Farmed Animal Watch: Objective Information for the Thinking Advocate
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NOVEMBER 18, 2006 -- Number 40, Volume 6


1. ARIZONA BANS CRATES; INDUSTRY ANXIETY

Arizona has become the first state to ban the confinement of calves in crates for the production of veal, and the second state to ban confining pigs in gestation crates. Proposition 204, the Humane Treatment for Farm Animals Act (see: http://tinyurl.com/y5uzm4 ), was passed by 62% of Arizonians who voted on the ballot question. An article about the single existing pig operation that will be affected is on-line at: http://cals.arizona.edu/media/archives/18.8.html. A detailed recap of the 2006 midterm elections has been posted by The Humane Society Legislative Fund at: http://www.fund.org/feature/2006_key_race_summary.html

Farmed animal industries are increasingly anxious about the growing political clout of the animal protection community. BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly, an industry publication, comments: “We can expect these initiatives to emerge at a more rapid pace…If [animal protection advocates] pick each state off one by one, step by step, they will have won…because of a vastly superior implementation of tactics and strategy”: http://tinyurl.com/ygwb2z The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) represents ten million Americans, reports the Wall Street Journal. That’s more than twice the membership of the National Rifle Association, which is considered one of the most effective single-issue campaign organizations. Two entities created within the last two years by HSUS to focus on congressional elections and ballot initiatives have done so to the tune of $3.4 million. See also: http://tinyurl.com/y6az76

“In the wake of Election 2006, plenty of industry observers are questioning whether initiatives such as Prop 204 are part of a hidden agenda by animal activists to curtail the raising of livestock for food. The answer is no, absolutely not,” states Dan Murphy in his industry-oriented column for MeatingPlace.com “The debate cannot be conducted on their terms,” he writes, “The bottom line is that the debate cannot be about humane treatment of livestock.” He suggests softening the terms used to refer to confinement systems, and advises: “To be effective in selling a more enlightened stance to today's consumers, industry must first make sure real improvements are in place.” Relatedly, in her Industry Insight column, Pork magazine editor Marlys Miller writes: “…what cannot be lost in all of this is that consumers want and expect animals raised for food to be handled in a “responsible” manner. Those consumers will define what is responsible”: http://tinyurl.com/ydhn3n. Meantime, World Poultry magazine acknowledges: “…some farming practices are undesirable from an ethical or moral standpoint…Producers of poultry and eggs must eliminate obviously unacceptable practices such as inducing molt by starvation, ultra-high stocking density, handling practices which induce injury and slaughter methods which are inhumane”: http://tinyurl.com/yhbsh6

Time magazine explains: “Although Americans eat more chicken and beef than pork, activists are focusing on ballot initiatives on pigs in part because they are known as intelligent animals. Also, making pregnant sows more comfortable would have less effect on the price of meat than would reforms of chicken- and beef-raising practices.”


ELECTION '06: ANIMALS WIN IN ARIZONA AND MICHIGAN
The Humane Society of the United States, November 7, 2006
http://www.hsus.org/legislation_laws/ballot_initiatives/election_06_animals_win_.html

ANIMAL RIGHTS INITIATIVES A LITTLE SCARY
BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly, Our Perspective, Troy Marshall, Nov. 10, 2008
http://beef-mag.com/cowcalfweekly/animal-rights-initiatives/

PUPPY POWER: HOW HUMANE SOCIETY GETS THE VOTE OUT
The Wall St. Journal, Brody Mullins, Nov. 7, 2006
http://groups-beta.google.com/group/AR-News/browse_thread/thread/e9817cad27bd1d56

ANTI-AG BALLOT DEFEATS
The Meating Place, Dan Murphy, Nov. 17, 2006
http://www.meatingplace.com/MembersOnly/webNews/details.aspx?item=16833

ARIZONA VOTERS PASS PROPOSITION 204
Pork, Marlys Miller, November 8, 2006
http://www.porkmag.com/directories.asp?pgID=720&ed_id=4478

CAMPAIGN AGAINST ANIMAL PRODUCTION INTENSIFIES
World Poultry, Simon M. Shane, November 3, 2006
http://tinyurl.com/yhbsh6

