Farmed Animal Watch
A Project of Animal Place

August 1, 2002                                                     (To Search This Page Press Ctrl F)
Issue #78


1. Slaughterplant Self-Inspection Challenged
2. Cow's Mental Anguish Acknowledged in Calf Killing Case
3. Recent Fires & Heat Kill Millions of Farmed Animals
4. Hormone Drug, Trade Dispute Spells Death for 50,000 Dutch Pigs
5. 500,000 U.K. Lambs May Soon Be Subjected to Live Export
6. Farmed Animal Industry Advocacy Education Efforts
7. Farmed Animal Interests Advocacy Education Efforts

Politicians and consumer advocates are calling on the USDA to revamp regulations that permit slaughterplants to conduct the inspections of their own production lines, following the 2nd largest meat recall ever (see issue #77). A 1998 FSIS policy allows plants that do not test positive for certain pathogens (e.g., E. coli) for a 6-month period to conduct their own inspections with federal inspectors monitoring that the testing is done. A Montana meat processor, who received meat from the ConAgra plant from which the recalled meat came, had tried for months to get USDA officials to investigate the plant. He stated, "Consumer food safety is being jeopardized because of USDA's unwillingness to trace back E. coli contamination to the large packers." He explained that companies can claim the results of their self-inspections tests are their property and keep federal inspectors from seeing the results.

It has also come to light that, in 2000, ConAgra executives knowingly resold about 80 tons of meat that South Korean customs agents had quarantined, reportedly for Listeria contamination. ConAgra sold it 4 months later to countries with lower food safety standards, including the U.S.

"Questions raised about meat inspections," Knox News, Lance Gay, July 29, 2002.,1406,KNS_350_1294252,00.html
"ConAgra resold rejected meat," The Denver Post, David Migoya, July 28, 2002.,1413,36%257E23827%257E759303,00.html

The mental anguish of a mother cow was acknowledged in a Missouri case involving the torture of her 3-week-old calf. Three men pled guilty to one count each of felony animal abuse and misdemeanor animal abuse. Charges against another man were dropped in exchange for his cooperation with investigators. The men had caught the calf, then beat and drug her around, breaking her spine. The misdemeanor charge related to the anguish experienced by the calf's mother, who had witnessed and attempted to prevent the abuse. It is the first time in Missouri that anyone has ever been convicted of causing mental anguish to a nonhuman animal, or pled guilty or been convicted of felony animal abuse in a case involving a farmed animal. The men were given suspended sentences, placed on probation for 3 years, fined $1,000, and ordered to do 300 hours of community service. After sentencing, 2 of the men complained that too much had been made of the incident. Griped one, "It should have been over when we paid restitution."

"Three Men Plead Guilty to Animal Abuse in Beating Calf," The Associated Press, July 26, 2002
"Misery in Missouri," Humanelines, The Humane Society of the U.S., June 20, 2002.

A fire that recently destroyed the U.K.'s largest independent chicken hatchery killed an estimated 3 million chicks. The cause of the Mayfield Chicks fire was uncertain. It is undecided whether the facility, which hatched over 1 million chicks per week, will be rebuilt. In Quebec, an estimated 2,600 pigs died in a slaughterplant fire in May. The cause of the fire was not immediately apparent. It is unknown whether the plant, one of the province's largest suppliers to the U.S., will be rebuilt.

More than 600,000 chickens being raised for meat died in Quebec and Ontario during a heat wave one week last month. According to the Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC), it was an unprecedented number. The figure represented 0.5% of the country's total population. "It's a big loss," a CFC official said, adding that some farms may even have to pay for the birds' removal. Dirty cooling equipment can reduce efficiency by as much as 30%, resulting in high mortality.

Animals are dying by the thousands in the southwestern U.S. due to ongoing drought and widespread overgrazing. As many as 10,000 more animals being raised for food may perish as conditions are expected to worsen.

"Three Million Chicks Killed in Hatchery Fire," Ananova, July 17, 2002.
"Eastern Quebec town ponders major job loss after fire ruins slaughterhouse," The Canadian Press, Alexander Panetta, May 15, 2002.

"Heat Croak for Poultry; Humidity Kills 600,000 Chickens," The Toronto Sun, July 7, 2002.
"Hot Weather Tip," Watt Poultry e-Digest, Volume 2, Number 5

"Watching and waiting for rain," Indian Country Today, Valerie Taliman, July 17, 2002.

In July, feed contaminated with medroxy progesterone acetate (MPA), a hormone drug used in pills for human menopause symptoms, was found to have been exported throughout Europe. Thousands of farms were prohibited from selling meat or milk until feed and manure could be tested for the substance. In the Netherlands, 27 operations with some 50,000 pigs tested positive. The production and import of meat from animals fattened on hormones is banned in the European Union (EU). The contaminated operations are refusing to pay for the costly tests that must be done before they can export meat from the pigs. MPA is actually used to fatten pigs in North America and Australia. However, due to a trade dispute with the EU over the use of hormones in meat production, the meat is not being exported to Canada or the U.S. and the pigs are to be "destroyed." For a chronology of these events see:

"Trade dispute 'spells death for Dutch pigs," New Scientist, Debora MacKenzie, July 29, 2002.

