A Project of Animal Place
December 23, 2001
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1. Feedlot Diet Contributes to Cattle Deaths
2. Team Formed to Deal with Animal Emergencies
3. Helping Pigs in Confinement and in "Heaven"
4. Multi-Species Slaughter Plant Planned
5. Researchers Develop Chick Embryos with Double Beaks
6. Court Questions Meat Eating
1. FEEDLOT DIET CONTRIBUTES TO CATTLE DEATHS
Cattle are commonly fattened in feedlots prior to slaughter. To quickly
accomplish this, they are fed a concentrated grain diet. About a third of
the deaths of cattle in feedlots are attributed to digestive diseases.
Bloat, which is caused when animals switch to a high-grain diet, is blamed
for about 25% of feedlot deaths. Acidosis is another digestive disease which
can cause rumen lesions. Laminitis, a foot disease, is another. (Footrot and
foot inflammation also occur in feedlots, especially when cattle are left in
wet, muddy conditions.) While roughage, such as hay or silage, can help
buffer the digestive system, many feedlots do not want to bother working
with these bulky materials. Other serious diseases associated with
nutritional imbalances are discussed.
"Cattle deaths linked to diet," Western Producer, Barbara Duckworth,
December 18, 2001.
2. TEAM FORMED TO DEAL WITH ANIMAL EMERGENCIES
Several organizations in North Carolina have formed a team to deal with
animal emergencies. The State Animal Response Team (SART) is comprised of
the Cooperative Extension Service, N.C. State University, the state
department of agriculture, Emergency Management, animal industries, business
continuity planners, environmental and animal humane groups. The team is
charged with restoring animal production, handling animal feeding issues,
animal evacuation and abandoned animals, aiding sick or injured animals and
coordinating the disposal of dead animals during a natural disaster. SART is
particularly concerned about the potential disease threat posed by the
20,000 pigs shipped through the country from N.C. every day. Efforts are
underway to use the coalition as a model for other states.
"Animal Emergency Response Team Formed," National Hog Farmer, Joe Vansickle,
December 15, 2001
3. HELPING PIGS IN CONFINEMENT AND IN "HEAVEN"
VIVA!USA launched its "When Pigs Cry" Campaign with a recent press
conference. The goal of the campaign is to show that factory farming of pigs
is cruel. Graphic undercover footage of pigs kept in inhumane conditions at
operations in North Carolina, Georgia, and California was shown. The
California-based group is the first branch of the U.K. organization, VIVA!
The event was held at Animal Place, a farmed animal sanctuary described as
"hog heaven," in a
recent San Francisco Chronicle article. Sanctuary founder Kim Sturla tells
the background of some of the residents. Response to the Vacaville, Ca.
sanctuary by the local, agricultural community's is discussed. Regarding the
difference in the way farmed and companion animals are viewed, Sturla
explains "It's a schizophrenic attitude about how we treat species. Pigs
have just as much personality and individuality as dogs and cats."
(Farmed Animal Watch is a project of Animal Place.)
"Animal activists want folks to spare the pig: go vegan," The Reporter,
Kimberly K. Fu, December 13, 2001.
'Animal activists want folks to spare the pig; go vegan," VIVAUSA Pigs Campaign
"High on the hogs," San Francisco Chronicle, Sam McManis, December 23, 2001.
4. MULTI-SPECIES SLAUGHTER PLANT PLANNED
Construction of a multi-species slaughter plant in Canada could begin next
spring. Sheep, goats, wild boar, ostriches and emus could all be killed at
the plant. The planners particularly hope to capitalize on the Canadian
market for fresh lamb meat. Currently, most lambs are shipped alive to
Toronto where they are killed. Much of the meat is frozen for sale
elsewhere. Fresh lamb meat would be more lucrative. In the first year,
planners hope to kill between 25,000-40,000 sheep, 10,000 wild boar and
6,000 emu. Water treatment is seen as the biggest determinant of where the
plant is located. The current plan is to site it within 30 miles of
"Packer with a twist," Western Producer, Karen Briere, December 13, 2001.
5. RESEARCHERS DEVELOP CHICK EMBRYOS WITH DOUBLE BEAKS
To prove they have discovered how to control the growth of facial features,
Canadian researchers made embryonic chicks with double beaks. "It's
equivalent to growing a second nose on the side of the cheek," explains the
lead researcher Joy Richman. The intent is to better understand and repair
human facial deformities. The research shows that cells can be completely
reprogrammed after they become part of the face. One part of the face can be
transformed into another part. Since eggs are readily available, chickens
are the animal model of choice for developmental researchers. None of the
double-beaked embryos have been allowed to hatch. Chicks take about 21 days
to hatch, but the embryos are killed after 14 days. Richman consider it to
be more humane than some animal research. She cautions that much more animal
research will be needed before there can be practical application to human
"Two-beaked chick holds promise for repair of facial deformities," National
Post, Margaret Munro, December 20, 2001.
"Signalling: Facial development in the embryo," Nature, S.-H. Lee et al.,
December 20, 2001.
6. COURT QUESTIONS MEAT EATING
While ruling on an Illinois case involving the sale of rotten meat, the 7th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals questioned the prudence of eating meat and
poultry. The case involved a random USDA inspection of a warehouse which
uncovered rotten meat and poultry, some bearing expiration dates from years
past, and exposed meat covered with rodent feces. Referring to a Gallup Poll
showing that 6% of American adults are vegetarian, the court noted: "We
think that percentage would jump dramatically if the other 94 percent read
the record in this case." The presiding judge also wrote that the 3-judge
panel would be recommending that more vegetables and tofu burgers be served
at future court dinners. The defendant was sentenced to 24 months in prison
and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine.
"Nothing to beef about, court says of butcher's sentence," Law Bulletin,
Patricia Manson, December 12, 2001.