July 21, 2004
Number 60, 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. INVESTIGATIONS: CHICKEN ABUSE AT PLANTS IN WEST VIRGINIA, MARYLAND

In a new video expose released by PETA, workers at a chicken processing plant in West Virginia are shown "repeatedly throwing live chickens at walls and floors and kicking and stomping on them." The footage is the result of an undercover investigation of Pilgrim's Pride, a major supplier to KFC Corporation, conducted from October 2003 to May 2004. According to PETA, the video also shows employees ripping off the birds' beaks and twisting off their heads, among other abuses. Both KFC and Pilgrim's Pride have denounced the abuses; KFC stated that it would not buy from the West Virginia plant until "they can definitively assure us there are absolutely no abuses taking place." Moreover, KFC has placed an inspector on-site at the facility to monitor production and the welfare of chickens. A veterinarian and advisor to KFC said the video "contains some of the worst scenes of animal cruelty that I have ever witnessed." For its part, PETA will seek prosecution of the plant's employees and managers involved in the abuses. The animal advocacy group is also holding a press conference on July 21 in Louisville, Kentucky, the home of KFC's headquarters, to call for a federal investigation of the West Virginia plant "for food safety concerns."

A separate investigation conducted by Compassion Over Killing (COK) in May 2004 has found no improvements from the "egregious" animal abuse at an egg farm in Maryland that was the subject of a previous investigation in the fall of 2002. Since the original investigation, the Red Bird Egg Farm has become an "Animal Care Certified" egg production facility. Despite the certification, COK investigators in the most recent probe noted significant overcrowding, birds entangled in the wire cages, and many dead animals. The investigators openly rescued four birds deemed to be in need of immediate veterinary attention.

"PETA Targets Pilgrim's Pride for Alleged Chicken Abuse," Meatingplace.com, Megan Sweas, July 21, 2004
http://www.meatingplace.com/DailyNews/pop.asp?ID=12723

"KFC Supplier Accused of Animal Cruelty," New York Times, Donald McNeil, July 20, 2004
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/20/business/20chicken.html (Registration required)

TV Transcript: "Egg Fraud," I-Team, Andrea McCarren, July 15, 2004
http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/0704/159474.html

Also see: http://www.cok.net/feat/newinvestigation.php

2. NEW VIDEO GAME ALLOWS KIDS TO RAISE UP TO 10,000 PIGS

A new video game will enable users to virtually grow crops, milk cows, and raise and slaughter thousands of farmed animals. At least one mode of play requires that gamers successfully raise 10,000 pigs for slaughter. The farm simulator is the first video game licensed by Deere and Co., the Illinois-based manufacturers of tractors and other farm equipment. According to Deere, "the game provides a unique way to learn more about the importance of agriculture in the U.S. economy."

"Farm Sets Stage for New Video Game," Associated Press, Matt Slagle, July 16, 2004
http://www.grandforks.com/mld/grandforks/business/9171953.htm

Deere and Co. Press Release, June 7, 2004
http://tinyurl.com/2aspm (Deere and Co. website)

3. INSPECTOR GENERAL QUESTIONS USDA'S HANDLING OF MEAT RECALLS

The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) system for recalling tainted meat products is less effective than previously thought, according to a new report from the department's inspector general. The report also calls employees of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) "careless" in their oversight of one of the largest meat recalls in US history. Beginning in July 2002, 27.4 million pounds of listeria-tainted meat were recalled by Wampler Foods, a division of Pilgrim's Pride, and only 5.5 million pounds were recovered. The inspector general's office reviewed compliance forms from the incident and found discrepancies in 389 of 582 of the forms. USDA and FSIS spokespeople defended the department's recall procedures, saying that several planned improvements that have not yet been implemented will resolve these issues. Some consumer advocates disagree, however, with one stating that the problem is systemic because meat companies are "under no legal obligation to provide this (recall) information to USDA."

"Meat Recall Tracking by USDA Questioned," Associated Press, Ira Dreyfuss, July 16th, 2004
http://www.qctimes.com/internal.php?story_id=1031228

4. UK: NEW ANIMAL WELFARE BILL INTRODUCED

The UK government has drafted a new animal welfare bill that would give police and local authorities significantly more access to farmed animals during times of emergency or neglect. This bill is meant to consolidate more than twenty pieces of legislation and is described by the government as "the most comprehensive modernization of laws on domestic and captive animals in 100 years." While most of the bill's changes would relate to pets, farmed animals would be somewhat more protected due to greater power of local authorities to take action. The bill would also consolidate under one act all current legislation relating to the welfare, slaughter, and transport of farmed animals.

