July 14, 2004
Number 59, Volume 2


Check out our NEW website: www.FarmedAnimal.net

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. EUROPE: FOOD SAFETY AUTHORITY ISSUES OPINION ON SLAUGHTER METHODS

European food safety experts have issued an opinion on stunning and slaughtering methods used on cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys, horses, and farmed fish. The scientific panel of the European Food Safety Authority has made recommendations following European Union regulations, to guide producers to slaughter animals “without avoidable fear, anxiety, pain, suffering, and distress.” Considering only the scientific elements of stunning and killing farmed animals, the panel’s opinion nonetheless ranges from slaughterhouse worker attitudes to the scientific efficacy of specific stunning methods. The report touches on methods such as gas stunning, electrical stunning, and captive bolt guns, which the panel suggests should not be used with “boars and old sows.” The report summary closes by saying that “there is an urgent need for further detailed investigations of the mechanisms and effects of the different stunning methods… to ensure good animal welfare.” The full text of the report is also available by following the link below.

“Opinion Adopted by the AHAW Panel,” European Food Safety Authority, July 8, 2004
http://www.efsa.eu.int/science/ahaw/ahaw_opinions/495_en.html

2. UK: ANIMAL ADVOCATES CHALLENGE PRACTICE OF STARVING CHICKENS

A UK-based farmed animal advocacy group is asking judges to overturn a November 2003 decision allowing a policy under which chicken producers can use forced starvation to increase production. According to Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), the practice of starving “broiler” chickens is widespread in the UK, a country that slaughters more than 800 million chickens annually. CIWF further complains that the practice is in violation of a European Union law stating that “no animal shall be kept for farming purposes… unless… it can be kept without detrimental effect on its health or welfare.” CIWF officials also cite a March 2000 European Commission report that found that “severe feed restrictions… to optimize productivity results in unacceptable welfare problems” (see original source below).

“Hungry Chickens Welfare Case Goes to Appeal,” The Scotsman, John Aston, July 7, 2004
http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=3173264

“Government Acceptance of Starving Farm Animals to be Challenged in Court,” CIWF Press Release, July 5, 2004
PDF File: http://www.ciwf.org.uk/publications/prs/nr2504.pdf

“The Welfare of Chickens Kept for Meat Production,” European Commission, March 21, 2000
PDF File, 920k: http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sc/scah/out39_en.pdf

3. USDA TAKES PUBLIC COMMENTS FOR UPDATED FOOD GUIDELINES

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced it will take public comments on proposed tools to promote the department’s Dietary Guidelines for America, currently being revised. Through August 27, 2004, USDA will take written comments on its dietary guideline presentation tools such as the design of a new graphic to represent the guidelines (i.e., the “food pyramid”), methods for increasing awareness of the guidelines, and effective delivery channels. USDA is also holding a public meeting on August 19, 2004 in Washington, DC. Participation is by request only by contacting USDA at respond@cnpp.usda.gov. An address for written comments is provided in the links below; email comments are not accepted or considered.

“USDA Calls for Public Comment on Revision of the Food Guidance System,” USDA News Release, July 12, 2004
http://www.usda.gov/Newsroom/0281.04.html

“USDA Seeks Public Advice for Updated Food Guidance System,” Meatingplace.com, Kristin Gagnon, July 14, 2004
http://www.meatingplace.com/DailyNews/pop.asp?ID=12684

4. MEGA DAIRIES DRAW CRITICISM IN CALIFORNIA AND OHIO

Operators of so-called “mega dairies” are under pressure from regulators and environmentalists in California and rural advocates in Ohio. In California, new manure regulations are expected to impact operations near Los Angeles with more than 300,000 dairy cows and producing more than a million tons of manure annually. The regulations proposed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District are estimated to cost each dairy operation about $15,000 while reducing daily pollution by more than a third. California is the largest dairy-producing state in the US. In Ohio, managers of a proposed mega dairy operation (which would house 4,500 cows) are being criticized for understating the farm’s potential impact on rural roads. The new operation proposed by a conglomerate of Dutch immigrant farmers would be the largest dairy farm in Ohio, and one of the largest in the Country. The proposed Ohio dairy has also been criticized for its size and for its potential impact on smaller farmers, the local environment, and the local workforce.

“Pollution Rules Targeting Manure Could Force Dairies to Relocate,” Tim Molloy, Associated Press, June 28, 2004
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/state/20040628-1321-wst-cowpollution.html

“Super-Dairy Plan has More Negatives than Positives,” TheCourier.com, July 6, 2004
http://www.thecourier.com/opinion/editoral/ED070604.htm

“Mega Dairy's Use of Roads Understated,” Toledo Blade, Jane Schmucker, July 11, 2004
http://tinyurl.com/42vcf (Toledo Blade website)

5. FARMED ANIMAL FEED REGULATIONS DELAYED AGAIN

US food safety officials announced on July 9 that they would again delay measures proposed in January 2004 to prevent the feeding of high-risk animal products to farmed animals. The delay means that under US regulations farmers can still feed cows “large amounts of cattle blood, chicken waste, and other materials” considered at risk of spreading BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy). The delay is being criticized by consumer groups and at least one academic who claims the decision is a political one, referring to the November US presidential elections. Simultaneously, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed banning the feeding of any farmed animal parts to other farmed animals. The move would disallow feeding cow parts such as intestines, brains, and tonsils to any other farmed animal species, including chickens, pigs, and other animals.

