Farmed Animal Watch
A Project of Animal Place

May 15, 2002                                                     (To Search This Page Press Ctrl F)
Issue #68


CONTENTS


1.  Organic Poultry Get Outdoor Access
2.  Government to Purchase and Kill Buffalo
3.  Kansas to Outlaw Cockfighting
4.  250,000 "Happy Hens" to Be Killed in Australia; US AI Update
5.  South Korea: 94,000 Pigs Ordered Killed to Control FMD
6.  USDA Pig Industry Survey Available Online
7.  First-Ever Animal Welfare Judging Competition Held
8.  Dairy and Pig Production Field Trip Courses
 

1. ORGANIC POULTRY GET OUTDOOR ACCESS
The National Organic Standards Board met this month to determine the requirements for poultry to be labeled as "organic." Congress has authorized the Board to make recommendations to the USDA regarding the definition of substances and practices which can be labeled as organic under the Organic Foods Production Act. Despite heavy lobbying by factory-farming interests to minimize requirements and profit from the nearly $8 billion organic market, the board voted 12 to 1 to keep outdoor access as a requirement. The board has stated that "access to the outdoors fulfills an integral role in health care and living condition requirements in organic poultry production." Noted one organic producer, "Organic has to mean something."
 
"Organic Still Means Humane," The Humane Society of the United States.
http://www.hsus.org/ace/14057
The National Organic Program, The Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.
http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/
 

2. GOVERNMENT TO PURCHASE AND KILL BUFFALO
The USDA will spend $13 million this year to buy and kill buffalo. Bison ranching grew quickly in the 1990's, primarily for the upscale restaurant trade. The resulting stockpiled "trim products," coupled with drought through much of the country, has the industry struggling to reduce the herd population. There are about 2,400 buffalo ranches, primarily in the Dakotas, Montana, Colorado and Wyoming, with 300,000-400,000 buffalo. Last year, 19,400 bison were slaughtered, compared to the 100,000 cattle who are slaughtered every day. It takes 2 to 3 years for buffalo to reach market weight, compared to 18 months for cattle. The purchase is part of the USDA's $155 million surplus food commodities program. Some of the meat will be donated to various organizations and some may end up in the school lunch program. The National Bison Association plans to step up marketing efforts with such slogans as "The Original Red Meat." Whole Foods Markets, the national health foods chain, recently began selling buffalo meat. 
 
"Feds Thinning Out Buffalo Herds," Fox News, Carol McKinley, May 14, 2002.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,52782,00.html
"Buffalo to be part of USDA program," United Press International, May 2, 2002.
http://upi.com/print.cfm?StoryID=02052002-023143-4306r
 

3. KANSAS TO OUTLAW COCKFIGHTING
A bill to outlaw cockfighting in Kansas was overwhelmingly passed by state lawmakers. The vote count was 112-10 in the House and 36-4 in the Senate. The bill is expected to be signed into law by the governor. It includes criminal penalties of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
 
"Lawmakers pass cockfighting ban," The Wichita Eagle, Mike Berry, May 14, 2002.
http://www.kansas.com/mld/eagle/3257168.htm
 
 
4. 250,000 "HAPPY HENS" TO BE KILLED IN AUSTRALIA; US AI UPDATE
Veterinarians in Victoria began killing 250,000 chickens at the Happy Hens Egg Farm due to an outbreak of Newcastle Disease. Happy Hens is one of the largest egg operations in the state. This is the first case of the disease in Victoria since the 1930's. (Victoria is west of Melbourne.) A similar strain of the disease occurred near Sydney in 1999, resulting in the killing of 1.9 million birds at poultry operations and aviaries in a restricted area. Accusing the state of turning a blind eye to conditions at the operation, a spokesperson for Animal Liberation Victoria explained: "Whenever hundreds of thousands of birds are crammed into a few sheds, you've got a ticking time bomb waiting to explode....The problem is intensive farming: sunlight will destroy the virus." The Victorian Farmers Federation Egg Producers Group expressed concern about the potential rise in egg prices.
 
