Farmed Animal Watch: Objective Information for the Thinking Advocate
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JuLY 6, 2007 -- Number 20, Volume 7

1. OREGON BANS GESTATION STALLS

On June 28th, Governor Ted Kulongoski signed into law a ban on the use of gestation stalls for pigs in Oregon (see: http://tinyurl.com/32sj4z ). The law takes effect in 2013.


OREGON GOVERNOR SIGNS FARM ANIMAL CRUELTY BILL
Meat & Poultry, June 29, 2007
http://www.meatpoultry.com/news/daily_enews.asp?ArticleID=86435

 

2. LOUISIANA SET TO BAN COCKFIGHTING; ACTIVITY MIGRATES

Pending Governor Kathleen Blanco’s signature, cockfighting will be banned in Louisiana as of August 2008. It is the last state in which the activity is legal. On June 27th the Senate voted 37-0 for the ban, which makes it a crime to organize a cockfight or enter a bird in one. It will also close a loophole in Louisiana’s animal cruelty laws, which currently exclude chickens. Sen. Art Lentini, the Legislature's chief opponent of cockfighting, had proposed an immediate ban but the compromise measure was instead approved (see: http://tinyurl.com/2rtony ). House members had agreed that cockfighters should have until August 2008 to sell the birds or kill them off in fights. Lentini said he believes the popularity of cockfighting will end this summer since an immediate ban on gambling at cockfights was also approved. The governor is expected to sign the bill.

A nationwide push for harsher animal-fighting penalties over the past decade has resulted in cockfighting increasing in states with weak laws and lax enforcement. An extensive article in the July 4th Cleveland Scene discusses how Ohio has becomes an underground center for cockfighting. It is a fourth-degree misdemeanor there, the same as a speeding ticket. "There's no incentive for law enforcement to go after [chicken fighters]," says Deputy Sheriff David Hunt, who heads a Franklin County task force on animal cruelty, "Prosecuting cockfighting is labor-intensive and costly. It's not productive to tie up your resources on it." As a result, large rings essentially operate with impunity around the state. A similar situation exists in rural California, explains two recent Sacramento Bee articles. Some counties there have tried to discourage cockfighting operations by passing ordinances limiting the number of roosters that property owners can have.


LA. LEGISLATURE APPROVES 2008 BAN ON COCKFIGHTING
KATC/The Associated Press, June 27, 2007
http://www.katc.com/Global/story.asp?S=6719172

CHICKEN WARS
Cleveland Scene, Rebecca Meiser, July 4, 2007
http://www.clevescene.com/2007-07-04/news/chicken-wars

SUSPECTS FACE FELONY CHARGES OF ANIMAL CRUELTY
Sacramento Bee, Kim Minugh, July 5, 2007
http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/24979

COCKFIGHTING PROBE EXPANDS
Sacramento Bee, Crystal Carreon, July 6, 2007
http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/259344.html

 

3. JUDGE AGREES WITH ILLINOIS HORSE SLAUGHTER BAN

On July 6th, a federal judge ruled in favor of an Illinois state law banning the production or possession of horse meat for human consumption, effectively putting out of business the Cavel horse slaughterplant in DeKalb (see: http://tinyurl.com/2kmzbj ). Cavel International Inc. had filed suit last month against the new law (see: http://tinyurl.com/35ub2n ) arguing that it is an unconstitutional infringement on federal authority over foreign and interstate commerce, an infringement on federal authority in food production matters, and an unconstitutional exercise of the state's police powers. Judge Frederick Kapala disagreed, noting that the law would only be discriminatory if it treated local and foreign interests differently. He furthermore said that while federal laws pertain to humane and sanitary conditions, they do not preclude the state from prohibiting the slaughter of a particular species. Cavel is considering an appeal of the judge’s order.


RULING KEEPS HORSE-SLAUGHTER PLANT CLOSED
Chicago Tribune, Joseph Sjostrom, July 6, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/27kqul

 

4. FARMED ANIMAL WELFARE IN AMERICA

“Americans are increasingly picky about what they eat — especially when it comes to the ways that farm animals are killed, processed, sold and served as food. And U.S. businesses are catching on,” states a July 2nd Los Angeles Times article entitled: Animal Welfare Issue Boiling. It explains ways in which businesses are responding, such as MBA Poultry’s use of an oxygen/carbon dioxide mixture rather than electricity to render chickens unconscious prior to slaughter (see: http://tinyurl.com/kumcu ) and a multi-tiered meat rating system that Whole Foods Market Inc. is testing in London and plans to introduce in the U.S. this year which will focus on specific measures of animal treatment. Kay Johnson of the Animal Agriculture Alliance says the companies are reacting to animal-welfare activists rather than to consumer concerns. “There is a real tidal wave of progress," contends Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the U.S. "Animal welfare is reaching a tipping point."

ANIMAL WELFARE ISSUE BOILING
Los Angeles Times, Jerry Hirsch, July 2, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/2bvtna

 

5. FARMED ANIMAL WELFARE IN AUSTRALIA

“Animal welfare, or the debate about what is the most humane treatment of animals, is set to become a big issue in Australia, with serious implications for livestock production,” states Sean Murphy of the Australian program Landline in an episode entitled: Livestock Producers Face Animal Welfare Challenges. “For a very long time, the law has been used as a tool to oppress animals…” explains Katrina Sharman, corporate counsel for Voiceless (http://www.voiceless.org.au ) and said to be Australia's first animal rights lawyer. Farmers are largely exempt from animal protection laws when engaging in what is considered normal commercial practices. David Weisbrot, President of the Australian Law Reform Commission, believes change is inevitable. He compares the national awakening to animal welfare and rights to that of the recognition of Aboriginal human rights some forty years ago.