CAMPAIGN '06: TREATING PIGS BETTER IN ARIZONA
Time, Margot Roosevelt, Nov. 6, 2006
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1555372,00.html


2. ANIMAL ENTERPRISE TERRORISM ACT PASSES

With six (out of 435) members present, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA, see: http://www.farmedanimal.net/faw/faw6-39.htm#1) with an unrecorded voice vote on Nov. 13th using a “suspension” procedure usually reserved for noncontroversial legislation. The bill pertains to “animal enterprises” - any business involving animals, including manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of animals or animal products. It also shields third-party entities that do business with them from targeting by activists. "Tertiary targeting," explains Nick Cooney, with the group Hugs for Puppies, has "allowed small, grassroots organizations to wield a lot of power, even though they don't have millions of dollars and thousands of members."

While "lawful economic disruption” is exempt, critics point out that, due to the broad language, those who engage in undercover investigations, whistle-blowing and many types of nonviolent civil disobedience, including trespassing or freeing captive animals, could be labeled "terrorists" and imprisoned. Even perceived threats may be actionable. Punishments include up to a year in jail for economic damages of less than $10,000, and up to five years in prison if a threat produced a "reasonable fear" of bodily harm.

The AETA, which amends the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992, is opposed by the National Lawyer's Guild (NLG), in part, because laws already exist against such acts as assault, property damage and trespassing (including the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act of 2002). Specifically targeting animal protection activists with special legislation and penalties "sets a dangerous precedent for going after people based on the content of their speech" said an NLG spokesperson. The organization has announced that it will look for ways to challenge it in court. The AETA is also listed among “legislation that may threaten civil liberties” by the national Bill of Rights Defense Committee: http://tinyurl.com/smrp2. In contrast, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) does not oppose it but instead recommended “necessary minor changes” to the wording “to make the bill less likely to chill or threaten freedom of speech”(PDF file: http://tinyurl.com/yfc6hl. Per the Equal Justice Alliance, the ACLU recommendations were not incorporated: http://tinyurl.com/yzcm5e ). This “crazy-ass bill” next goes to President Bush to be signed into law or vetoed.

An eyewitness account of the floor action just prior to the House vote can be found at:
http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/2006/11/13/aeta-passes-house-recap/
A transcript of the actual discussion can be found at: http://thomas.loc.gov/r109/r109.html (click on November 13th Daily Digest, then scroll to “Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act: S. 3880,” Pages H8590-95) or see: http://tinyurl.com/yx8x6p

An article considering the historical events giving rise to the bill is at:
http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Oct06/Hall31.htm
See also: http://www.satyamag.com/nov06/edit.html and: http://pub38.bravenet.com/forum/3182297110/show/588071
A list of organizations that are backing the bill can be found at: http://www.satyamag.com/nov06/aeta_support.html


HOUSE PASSES ANIMAL ENTERPRISE TERRORISM ACT WITH LITTLE DISCUSSION OR DISSENT
Green is the New Red, Will Potter, November 13, 2006
http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/2006/11/13/aeta-passes-house-recap/

HOUSE PASSES ANIMAL ENTERPRISE TERRORISM ACT
In Defense of Animals action alert
http://ga0.org/indefenseofanimals/notice-description.tcl?newsletter_id=4460237

NEW ‘TERRORISM’ LAWS TO PROTECT ANIMAL ABUSERS’ PROFITS
The NewStandard, Megan Tady, Nov. 13, 2006
http://newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/3883

HOUSE PASSES ‘TERRORISM’ ACT AGAINST ANIMAL ACTIVISTS
The NewStandard, Megan Tady, Nov. 15, 2006
http://newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/3887

'ECO-TERRORISM'
Gristmill, Nov. 15, 2006
http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/11/15/14383/979

NPPC HAILS PASSAGE OF BILL PROTECTING ANIMAL ENTERPRISES FROM 'TERRORIST' ACTS
National Pork Producers Council, Nov. 14, 2006
http://www.nppc.org/wm/show.php?id=620&c=1

STOP THE ANIMAL ENTERPRISE TERRORISM ACT!
National Lawyers Guild
http://tinyurl.com/y7r96m

THREATS TO LIBERTY
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
http://www.bordc.org/threats/legislation/