“US Moving to New Ban for Mad Cow, Officials Say,” Sandra Blakeslee, New York Times July 10, 2004
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/10/politics/10cow.html (Registration required)

“USDA, FDA Delay Mad Cow Safety Rules,” Jeffrey Sparshott, The Washington Times, July 9, 2004
http://washingtontimes.com/business/20040709-095640-5289r.htm

“FDA to Publish Long-Delayed Mad Cow Rules,” Reuters, July 7, 2004
http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=domesticNews&storyID=5610780

6. ECONOMIC AND ANIMAL WELFARE CONCERNS RELATING TO HEAT STRESS

Heat stress in farmed animals can result in significant increases in mortality rates and economic losses, according to year-old study (July 2003) by researchers at Ohio State University. The article provides details on health concerns and estimates increases in mortality resulting from heat stress suffered by cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys. The study also estimates that total economic losses in the US relating to heat stress average $2.4 billion annually. The authors compared inventory data for each species of animal and compared those numbers with data from more than 250 weather stations across the country. Full text of the article is available online, see below.

“Economic Losses from Heat Stress by US Livestock Industries,” Journal of Dairy Sciences, July 2003
http://jds.fass.org/cgi/content/abstract/86/13_suppl/E52?etoc

See related heat stress info in Farmed Animal Watch #81, August 22, 2002
http://www.farmedanimal.net/Newsletters/Newsletter81.htm

7. OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST

“Crimes Unseen,” Dena Jones, Orion Online, July/August 2004
In Brief: Animal advocate Dena Jones writes about the modern industrialized animal agriculture system and efforts to educate consumers and regulate farmed animal welfare.
http://www.oriononline.org/pages/om/04-4om/Jones.html

“Improving the Reproductive Efficiency of Dairy Cattle through Genetic Selection,” Journal of Dairy Science, July 2004
In Brief: Academic article discusses using genetics to increase dairy cow productivity, including balancing the “inverse relationship (that) exists between quantity and quality.”
http://jds.fass.org/cgi/content/abstract/87/13_suppl/E86?etoc

“Puerto Rican Poultry Producers Destroy 300,000 Healthy Chickens,” MeatNews, July 8, 2004
In Brief: Puerto Rican farmers dispose of 300,000 healthy chickens due to increased feed costs and delayed processing.
http://www.meatnews.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Article&artNum=7810

“Cruelty Photos Deemed 'Offensive,'” BBC NEWS, July 7, 2004
In Brief: An animal sanctuary in the UK has been criticized by the government’s Advertising Standards Agency for showing “offensive” images in a magazine for children.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/england/norfolk/3871791.stm

“China's Dietary Habits Prompt SARS, Safety Concerns,” John Glionna, Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2004
In Brief: Discusses the “Chinese culture's obsessive appetite for eating meat and animal organs,” and the potential for such habits to increase the risk of spreading SARS.
http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/living/health/9114866.htm?1c (Registration required)

“Personal Voices: A Radical Idea for Farming,” Charlie Melander, Prairie Writers Circle, June 18, 2004.
In Brief: “A farmer proposes the radical approach that we reward conservation instead of subsidizing overproduction.”
http://www.alternet.org/story/18986/

“Man was Raised by Chickens,” Ananova, July 13, 2004
In Brief: A 32-year old Fiji man locked in a chicken coup for years as a child and in a hospital for more than 20 years is finally undergoing rehabilitation with the help of social workers.
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_1017183.html?

RESOURCE SITE: http://ag.ansc.purdue.edu/poultry/extensio.htm
In Brief: Resource website from Purdue University’s Avian Sciences department offers an extensive collection of links relating to chicken and turkey production. (Thanks to Mary Finelli for forwarding this link)




CONTENTS

  1. Europe: Food Safety Authority Issues Opinion on Slaughter Methods

  2. UK: Animal Advocates Challenge Practice of Starving Chickens

  3. USDA Takes Public Comments for Updated Food Guidelines

  4. Mega Dairies Draw Criticism in California and Ohio

  5. Farmed Animal Feed Regulations Delayed Again

  6. Economic and Animal Welfare Concerns Relating to Heat Stress

  7. Other Items of Interest



RESOURCES

-------------------------------

Compiled and edited by Hedy Litke and Che Green, Farmed Animal Watch is a free weekly electronic news digest of information concerning farmed animal issues gleaned from an array of academic, industry, advocacy and mainstream media sources.

Please go here to subscribe