April 22, 2001 (To Search This Page Press Ctrl F)
1. Animal Welfare Forgotten at Trade Talks
2. Meat Industry Denies Cruelty
3. Dairy Investigators Are Industry Promoters
4. Canada Phasing out Slaughterplant Monitoring
5. Researchers Decry Use of Antibiotics as Growth Promoters
6. FDA Still Pondering Antibiotics Petition
7. Health Experts Implicate Factory "Farms"
8. Call for Farming Practices Review
9. How to Start a Germ War
10 World Pork Expo Cancelled
11. HSUS: Ban Meat Imports
12. Pig Growth Hormone May Cause Human Cancer
13. Johne's Causing Crohn's?
14. AIDS-like Disease Afflicting Pigs
15. Making Pigs
16. T.V. Program: The Danger on Our Plates
17. Farmed Animal Well-being Conference
1. ANIMAL WELFARE FORGOTTEN AT TRADE TALKS
Negotiators at the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) Summit should consider animal welfare, urges a press release issued by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Hormone treated beef is 1 of 6 examples given of the ways existing trade agreements negatively impact animal welfare. IFAW’s National Director Dr. Richard Smith states: “The FTAA in its proposed form presents a very real threat both to existing and future animal and environment protection legislation and efforts.”
“Animal Welfare a Forgotten Concern at Trade Talks,” IFAW press release April 20, 2001
2. MEAT INDUSTRY DENIES CRUELTY
Iowa Beef Packers, Inc. (IBP), is denying the highly publicized claims of animal cruelty at its Washington state slaughterplant (see newsletter #2). The company claims video footage was edited to manufacture evidence. According to an industry news release, an 11 month investigation by state and county officials reportedly found insufficient evidence that animals were skinned and dismembered alive, and no charges have been filed. IBP is, however, said to have reached an agreement with the state to improve animal handling practices and will be expanding training to eliminate employee confusion about animal stunning.
"Animal Rights Activists `Manufactured' Evidence Against IBP Beef Plant,"
http://www.meatingplace.com April 19, 2001
3. DAIRY INVESTIGATORS ARE INDUSTRY PROMOTERS
Officials investigating charges of deception regarding the dairy industry's milk mustache ads are also responsible for overseeing this dairy promotion, according to a letter of complaint sent to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). The organization had petitioned the FTC about the ads alleged false health claims in July, and the agency had referred the matter to the USDA, which both regulates and promotes agriculture. PCRM's request that the FTC transfer the probe to an independent scientific panel has so far been refused.
"Uncle Sam's Disguise," PCRM news release http://www.pcrm.org
4. CANADA PHASING OUT SLAUGHTERPLANT MONITORING
The Canadian federal government is replacing independent slaughterplant inspections with a self-regulated industry system which critics fear will result in more animal cruelty and contaminated food. Seven poultry plants out of the country's 135 federally inspected slaughterplants have already switched, and the rest are expected to.
"Slaughterhouse Monitoring Being Phased Out," The Vancouver Sun, April 19, 2001 FSNet, April 19, 2001
5. RESEARCHERS DECRY ANTIBIOTIC GROWTH PROMOTERS
Researchers at the University of Illinois are calling for and end to the use of antibiotics as farmed animal growth promoters since tetracycline-resistant bacteria originating in pigs' intestines were discovered in soil and water under pig production sites. This adds to the strong evidence that administering antibiotics to farmed animals can result in the emergence of resistant bacteria which can be transmitted to people through water, food or contact. The use of most antibiotics as growth promoters has been banned in the European Union but routinely occurs in the U.S.
"Spreading Problem: Superbug Genes are Getting into Soil and Water - Will Humans be Next?" New Scientist, April 21, 2001 http://www.newscientist.com/dailynews/news.jsp?id=ns9999640
6. FDA STILL PONDERING ANTIBIOTICS PETITION
The FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has again claimed it needs more time to respond to a petition requesting the FDA withdraw approvals for subtherapeutic uses of medically important antibiotics in animal feed. The petition was filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Environmental Defense Fund, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Public Citizen's Health Research Group, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. The FDA received over 38,000 comments on the petition.
7. PIG GROWTH HORMONE MAY CAUSE HUMAN CANCER
Canadian scientists are warning that carbadox, a widely used pig growth hormone, is a well-known human carcinogen which should be banned immediately. Due to regulatory restrictions, however, the chemical may remain in use in Canada for up to a year.
"Growth Hormone Used on Pigs May be Banned: Can Cause Cancer in Humans," Canadian Press, April 10, 2001 FSNet, April 10, 2001
8. JOHNE'S CAUSING CROHN'S?
The microbe responsible for Johne's Disease in cattle and other ruminants, causing diarrhea, wasting and death, is considered a possible cause of Crohn's Disease in humans, an incurable, severe gastrointestinal illness affecting half a million Americans. 22% of U.S. dairy herds are estimated to be infected, and the disease is on the rise. The possibility of the microbe being transmitted through milk, ground beef, or water is explored.
