A Project of Animal Place
September 29, 2001
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1. Kansas Makes Tempting Target for Bioterrorists
2. Food Safety Needs to Start at the Production Stage
3. Fears for Genetic Engineering
4. Meat Without Killing
5. Burger King Now Offering Vegetarian Burger in Thailand
6. Suggestive Web Site
1. KANSAS MAKES TEMPTING TARGET FOR BIOTERRORISTS
Its huge pig operations, feedyards and slaughterplants make Kansas a
tempting target for bioterrorists, warns the state's top vet. The
introduction of disease there could disrupt the nation's food supply. More
than 22% of all the cattle fed in the U.S. come from Kansas, equating to
nearly 1 of every 4 steaks or hamburgers consumed in the U.S. The state
also slaughters the most cattle each year (8.2 million). The state animal
health commissioner has been worried about animal disease bioterrorism for
years. He warns that it would be "pretty easy" for someone to get to the
industry if they wanted to. There is also concern that government
inspectors could unwittingly spread disease from feedlot to feedlot. The
pig industry is said to be "way ahead" of the cattle industry in terms of
biosecurity planning since pigs are more concentrated in buildings.
PETA cancelled a protest against the World Dairy Expo because of the
September 11th terrorist attacks. PETA had urged Expo officials to cancel
the even last spring, citing the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. The Expo
is one of the world's largest dairy trade shows. Nearly 70,000 people
attended last year's event, including several thousand from other
countries. The Expo is still slated to be held in Madison, Ws. from October
"USDA warns: Livestock operations tempting target for bioterrorists,"
Associated Press, Roxana Hegeman, September 21, 2001.
"PETA cancels protests at expo," Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, Meg Jones, September 20, 2001.
"Agriterrorism and the threat to national security," GRACE Factory Farm
2. FOOD SAFETY NEEDS TO START AT THE PRODUCTION STAGE
Speaking at a Geneva conference on the Global Food Safety Initiative,
Professor Lawrence Busch of Michigan State University explained that "the
bulk of food safety problems begin at the farm level." He noted that it
would be most cost effective to make improvements at the production stage.
Professor Busch warned of a growing distrust in the ability of government
and authority to cope with food safety given the series of food poisoning
outbreaks, and included animal welfare issues among consumer concerns.
A World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson stated that the most serious
health problems are the sporadic, unpublicized cases that result in death
and are not well understood. In the industrialized world, up to 30% of the
population suffers from foodborne microbial diseases which kill up to 20
million people annually. Pointing to this fact, the WHO spokesperson
stated, "Food is not safe, despite what politicians may want to claim." He
said that simultaneous worldwide increases in such diseases as Salmonella
and Campylobacter over the past 15 years cannot be explained away by
improved monitoring. Criticizing current food safety systems as being
"reactive," he, too, called for preventive measures beginning at the
"Food safety: Competition and challenges," Just-food, Warren Giles,
September 24, 2001.
3. FEARS FOR GENETIC ENGINEERING
Researchers at a recent conference on genetic engineering expressed
concerns that the lack of regulatory approval and public acceptance could
stall the industry. Biotech companies now produce drugs in genetically
engineered bacteria, yeast and animal cells, which are grown in large vats.
Looking for larger scale production, companies have been genetically
engineering animals to churn out drugs and other substances. Examples of
the research presented at the conferences include human protein produced in
goat milk and pig semen, and spider silk produced in cow mammary cells.
AviGenics, which claims to have produced human hormone in chicken eggs,
wants to create chicken flocks that will be "a reliable drug production
factory." Regarding animal rights activists, a transgenic pig researcher
said, "In our case, the animals won't be hurt, they'll be treated like kings."
"Transgenic animals carry genes from another species," Mercury News, Paul
Jacobs, September 23, 2001.
4. MEAT WITHOUT KILLING
A dermatologist at the University of Amsterdam says he can create meat in
laboratories without killing animals. The meat would be produced by
harmlessly obtaining collagen particles and muscle cells from animals
"donors." The muscle cells would grow and multiply on the collagen.
The plan is to produce the 50kg lots of meat in large containers. The
scientist says pig, cow and chicken meat could be produced artificially, as
well as kangaroo, whale and shellfish meat. The scientist and 2 businessmen
hold the worldwide patent on the process and are looking for investors.
"Scientist says he can create meat without killing animals," Ananova,
September 20, 2001.
5. BURGER KING NOW OFFERING VEGETARIAN BURGER IN THAILAND
Prompted by market research showing a big demand for meatless food in
Thailand, Burger King has begun offering a vegetarian burger there. The
chain is targeting weight-conscious young females, working women, and
nutrition-conscious men. The patty consisting of corn, carrots, broccoli,
mushrooms, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Burger King operates more than
11,000 restaurants in the U.S. and 57 countries, 97% of which are operated
by independent franchisees. The company had worldwide sales of $11.4
billion in fiscal year 2000.
"Burger King launches vegetarian burger in Thailand," Associated Press,
September 20, 2001.
6. SUGGESTIVE WEB SITE
Meat-net is a web site that claims to be "the worldwide
meat-processing-marketplace." It features a graphic entitled "Miss Porky on
stage" which depicts a cartoon pig doing a striptease. On September 27th,
the site claimed to have had 88,401 visitors (since January 2001). It asks:
"Do you feel lonely in the worldwide Web? Why don't you put a link from our
www.meat-net.com to your web to profit from our numerous visitors???"