May 19 , 2004
Number 51, Volume 2


Farmed Animal Watch is sponsored by Animal Place, Animal Welfare Trust, Farm Sanctuary, The Fund for Animals, Glaser Progress Foundation, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals


1. EDITORIAL NOTE

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2. EU GROUP CRITICIZES POOR WELFARE OF ANIMALS DURING TRANSPORT

The primary food safety body for the European Union has issued the opinion that “a variety of stress factors involved in transport strongly contribute to poor welfare in transported animals and increase the risk of infection and disease.” The far-reaching opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends against transporting female birds about to lay eggs or mammals nearing the end of their pregnancy. The EFSA also recommends against loading or unloading animals at staging points and routinely using behavior-modifying drugs during transport. The opinion emphasizes training, saying that “very poor welfare in transported animals is caused by bad treatment of animals during loading or unloading or by bad driving.”

EFSA Issues its Opinion on the Welfare of Animals during Transport
EFSA Press Release, May 7, 2004

The Welfare of Animals During Transport (FULL REPORT)
PDF File (610kb), March 11, 2002

3. CHINA – FARMED ANIMAL WELFARE AND TRADE

The government of Beijing, China has withdrawn a proposal to legislate animal protection, including farmed animals. The proposal would have required that farmed animals be slaughtered “with as little pain as possible,” and stipulating that they must be sedated prior to slaughter. The proposed law would have also banned organized animal fighting and required generally that “all animals be treated in a humane manner.” Nationally, China has laws that regulate exotic and/or endangered animals, but none that regulate treatment of farmed animals. As China continues economic and industrial development, both domestic demand and capacity for export production is increasing substantially. China’s exports of pigs and related products grew 14% (quantity, not value) for the first two months in 2004, compared to only a 2% increase in imports. Demand for milk and other dairy products is also seeing growth in China due to an increasingly urban and wealthy populace, although per capita consumption is still less than 10% of the global average (9.7kg versus 100kg). Foreign investment in China’s dairy industry is on the rise and is expected to drastically change the current system in which 90-95% of the country’s 1,500 dairy producers is considered a small or medium-sized enterprise.

Beijing Rejects Animal Welfare Laws
ABC Radio Australia News, May 17, 2004

Foreign Milk Giants Fight for Piece of Lucrative China Dairy Market
EFeedlink.com, May 13, 2004 (REGISTRATION REQUIRED)

China's Pork Market Seen to Remain Positive in 2nd Quarter 2004
EFeedlink.com (LINK NOT AVAILABLE)

4. USDA UNDERSTATED RISK OF ARSENIC IN CHICKEN PRODUCTS

The arsenic-laced drug Roxarsone used to kill parasites and promote the growth of chickens presents a greater risk for cancer and groundwater contamination than previously stated by the USDA. This according to a paper published May 3rd in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives by a John Hopkins researcher. The paper criticized a January USDA report for not going far enough despite the admittance that arsenic levels are four times higher in chicken products than in other types of animal flesh. The new paper has been substantiated by a former USDA scientist who worked on the original article and who has stated that the numbers were kept conservative in part to avoid negative publicity for the chicken products industry.

Arsenic Used in Chicken Feed May Pose Threat
Baltimore Sun, Dennis O'Brien, May 4, 2004

5. MORE ON ZOONOTIC DISEASES AND CDC EFFORTS

Two weeks ago we mentioned a meeting of experts to discuss zoonotic diseases, those diseases that jump from animal species to humans, organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) (See item #5). Scientists at the meeting agreed that most infectious diseases emerging over the past decade are the result of contact with animals, primarily through deforestation, logging, and urbanization. WHO’s coordinator of zoonoses control stated, “It’s very likely that most human diseases today were animal diseases in the past.” Topping the list of concerns for scientists are avian influenza, SARS, and to a lesser extent the Nipah virus discovered in Malaysian pigs in 1998. In the US, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is leading an effort to merge surveillance systems found in veterinary labs, wildlife health agencies, and zoos, among other labs, in order to help understand and prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases.

Experts Urge Action to Stop Animal Diseases Infecting Humans
BMJ, Fiona Fleck, May 15, 2004

CDC Watching for Next Worrisome Outbreak
Associated Press, Daniel Yee, May 17, 2004

6. ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY INDUSTRY

Policies at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are directly and heavily influenced by lobbyists from the animal agriculture industry, according to documents obtained by the Sierra Club under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Environmentalists argue that such influence has weakened the proposed air emissions monitoring program for farms, leading the administration to implement the meat industry’s proposed “safe harbor” program. One official said that EPA’s tone had changed significantly since the beginning of the Bush Administration, and that her office was directed not to pursue air pollution cases against farms without approval from political appointees. At least two EPA officials quit in 2002 for related reasons.

Farmers in Iowa will have help understanding new environmental regulations from a coalition of state trade groups representing the cow, chicken, and pig industries, among others. The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF, http://www.supportiowasfarmers.org) will also assist farmers in dealing with activists, in addition to general public relations and environmental assistance. According to the coalition’s Executive Director, Tim Niess: “Some (farmers) feel helpless when their family is targeted ant threatened by those opposed to their occupation.”

Livestock Industry Finds Friends in EPA
Chicago Tribune, Andrew Martin, May 16, 2004 (REGISTRATION REQUIRED)

FARM Coalition to Help Farmers with Environmental Regulations
Rochester Agri News, May 12, 2004

7. MEAT PROCESSORS AND THE LAW - TYSON FOODS, CARGILL

Fines against Tyson Foods, the largest meat processing company in the world, and Cargill, Inc. were blocked recently by conservatives in Canada’s federal government. The fines were to be issued to both companies for failure to open financial records for an investigation into $1.6 billion of government aid relating Canada’s 2003 discovery of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). Tyson Foods has a long history of actual and alleged violations, including overpaying executives, illegally dumping chicken remains and manure, bribing USDA officials, and smuggling underage, illegal workers into the country from Mexico (also see item #2).

Canadian Tories Kill Call for Stiff Fines on Cargill, Tyson
Meating Place, Daniel Yovich May 15, 2004

Dorm Food Supplier has Less-than-tasty History
49er Online, California State University, Long Beach, May 12, 2004

8. OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST

Commentary: Congressmen of Both Stripes Protest Family Farm Change
The Farm Press, Forrest Laws, May 18, 2004

The Economics of Obesity
Report from USDA workshop, May 2004

Virginia Pub Serves Humane Fare, Certified
Associated Press, Matthew Barakat, May 12, 2004

EDITORIAL: Is USDA Harming Producers?
Southern Livestock Review, Steve Cady

Survey Shows Chicken Beats out Beef and Pork Among Low-carb Consumers
Meating Place, Anne Bagel, May 19, 2004



CONTENTS

  1. Editorial Note

  2. EU Group Criticizes Poor Welfare of Animals During Transport

  3. China - Farmed Animal Welfare and Trade

  4. USDA Understated Risk of Arsenic in Chicken Products

  5. More on Zoonotic Diseases and CDC Efforts

  6. Environmental Regulations Heavily Influenced by Industry

  7. Meat Processors and the Law - Tyson Foods, Cargill


  8. Other Items of Interest



RESOURCES

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