Farmed Animal Watch
A Project of Animal Place

May 1, 2002                                                     (To Search This Page Press Ctrl F)
Issue #66


1. Compromised Farm Bill Triples Factory Farming Subsidies
2. More on Anti-Factory Farming Footage Legislation
3. Happy Cow Ads Contested
4. Goat Meat Demand on The Increase
5. Hormone Therapy Questioned
6. PMU Industry Defended
7. Bill Aims to Ban Slaughter of Horses For Human Consumption
8. Horse Slaughter Plant Destroyed

The House/Senate Conference Committee has approved $100 billion new farm legislation. The bill would increase subsidy payments to the largest producers by nearly $50 billion over the next decade. Larry Combest (R-TX), who chaired the Committee, declared "It is clearly a win for West Texas farmers and ranchers." The final version, agreed to on Friday, would triple federal subsidies to large pig and chicken operations. The bill is to replace the 1996 Freedom to Farm Act. That legislation was designed to cut most federal agriculture subsidies. However, lobbyists and farming state representatives won billions of dollars in emergency bailouts during the late 1990's. In 2001, a record $20 billion was handed out despite the drop in full-time commercial farmers. The conference committee's compromise still must be approved by the full House and Senate, but major changes are rarely made to bills passed by the committee. The Congressional Budget Office also must review the bill.  
"Conference Committee Approves Massive Farm Subsidies," Environment News Service, Cat Lazaroff, April 29, 2002.

"Part of an old saying warns us never to watch sausages being made," begins an article in the Chicago Tribune which later goes on to state: "The other part of that old saying reminds us never to watch laws being made, either. And the story of this bill reminds us why." The article is about Illinois House Bill 5793, which seeks to make a crime of photographing or videotaping a factory farmed animal without the consent of the operation's owner (see back issue #65). A similar bill is being attempted in the Missouri legislature. The Illinois bill failed to make it out of committee in the state Senate in time for consideration this spring. It is expected to either be tacked on to other legislation this session or be reintroduced next fall.
"Lawmakers stand up for pigs' privacy," The Chicago Tribune, Eric Zorn, April 30, 2002.

American cheese comes from happy cows living in bucolic pastures, if you believe the California Milk Advisory Board (CAMB) television ads featuring talking cows. In actuality, most California cows live in filthy lots barren of grass, are forced to produce too much milk, and have their calves separated from them too soon contends a complaint against the ads filed with the Federal Trade Commission by PETA. The organization claims the ads, which have been running for 18 months, are deceptive. A CAMB spokesperson acknowledges that few would mistake the state's dusty Central Valley, site of most large dairy operations, for more scenic areas. She argues that the cows' needs are being met and the ads are not meant to be taken literally. 
"Animal rights groups say ‘Happy Cows' ad campaign is deceptive," Associated Press, Mark Sherman, April 29, 2002.

The demand for goat meat has grown steadily in the U.S. for the past 10 years. This is primarily due to immigration from goat-eating regions such as Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East. An estimated 1,900,000 goats make up the U.S. herd intended for the meat trade. In 1999, some 492,000 goats were slaughtered at federally inspected plants, compared to 400,000 in 1998. Another 300,000 were killed in state inspected facilities or "informally." Demand for goat meat is expected to grow at a rate of 10-15% per year. The largest markets are along the northeastern U.S. coast and in Florida and California. Texas is the largest producer of goats raised for meat, followed by Tennessee and Georgia. The animals are transported to slaughterplants nearer points of consumption. About a third of all federally inspected goat slaughter takes place in New Jersey. A fact sheet by Iowa State University Extension provides breed, production, market, price and background information at:
"Southern Farmers Focus on Goat Meat," Associated Press, Elliott Minor, April 22, 2002.

Longstanding claims that hormone replacement can prevent or treat a variety of ailments in postmenopausal women are challenged by a new report entitled "International Position Paper on Women's Health and Menopause." The report, by a panel of 28 international doctors and scientists, was financed by the National Institutes of Health and a private medical science foundation. In 2001, American women spent about $2.75 billion on hormone replacement. Premarin, a drug derived from pregnant mares urine, was the third most commonly prescribed drug in the U.S. last year, with more than 45 million prescriptions dispensed. While mood and well-being may be improved in women who suffer from hot flashes and night sweats, prolonged hormone therapy can increase the risk of blood clots, gall bladder disease and breast cancer. In controlled trials, the therapy increased the risk of heart attack and stroke. Urinary incontinence may also be worsened by it. Notes Dr. Deborah Grady, lead author of the 1992 guidelines on hormone replacement for the American College of Physicians, "I spend a lot of my life now trying to figure out how to help women taper off estrogen." The full report will be issued in June by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
"Scientists Question Hormone Therapies for Menopause Ills," The New York Times, Denise Grady, April 18, 2002.
There are about 37,000 "broodmares" on 422 pregnant mare urine (PMU) operations in Canada and North Dakota. The mares are kept in stalls from October to March, during which time their urine is collected. Wyeth-Ayerst Global Pharmaceuticals, which for nearly 60 years has manufactured Premarin, denies accusations that the mares are kept in too small stalls, suffer from urine collection bags that cause chafed limbs and irritated vulvas, and are intentionally dehydrated to make their urine more concentrated. Wyeth suppliers must adhere to a set of practices formulated by the North American Equine Ranching Information Council (NAERIC), an umbrella association for the PMU industry. The code is enforced by inspections conducted by Wyeth and independent veterinarians.
In the spring, the pregnant horses are turned out to pasture and give birth to about 30,000 foals. Many of the foals are slaughtered for European and Asian meat markets. This article notes the NAERIC helped find alternative placement for at least 50 of the foals last year. NAERIC's executive director notes: "[One] objective with our association is to improve the genetics of our herd, to sell quality horses to as many markets as we can. If anyone thinks there aren't going to be some culls through that process, I guess they don't really know animal agriculture."        
"Veterinary, equine community dispel accusations against the pregnant mare urine industry," Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Lee J. DiVita, April 15, 2002.

More than 55,000 horses were slaughtered in the U.S. to meet foreign demand for horseflesh. Thousands more horses were shipped live to Mexico and Canada for slaughter. On Valentine's Day, Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD.) introduced the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, H.R. 3781. The bill prohibits slaughter of horses in the U.S. for human consumption and bans the transport of horseflesh and of live horses to countries for slaughter. The American Horse Council opposed a similar bill introduced last year claiming that it would increase the likelihood of abuse since horses who could not be "disposed" of might instead be neglected. The Council said such a fate would be worse than "humane euthanasia" at a slaughterplant. The Society for Animal Protective Legislation counters that "To allow this industry to continue operating here is to accept federally sanctioned cruelty."
"Slaughter of horses for human food would be banned by legislation," The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, R. Scott Nolan, April 15, 2002.

A horse slaughterplant in Dekalb, Illinois was recently gutted by fire. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is unknown. The fire destroyed most of the 20,000-square-foot building, causing $2 million worth of damage. Last December, Cavel, a company which sells horse meat for consumption in Europe, was permitted to add a 10,000-square-foot addition to the building. The plant had been the target of controversy by local residents and animal protection advocates.
Only two U.S. horse-slaughtering operations remain, both in Texas. 
"Horse slaughtering plant destroyed," Meat News, Meat Processing News Online, April 12, 2002