Farmed Animal Watch: Objective Information for the Thinking Advocate
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JuLY 7 , 2006 -- Number 24, Volume 6


1. AVIAN INFLUENZA NEWS

USDA’s Plan
On June 29th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a draft summary of its plan in regard to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and the use of $91 million appropriated six months ago to address pandemic influenza. Among the inclusions in the plan are standard operating procedures after a finding of HPAI [the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain has yet to be detected in the U.S.], quarantine and movement controls, compensation, euthanasia, disposal, and wildlife management. The agency’s surveillance of migratory birds and of breeding flocks, poultry dealers, live-bird markets, auctions and slaughterplants is also discussed. The summary is posted for review at: http://tinyurl.com/n5zgw Comments should be sent to: NAHEMS.Guidelines.Comments@aphis.usda.gov The full plan is being shared with federal, state, and industry entities “in order to coordinate media and public response to any possible HPAI detection.” Additional information is available at: www.usda.gov/birdflu

Vaccination Warning
By late June, a total of 57 countries had reported detection of avian influenza in wild birds or domestic ones. Of the 217 people who had been infected with avian influenza, 123 of them have died. Mass vaccination of poultry has been undertaken in an attempt to quell consumer fears about it, including in China, Indonesia, and Viet Nam. Following the first confirmed case of human-to-human transmission of the disease, in mid-June, scientists are warning that any presence of the virus can go undetected in innoculated flocks. The H5N1 virus is believed to be firmly entrenched in poultry throughout much of Indonesia.

European Compensation
A survey found that between February and May of 2006, 741 cases of HPAI were detected in wild birds in 13 European Union (EU) member states. No human case of H5N1 virus has been identified in the EU, but in some countries, such as Italy, the demand for poultry has plummeted by as much as 70%. In an attempt to stabilize falling prices, the European Commission is putting 65 million euros [$82 million] toward reducing the glut of poultry meat and eggs. The aid will go toward compensation for the destruction of eggs, the killing of chicks, and the early slaughter of birds used for breeding or egg production. Regulations previously allowed the European Union (EU) to financially compensate only in actual instances of disease or when farmers were ordered to restrict movement of poultry. Europe’s $42 billion dollar feed sector has also been affected, with demand losses estimated at up to 40% in some countries.



USDA RELEASES 180-DAY REPORT ON AVIAN INFLUENZA EFFORTS AND SUPPLEMENTAL SPENDING
USDA Media Release, June 29, 2006
http://tinyurl.com/ovvpq

SCIENTISTS ISSUE CAUTION AGAINST MASS POULTRY VACCINATION
Food Production Daily, June 26, 2006
http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/news/ng.asp?n=68668&m=1FPD626&c=ctnjryolzpagjlt

EU AID CHANNELED TO CUT POULTRY AND EGG PRODUCTION
Food Production Daily, June 22, 2006
http://tinyurl.com/zdfw3


2. MAJOR MERGER IN UK EGG INDUSTRY

A planned merger between Deans Foods and Stonegate would give the new company, Noble Foods, a 46% control of the UK’s egg supply. The company owners said the new company will be in a better position to deal with legislative pressures on the egg industry and increasing economic challenges. Stonegate recently spent £5m [$9.18m] in upgrading facilities at a dedicated free range and organic egg packing operation. The Office of Fair Trade is determining whether the merger would result in unfair competitive practices. The total UK output is about 12.5 million dozen eggs a week.



UK MERGER GIVES COMPANY 46PC CONTROL OF EGG MARKET
Food Production Daily, July 6, 2006
http://tinyurl.com/pf6gb

 

3. REGULATING ANIMAL WASTE

From 2002 to 2005, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in the U.S. expanded by about 22%. They generate some 500 million tons of animal manure a year -- three times more waste than humans in the U.S. produce. Water contamination from these feedlots has been reported in 29 states. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a new requirement, that CAFOs obtain permits if animal waste from their facilities enters local bodies of water. The proposal is a revision of rules from 3 years ago, which a U.S. Circuit Court said failed to result in any meaningful review of plans developed by the approximately 18,000 applicable farms to limit pollution. (These operations contribute up to 60% of all the manure generated by farms that confine animals.) Remarking on the new requirement, Michele Merkel, a former staff attorney in the EPA's enforcement division who now works for the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project, said: "The court required the EPA to bring clarity to some aspects of the 2003 rules; instead they've created more confusion and new loopholes.”

