that schools don't serve non-meat entrees unless they assist or pester them
to. When they do, the food is often greasy or full of cholesterol.

"Back to School: Schools serving more vegetarian kids, but veggie advocates
say schools not getting the job done," Associated Press, Greg Toppo,
September 1, 2001.

A number of representatives and senators derive personal gain from
agricultural subsidies. This includes members who hold key positions for
setting farm policy. Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the
Senate Agriculture Committee, is among them. He has, however,  criticized
farm subsidies for encouraging overproduction and driving prices lower in a
self-perpetuating cycle.

Citing improved conditions in the pig industry, the USDA has announced it
will again begin to finance the construction of additional production
facilities with direct loans and loan guaranties. This announcement comes
despite the fact that some sections of the agency are still expending
resources to deal with oversupply conditions.

"Farm Aid Benefits Lawmakers," The Washington Post, John Lancaster,
September 1, 2001.
"USDA adjusts programs," Washington Watch, Ag Web News, August 23, 2001.

Steve Warrington, an Illinois ostrich farmer, claims ostrich farming has
gained popularity in the past decade as the result of consumer health
concerns. He claims he cannot keep up with demand and is planning to start
a 20,000 bird farm next year. About 100,000 ostriches are raised on farms
in the U.S. The monogamous birds have an average life span of 80 years,
females lay eggs for 75 years. About 90 pounds of meat can be obtained from
an adult ostrich, and sells for about $10 a pound. The skin, eggs, and
feathers are also used. The article comments on the fearlessness of the
birds and how they are handled.

"Ostriches at home on range," Las Vegas Review-Journal, Ed Vogel, August
13, 2001.

A variety of conferences and courses concerning different aspects of the
meat industry are scheduled. The Midwest Conference will take place Sept.
6-7 at the Indian State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. A corresponding trade
show will feature 250 exhibitors. The program can be found at:

PORK 101 is a 3-day course intended to give an overview of the different
segments of the industry. The courses are scheduled as follows: Oklahoma
State University, Sept. 10-12; Penn State University, Sept. 17-19;
University of Nebraska, Nov. 6-8; California State Polytechnic, Nov. 28-30.

Beef 101 will be held at Texas A&M University in College Station, Tx.,
Sept. 17-19. For more information call: (979) 845-0435.

An International Symposium on Animal Production will be held at North
Carolina State University, October 3-5th. The focus will be on
environmental issues. The program can be accessed at:

A poultry science program is debuting at Gainesville (Ga.) Community
College this semester. The program will include guest lecturers and tours
of poultry facilities. Students will have access to the U. of Ga.
facilities for lab work.

"Midwest Pork Conference," National Hog Farmer, Joe Vansickle, August 15, 2001.
"From Hogs to Bacon, PORK 101 Educates the Pork Industry," The Meating
Place Daily News, Dan Murphy, August 14, 2001.
"NCSU will Host International Symposium on Animal Production," The
Porkline, Beth Anne Mumford, August 24, 2001.
"Gainesville College to Offer Poultry Science Program," The Meating Place
Daily News, Joshua Lipsky, August 31, 2001.