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June 23 , 2004
Number 56, Volume 2


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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. CALIFORNIA: ROCKET FUEL FOUND IN MILK; REGULATION OF COW WASTE

Separate research findings from the California state government and an environmental watchdog group indicate that the state’s milk supply contains potentially dangerous levels of perchlorate, an ingredient in rocket fuel that has been linked to thyroid problems in humans. Perchlorate taints drinking water in at least 20 US states and the EPA advocates a standard of less than 1 part per billion (ppb), while California officials say the chemical is dangerous at levels above 6 ppb. In Arizona, one study showed that perchlorate levels of 1-2 ppb impacted the thyroids of pregnant women and infants. The studies - conducted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) - show perchlorate levels averaging between 1.3 and 10.6 ppb in counties throughout California. The government study was completed in April, but its findings were not confirmed until the recent publication of the EWG study.

Also in California, regulators are proposing laws that would require dairy producers to limit the impact of smog-producing emissions from cow waste in the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The proposed rule would require dairy operations to clear manure from their corrals four times each year beginning in 2005, compared to two currently. By 2006 dairy operations would be required to use “environmentally friendly means” of eliminating any waste not used as fertilizer. The district’s governing board will hold a public hearing on August 6, after which it will vote on the proposal.

“Rocket Fuel Found in Milk in California,” San Francisco Chronicle, Glen Martin, June 22, 2004
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/06/22/MNGB87A0J51.DTL

“Rocket-Fuel Chemical Toxin Found in Milk, Associated Press via CNN, June 22, 2004
http://www.cnn.com/2004/HEALTH/06/22/milk.chemical.ap/

“California Seeks Reduced Pollution from Cows,” Seattle PI, Tim Molloy, June 16, 2004
http://tinyurl.com/3x8ft (Seattle PI website)

2. CREUTZFELDT-JAKOB DISEASE (VCJD) KILLS WOMAN IN FLORIDA

A woman born in England but living in Florida since 1992 has become the US’s first known fatality from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), the human form of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). The 25-year old woman died on June 20 after being diagnosed with the disease in April of 2002. The woman is believed to have contracted vCJD by consuming BSE-tainted beef as a resident of London, England.

“Florida Woman Dies of Probable vCJD,” CIDRAP News, June 22, 2004
http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/hot/bse/news/june2204vcjd.html

Original CDC News Release, April 18, 2002
http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/r020418.htm

3. FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE: OUTBREAKS IN S. AMERICA; TESTS IN UK

Separate cases of the highly-contagious Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) have been confirmed in Peru and Brazil. Peru, which last reported an outbreak in 2000, said that eight infected cows and another eighty at-risk cows have been killed in response. In Brazil, three cases of FMD have been confirmed on a farm with 130 cows in total. As a result, Russia has temporarily suspended cow and pig product imports from Brazil; Russia is Brazil’s largest importer of meat products. Peru does not export beef, but the country’s government said that the current FMD outbreak is under control while also expressing concern about the potential for fruits and vegetables to carry the disease.

In the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) will stage a mock FMD outbreak to test the country’s response on June 29 and 30. England experienced a large outbreak of FMD in 2001, when more than six million animals were killed to prevent further spread of the disease. The mock outbreak is in part meant to test the viability of vaccinations as an initial response to a new outbreak, but DEFRA officials say that the slaughter of animals will remain the first option in preventing the spread of FMD when outbreaks occur.

“Russia Bans Brazilian Beef, Pork after FMD Outbreak, Meatingplace.com, Brendan O'Neill, June 22, 2004
http://www.meatingplace.com/DailyNews/pop.asp?ID=12553

“Peru Reports Foot-and-Mouth Outbreak, Says Controlled,” Reuters via Planet Ark, Jude Webber, June 21, 2004
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/25607/story.htm

“DEFRA to Stage New Outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease,” Western Morning News, June 19, 2004
http://tinyurl.com/3xnhc (Western Morning News website)

4. AVMA UNDER FIRE FROM ANIMAL ACTIVISTS; VET FIELD STUDIED

On June 21, the New York Times ran an advertisement starkly criticizing the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) record on farmed animal welfare. The ad, developed and funded by a consortium of animal protection groups, called on readers to contact their veterinarians and the AVMA in order to influence the groups’ policies on the treatment of pregnant and nursing pigs, egg-laying hens, and veal calves. In related news, Farm Sanctuary recently conducted an opinion survey among more than 1,000 veterinarians in the US and found that “most veterinarians oppose industrialized farming practices that are supported by the AVMA.” The survey shows veterinarians’ opinions on eight controversial farming practices related to farmed animal confinement, feeding, tail-docking, transport, and slaughter. See below for links to both the NY Times advertisement and the Farm Sanctuary survey.

