Farmed Animal Watch: Objective Information for the Thinking Advocate
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JuLY 13, 2007 -- Number 20, Volume 7

1. FORCE FEEDING, SUFFOCATION, DECAPITATION…

Live ducks getting their heads ripped off, being stomped or bashed against walls, and being suffocated in garbage bags are reportedly among the abuses captured on video by Global Action Network. The Montreal-based animal rights organization said the footage (at least some of which is on-line at: http://tinyurl.com/3cpoxq ) was filmed by a volunteer who infiltrated Elevages Perigord, Canada’s largest foie gras company. Force feeding is also shown. Ducklings and ducks deemed too small to force feed are violently killed.

Quebec provincial police are investigating the allegations. Canadian law requires that animals -including birds- be rendered unconscious prior to slaughter. A conviction will require proof that the Elevages Perigord employees and management intended to be cruel. A Global Action Network spokesperson claims the management was aware of the abuses. The company president said one employee has been suspended but that he couldn’t confirm all of the images were taken in Elevages Perigord's farms. The footage has been viewed by researchers, scientists and veterinarians, including poultry welfare expert Mohan Raj (http://tinyurl.com/2f4ool), who stated: "Force feeding of ducks and geese is one giant leap backward in human civilization. It is a cruel practice that must be stopped immediately": http://tinyurl.com/3de54j.


Animal Protection Group Targets Que. Foie Gras
CBC News, July 11, 2007
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2007/07/11/qc-foiegras0711.html

Activists Film Cruelty to Ducks at Foie Gras Plant
The Gazette, Jasmin Legatos, July 10, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/2hjrl4

Quebec Foie Gras Company Suspends Employee
Canadian Press, July 11, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/2qjxfs

 

2. USDA BANS NONAMBULATORY CATTLE SLAUGHTER - WITH EXCEPTION

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that it is permanently banning the slaughter of cattle for use as human food if they are unable to stand or walk, unless they become so after an initial inspection at the slaughterplant. The ban, to begin October 1st, replaces an interim ban put in place in early 2004 after the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (“mad cow disease”) in the U.S. was announced (see: http://tinyurl.com/3hhyo).

Cattle who become nonambulatory after having been initially inspected at the slaughterplant are to be reevaluated for slaughter eligibility. “There’s really no reason a cow should suddenly fall over while moving through the chutes unless there’s illness or improper handling,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of The Humane Society of the U.S. “Allowing these animals to be processed is cruel and does not establish the food safety standards USDA should strive to meet. The loophole that USDA acknowledged and made official today should be closed.” (See also: http://tinyurl.com/2xv8po). The rule also directs that calves who are unable to stand due to fatigue or hypothermia are also to later be reinspected. A bill to ban the slaughter of nonambulatory cattle and other animals for use as human food is pending in the House and Senate (see: http://tinyurl.com/yuhh3c).


US to Ban Slaughter Ban of Immobile Cows
The Associated Press, July 12, 2007
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/12/AR2007071201702.html

The HSUS Applauds USDA for Partial Ban on Slaughter of Downed Farm Animals and Urges Congress to Pass Blanket "No Downer" Law
The Humane Society of the United States, Rachel Querry, July 12, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/yu8fdn
(Page includes video link.)

F.S.I.S. Finalizes Rule Banning Use of 'Downer' Cattle
Meat & Poultry, July 12, 2007
http://www.meatpoultry.com/news/daily_enews.asp?ArticleID=86665    

 

3. WENDY’S ANNOUNCES NEW ANIMAL WELFARE STANDARDS

Wendy's International Inc., the world's third-largest hamburger chain, has announced that it will give preferential treatment to suppliers who improve animal welfare standards. The company said 10% of the pig meat it sells comes from sources that do not use gestation stalls. It has set a goal of increasing that percentage to 20% by the end of 2008, and continuing to increase it over time. Wendy’s also stated it is implementing a purchasing preference for chicken suppliers that “actively explore and test controlled atmosphere killing” (see: http://tinyurl.com/yp2xq4). The Humane Society of the United States, a Wendy’s shareholder, is urging the company to also phase in the use of eggs from uncaged hens, prodding it for this and other ways that Burger King is already exceeding Wendy’s new standards. A comparison of the two, related facts, and a timeline can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/3c7hjx.  Wendy’s animal welfare guidelines are on-line at: http://www.wendys.com/community/animal_welfare.jsp.


Wendy's Seeking More Meat From Humane Suppliers
Reuters, July 12, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/yrle4n

Wendy’s Takes Steps on Animal Welfare But Still Lags Behind Burger King
The Humane Society of the United States, Erin Williams, July 12, 2007
http://www.hsus.org/press_and_publications/press_releases/wendys_welfare.html

 

4. COCKFIGHTING BAN AND CHALLENGES

Gov. Kathleen Blanco has signed legislation to outlaw cockfighting in Louisiana, the only state where the activity remains legal (see: http://tinyurl.com/2khtyl ). The new law, to go into effect August 2008, will make it a crime to organize a cockfight or enter a bird  in one. It also brings chickens under the protection of Louisiana's animal cruelty laws.

