Farmed Animal Watch: Objective Information for the Thinking Advocate
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May 25 , 2007 -- Number 16, Volume 7

1. MORE BLOWS TO U.S. HORSE SLAUGHTER

Saying it was "past time to stop slaughtering horses in Illinois," Governor Rod Blagojevich on May 24th signed a bill making it illegal to kill horses there for human consumption. A DeKalb slaughterplant had been the last in the nation to kill horses (see: http://tinyurl.com/2kmzbj ). On May 16th the Illinois Senate had passed the bill by a 39 to 16 vote. Earlier it had passed the House (see: http://tinyurl.com/2864sz ).

The two other U.S. horse slaughterplants, both in Texas, apparently will remain closed as a deadline passed without action on a state bill that was expected to be amended to authorize their reopening. Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a petition to overturn a federal appeals court ruling that in effect had shut the plants down (see: http://tinyurl.com/24r5jj ). However, time still remains for an amendment to be tacked onto another bill, as happened on May 11th (see: http://tinyurl.com/2864sz ).

Animal protection advocates are pushing for a federal ban on the export of horses for slaughter. "Thousands of horses face grueling trips to slaughter facilities in Canada and Mexico unless Congress acts now to protect them," said Wayne Pacelle, head of The Humane Society of the U.S. Opponents say horses should be treated as other farmed animals, and that horse slaughter is humane and creates jobs. Horse breeders, trainers and others involved in the horse industry claim they are already losing money (see: http://tinyurl.com/2oyap4 ).


ILLINOIS GOVERNOR OKS BANNING SLAUGHTER OF HORSES FOR FOOD
The Southern Illinoisan/The Associated Press, May 24, 2007
http://www.southernillinoisan.com/articles/2007/05/24/ap-state-il/d8pb29gg1.txt

ILLINOIS SENATE PASSES HORSE SLAUGHTER BAN
Prairie Farmer, Cherry Brieser-Stout, May 18, 2007
http://prairiefarmer.com/index.aspx?ascxid=fpStory&fpsid=28378&fpstid=2

EFFORTS TO REOPEN HORSE SLAUGHTER PLANTS FAIL
The Houston Chronicle/The Associated Press, May 24, 2007
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/4827408.html

 

2. ANTI-COCKFIGHTING BILL PASSES LOUISIANA SENATE

A bill to end cockfighting on August 15th was approved earlier this month by the senate of Louisiana, the last state in which it is legal (see: http://tinyurl.com/2999s3 ). An amendment that would have permitted the practice to continue for a year was rejected. The bill, by Senator Art Lentini, now faces the House, where it is vying with one that would also end cockfighting on Aug. 15th but has numerous amendments that repeal the application of animal-cruelty laws to farmed animals. An attempt to amend Lentini’s bill in the same way was rejected 11 to 27 by senators.


SENATE OK'S EARLIER END TO COCKFIGHTING
The Times-Picayune, Ed Anderson, May 15, 2007
http://blog.nola.com/times-picayune/2007/05/senate_oks_earlier_end_to_cock.html

 

3. NYT CONTROVERSY OVER VEGAN CHILDREN

Human “babies are built from protein, calcium, cholesterol and fish oil,” states food writer Nina Planck in an opinion piece entitled “Death by Veganism” that ran in the May 21st New York Times. Planck, who touts lard and other animal products as health food (http://www.ninaplanck.com ), wrote in response to the recent conviction of a vegan couple whose 6-week-old child, Crown Shakur, died of starvation from being fed primarily soymilk and apple juice (see: http://tinyurl.com/2vur35 ). She asserts: “…a vegan diet is not adequate in the long run. Protein deficiency is one danger of a vegan diet for babies. Nutritionists used to speak of proteins as ‘first class’ (from meat, fish, eggs and milk) and ‘second class’ (from plants), but today this is considered denigrating to vegetarians.” Planck warns: “…even a breast-fed baby is at risk. Studies show that vegan breast milk lacks enough docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, the omega-3 fat found in fatty fish….A vegan diet is equally dangerous for weaned babies and toddlers, who need plenty of protein and calcium.”

The Times ran six letters in response, including one by Amy Joy Lanou, a nutritionist who testified at the trial as an expert witness for the prosecution. She noted that the lead prosecutor told the jury that it was a lack of food and not a vegan diet that killed Shakur. Lanou notes that a large body of scientific research confirms that vegan diets are healthful for infants and other children [see: http://tinyurl.com/djodu and: http://tinyurl.com/2mkhv6 ], and contests Planck’s claim about DHA. In her letter, Zoe Weil wrote: “Yes, vegans need to ensure that their children get proper nutrition, including vitamin B12 and omega-3s, but this is easy to do. What's harder is having a child who eats the typical American diet stay healthy.” Nicole Speer states: “Generalizing from a handful of ignorant vegans to the entire vegan population does a disservice to those of us who have spent years educating ourselves on human nutritional needs and how to meet them on a plant-based diet.” On his website, John McDougall, MD., has posted a lengthy response to Planck’s piece: http://tinyurl.com/2j6fpv


DEATH BY VEGANISM
The New York Times, Op-Ed, Nina Planck, May 21, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/21/opinion/21planck.html

THE VEGANS AND THEIR CHILDREN (6 LETTERS)
The New York Times, May 23, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/23/opinion/l23vegan.html

 

4. CRUELTY CHARGES AGAINST POULTRY SLAUGHTERER

Using live turkeys as punching bags, ripping their heads off, and slaughtering conscious birds are among the accusations Mercy for Animals (MFA) has filed against House of Raeford Farms (HRF), said to be the 7th largest turkey processing plant in the U.S. An undercover investigator working in the North Carolina plant during January and February documented the assaults on videotape (viewable on the MFA site, along with related information: http://tinyurl.com/2ek8z4 ). They include workers putting their entire hands into the bodies of live chickens to pull eggs out in order to toss them at each other, while a supervisor looks on. [“Poultry for Profit (and Fun!)” states the HRF website: http://tinyurl.com/32x34m ]. "This is a sloppy poorly managed plant where employees are allowed to abuse animals...There are some management people that need to get fired,” stated industry advisor Temple Grandin (http://www.grandin.com ) after viewing the footage, according to the MFA site. Since birds are not covered by the Humane Slaughter Act, MFA is pressing for felony cruelty-to-animals charges to be brought against the company for violating the state’s animal cruelty statutes.