Farmed animal veterinarians are also the topic of a new study by researchers at Kansas State University. KSU business professors, with support from a coalition of veterinary groups (including the AVMA), are assessing the demand for farmed animal veterinary medicine and the future supply of veterinarians in the US. The $300,000 project will study student recruitment into the field, retention, training, and other issues for new and prospective farmed animal veterinarians.

NY Times Ad Criticizing the AVMA:
http://www.ari-online.org/campaigns.html

Farm Sanctuary Position on the AVMA (with survey results):
http://www.farmsanctuary.org/campaign/AVMA_campaign.htm

“Food Animal Veterinarians – Study,” Animal Health News and Notes, June 18, 2004
http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/505388/

5. FORMER MEAT AND DAIRY LOBBYISTS APPOINTED TO USDA POSITIONS

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Ann Veneman has appointed two former meat and dairy industry lobbyists to two top positions. Mike Torrey, a former Vice President with the International Dairy Foods Association, joined USDA in February of 2003 and will take the Deputy Chief of Staff spot. Alisa Harrison, the former publication relations director of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, has been with the USDA since March, 2003 and will now serve as the department’s Communications Director. Both announcements were made on June 21, 2004.

“Veneman Announces Key Staff Appointments,” USDA News Release, June 21, 2004
http://www.usda.gov/Newsroom/0250.04.html

6. ENVIRONMENT AND TECHNOLOGY: BURPING SHEEP; PIG WASTE

Scientists in Germany have developed a serum that reduces environmentally damaging methane gas emitted by burping sheeps, cows, and other ruminants. Sheep are said to produce about seven kilograms of methane each year per animal, while cows produce about 114 grams; the serum is said to reduce methane emissions by eight percent. In the US, a new technology known as “Super Soils” has demonstrated that it can significantly reduce ammonia, odor, and pathogens from pig waste. The technology is one of several possibilities for handling the reduction in pig waste-related problems as mandated by an agreement between Smithfield Foods and the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office. Pig farmers are expressing concern about the economic impact of implementing the expensive systems.

“Scientists Develop Antidote for Burping Sheep,” Reuters via Planet Ark, June 22, 2004
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/25627/story.htm

“Farmers May Balk at Hog Waste System,” Raleigh News, Barbara Barrett, June 21, 2004
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1356054p-7479443c.html

7. OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST

“Three Cows Die in Washington (State) After Toxin Exposure,” Washington Post, By Marc Kaufman, June 22, 2004
In brief: The FBI and local law officers are investigating a possible prank or criminal offense involving three dairy cows who died recently from toxic exposure on a farm in Washington State.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A59415-2004Jun22.html

“A Rough Game, Poultry Companies' Contract System is Keeping Poultry Farmers on a Very Tight Leash,” Journalnow.com, Monte Mitchell, June 21, 2004 (forwarded from Paul Shapiro)
In brief: Article discusses the structure of the US chicken farming industry, including the delicate relationship between contract growers and large producers, as well as the government’s limited influence.
http://tinyurl.com/2xcru (Journalnow.com website)

“Legislation to Ban Foie Gras Moves Forward,” Farm Sanctuary News, June 23, 2004
In brief: Activist group Farm Sanctuary alert details the passage of SB 1520 out of committee and to the full Senate; SB 1520 would ban the production and sale of foie gras in California.
http://www.nofoiegras.org/FS_cabill.htm

“Group Wants Zoo to Refashion Kids' Farm,” Washington Post, June 17, 2004
In brief: Activist group Compassion Over Killing has asked the US National Zoo to modify a new exhibit for children that they claim misrepresents the lives and treatment of farmed animals.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A47999-2004Jun16.html

“Franchising Emerges as New Way to Spread the Meatless Message,” The San Diego Union, Jordan Robertson, June 18, 2004
In brief: Article discusses both successful and failed attempts at vegan-only and vegetarian-only fast food restaurant chains.
http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20040618/news_1b18vegan.html





CONTENTS

  1. California: Rocket Fuel Found in Milk; Regulation of Cow Waste

  2. Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) Kills Woman in Florida

  3. Foot and Mouth Disease: Outbreaks in S. America; Tests in UK

  4. AVMA Under Fire from Animal Activists; Vet Field Studied

  5. Former Meat and Dairy Lobbyists Appointed to USDA Positions

  6. Environment and Technology: Burping Sheep; Pig Waste

  7. Other Items of Interest


RESOURCES

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Farmed Animal Watch is a free electronic news digest of information concerning farmed animal issues gleaned from an array of academic, industry, advocacy and mainstream media sources.

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