Viewers were warned of the potentially “disturbing” scenes broadcast in the episode, such as those of mulesing (removing flesh from the hind end of sheep) and images of sheep involved in the MV Al Kuwait shipping disaster (see: http://tinyurl.com/35ew8c ). In reaction to activist investigations, the New South Wale Farmers Association wants new laws modeled on U.S. ones (see: http://tinyurl.com/3yr2ds ). However, overall it prefers to negotiate with animal advocates in order to avoid legal hassles. Voiceless is campaigning for a government regulated labeling system identifying the types of animal production systems used in Australia.

LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS FACE ANIMAL WELFARE CHALLENGES
Landline, Sean Murphy, July 1, 2007
http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2006/s1965877.htm

 

6. LIVE EARTH

“Whenever possible, replace meat with soy or other vegetable protein in your diet. It takes eight times as much energy to produce a pound of meat as it does a pound of tofu.” This is the first of eight suggestions listed in a brief New York Times article that drew from the 77 suggestions offered in the official companion book to the Live Earth concerts: The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook. The concerts, conceived by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and concert producer Kevin Wall to raise awareness about global warming, will take place on July 7th at sites around the globe. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent a letter to the vendor management of one of the events to point out that selling meat there would be cruel and wasteful. "Selling meat at a concert to benefit the environment would be like selling cigarettes at an anticancer fundraiser," wrote Matt Prescott , PETA’s vegan campaign manager. John Picard, sustainability team leader of the event, to be held at the New Jersey Giants Stadium, said he would discuss the issue with PETA. The organization has listed on its website vegan artists who will perform at the event, which it is supportive of overall.

TREAD LIGHTLY, FLY DIRECTLY
The New York Times, July 1, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/01/fashion/01gside.html

CAN LIVE EARTH ORGANIZERS KEEP GREEN METHODS IN THEIR PLANNING?
International Herald Tribune/Jake Coyle (The Associated Press), July 5, 2007
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/07/05/america/NA-GEN-US-Live-Earth.php

 

7. ECOLOGICAL COSTS OF MEAT

Ninety percent of the grain that Americans consume, some 2,000 pounds a year, is in the form of meat, according to sustainable artist Shawn Dell Joyce. She explains that by cycling grain through animals for meat, 90% of the protein, carbohydrates, and fiber is used for bones, fur, and otherwise made inaccessible to the consumer. “When we eat lower on the food ladder, we save more resources, as well as that animal,” Joyce explains. Additionally: “More than half our farmland and half our water consumption is currently tied up by the meat industry,” she writes. The risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer can be greatly reduced by replacing meat in two or three main meals a week, she asserts. “Raising livestock as nature intended is far more labor-intensive and currently unsubsidized in our culture. Therefore, when we buy pasture-raised meat, we are paying the whole cost of the meat, including the environmental costs. Because the meat is more expensive, we tend to eat less and waste less,” she concludes. The article includes a sizable list of ecological “costs” of meat production.

SUSTAINABLE LIVING: EATING LOWER ON THE FOOD LADDER
Record Online (The Times Herald-Record), Shawn Dell Joyce, July 1, 2007
http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070701/NEWS/707010382

 

8. EPA REGS APPLICABLE TO AGRICULTURE

The Environmental Protection Agency has launched a new website that lists the federal environmental regulations that could apply to agriculture: http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/llaw.html

 

9. MEAT & THE ENVIRONMENT - AUSTRALIA

Australia’s meat production is responsible for 18% of the country's total greenhouse gas contribution, 86% of which comes from beef production. The country’s meat industry accounts for 91 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year, versus 80.4 megatonnes for the transportation industry. In addition to causing 26.7 kiligrams of greenhouse gas emissions, “every dollar's worth of beef at the farm gate…also guzzles 731 litres of water, and contributes to the ongoing disturbance of 187 square metres of land.”

More than 430 million chickens will be slaughtered in Australia this year, providing each person nine times the amount eaten in the 1940s. Record amounts of beef, lamb and pig meat will also be consumed, and it is forecasted that this trend will continue over the next half century. (Cholesterol is attributed with decreasing egg consumption from 250 to 150 per Australian over the past 60 years.) Export demand for Australian meat is also predicted to leap in coming decades, particularly to South-East Asian countries. Australia’s farmed animal industry has reduced methane emissions by 6% through feed changes. Research is underway to further reduce them by genetically modifying cattle. "There is a genuine widespread concern about climate change in the community now, and it's not all going to be fixed by everybody else. It's going to be fixed in part by our own behaviour," states Senator Andrew Bartlett, a vegetarian since age 19.

INTO THE MEAT OF THE ISSUE
The Sydney Morning Herald, Steve Dow, July 3, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/27e6a3

 

10. DISASTER IN PAKISTAN

Millions of birds perished from “sizzling heat” which recently struck three of Pakistan’s four provinces over a two-week period, reports Maroof Siddiqui of the Pakistan Poultry Association. An estimated 1.8 million birds died when rain and heat hit Karachi, and millions of birds are said to have been injured or killed in Sindh when winds and rain collapsed the roofs of poultry houses and sheds there. Some 1.8 million square feet covered by sheds were destroyed. Land grabbers have begun construction on the open yards, which are said to have served to provide open space for birds. Siddiqui is seeking financial relief from the government.

POULTRY FARMERS SUFFER HUGE LOSSES DUE TO WINDSTORM
Daily Times, Tanveer Sher, June 26, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/3auvt3

MORE THAN 1,000 POULTRY FARMS ON THE VERGE OF CLOSURE
Daily Times, Razi Syed, July 5, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/3cu5ae






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Compiled and edited by 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.