Of particular concern is that the proposal allows CAFOs to define what constitutes a polluting discharge, and thus decide whether a permit is even needed. Melanie Shepherdson, a staff attorney with Natural Resources Defense Council said: “They're letting the factory farms police themselves, which flies in the face of the whole purpose of the Clean Water Act permitting process.” Randy Spronk, the National Pork Producer Council’s environment committee chair, countered: “Pork producers can decide for themselves if they will need a federal Clean Water Act permit as they meet these standards, or if they want to meet these standards while not getting a federal permit.”

EPA spokesperson Dale Kemery explains: "Under the Clean Water Act, CAFOs that do not seek permit coverage risk liability for any unpermitted discharges that may occur at the facility. But Merkel points out that few penalties are imposed and few inspections even occur. Between 1997 and 2004, the U.S. Department of Justice waged a grand total of eight lawsuits against CAFOs for violating water-pollution standards under the Clean Water Act. Of the 18,800 or so CAFOs in the U.S., only about 8,500 currently have permits. The new rule is expected to appear on the federal register soon, with a 45-day public comment period. Environmental groups are threatening a 2nd lawsuit if their concerns are not given due consideration.



EPA PLAN TARGETS ANIMAL WASTE
Columbus Telegraph, John Heilprin, June 23, 2006
http://www.columbustelegram.com/articles/2006/06/23/news/news6epa.txt

AG REFLEX
Factory Farms Let Off the Hook for Water Pollution, Activists Say
Grist, Amanda Griscom Little, June 30, 2006
http://www.grist.org/news/muck/2006/06/30/cafo-waste/index.html?source=daily




4. NATIONAL COMMISSION ON INDUSTRIAL FARM ANIMAL PRODUCTION

The Pew Charitable Trusts has created the independent National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, with a $2.6 million grant to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Commission will be conducting a national study of large-scale animal agriculture, considering such matters as animal welfare, antibiotics, avian influenza, and the environment. It is made up of 19 members as diverse as actress Daryl Hannah, Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. President Thomas Hayes, and James Merchant, dean of the University of Iowa's College of Public Health. It began operating in March and plans a national publicity campaign in September. The panel plans at least six public hearings before making recommendations in about 2 years. Pew is a nonprofit organization, founded by heirs of the Sun Oil Company. It has financed studies of a wide range of social issues.


PEW BANKROLLS STUDY OF LARGE LIVESTOCK FARMS
The Des Moines Register, Perry Beeman, June 25, 2006
http://tinyurl.com/l2t3q


5. AVMA WON'T SIGN WITH HSUS

During an April meeting, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)’s Executive Board unanimously decided against cosponsoring legislation with The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS). The organizations had been planning a joint letter to Congress on a range of issues. The decision was an about-face from where AVMA leaders had been in February following a meeting with HSUS President Wayne Pacelle. It resulted from objections by veterinarians involved in farmed animal sectors who oppose HSUS’s support of the Arizona ballot initiative to ban intensive confinement of calves and pregnant pigs. Considering HSUS’s wealth and lobbying power, Pacelle called the AVMA’s withdrawal “mind boggling.” Issues the groups had been considering working together on included an anti-animal fighting bill, a measure to add a bittering agent to antifreeze, legislation to protect captive primates, support for the Pet Animal Welfare Statute and the Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act. “We could have done a lot of good things together if we’d had just agreed to disagree on the contentious issues,” Pacelle said.

EXECUTIVE BOARD SINKS HSUS JOINT VENTURE
DVM News, Jennifer Fiala, June 2006
http://www.dvmnewsmagazine.com/dvm/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=338630


6. CKE COOPERATING WITH PETA

Moments away from having PETA present a resolution at its shareholders meeting, CKE Restaurants Inc., parent of the Hardee's and Carl's Jr. burger chains, agreed to obtain information from it’s suppliers on how the chickens it uses are killed. PETA has shares in about 25 restaurant, grocery and animal-processing companies in order to try to persuade them to adopt a less inhumane poultry-slaughter method called "controlled-atmosphere killing" in which chickens are gassed to death. The current method involves immobilizing the birds with an electric shock, slitting their throats and submerging them in scalding water. PETA says the chickens are conscious through most of the process. The organization was less successful last month when Applebee shareholders defeated the proposal. After the CKE meeting, the company issued a statement saying it has worked closely with restaurant and food-marketing industry groups to develop a comprehensive animal welfare program, and that it requires its suppliers to observe the program's guidelines or their own industry's guidelines.

HARDEE'S PARENT, PETA ARE TALKING
ST. Louis Post-Dispatch, Gail Appleson, June 28, 2006
http://tinyurl.com/mblr8


 





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Compiled and edited by Cat Carroll and Mary Finelli, 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.