"The malicious activity coerced by the vegetarian organization, Mercy for Animals, is not indicative of company policies and is not tolerated by company management," responded HRF owner and founder Marvin Johnson. He also said that the employment of 4 of 5 workers implicated in the video terminated just after it was recorded. HRF says it is committed to standards endorsed by the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation. Last November it received a 95% score on a welfare audit conducted by a third party company. On May 21st, Denny’s Inc. announced it was suspending its relationship with HRF pending further investigation of the allegations: http://tinyurl.com/25ty9k.

N.C. TURKEY PRODUCER ACCUSED OF ANIMAL CRUELTY
The News & Record (Associated Press), May 21, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/23jbr4

HOUSE OF RAEFORD RESPONDS TO "MALICIOUS ACTIVITY" BY ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUP
Meat & Poultry, May 23, 2007
http://www.meatpoultry.com/news/daily_enews.asp?ArticleID=85661

 

5. DAIRY MANAGER FINED FOR ASSAULTING COWS

Peter Peevers, the manager of a New Zealand dairy herd, knocked two heifers down with a 350cc all-terrain vehicle after failing to get them to move. According to The New Zealand Herald: “Having pushed over the first animal, he kicked her repeatedly, and when the heifer would not get up, drove the quad bike over the animal several times. The herd manager then left the bike parked on the heifer, put a chain around the heifer's throat and attempted to pull it with a tractor. The heifer's head slipped out of the chain and she ran off. Peevers then used the quad bike to knock the second heifer to the ground, before she ran under an electric fence, where she got stuck. Peevers pushed her through the fence, leaving her with a bleeding nose. In a separate incident, another heifer defecated on Peevers and he was seen repeatedly punching her in the udder.” The two incidents occurred in August 2006 and reportedly lasted over an hour. Under interrogation, he admitted to the assaults and has been fined $4,000 after pleading guilty to two charges under the Animal Welfare Act.

MANAGER FINED FOR HURTING CATTLE
The New Zealand Herald, May 23, 2007
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/story.cfm?c_id=81&objectid=10441150

 

6. "HE," "SHE," "WHO," NOT "IT"

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent a letter to Norm Goldstein, editor of the Associated Press (AP) stylebook requesting the book -the guide for language usage for most U.S. newspapers and magazines- be changed so that pronouns used to refer to nonhuman animals be “he,” “she,” and “who” [rather than “it” and “which”]. Among the letter’s points is that many magazines have already made the change, and that the legal system has recently elevated said animals to a status above “property,” recognizing that abusing animals is a worse crime than is vandalism. AP responded that the stylebook only uses “it” and “which” if the animal’s gender and name is unknown. [Would that be appropriate in reference to a child?] Under the entry for “animals,” the book, in part, states: "Do not apply a personal pronoun to an animal unless its sex has been established or the animal has a name: The dog was scared; it barked. Rover was scared; he barked. The cat, which was scared, ran to its basket. Susie the cat, who was scared, ran to her basket. The bull tosses his horns.”

PETA TO AP: DON'T REFER TO ANIMALS AS 'IT'
Editor & Publisher, April 26, 2007
http://www.mediainfo.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003577264

 

7. PIGS ACROSS AMERICA/HOGS GONE WILD

``We hope to spread compassion and humane treatment for all animals across the country at every stop we make,'' said Annette Fisher, ``Animals need to be treated with respect, and they're not getting that in the slaughter houses....” Fisher, the co-founder of Happy Trials Farm Animal Sanctuary in Ohio, was planning to transport ten pigs to another sanctuary in California and decided to use the journey to generate media on the plight of pigs. She did so by inviting Harley-Davidson (“hog”) and all other motorcyclists to escort the double-decker trailer carrying the pigs, entitling the endeavor “Pigs Across America” and “Hogs Gone Wild.” Some 100 riders are expected to join the 2,500-mile, five-day trip begun May 20th. Numerous stopping points are planned, including in Chicago, Des Moines, Cheyenne, Salt Lake City, Reno, and Sacramento. The travelers are to be supported by a “network of sanctuaries, volunteers and well-wishers.” Details, photos, the planned route can be found at the source link below.

The Akron Beacon Journal is publishing trip updates at: http://tinyurl.com/2n2avu. The May 24th entry states: “ I watched in horror as the driver walked around his trailer and stuck a long stick in the sides of the trailer and occasionally gave a pig a shock with his electric cattle prod, which would always produce some ear-splitting screams. It was explained to me that this is a normal practice to get any pigs that might be laying down to stand up so they don't [g]et trampled by the other pigs during transport. But instead of getting in and driving away, the driver zapped the pigs and then walked away from his rig and disappeared, leaving the now-screaming pigs alone.”

SANCTUARY GOES WHOLE HOG WHEN IT RESCUES ANIMALS
Akron Beacon Journal, Connie Bloom, May 18, 2007
http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/living/17244582.htm









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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.