"New Welfare Bill for a New Age," Farmers Weekly Interactive, Andrew Watts, July 14, 2004
http://www.fwi.co.uk/article.asp?con=15304&sec=18&hier=2

"New Cruelty Law Would Stop Children Buying Pets and Farm Animals," The Scotsman, Amanda Brown, July 14, 2004
http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=3201696

5. FARMED ANIMAL SEIZURES IN HOUSTON AND AUSTRALIA

The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) seized about 200 chickens, turkeys, and other birds from a farm in Montgomery County. After complaints of a stench coming from the farm on July 8, SPCA investigators entered the farm and found the animals starving and dying of thirst. A warrant was finally issued on July 20 and the SPCA began rescuing the birds, but found many of them dead upon arrival. In Australia, the government's Royal SPCA (RSPCA) is asking for the power to raid intensively confined farming operations with battery hens, pigs, and other animals. The RSPCA president said, "At the moment we don't believe we have the power to enter an intensive farm unless there's a warrant. We want to be able to go in without notice."

"SPCA Seizes 200 Birds from Poultry Farm," HoustonChronicle.com, Terry Kliewer, July 20, 2004
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/2691675

"RSPCA Seeks Raiding Power," The Advertiser, July 18, 2004
http://news.com.au/common/printpage/0,6093,10170087,00.html

6. CONSUMER NEWS: VEGETARIANISM; ORGANIC MEAT; LOW-CARB DIETS

"Sprouting Up: Teen Vegetarians," Lowell Sun, David Perry, July 19, 2004 (Forwarded from Paul Shapiro) In brief: Discusses the increase in teenage vegetarianism, including personal stories and statistics, and the role of PETA in advocating vegetarianism to youth audiences.
http://www.lowellsun.com/Stories/0,1413,105~4746~2281520,00.html

"Organic Food Not Safer Than Conventional Food: Study," Webindia123.com, July 18, 2004 In brief: Discusses the findings of a USDA study in which salmonella levels in "free range," organic chickens were comparable to non-organic, commercially raised chickens.
http://www.webindia123.com/news/showdetails.asp?id=43311&cat=World

"High Meat Intake May Raise Odds of Endometriosis," Planet Ark / Reuters July 21, 2004 In brief: Researchers at the University of Milan, Italy have found that women who consume beef and/or ham have an increased risk of endometriosis, while vegetables reduce the risk.
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/26123/story.htm

7. RESOURCES: FARMED ANIMAL RESEARCH AND STATISTICS

USDA / Economic Research Service: Research Publications
http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/ResearchReports.htm

USDA / National Agriculture Statistics Service: Statistical Research
http://www.nass.usda.gov/research/

USDA / Economic Research Service: State Fact Sheets, last updated July 16, 2004
http://www.ers.usda.gov/StateFacts/

USDA / Economic Research Service: International Food Consumption Patterns
http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/InternationalFoodDemand/

United Nations / Food and Agriculture Organization Statistical Databases
http://apps.fao.org/default.jsp

8. OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST

"Groups File Lawsuit against NJ Dept. of Agriculture for Issuing Inhumane Farm Standards," HSUS Press Release, July 20, 2004
In brief: A broad coalition of animal protection groups has sued the New Jersey Department of Agriculture for weakening laws protecting farmed animals rather than strengthening them as directed by the state legislature in 1996.
http://www.hsus.org/ace/21345

"Law Targets Large Farms," York Daily Record, Lori Badders, July 16, 2004
In brief: A Pennsylvania Township has proposed a new law to limit the size and manure handling of concentrated animal feeding and slaughtering operations.
http://ydr.com/story/farm/33485/

"LA Companies Charged with Selling Contaminated Meat," San Jose Mercury News / Associated Press, July 16, 2004
In brief: "Several Los Angeles companies… were charged with selling tons of contaminated meat, shipping tainted cheese and importing animal parts that might carry the poultry-killing Exotic Newcastle Disease."
http://tinyurl.com/4bhma (Mercury News website, registration required)

"Fighting for the Right to Eat Vegan, The Business Journal of Portland, Andy Giegerich, July 16, 2004
In brief: Discusses the rise of Portland, Oregon-based Food Fight, a convenience grocery store that carries exclusively vegan items.
http://portland.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2004/07/19/smallb1.html




CONTENTS

  1. Investigations: Chicken Abuse at Plants in Virginia, Maryland

  2. New Video Game Allows Kids to Raise up to 10,000 Pigs

  3. Inspector General Questions USDA's Handling of Meat Recalls

  4. UK: New Animal Welfare Bill Introduced

  5. Farmed Animal Seizures in Houston and Australia

  6. Consumer News: Vegetarianism; Organic Meat; Endometriosis

  7. Resources: Farmed Animal Research and Statistics


  8. Other Items of Interest



RESOURCES

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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.

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