Farmed Animal Watch: Objective Information for the Thinking Advocate
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AUGUST 31 , 2007 -- Number 25, Volume 7

1. DISEASE: WHO HEAD IMPLICATES POULTRY PRODUCTION

Intensive farming, a burgeoning human population, and changes in sexual behavior have created an incubator for new diseases, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report. Diseases are emerging at an historically unprecedented rate of one per year and are increasingly spread from animals, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan said at the debut of the organization’s World Health Report 2007. This includes the majority of the 40 new pathogens identified since 1967. Chan said intensive poultry farming may account for the global spread of bird flu. She called for poultry farming to be reexamined, stating: "The intensity of poultry farming is such that we really need to look at how the human animal interface is managed.”

It has recently been confirmed that avian influenza can be transmitted from human to human, increasing fears of a human pandemic. See: http://tinyurl.com/274jew


POULTRY FARMING MUST BE RE-EXAMINED: WHO - SUMMARY
Earth Times, DPA, August 23, 2007
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/97274.html#

WHO TIES RISING POPULATION, NEW DISEASES
Associated Press, Erica Bulman, August 23, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/34cvgk

 

2. MEAT-EATING ENVIRONMENTALISTS?

“…[T]he most inconvenient truth of all is that raising animals for meat contributes more to global warming than all the sport utility vehicles [SUV] combined.” This is the contention of animal rights activists, according to a New York Times article about how the activists are taking former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore, star of the global warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” and environmental groups to task for not pointing out the contribution of meat production to global warming. The SUV point is based on a report by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization which stated that animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gas than do all forms of transportation combined (see: http://tinyurl.com/26atm7 ). People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) says it has written to more than 700 environmental groups urging them to promote vegetarianism. The organization is threatening to send a Hummer with a banner noting the meat/global warming connection to the groups’ headquarters “if they don’t start shaping up.” PETA also plans to send trucks with billboards to Gore lectures. The Humane Society of the U.S. is running ads in environmental magazines making the car/meat point, while Vegan Outreach is taking out blog ads about it. “You just cannot be a meat-eating environmentalist,” said PETA’s Mr. Prescott.

Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, responds: “We’ll encourage companies to make more efficient S.U.V.’s, and we’ll encourage consumers to buy them…but we do not find lecturing people about personal consumption choices to be effective.” While Environmental Defense agrees about eating less meat, it says it would rather spend its resources working legislatively to get greenhouse gases regulated. A Gore spokesperson merely notes that the book version of An Inconvenient Truth suggests eating less meat, on page 317.

“Global Warming: The Animal Connection” is the topic of the annual conference of the New York City Bar Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals, to be held September 29th. See: http://tinyurl.com/3d63lw


TRYING TO CONNECT THE DINNER PLATE TO CLIMATE CHANGE
The New York Times, Claudia H. Deutsch, August 29, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/29/business/media/29adco.html

 

3. U.K. CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION PLAN

While the U.S. has been slow to discuss climate change, the topic is commonplace in Europe. In the United Kingdom (U.K.), the agricultural community is preparing an action plan. Greenhouse gases are considered the leading cause of climate change. While carbon emissions, mostly attributed to vehicles, garner the greatest attention, agriculture only accounts for 1% of the UK’s carbon emissions but 57% of its nitrous oxide and 39% of its methane emissions. Overall, agriculture accounts for 7% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The UK's Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) is studying how much greenhouse gases are released into the air for every kilogram of beef produced, and will compare emissions to those produced in North and South America.