"Cow Conundrum: Could Microbe in Dairy Cattle Be Found in Milk," ABC News, April 9, 2001
9. AIDS-LIKE DISEASE AFFLICTING PIGS
Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), also referred to as "Swine Mystery Disease," has affected 75% of U.S. pig herds according to experts. Affected sows lose up to 10% of their pregnancies, and 20-30% of survivors may contract potentially lethal respiratory diseases. The disease attacks the immune system, and is said to bear resemblances to AIDS. It was recently found to be transmissible from one pig to another through the reuse of vaccination needles.
“Porcine Problem,” Second Opinion, abcNEWS.com, March 30, 2001
10. HEALTH EXPERTS IMPLICATE FACTORY "FARMS"
The spread of factory "farms" is a public health threat according to an internal document from Health Canada's Centre for Infectious Diseases. The document specifically implicates manure spills and the rapid spread of virulent bacteria resulting from agricultural antibiotic use as human health hazards. The greater contamination potential of larger operations is explained.
"Factory Farms Worry Health Experts," The Ottawa Citizen, April 13, 2001, A2 AnimalNet, April 13, 2001
11. CALL FOR FARMING PRACTICES REVIEW
In a commentary in the prestigious journal Nature, Dr. Eileen Rubery of Cambridge University calls for an extensive government review of how farming practices affect human health. Dr. Rubery, a former head of the protection of health division at the Department of Health, urged the British Food Standards Agency to conduct a full and transparent inquiry into the spread of human and animal diseases on farms to reassure the public.
"Emergency in Farming: `Look to Farms for Food Safety,'" British Times,
April 19, 2001 http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,2-116749,00.html FSNet, April 19, 2001
12. HOW TO START A GERM WAR
An editorial in New Scientist Magazine explains how little it might take (a contaminated washcloth) to intentionally spread Foot and Mouth Disease from the 20 some countries afflicted with it, potentially devastating agriculture and tourism, halting exports and disrupting elections. The author suggests a change in the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention may be in order.
"Bio-Apocalypse Now: All it Takes to Start Germ War is a Lone Fanatic with a Washcloth," New Scientist Magazine, April 21, 2001
13. WORLD PORK EXPO CANCELLED
As a precaution against FMD, the World Pork Expo has been cancelled. The event, held annually in Des Moines, Iowa, was expected to attract 40,000 attendees including 2000 foreign visitors from 60 countries. In cancelling the Expo, the National Pork Producers Council issued a list of 6 additional precautionary recommendations to Congress, the USDA, and industry.
"World Pork Expo Cancelled" - AgWeb News, April 12, 2001
14. HSUS: BAN MEAT IMPORTS
The Humane Society of the United States has urged the USDA to temporarily ban the importation of all farmed animals and meat products and institute other precautions against FMD. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle has also urged the Bush administration to ban all meat imports due to foreign disease outbreaks. The U.S. has banned live animals and raw meat products from countries with FMD cases.
"Animal rights group urges ban on all U.S. meat imports," Reuters Limited,
April 16, 2001
15. MAKING PIGS
PPL Therapeutics, which cloned Dolly the sheep and last year announced the world's first cloned pigs, now claims to have cloned 5 pigs with genetically modified cells. Additionally, a Monsanto subsidiary has physically mapped the entire pig genome and plans to use the information for breeding purposes.
"World's First Transgenetically Cloned Piglets Produced," Agweb, April 12, 2001
"Swine Genome Mapped," News Updates, National Hog Farmer, March 15, 2001 http://industryclick.com
16. T.V. PROGRAM: THE DANGER ON OUR PLATES
The New York Times and A&E Channel will present “The Danger on Our Plates” on A&E’s Investigative Reports, Monday, April 23rd at 10 p.m. EST.
17. FARMED ANIMAL WELL-BEING CONFERENCE - A two day conference featuring international scientists will be held at the University of California, Davis from June 28-29th, sponsored by Animal Place, the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, and United Poultry Concerns. Full registration is $75.
The Humane Society of the United States is offering awards to assist two or more veterinary students attend the California conference. Interested students should submit a letter outlining their interest in farmed animal welfare and their estimated expenses along with a supporting letter from a faculty advisor. Preference will be given to students indicating financial need. The closing date is May 15, 2001. For more information contact Dr. Suzanne Millman at: email@example.com (301) 258-3114 http://www.hsus.org
In the previous issue, we included a Reuters news story reporting that the U.S. Burger King had agreed to implement an animal welfare program. PETA has since informed us that the standards Burger King announced were meaningless if not counterproductive. PETA is continuing its protests against the fast food giant both here and in the U.K.
Objections and requests for a hearing on the FDA's approval to irradiate domestic animal food are being accepted up to May 10, 2001. Contact: John D. McCurdy, Center for Veterinary Medicine (HFV-222), FDA, 7500 Standish Pl., Rockville, MD., 20855, (301) 827-0171
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