Farmed Animal Watch: Objective Information for the Thinking Advocate
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May 15 , 2007 -- Number 15, Volume 7

1. WELFARE REGULATIONS FOR EU CHICKENS RAISED FOR MEAT

For the first time, chickens raised for meat in the European Union (EU) will be covered by regulations regarding the conditions in which they are kept. The new directive, to go into effect 2010, includes limits on space requirements along with requirements for lighting, litter, feeding, and ventilation to ensure better welfare. The directive also calls for industry training, scientific monitoring of welfare impacts (e.g., genetics), penalties for those who don’t comply, and possibly a new welfare labeling program (for more info on the labeling developments, see: http://tinyurl.com/yqehq8 ).

The United Kingdom -along with Denmark, Sweden and others- reportedly led the fight against France’s attempt to weaken the measures. The European poultry industry says the new requirements will increase costs. Producers want to be compensated by the EU if they are unable to compete. Eurogroup for Animals counters that they can protect market share by appealing to welfare-conscious consumers. Links to the Council's Regulation on the Protection of Chickens Kept for Meat Production and the new directive can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/yoff4y Information on regulations affecting EU chickens used for egg production can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/28x279


BROILER CHICKENS BENEFIT FROM NEW EU WELFARE RULES
World Poultry, May 9, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/yoff4y

EU AGREES NEW RULES TO IMPROVE WELFARE OF CHICKENS
The Poultry Site News Desk, May 9, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/2zzcjn

PRODUCERS SQUAWK AS EU BACKS BIGGER CHICKEN PENS
Toronto Star, May 8, 2007
http://www.thestar.com/Business/article/211462

 

2. TEXAS SENATE PASSES BILL LEGALIZING HORSEMEAT SALES

A Texas state bill authorizing the sale of horsemeat for human consumption in the state passed the Senate on May 9th. The bill was intended to clarify the role of the Texas Animal Health Commission. Senator Glenn Hegar included an amendment which he promoted as being to test animals for disease and help catch animal thieves. Clearly stated in it, however, is that the state ban on the sale of horsemeat won’t apply to horses tested by the Commission. Slaughter opponents say it is a broad interpretation that sailed through unnoticed in a bill that passed unanimously and without debate. Animal advocates in the House vow they won’t vote for the bill unless the amendment is removed.

The Illinois House and a state Senate committee have approved a bill banning the slaughter of horses for human consumption (see http://tinyurl.com/2kmzbj ). It now goes to the full Senate for approval. Many, including those opposed, believe a federal ban on horse slaughter will be hard to stop short of a Presidential veto (see: http://tinyurl.com/25kp8x ).


APPROVAL OF HORSEMEAT SALE SLIPPED INTO BILL
The Dallas Morning News, Emily Ramshaw and Jim Getz, May 11, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/2dsswl

SENATE BILL ADDS LOOPHOLE FOR HORSE SLAUGHTER
El Paso Times, May 11, 2007
http://www.elpasotimes.com/breakingnews/ci_5873995

ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS SEEK BAN ON HORSE SLAUGHTER
The Post Chronicle, May 10, 2007
http://www.postchronicle.com/news/breakingnews/article_21279839.shtml

 

3. FTC: UNSUBSTANTIATED DAIRY ADS TO STOP

Research does not support the claim that dairy product consumption helps with weight loss, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and so national ad campaigns asserting that it does are to cease. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) petitioned the FTC in 2005, arguing that the ads were misleading. The U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) had approved the ads but now supports the decision to pull back from the campaigns. A May 3rd letter from the FTC to PCRM states that the USDA and milk producers and processors agreed to change the ads and related marketing materials “until further research provides stronger, more conclusive evidence of an association between dairy consumption and weight loss.” A spokesperson for one of the dairy campaigns denies there was anything misleading about them. She said the plan is to phase the ads out and focus instead on how dairy can promote a healthy diet. A National Dairy Council representative explained: “Like any other marketing campaign, after time you want to freshen them up and give the consumers what’s new…That’s what’s happening here.”

The ads were “ridiculously misleading,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University. In her book, “What to Eat” she contends that lobbying by the $50 billion dairy industry could cloud nutrition policy. The 2005 revision of federal dietary guidelines recommended that people consume more low-fat dairy products. In support of the advice, a guidelines advisory committee cited a report that was partly financed by the dairy industry. The Dairy Council is being allowed to continue to use wording from the guidelines that says dairy products shouldn’t be avoided out of concern that they may lead to weight gain, the FTC letter said. (For more on nutrition policy lobbying, see: http://tinyurl.com/34gb7j )

A petition against egg industry advertising is on file with the Food and Drug Administration, see: http://www.cok.net/camp/egg_labeling/


DAIRY COUNCIL TO END AD CAMPAIGN THAT LINKED DRINKING MILK WITH WEIGHT LOSS
The New York Times, Kim Severson, May 11, 2007
www.nytimes.com/2007/05/11/us/11milk.html

LOSE THE ADS, NOT THE WEIGHT, SAY DOCTORS
The Associated Press, May 11, 2007
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18610894/

 

4. HOUSE AG SUBCOMMITTEE HOLDS WELFARE HEARING

"We believe animal welfare bills may very well be the biggest threat that faces the livestock industry in the upcoming farm bill debate," said an American Farm Bureau Federation spokesperson. Industry fears it will face widely ranging attacks on the House floor if the issues aren’t addressed as the bill develops in the [more pro-industry] House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry. On May 8th, the Subcommittee held a hearing on the status of farmed animal welfare. Those invited to testify consisted of: industry lobbyist -and former ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture committee- Charles Stenholm; David Martosko of the Center for Consumer Freedom (see: http://www.consumerfreedom.com and see: http://tinyurl.com/ar9g4 ); representatives of The American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Association for Biomedical Research, and of a half-dozen industry groups; Wayne Pacelle of The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) and Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary.