Live animal exports from the U.K. have recently resumed after having been banned for over a year due to foot-and-mouth disease (see issues #55 & 76). An estimated half million lambs are expected to be exported in the upcoming months. Farmers can make an additional $4.50 (U.S.) per lamb by exporting them to Mediterranean countries. The trip can take up to 90 hours and, according to Compassion in World Farming, the lambs are "packed with hundreds of others into severely overcrowded, swaying trucks" and become "increasingly exhausted, dehydrated and stressed as the journey wears on." Regulations regarding transport times and temperatures are said to be poorly enforced. Due to intense demonstrations against the trade in the past, departures times are being kept secret. The U.K. is actually a net importer of lamb, but meat from the type of lamb being exported is not popular there. A major demonstration is planned for August 17th.

"Farmers paid extra for 'cruel' exports," The Independent, Robert Mendick, July 28, 2002.
"Live Exports - Never Again!" Compassion in World Farming

The North Carolina Pork Council began running a 30-second tv ad from Raleigh to the coast in July. The ad addressed feeding a hungry world, medical research, and the economic impact of the industry. Print ads in newspapers were also begun.

Alberta Pork's new Ambassador Program includes a "mobile, pork barbeque Special Events Cruiser and a trailer-mounted classroom" to give children a "hands-on look" at the industry. The 24-foot "Pig Rig" display houses a nursing sow and her piglets. Urban youth are to be targeted.

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) has been asked by the USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service to develop and implement a national agriculture essay contest for students in grades 6-8. Members of Congress will be asked to establish a judging committee likely to consist of university faculty and graduate students. CAST is being paid $7,500 for the project which will offer awards ranging from $100 to $3,000.

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (AFBFA) is creating a video and other materials about "the science behind biotechnology and its importance for the future." The Philip Morris Management Corporation's Shared Solutions Agricultural Contributions Program is contributing $27,500 to the effort. The materials are to be distributed for middle school students through the USDA's Agriculture in the Classroom program, the National Science Teachers Association, and other sources. AFBFA is also collaborating with a Nebraska group to produce CD-ROMs for 9 biotech-related middle school lab and classroom exercises. "Breakthroughs in Biotechnology" is another AFBFA/Shared Solutions project intended to reach adult consumers.

Syngenta Corporation is donating $200,000 to the National FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) Corporation for a new program to recruit, retain and recognize teachers in agricultural sciences. Career assessment tools for high school and college students will be developed to highlight the benefits of a teaching career in agriculture. An awards program will recognize outstanding agricultural education programs, with one winning teacher to participate on a media tour and a trip to Syngenta's Swiss headquarters. A teachers' newsletter and a roundtable discussion on the future of ag education with Canadian, Mexican and U.S. officials are planned.

"NCPC Information Campaign Begins," NC Pork Council's Weekly Briefing, July 12, 2002.
"New Pork Program supports rural Alberta communities," Alberta Pork, July 17, 2002.

"CAST Report to ADSA," ADSA (American Dairy Science Association) Today, May 2002.
"Farm Bureau Advances Biotech in the Classroom," Farm Progress, Willie Vogt, July 3, 2002.;jsessionid=2U1VIH4P2CPWSCQBAM4CFEQ?article_id=1007519
"Ag Education Gets a Needed Boost," Farm Progress, Laura Engelson, July 29, 2002.

OohMahNee Farm will be debuting its Humane Education Center at an open house on Sunday. The 100-acre sanctuary is home to 1000 animals, including many hens rescued from the Buckeye Egg Farm tornado disaster in Ohio (see back issue #2). The Center features videos and exhibits, such as a veal crate and battery cage, designed to teach people about factory farming.

VIVA is working to prevent the development of giant dairies in California through consumer education. "Consumers are in a powerful position to vote against mega-dairies with their dollar," explained Lauren Ornelas, VIVA's U.S. campaign director. Activists handed out free vegan ice cream at the state capitol, and in front of Baskin-Robbins stores on National Ice Cream Day. The group is also organizing a local coalition to urge the state to reject an application for a 6,000-cow dairy in Dixon (see issue #64) . Having found cruel and squalid conditions during a recent visit to Southern California mega-dairies, Ornelas noted, "Those happy cow commercials couldn't be further from the truth" (see issue #69).

Animal Place, a California farmed animal sanctuary and advocacy organization, will be attempting to add a 5th H, "Humane," to the 4-H event at the California State Fair. Sanctuary will be provided to 4-H farmed animals on a first-come, first-placed basis. Notes Animal Place co-founder Kim Sturla, "The lesson 4-H teaches is: raise them, love them, and kill them for profit! I hope we can help some 4-H children save an animal they have cared for from infancy."

Compassion Over Killing ran an ad on the Washington, D.C. CBS television affiliate every evening for 2 weeks early this summer. It is thought to be the first time an explicitly pro-vegan ad showing factory-farmed animals has appeared on a major network station during such a popular viewing time. The organization also placed 380 metro bus ads around the same time. The ads resulted in hundreds of requests for a free Vegan Starter Guide.

"Animal sanctuary to debut education center during open house," The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Bob Batz Jr., July 30, 2002.

"Dairy farm draws protest," The Davis Enterprise, Sara Kashing, July 25, 2002.

Compassion Over Killing ads
Vegan Starter Guide