Last week, cockfighting proponents challenged New Mexico’s new law against the activity by filing suit in state court. They claim an 1848 treaty with Mexico protects it. In a 2003 advisory letter, the attorney general’s office said the treaty, which ended the Mexican war, didn’t specifically address cockfighting among the rights it intended to protect. The letter also stated that the state was free to outlaw the practice.

Advanced Consulting and Marketing (ACM), a company that broadcasts cockfights on the Internet (http://www.toughsportslive.com ), filed suit in federal court in Miami on July 10th to challenge a federal law that makes it a crime to sell depictions of animal cruelty. Legal experts say it is difficult to determine if the First Amendment allows the government to ban depictions of illegal conduct, as opposed to the actual conduct itself. Among ACM’s arguments is that it broadcasts cockfights from Puerto Rico, where they remain legal. The 1999 law makes it a crime to sell depictions of animal cruelty for commercial gain, regardless of whether it was legal where it happened, except for those of “serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical or artistic value.” An article in the New York Times notes: “The cockfighting Web site, which calls itself ‘the #1 rooster fighting network in the world’ and sells package deals that also allow subscribers to see women in bikinis shooting large guns, seems unlikely to qualify.” In what is believed to be the only ruling on the law to date, a federal trial judge upheld it in 2004.

Louisiana Becomes Last State To Outlaw Cockfighting
KSLA/The Associated Press, July 12, 2007
http://www.ksla.com/Global/story.asp?S=6781898&nav=menu50_1_2

First Amendment Claim in Cockfight Suit
The New York Times, Adam Liptak, July 11, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/11/us/11roosters.html

 

5. N.J. SUPREME COURT TO HEAR CASE AGAINST STATE STANDARDS

The New Jersey Supreme Court has granted a petition to hear a case challenging the state's standards for the treatment of farmed animals (see http://tinyurl.com/26fyyy ). The ruling overturns a lower court decision that upheld the New Jersey Dept. of Agriculture finalization of the standards. The standards exempt “routine” agricultural practices and permit ones that a diverse coalition, which filed the petition, contend are inhumane. The case is unprecedented in that it seeks a judicial declaration that many common agricultural practices are inhumane under state law. 

New Jersey Supreme Court to Hear Appeal in Landmark Case Addressing Farm Animal Welfare
ASPCA/Farm Sanctuary/HSUS, Erin Williams and Tricia Ritterbusch, July 11, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/ys82xj

 

6. FARM BILL DELETIONS

The item in the proposed Farm Bill that could have nullified some existing state and local animal welfare and food safety laws (see: http://tinyurl.com/yv58gt ) was absent from the most recent mark-up of the bill, released on July 6th.  Section 123 of Title I had been opposed by an array of public interest groups, including animal protection organizations, consumer groups, and environmental organizations. Another amendment which sought to provide a $12 million subsidy to reimburse the veal industry for past losses was also removed.

Humane Society Applauds House Agriculture Committee for Removing “Great Federal Power Grab” from Farm Bill, and Eliminating Earmark for Veal
The Humane Society of the United States press release, July 7, 2007
http://www.hsus.org/press_and_publications/press_releases/power_grab.html

 

7. MAKING ACTIVISTS; “THE JANE GOODALL FOR FARM ANIMALS”

“People want to help animals; they just don't know what they can do,” explains Marji Beach. “We want to give people things that they can do.” Beach is the program coordinator of Animal Place, a farmed animal sanctuary and lobbying organization in Vacaville, Ca. The Davis Enterprise recently profiled her in an article subtitled: Activist Preaches Involvement to Protect Farm Animals. Beach has worked with Animal Place Director Kim Sturla on legislation ranging from outlawing the slaughter of animals on high school campuses to keeping the milk-fed veal industry out of the state. She recently gave a presentation to animal lovers, teaching them how to become animal activists. Among her recommendations are lobbying and outreach. However, Beach contends that one of the easiest and best forms of activism is dietary. “It doesn't seem much to be trying to save farm animals when you are still eating them,” she points out.

Farm Sanctuary: “175 acres of vegan nirvana nestled here among the vineyards and vegetable stands in the Finger Lakes region” is how the New York Times describes the New York farmed animal sanctuary. [The organization also has a California sanctuary.] Founded in 1989, the shelter is now home to some 750 animals who are attended by a staff of 16, including shelter director Susie Coston, “the Jane Goodall for farm animals.” The newest arrival is Lucky Lady, a lamb “found tearing through the Bronx on June 13.” Her fellow residents include chickens who survived Hurricane Katrina, ducks who were intended for foie gras, and 40 pigs including some who were abandoned in a truck enroute to a slaughterplant.Lucky Lady, indeed.

Rounded Up in the City, Then Coddled in Style
The New York Times, Kim Severson, July 7, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/07/nyregion/07farm.html

Louder Than Words
The Davis Enterprise, Ian Thompson, July 3, 2007
http://www.davisenterprise.com/articles/2007/07/03/news/184new0.txt








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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.