The avian influenza (AI) epidemic afflicting the northeastern U.S. (see issue #67) is believed to be abating. Virginia residents near landfills and an incinerator where many of the millions of dead birds have been taken are complaining of odors. Smoke from the incinerator is said to settle in the mountain valley like thick fog, hurting residents' throats and making their eyes water. The state Dept. of Environmental Quality has assured them that the air is not harmful to breathe.
 
"State govt plays down claims of rise in egg prices," The Age, Susan Murdoch, May 15, 2002.
http://www.theage.com.au/breaking/2002/05/15/FFXK7QD851D.html
"Rate of farms becoming infected with AI slowing; residents complain of smoke," Watt Poultry USA, May 13, 2002.
http://www.wattnet.com/NewsRoom/ViewNews.cfm?PG=1&nwsNum=12476
 

5. SOUTH KOREA: 94,000 PIGS ORDERED KILLED TO CONTROL FMD
South Korea announced that 33,000 pigs have been killed and an additional 61,000 pigs have been condemned to die in the attempt to contain and eradicate an outbreak of highly infectious foot and mouth disease (FMD). Ten individual cases of the disease have been confirmed. FMD halted the country's $400 million annual pig meat export trade in 2000. A high-level government meeting was held to discuss maximizing security to prevent the spread of the disease during the upcoming World Cup soccer finals which South Korea will be co-hosting.
 
"South Korea to Kill 94,000 Pigs in Struggle to Contain FMD Outbreak," American Meat Institute News, May 13, 2002.
http://www.meatami.com/Template.cfm?Section=Home&NavMenuID=62&template=PressReleaseDisplay.cfm&PressReleaseID=1066&News=Y
"Korea Suspects Foot-and-mouth in Pigs, to Cull 5000," Reuters, Cho Mee-young, May 3, 2002.
http://www.plant.uoguelph.ca/safefood/archives/animalnet-archives.htm
 

6. USDA PIG INDUSTRY SURVEY AVAILABLE ONLINE
The USDA's Swine Survey 2000 Part II: Reference of Swine Health and Health Management in the U.S. (see issue #63) is available in its entirety in the "What's New" page at:
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/ceah/cahm/index.htm
 

7. FIRST-EVER ANIMAL WELFARE JUDGING COMPETITION HELD
Animal welfare judging made its debut at Michigan State University as part of a pilot educational program. Using computers, students viewed different management approaches for pigs, chickens, cows and horses. Management was rated by its impact on animal behavior. Ed Pajor, Purdue University assistant professor of animal sciences, compares the technique to other farmed animal judging competitions. Welfare judging may be formalized as a program to increase awareness of management alternatives. Students from Purdue, the U. of Wisconsin, and the U. of Guelph (Ontario) participated in this initial event.
 
"Animal Welfare Judging Premieres," National Hog Farmer, Joe Vansickle, May 2, 2002.
http://industryclick.com/magnewsarticle.asp?newsarticleid=314036&magazineid=17&SiteID=5
 

8. DAIRY AND PIG PRODUCTION FIELD TRIP COURSES
The 2002 Public Health Institute of the University of Minnesota is focusing on safety and biosecurity in food production systems. The Institute is offering 9 courses ranging from 1.5 to 5 days. Two field trip courses will provide an opportunity to tour food production, packaging and distribution facilities. One, entitled "Pork" (PubH 7100-106) includes a tour of a commercial pig operation, a processing plant and a retail facility. It will be held May 29-30th. Another, "Dairy" (PubH 7100-107) includes a tour of a dairy operation, a milk processing plant, and a retail facility. It runs June 5-6th. A mini-series of 3 seminars on science, politics and food safety will be open to the general public as well as course participants. Registration and other information can be found at: http://www.cpheo.umn.edu/institute/coursedesc.html or call 612-626-4515.