NFU and various partners have published 14 fact sheets on the topic. They explain how the anticipated 1.5 to 5°C rise in average temps over the next century will impact agriculture. Animal breeds better able to adjust to extreme weather changes or deal with hotter, drier conditions may be needed, NFU says. It also suggests looking at breeds that produce less methane. Consumer demand may also change. In warmer climates, the demand for “red meat” is lower while demand for “white meat” and fish goes up. Vice versa for colder climates. Water availability will also be altered, and insects and disease will adapt. Climate change “is in the consciousness now and is a recognized thought process in everything we do," a MLC spokesperson says. See also (PDF file): http://tinyurl.com/34tc2s


UK DRAWING UP LIVESTOCK PLANS FOR GLOBAL WARMING
BEEF, Meghan Sapp, August 30, 2007
http://www.beefmagazine.com/cowcalfweekly/uk-livestock-plans-for-global-warming/index.html

 

4. VIOLATIONS OF ORGANIC DAIRY RULES

Aurora Organic Dairy, one of the nation's largest organic milk producers, has been found to be in violation of federal organic grazing rules. The company, which has five farms in Colorado and Texas, supplies milk for such private-label brands as Wild Oats and Wal-Mart and also sells milk under the High Meadows label. The Cornucopia Institute accused Aurora of keeping cows in feedlots rather than grazing them on pasture as required by law (see: http://tinyurl.com/yphorg ). In an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the company will sell 1,000 cows, increase pasture for other cows, and address other rule violations. Aurora will be on probation for one year, and further violation could result in revocation of its organic certification. Cornucopia said the violations enabled Aurora to depress organic milk prices and expand its market share, and that it should have been penalized accordingly. The company could have been fined up to $10,000 per violation. See also: http://tinyurl.com/ywzbmq

ORGANIC MILK SUPPLIER MUST REDUCE HERD
The Associated Press, August 30, 2007
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/5095500.html

AGRIBUSINESS AS USUAL
Daily Grist, August 31, 2007
http://www.grist.org/news/2007/08/30/agribiz/index.html

 

5. REVOCATION OF EGG COMPANY OPERATING PERMIT REVERSED

The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s revocation of the operating permits for Ohio Fresh Eggs (OFE), Ohio’s largest egg producer, has been reversed. The company took over the 14-million-hen Buckeye Egg Farm in 2004. Since October 2004, OFE has been cited 15 times, mostly for manure problems. The state revoked the permits last November on the basis that OFE did not disclose that a former owner and “habitual violator” of environmental laws (see item #3: http://tinyurl.com/ypl5m4 ) was still involved in the company’s daily operations. On August 23rd, an environmental appeals panel said the state hadn’t proved that the company obtained the permits by misleading officials. The state can appeal the ruling to an appeals court.

OHIO: PANEL REVERSES PERMIT REVOCATION
Associated Press, John McCarthy, August 24, 2007
http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/08/24/ap4052101.html

 

6. BON APPETIT CEO: CRUEL AGRIBUSINESS PRACTICES SHOULD STOP

A recent survey found animal welfare to be among the top three issues of concern to restaurant-goers. “[M]ore and more of us are realizing that farm animals have the capacity to suffer - an attribute that should warrant any caring person's attention...” states Bon Appetit CEO Fedele Bauccio in an opinion piece in the San Jose Mercury News. Bon Appetit Management Co., a nationwide food service company, is moving toward suppliers that don’t confine animals in cages or crates, and is encouraging less inhumane methods of poultry slaughter. “It's a good start we're certainly proud of, but by no means an end,” Bauccio writes. He notes that chickens “have individual personalities and their own preferences and interests, just like our dogs and cats. Unfortunately, most birds raised for egg production on American factory farms endure miserable lives…[and] chickens raised for meat often suffer during slaughter.” Bauccio explains that pigs are inquisitive and “social animals [who] have an innate desire for interaction and bonding with others in their herd,” but that “today's factory farms treat pigs as if they're meat-producing machines.” He concludes: “While there may be a legitimate discourse to be had about the general use of animals for food, there is an emerging consensus that many of the now-standard agribusiness practices are cruel and should be ended. With the abuses faced by farm animals today, how we treat those we eat has become a very pressing issue facing the food industry. Those of us in the business have a responsibility to balance financial success with an ethical duty to reduce animal suffering.”

CRUEL AGRIBUSINESS PRACTICES MUST BE HALTED
San Jose Mercury News (Opinion), Fedele Bauccio, August 24, 2007
http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_6706352

 





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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.