The first panel consisted solely of Stenholm, who insisted that industry is both financially and morally motivated to treat animals humanely. He bemoaned recent actions against horse slaughter (see: http://tinyurl.com/24r5jj ), and criticized HSUS and others for using contributions for political purposes. Pacelle admonished the Committee for not having held any hearings on animal welfare in years [decades?], and suggested the members were out of touch with the public on welfare matters. He warned that if they don’t include animal welfare in the next farm bill HSUS will bypass them and instead work with more sympathetic legislators. Stenholm had acknowledged that the organization does seem to be winning the public relations battle over animal welfare. The list of witnesses and full text of their submitted testimony can be found at: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/statements.html

SUBCOMMITTEE HEARS SAME DISCUSSION AG CHAIRS HEARD AT ANNUAL MEETING IN DC
Ag Clips, May 11, 2007
http://www.agandruralleaders.org/agclips.htm

MAINSTREAM ANIMAL AG GROUPS, HSUS SQUARE OFF IN D.C.
Brownfield Ag News for America, Peter Shinn, May 8, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/2tkk6f

 

5. COOPERATION VS CONFRONTATION

Industry writer Steve Bjerklie comments that while “animal-rights protests are on the rise overseas,” in the U.S. there “is a new era of cooperation, or at least conversation, shared by the animal-welfare community, the industry and the industry’s customers.” He quotes Paul Shapiro of The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS): "The Arizona vote [against crating calves and pregnant pigs (see: http://tinyurl.com/ypp63w )] was definitely a tipping point…I don’t think there can be any doubt about that. The industry put up a huge fight against the initiative there, spending enormous sums of money. But they not only lost the vote, they lost in resounding fashion." Shapiro advises: “What the industry needs to understand is that the vast majority of the public does not accept confinement crates for hogs and veal, does not accept force-feeding for fois [sic] gras, does not accept inhumane treatment of cattle." He tells how HSUS is exploring ways to further open communication channels with industry. Bjerklie also tells of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)’s efforts to work with Smithfield. He concludes: “…it seems that meetings, conversation, research and studies are collectively accomplishing more in the way of animal welfare than confrontation and argument.”

In “Grunts vs. Squeals,” Bjerklie also touches on the conciliation point in an interview with the American Meat Institute’s Janet Riley regarding the recent publication of the second edition of its "Animal Handling Guidelines and Audit Guide": http://tinyurl.com/yo38m2

DÉTENTE
Meat & Poultry, Steve Bjerklie, May 4, 2007
http://www.meatpoultry.com/feature_stories_print.asp?ArticleID=85286

 

6. WHY MOCK MEAT?; U.K. ATTITUDES TOWARD VEGETARIANISM

“For better or worse…meat has been a centerpiece of both American meals and Americanness itself,” writes Ted Anthony in an Associated Press article, “These days, mock meat sits smack in the middle of America's most traditional pastiches - Fourth of July burgers and dogs, Thanksgiving turkey, cold cuts in the lunchbox.” Anthony continues: “If you're leaving meat behind, why hold onto the trappings at all - the taste, the texture, the very idea of carnivorousness? Cultural politics hold some clues. The trappings of meat in America have long represented two powerful threads of the national narrative - the rugged individualism of the survive-or-else frontier and free-market success.” Jeff Ferrell, a vegetarian and a sociologist at Texas Christian University explains: "In the same way we value guns and the frontier ethic, meat - ironically, at this point, because it's all factory produced - still carries the mythology of hunting and self-sustenance and self-survival…To have meat regularly is to tap into that American mythology that you've made it." Anthony notes that: “those seeking meat alternatives have never had it easier. Today's supermarket shelves are a showcase for carnivorous simulation.” Sales of meat alternatives reached $547 million in 2004 - up $17 million from 2002, according to the Soyfoods Association of North America. Mock meat has in fact become so convincing, Anthony explains why “the best fakes can occasionally fall victim to their own success.” See also: http://tinyurl.com/3y5wa9

The number of vegetarians in the UK is now about 5-6% of the population. “There is no doubt that vegetarianism and vegetarian food has become a much more accepted part of everyday life…” writes Research and Markets, which bills itself as “the world’s largest market research resource.” It’s new report, Attitudes Towards Vegetarianism in the United Kingdom 2006, examines “the main market drivers affecting attitudes to vegetarianism…together with the roles played by vegetarian societies and meat-free food manufacturers in defining the image of vegetarianism.”

Meanwhile, in “Restaurants Adopt Humanity,” the May 11th Orange County Register discusses how “Restaurants across the country are adopting animal welfare policies as consumers demand less suffering of pigs, cattle and poultry raised for meat.” See: http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/money/article_1690888.php


MOCK MEATS MAKE INROADS
Berkshire Eagle, Ted Anthony, May 8, 2007
http://www.berkshireeagle.com/food/ci_5851393

NEW REPORT REVEALS UK CONSUMERS' ATTITUDES TO VEGETARIANISM AND PROSPECTS FOR THE MARKET
Business Wire, May 9, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/2bj42m

 

 





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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.