Farmed Animal Watch: Objective Information for the Thinking Advocate
[missing header image]
[missing header image] Subscribe to Farmed Animal Watch

APRIL 20, 2007 -- Number 12, Volume 7

CONGRATULATIONS: To the winners of our Farmed Animal Watch survey participation awards: Jan Cejka, Sheila Gross, Priya Shanker and Tricia Ritterbusch. Thanks to all who completed the survey and for all of your very helpful responses.

1. ANIMAL-FIGHTING BILL PASSES U.S. HOUSE & SENATE

The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007 was passed by the House of Representatives (368-39) and the Senate (unanimously) on March 26th and April 10th, respectively. The bill will take effect immediately upon the President’s signature, which is expected. It makes violations of federal animal fighting law a felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, makes it a felony to transport an animal across state or international borders for the purpose of fighting, and prohibits the interstate and foreign commerce in cockfighting weapons. A timeline of the 6-year effort is on the HSUS webpage listed below.

Cockfighting is banned in every state but Louisiana (see: http://tinyurl.com/yocomp ), down from five states in 1998. Four bills seeking to ban it in Louisiana await the April 30th opening of the state Legislature session. Since 1998, the number of states that have made cockfighting a felony has grown from 17 to 33, Massachusetts having just done so: http://tinyurl.com/2mf7jb.


U.S. CONGRESS GIVES FINAL APPROVAL TO LEGISLATION TO KNOCK OUT ORGANIZED ANIMAL FIGHTING IN THE UNITED STATES
The Humane Society of the United States, April 10, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/2n38jl

COCKFIGHTING BANS NOW EXTEND TO ALL BUT ONE STATE
American Veterinary Medical Association, Katie Burns, May 1, 2007
http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/may07/070501i.asp

 

2. TX. BILL GUTS FARMED-ANIMAL PROTECTIONS; AR. & IL.

To appease agricultural interests, an amendment was added to a Texas anti-cruelty bill, gutting existing protections for farmed animals. Republican Sid Miller’s amendment removed as an offense: unreasonably failing to provide shelter for farmed animals, seriously overworking a farmed animal, transporting or confining farmed animals in a cruel manner, and horse tripping. A proposed new cruelty offense of failing to provide water to animals did survive. The Texas House voted 136-2 on April 11th for the measure, which was intended to eliminate loopholes in the anti-cruelty law that have hindered prosecution. Animal advocates had hoped to elevate protection for horses by moving them out of the “livestock” classification. Following another House vote, the bill will go to the Senate.

The agriculture lobby also succeeded in weakening an Arkansas anti-cruelty proposal:
http://tinyurl.com/25wcpw.

A proposal to ban horse slaughter passed the Illinois House on April 18th. It has yet to pass the Senate and be approved by the Governor. The last operating horse slaughterplant in the U.S., in Illinois, was recently shut when federal inspection was withdrawn (see: http://tinyurl.com/24r5jj ). If the bill is made law it will permanently end horse slaughter in the state.


ANIMAL CRUELTY VOTE HAS FUR FLYING
Houston Chronicle, Peggy Fikac, April 18, 2007
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/metro/4728591.html

HOUSE APPROVES HORSE SLAUGHTER BAN; MEASURE HEADS TO SENATE
Daily Chronicle, Blackwell Thomas, April 19, 2007
http://www.daily-chronicle.com/articles/2007/04/19/news/news05.txt#blogcomments

 

3. CARGILL CHANGING TO GROUP HOUSING?

Over the past four years, Cargill, a major U.S. pig producer, “has been transitioning to group sow housing,” the company explained in a letter to The Humane Society of the U.S. The organization had written to Cargill requesting it follow Smithfield Foods’s lead in ceasing to use gestation crates (see: http://tinyurl.com/ytke4c). Cargill President Dirk Jones continued: “To date, Cargill has already converted over half of our company owned and contract production farms. The transition from one kind of animal housing to another takes time because it involves contractual relationships and significant operational investment by producers.” In closing, Jones wrote: "We are an industry leader, with the conversion process well under way." However, a Cargill spokesperson subsequently told Meatingplace.com -“an on-line community for red meat and poultry processors in North America”- that the company is not phasing the crates out, stating, "We don't think we implied that in our letter."

