A Project of Animal Place
March 28, 2002
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1. Banning Antibiotics
2. McDonald's: Resolution and Settlement
3. Battery Cage to Be Banned in Germany
4. Confinement Pig Operations Pose Serious Health Hazards
5. Biotech Boom or Bust?
6. Slaughterplant Caught Violating "Humane Slaughter Act"
7. Turkeys, Pigs Killed in Fires
8. Hens Find Sanctuary
1. BANNING ANTIBIOTICS
The European Commission has proposed a permanent ban on the use of antibiotics
in animal feed. Most antibiotics have already been banned in the European
Union due to concerns about antibiotic resistance. The proposal seeks to ban
the 4 remaining antibiotics, which are used to boost growth. New controls will
also be introduced on other feed additives. Companies would have to prove any
substance used in feed was good for animals and posed no risk to humans or the
Subtherapeutic use of several antibiotics in farmed animals would be banned
under legislation proposed by Rep. Brown (D-OH). The therapeutic use of
fluoroquinolones in poultry would also be banned. The Preservation of
Antibiotics for Human Treatment Act of 2002 (HR 3804) would, over 2 years,
phase out 8 classes of drugs commonly used to promote growth and prevent
disease in farmed animals. Their use is suspected of promoting the development
of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can infect humans, too. Industry opposes
the bill claiming it will impede efforts to keep animals healthy and create a
safe food supply. If manufacturers can show within 2 years that such use of
their drugs causes no harm to humans, they could continue to be used as growth
VOICE YOUR OPINION: Contact your federal representative about the bill. If you
don't know who your representative is you can find out at: http://www.fund.org/action/lac/
2. McDONALD'S: RESOLUTION AND SETTLEMENT
The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) have approved a resolution to force
McDonald's to extend its animal welfare standards beyond the U.S. and Britain.
Officials ruled that the company has done little to carry out its guiding
principles in the management of its 29,000 restaurants around the world. The
resolution was filed at the behest of PETA. McDonald's had opposed the
resolution, arguing that existing policies already encourage its suppliers to
treat animals humanely. SEC officials noted that the policies only apply to
U.S. and British franchises.
McDonald's will give $10 million to Hindu, vegetarian, kosher and children's
charities as settlement for lawsuits brought against it for using beef
flavoring in its french fries. (See back issue #6.) The company will also make
a public apology for misleading consumers. Menu item ingredients will be
disclosed, and an advisory board is to be set up to advise the company on
vegetarian dietary issues and propose meatless menu items. Additionally, 12
plaintiffs in class-action lawsuits filed in 5 states will receive $4,000
each. The court may yet approve up to $2.4 million for the plaintiffs'
lawyers. The apology and disclosure agreement does not extend to the 39 other
countries where McDonald's does business, and a Canadian lawsuit is still
"SEC backs animal welfare resolution against McDonalds," United
Press International, Gregory Tejeda, March 25, 2002.
3. BATTERY CAGE TO BE BANNED IN GERMANY
Battery cages will be banned in Germany as of 2007. This is 5 years earlier
than a European Union (EU) phase out of the cages by 2012. Enriched cages,
which contain a nest box, perches, and litter, will be banned in Germany as of
2012. The German ban is attributed to vigorous campaigning by animal advocates
and the strong backing of Germany's agriculture minister. Compassion in World
Farming is urging the EU to also ban enriched cages in favor of percheries or
VOICE YOUR OPINION: Contact EU Commissioner David Byrne, Health and Consumer
Protection Directorate-General, Rue de la Loi 200, 1049 Brussels, Belgium.
4. CONFINEMENT PIG OPERATIONS POSE SERIOUS HEALTH HAZARDS
Government documents obtained under Canada's Access to Information Act show
large-scale pig operations are responsible for air and water pollution, and
pose a significant health hazard. Ammonia fumes combine with industrial air
pollutants and car exhausts to produce dangerous acidic compounds. These
compounds can evade the normal defenses of the human respiratory system. The
substances that cause odors may cause nausea, headaches, sleep disturbances,
stomach upset, appetite loss and depression. Workers in the operations can
develop chronic bronchitis and asthma. Particulates concentrate odors up to 40
million times and can carry them long distances. Pollution solutions, such as
manure composting, sewage treatment plants, artificial marshes and pigs
genetically modified to produce "cleaner" manure, are deemed
unaffordable. Canada produced 28.2 million pigs last year, an increase of 1.8
million from the year before. At the current rate of growth, pigs may soon
outnumber Canada's 30,007,000 people.
5. BIOTECH BOOM OR BUST?
Australia's first cloned and genetically modified (GM) calves have been born.
The country joins the U.S., Europe and New Zealand, which are already cloning
and genetically modifying cattle with a push toward revolutionizing the world
dairy market. Commercial production of GM milk in Australia is predicted to be
7-10 years away, but milk modified to contain human medicines and vaccines
could be available in 5 years.
Setbacks, delay, and bankruptcy have biotech analysts questioning the
viability of the technology. Investor confidence was shaken by the
recent announcement that, due to a side effect, the first "pharmed"
product to hit the market will be delayed at least 2 years. Notes one analyst,
"This is pretty significant bad news - they've had delay after delay.
Doubts have been growing about the viability of transgenic animals for some
6. SLAUGHTERPLANT CAUGHT VIOLATING "HUMANE SLAUGHTER ACT"
Slaughterplant workers in Alabama were caught on videotape "dragging a
large sow with a chain behind a forklift from one side of the compound across
a parking lot inside the slaughtehouse." This is a violation of the
"Humane Slaughter Act," and is condemned by farmed animal handling
authority Dr. Temple Grandin. The footage was among that taken by a
long-suffering neighbor of the Diamond Meat Company. Nearby residents have
brought suit against the slaughterplant, based on a state nuisance law,
because of noise, odors, etc. The article elaborates on the similarities of
human and pig manure. A veterinarian explains, "There isn't much
difference between the organic and chemical makeup of human feces and hog
feces. If people are living a few hundred feet from a pond full of hog waste,
they may as well be living that close to a pond full of untreated human
waste." A Freedom of Information Act request was denied because the
documents are related to an investigation already underway by the Inspector
General. A close relative of one of the company officers was sentence to 30
months in prison for deliberately selling rotting, urine-covered meat from a
N.C. slaughterplant. The article includes photographs and concludes with a
section on suggested legislation.
7. TURKEYS, PIGS KILLED IN FIRES
A mid-March fire killed 8,500 young turkeys. An electrical malfunction is
suspected to have been the cause. The birds were being raised for Purdue.
Fire at a north central Iowa pig operation killed 900 pregnant pigs on March
24th. A faulty ventilation fan may have caused the fire at the 5-building
site. The roof of the building collapsed and all the pigs inside perished.
8. HENS FIND SANCTUARY
More than 300 of the hens who had been left to starve at Cypress Foods in
Florida (see back issues #57 & 58) have found permanent homes at 4 farmed
animal sanctuaries. Some 150 other hens were adopted by animal advocates in
Florida and North Carolina. About 60 of the birds were rescued from the
Georgia facility, where more than 1 million hens were abandoned. Activists
took photographs of legs, wings, and other body parts left clinging to the
cages from which the hens were ripped. Birds had their necks broken and were
thrown still alive on "dead" piles. A Florida rescuer attempted to
remove birds from manure pits but abandoned the effort when the manure became
waist high. The new residents at one sanctuary were quick to perch in bushes