ORGANIC BEEF POPULARITY GROWS
Organic meat sales grew 55% in 2005,
according to an Organic Trade Association survey conducted
by the Nutrition Business Journal. A nationwide poll
of over 1,000 Americans by Whole Foods Market may
explain the former statistic, showing that 65% of
consumers want a guarantee that meat and poultry products
are raised humanely without hormones or antibiotics
and 61% want this compliance to be labeled. These
standards are a key factor in deciding where to shop
for meat, according to 51% of respondents. The same
percentage said they were "not sure" when asked if
they had ever purchased products meeting those standards.
Whole Foods' Edmund LaMacchia said: "The results of
this survey tell us that Americans are lacking information
about the way their meat and poultry is raised and
that having more information is nearly as important
as the flavor of the meat they purchase." He added
that it also proved there is a strong demand for "natural
meat" raised with "specific standards for humane treatment
through the life of the animal." The survey determined
that flavor, safety and humane treatment of animals
are the top reasons for choosing high-quality meat
Meanwhile, the number of feeder and slaughter cattle
coming into the U.S. from Canada during the first
four months of this year is about 40% above the average
between 1999 and 2003. One explanation for this trend
is to allow Canadian beef plants to process more of
the older animals who have built up in numbers because
they are not allowed to enter the U.S.
Organic Beef Sales Continue to Explode,
Cow-Calf Weekly, Troy Marshall, May 12, 2006
(Not available online)
National Survey Reveals 80 Percent of Americans Eat
Meat More Than Three Times per Week
PR Newswire, Whole Foods Market, May 9, 2006
News Briefs, Meat News, May 10, 2006
HORSE SLAUGHTER CONTROVERSY ENSUES
Expanded horse rescue efforts and the
expiration of Reagan-era tax benefits that encouraged
the breeding of thoroughbred horses have caused the
number of horses slaughtered in the U.S. to drop significantly
since 1990 when over 300,000 were killed. Last year,
some 88,000 horses were slaughtered here. The three
remaining slaughter plants, two in Texas and one in
Illinois, are under pressure from several sources
demanding Congress shut them down. Polls last year
showed 70% to 90% of Americans are opposed to killing
horses for meat (which is exported from U.S. plants
to Europe and Japan).
While a spending bill was passed last year to eliminate
funding for the required federal inspections of the
plants, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) accepted
an offer by the plants to pay for their own inspectors.
A coalition of animal protection groups took the USDA
to court, but the judge upheld the agency's decision.
The groups are considering an appeal in addition to
pushing for other solutions, such as asking a federal
appeals court to uphold a Texas state law that bans
the sale of horsemeat and working for passage of the
American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (which would
permanently ban horse slaughter for human consumption).
A surplus amount of unwanted horses is one reason
some groups support horse slaughter, including the
American Veterinary Medical Association and some rescue
groups. A 2005 law mandating the roundup and sale
of wild horses older than 10 years of age, in addition
to the recent purging of horses used to make Premarin,
has added to the problem. Euthanizing a horse costs
between $75 and $150, and disposing of the body when
it cannot be buried, costs at least $250. Sending
a horse to slaughter, however, nets an average $500
profit. Others say horse abuse will increase if the
animals cannot be slaughtered, since some owners may
turn their horses loose or abandon them. Horses may
also instead be shipped to Canada or Mexico for slaughter,
though costs may limit that option. The arguments
for and against various ways of disposing of horses
are considered in this issue of E magazine.
The High-Stakes Battle over Horse Slaughter,
E Magazine, Jim Motavalli, May/June 2006
The Killing Floor: Three Slaughterhouses Marked the
End of the Road for 88,000 American Horses in 2005.
But it's Europeans Who Are Eating the Meat. E Magazine,
Josh Harkinson, May/June 2006
DOGS AS FARM PRODUCTS?
A bill to classify dogs as "farm products"
was passed by the Iowa legislature during its last
session. Animal protection advocates worry that dogs
being bred will have less legal protection since anti-cruelty
laws for farmed animals are not as strict. The state's
400 dog breeders are behind the bill, which would
give them tax breaks. Since the omnibus bill would
overhaul the mental health care system, the Governor's
office says it is likely that he will sign it. Opponents
are pushing for Governor Vilsack to line item veto
the section of the bill pertaining to dogs.
Dog Livestock?, WHOtv, May 9, 2006
APPLEBEE’S VETOES PETA PROPOSAL
About 5% of Applebee's International
Inc. shareholders recently showed support for a People
for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) proposal
to require the company to provide shareholders reports
on the method used by suppliers to slaughter chickens.
Applebee's asked shareholders to vote against the
proposal, claiming it is dedicated to the "proper
and humane handling of all animals in its supply chain."
Falling short of last year's 6% support for a similar
measure, the proposal still earned enough votes to
allow PETA to resubmit it again next year.
Applebee's Shareholders Reject PETA Motion
on Chickens, The Kansas City Star, Jennifer Mann,
May 11, 2006
VETS SHIFT PRACTICES
Large animals are a shrinking part of
some rural veterinarians' practices - in many cases,
most of the livestock they do treat are family horses
- as suburbia paves its way over farmland across the
country. The American Veterinary Medical Association
shows the trend is national: the number of veterinary
offices dedicated mostly or completely to treating
small animals has risen from 62% in 1980 to 74% in
2005. Looking at lifestyles, salaries and social factors,
many new vets who originally planned to go into a
rural area livestock practice may end up focusing
on small animals. Economics is perhaps the largest
factor, since small pet owners are more likely to
spend larger amounts of money on their animals than
livestock owners, who are raising their animals for
a profit. Those who do choose to treat livestock doing
so because they want to be a part of "the rural life."
Out of the Barn, Into the Home:
More Rural Vets are Shifting Practices from Dairy
Cows to their Cash Cows: Family Pets, The Dallas Morning
News, Jim Getz, May 7, 2006
June 8-10: The National Pork Producers Council's
2006 World Pork Expo will take place at the Iowa State
Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa. The Expo features
500 swine industry exhibitors, educational seminars
and a marketing information center, as well as a new
environmental center and job fair/career center. To
learn more, visit http://www.worldpork.org.
June 14-15: The United Egg Producers' Avian Influenza
Preparedness Workshop will take place in Atlanta,
Georgia. To register, contact Linda Reickard at LindaReickard@netins.net.
For more information, visit http://www.unitedegg.org.
June 22-24: The 6th Congress of the European Society
for Agricultural and Food Ethics will take place in
Oslo, Norway. The conference will take a multi-disciplinary
look at farmed animal welfare, food consumption, food
safety, global trade and related matters. For details
about the conference and call for papers, visit http://eursafe2006.etikkom.no.