A National Pork Producers Council spokesperson contends that pregnant pigs will fight in group housing, with dominant pigs preventing the weakest one from obtaining adequate food. Temple Grandin (see: http://tinyurl.com/2vhmaq ), who serves on the American Meat Institute's animal welfare committee, argues that the solution to such aggression is better genetic selection. She supports banning gestation crates.


CARGILL PHASING OUT CRATES FOR SOWS
The Associated Press, Frederic J. Frommer, April 12, 2007
http://www.examiner.com/a-670863~Cargill_Phasing_Out_Crates_for_Sows.html

CARGILL REFUTES 'HSUS'S INTERPRETATION' THAT IT'S PHASING OUT GESTATION STALLS
Meating Place, Tom Johnston, April 13, 2007
http://www.cattlenetwork.com/content.asp?contentid=121687

 

4. FUEL OR FOOD?

Meat production typically rises every year, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture has cut it’s forecast for 2007 by a billion pounds (1.2%) to 89.78 billion pounds. The reduction is attributed to higher feed costs due to corn being diverted for ethanol production. Global grain stocks are at their lowest level in 30 years, and rising food prices, driven in part by demand for crop-based fuels, are already distressing consumers in some parts of the world (see also: http://tinyurl.com/2qbwhs ).

American oil company ConocoPhillips and Tyson Foods, the world's biggest meat company, are collaborating to produce diesel fuel from the fat of cows, pigs and chickens. (Residual animal fat is usually used for soap, cosmetics and animal food.) ConocoPhillips anticipates making some 175 million gallons of it annually, about 3% of its total diesel production, and aims to offer it in the U.S. Midwest late this year. The companies say the fuel will be cleaner than conventional diesel fuel. ConocoPhillips and other large oil companies persuaded the government to allow them to qualify for a dollar-per-gallon tax incentive by creating a “renewable” fuel from animal remains and other residual food materials.

A Tyson spokesperson said the company hasn’t yet discussed the fuel with vegetarian or religious groups. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) points to a recent United Nations report attributing more global warming emissions to the meat industry than all cars, trucks and planes combined (see: http://tinyurl.com/26atm7 ). "Clearly, the answer to global warming isn't to fill gas guzzling cars with ground up remains of tortured animals, it is to go vegetarian, which is something every person can afford to do and should do for the sake of their own health, animals and the environment,” PETA stated. Fuel from used vegetable oil and other “biofuels” are also being tried. See: http://tinyurl.com/2nlrkf and see: http://tinyurl.com/2m8pe5

U.S. MEAT SUPPLY TO FALL AMID HIGHER CORN PRICES
Reuters, April 11, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/2wlt9n

CROP PRICES SOAR, PUSHING UP COST OF FOOD GLOBALLY
The Wall Street Journal, Patrick Barta with Lauren Etter, Conor Dougherty, Hanting Tang, Kersten Zhang and Binny Sabharwal, April 9, 2007
http://www.truthabouttrade.org/article.asp?id=7404

PIG FAT TO BE TURNED INTO DIESEL
A Solution for the World's Energy Crisis May Come in the Form of a Pig.
BBC News, April 19, 2007
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/business/6571993.stm

 

5. DISASTER PREVENTION & RESPONSE RESOURCES; DISASTERS

The Ontario Farm Animal Council (OFAC) has released new resources intended to help emergency personnel in emergencies involving farmed animals. They are two fact sheets: “Barn Fires Involving Livestock” and “Livestock on the Loose at Accident Scenes,” in addition to an article written to help farmers prevent and respond to barn fires on their farms. OFAC has also held sold-out workshops for first responders to farmed animal transportation emergencies, and one specifically addressing poultry emergencies. The fact sheets and courses were developed by Jennifer Woods of J. Woods Livestock Services, Alberta (see: http://www.reflectedjlivestock.com ).