3. FEAR AND LOATHING IN ARIZONA?

Speaking of pigs and terror, leading up to the vote on Proposition 204 (see item #1 above), members of Arizona farmed animal industries who supported it said they have been the victims of vandalism and death threats, a claim they say they’ve reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). According to Robert Shuler, an attorney representing the Arizona Pork Council, intimidating e-mail messages were sent to the website set up in opposition to the initiative. “[The FBI] said this matches the pattern with what they have seen in other states with animal rights issues,” he said of the messages. Mr. Shuler furthermore said that anti-204 “Hogwash” signs were stolen from his yard, and he believe his newspaper was urinated on by radical animal rights supporters. The executive director of the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association related similar versions of the accounts. He suspects animal rights activists of having thrown a big rock through his office window. [Note the size of the rock on window ledge and the distance between the bars on the window: http://tinyurl.com/yy9lsc]

Cheryl Naumann, chairperson for Arizonans for Humane Farms (AZH), the coalition behind Proposition 204, said no one from AZH has been contacted by the FBI about it. “If there was a legitimate concern, we would have been contacted,” said Ms. Naumann, “The fact that we haven’t is very telling of the validity of this claim.” Naumann, who is also CEO of the Arizona Humane Society, and a self-described conservative Republican from a Texas ranching family, rejects the accusations of threats and vandalism. Citing the popularity of the initiative, she said the claims of intimidation and attempts to link the initiative’s supporters to extremist animal rights groups are made out of desperation. Naumann claims police have been contacted with the license plate number of an individual who attended an AZH meeting under false pretenses and absconded with 40 pro-204 signs.


DIRTY CAMPAIGN MUDDIES HOG FARM ISSUE
Arizona Capitol Times, Christian Palmer, October 20, 2006
http://www.azfarmersranchers.com/index.php?p=1&news=102006_dirty.htm


4. ANIMAL WELFARE APPROVED

“Animal Welfare Approved” (AWA) is a new welfare standards program just announced by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), an organization which for much of its 55-year history has focused on farmed animal issues. The AWA label is the only such seal to guarantee that the farms from which the products come do not also have animals in conventional systems. "In a practice we call 'double standard certification,' some outfits label products 'humane' for their adherence to certain standards while permitting the bulk of animals to be raised using cruel industrial practices,” explains AWI president Cathy Liss, “In so doing, the agribusiness seeks to maximize its profits and control the market by displacing family farmers who raise all their animals according to a high standard of welfare."

“At the heart of our standards is concern and advocacy for the animals,” Liss states. The amputation of chickens’ beaks or pigs’ tails, permitted by other labeling programs, is prohibited under AWA standards. Instead, the program requires enriched environments where animals can socialize more naturally, reducing the stress that can cause animals to harm each other. The standards are also the first to require breeds of birds that are not selected for rapid growth which causes them to suffer from serious physical abnormalities.

AWI reports that more than 500 farms comply with the AWA standards. Farms are inspected by AWI and its agents prior to receiving permission to use the seal and after they have been endorsed. The standards, drafted with the input of scientists, veterinarians and farmers, can be viewed at: http://www.AnimalWelfareApproved.org Along with other information, the site includes a comparison of the leading welfare standards.

OTHER
Whole Foods Market Inc. will introduce its own standards next year. It has spent the last three years developing what they say are very specific ones. The company is, in fact, finding it difficult to find farms that meet the [“Animal Compassionate”] standards, and employees are now training farmers on how to do so. Auditors will certify that farmers and suppliers do meet them. Both the Animal Welfare Institute and The Humane Society of the United States say the company’s standards will significantly boost the move toward treating farmed animals better due to Whole Foods’s trendsetting status in the grocery industry.

In “The Checkout” section, the Washington Post’s Annys Shin takes a look at the meaning of various animal product labels (“Compassionate but Confusing Labels”): http://tinyurl.com/yzkt6u


ANIMAL WELFARE INSTITUTE ROLLS OUT "HUMANE" MEAT SEAL
Pork, Marlys Miller, November 14, 2006
http://www.porkmag.com/directories.asp?pgID=720&ed_id=4504

WHOLE FOODS WILL SELL "ANIMAL COMPASSIONATE" MEAT
Austin American-Statesman, Lilly Rockwell, October 25, 2006
http://tinyurl.com/y39ro8

 




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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.