More than 9,000 ducks, some only a day old, were killed in a fire at a facility in Wisconsin owned by Maple Leaf Farms. A nearby building, housing 10,000-15,000 ducks, was not affected. The company has some 400,000 ducks, ranging in age from one day to 7-8 weeks old, the age at which they are typically slaughtered.

More than 3,000 pigs died in a fire at a Hutterite community near Winnipeg on April 7th. A faulty exhaust fan is believed to have sparked the fire which was then sucked throughout the rest of the building by other fans.

A tornado struck a new dairy operation in New Mexico on March 23rd, killing or fatally injuring 110 cows. Another 65 cows who were injured were sent to slaughter, while an additional 70-80 were treated, some of whom then began to exhibit internal injuries. Volunteers, including “cowboys with horses,” arrived the next day with vehicles to transport injured cows to slaughter. Buildings, pens, equipment and vehicles on the farm were destroyed by the storm.

See also: http://tinyurl.com/35ax8z and http://tinyurl.com/2ojtp5

NEW RESOURCES HELP FIRST RESPONDERS WITH BARN FIRES AND LIVESTOCK TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS
Ontario Farm Animal Council (OFAC), April 3, 2007
http://www.ofac.org/news/2007/FactSheetsBarnFiresLooseLivestock.php

MORE THAN 9,000 DUCKS KILLED IN BARN FIRE
The Associated Press, March 24, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/2vhcmo

3,000 ANIMALS DIE AS FIRE DESTROYS HUTTERITE HOG FARM
CBC News with files from Canadian Press, April 9, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/3622o7

DISASTER STRIKES DAIRY
Portales News-Tribune, Karl Terry, March 26, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/2wt9kg

 

6. RESISTANCE IS NEVER FUTILE

Noting that animal “escapes from farms, slaughterhouses, laboratories, etc. are not unusual,” Jason Hribal tells us of some of the more notable recent examples, in his Counterpunch article subtitled “Resistance is Never Futile.” Mentioning a few of the “countless autonomous communities” of free-living cows, sheep, pigs, etc., in the U.S., Hribal states: “Ranchers hate them. Conservationists plot against them. Suburbanites hire people to kill them. Yet, these creatures continue to survive. Indeed, the idea of paternalism ­ as applied towards other animals ­ is a political invention…when the curtain is pulled back, our fellow creatures emerge as active beings ­ each of whom has the ability to shape the world around them. Agency is not unique to the human animal. Cows, pigs, monkeys, and elephants can also resist their exploitation.”

Hribal goes on to state that there are “a multiplicity of methods to deter or prevent escapes…to scar and frighten…to punish… to control aggressiveness…These techniques are not called ‘breaking’ because their targets are mindless, spiritless machines. Quite to the contrary, they are deemed as such because turning autonomous, intelligent beings into obedient, productive workers is difficult.” For “chronic troublemakers,” those who won’t submit, “the death penalty has always been the final option.” He surmises: “…more than bad press and possible loss in profits, these escapes can produce a public awareness of exploitation and resistance. This combination of struggle and recognition then ultimately forces such industries ­ their operators, executives, scientists, and engineers ­ to adopt animal-welfare legislation and practices.” Hribal concludes with the tragic story of Tyke, an elephant, whose resistance one August day “propelled the development of social change.”

Other recent articles about nonhuman animal perception include:

FEELING THE PAIN OF ANIMALS: We're Not the Only Ones Who have Emotions
Daily Camera, Marc Bekoff, April 1, 2007
http://www.dailycamera.com:80/news/2007/apr/01/feeling-the-pain-of-animals/

TIME IN THE ANIMAL MIND
The New York Times, Carl Zimmer, April 3, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/03/science/03time.html

FERAL AND FREE: AN INTERVIEW WITH GEORGE SCHALLER
New Scientist, Michael Bond, April 5, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/youx9c

EMILY THE COW AND TYKE THE ELEPHANT
Counterpunch, Jason Hribal, April 17, 2007
http://www.counterpunch.org/hribal04172007.html

 

 





In This Issue








Our Sponsors

The information in this news digest does not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors nor is anything in it meant as an endorsement by them.


Masthead

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.