Farmed Animal Watch: Objective Information for the Thinking Advocate
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NOVEMBER 23, 2007 -- Number 32, Volume 7

CORRECTION: The budget for The Humane Society of the U.S.’s animals and religion program is $400,000, not the $40,000 erroneously reported in the last issue of the news digest: faw/faw7-31.htm#5


1. THINKING ABOUT TURKEYS

An estimated 272 million turkeys will be raised in the U.S. in 2007, up 4% from last year. Two-thirds of the birds are raised in Arkansas, California, North Carolina, Minnesota, Missouri, and Virginia. As of 2005, some 144,086 turkeys were certified organic, mostly in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Americans consume an average of just over 13 pounds of turkey flesh per year. (A video report on five turkeys who “escaped” slaughter is on-line at: http://wfmz.com/view/?id=182701 )

“The idea of the comical turkey persists in the litany of sarcasm that accompanies the piety of Thanksgiving each year in the United States,” with the media helping to convey this impression by publicizing such stunts as throwing turkeys out of airplanes and forcing them to participate in the White House “turkey pardoning” ceremony (see: http://tinyurl.com/3682g2 and http://tinyurl.com/yo9btr ), writes Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns in a San Jose Mercury News opinion piece. The public perception of turkeys as being silly and stupid is reinforced by the turkey industry, she notes. Davis quotes wildlife biologist William Healy, who argues that industry’s genetic selection of the birds for large breasts to the point of impairing their walking ability contributes to this notion.

Davis also points out the inherent amiability of ancestral turkeys, and notes that public perception of the birds is changing with the advent of farmed animal sanctuaries and turkey-adoption programs which help people foster a better understanding of them (see: http://tinyurl.com/2bwgtb ). Meanwhile, science is debunking the concept of ‘bird brain’ by revealing the complex brains that have evolved in birds. Davis concludes: “…the turkey highlights the growing conflict in Western culture between the age-old presumption that animals exist solely for humans to exploit and the view that non-human animals are kin to humans with value and autonomy in their own right.” (See also “The Thanksgiving People Don’t Want to See”: http://tinyurl.com/3x9bdy )

 


FACTS FOR FEATURES
U.S. Census Bureau, October 18, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/2p3awh

SCIENTISTS GAIN NEW RESPECT FOR TURKEYS
San Jose Mercury News, Karen Davis, November 22, 2007
http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_7531636?nclick_check=1

 

2. TOFURKY TREND

Born of vegetarian frustrations, Tofurky has become “a cultural phenomenon” since it came on the market in 1995. Seth Tibbott, creator of the turkey analogue, expects to sell 270,000 of them by the end of the holidays, with sales up 37% from 2006. Tofurky roasts make up about 17% of Turtle Island Foods’ revenue. The article discusses how Tibbott came up with the concept and, in 1980, started his soy foods company which now has annual revenue of $11 million. A recent report by Mintel found that 23% of non-vegetarians eat mock meats. The industry for foods marketed for vegetarians is a $1.2 billion business, up 44% since 2001. As for Tofurky, “We're fine with the fact they think [the name is] funny or they get a smile out of it,” said Tibbott, “You remember jokes." The staff of the News-Journal Online recently conducted a taste test of Tofurky and Field Roast Grain Meat Co.'s Stuffed Celebration Roast, another commercial vegan Thanksgiving entrée. Results at: http://tinyurl.com/2p9qu9.

A 2005 poll by Harris Interactive found that the number of teen vegetarians tripled over the previous decade to reach 3%. The youth do so for a variety of reasons, as vegetarian food becomes more readily available.


VEGETARIANS, MEAT-EATERS DIG IN TO SEND SALES OF TOFURKY SOARING
The Washington Post, Ylan Q. Mui, November 17, 2007
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/16/AR2007111601993.html

MORE YOUNG PEOPLE GO THE VEGETARIAN ROUTE
USA Today, Mary Brophy Marcus, October 15, 2007
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-10-14-veggie-kids_N.htm

 

3. JUDGE HEARS ARGUMENTS ON HUMANE SLAUGHTER ACT

Two years ago, The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture to have the 10 billion birds slaughtered here annually covered by the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA). The half-century old law requires farmed animals be stunned or rendered insensible before being slaughtered. On November 19th, U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel heard arguments for and against it. Lawyers for HSUS said that the very broad terms regarding farmed animals in the HMSA could easily be interpreted to include birds. Attorneys for the USDA countered that poultry are specifically mentioned in other laws Congress passed in which they intended to include the birds. HSUS also contended that the slaughter process is inhumane because some birds are killed while fully conscious (see news video at: http://tinyurl.com/34vmjm ). The organization noted that scared birds can also defecate in the electric water bath, contaminating themselves and other birds and increasing the risk of human food poisoning. Richard Lobb of the National Chicken Council asserts that the methods industry uses are humane. "This is just the kind of campaign [by animal activist organizations] meant to make life difficult for people who turn animals into food," he said. No date has been set for Hall’s ruling.

 


GROUP CALLS FOR HUMANE POULTRY SLAUGHTER IN SF FEDERAL COURT
Associated Press, Juliana Barbassa, November 19, 2007
http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_7507987?nclick_check=1

 

4. MILLIONS MORE BIRDS KILLED DUE TO FLU

Some 68,000 birds at a poultry operation in eastern England have been killed after they were deemed to have had “dangerous contact” with the site of the mid-November outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza (see: http://tinyurl.com/39rkfr ). Both facilities are operated by the same company. The birds killed include 56,000 ducks, 9,000 turkeys and 3,000 geese. The source of the virus is still being investigated (see: http://tinyurl.com/2v7v2s ).

More than 3.5 million birds have been killed or are being killed in Saudi Arabia following the detection of avian influenza there on November 12th. Infected birds and leftover feed are being burned, the Agriculture Ministry said. It blames migratory birds as being the source of the virus. Some 1.7 million birds were killed in neighboring Kuwait after the disease was found there in April: http://tinyurl.com/39v8rn.

 

AUTHORITIES CULLS MORE POULTRY AFTER NEW SUSPECTED FLU OUTBREAK
Agence France Presse, Nov. 21, 2007
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jPYDHj31_awzOquRCUBosl6L_zlg

KINGDOM CULLS 3.2M BIRDS TO STEM AVIAN FLU
Arab News, Mohammed Rasooldeen and Galal Fakkar, November 22, 2007
http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=103838&d=22&m=11&y=2007

 

5. TURKEYS, DUCKS, PIGS DIE IN FIRES

Thousands of baby turkeys were killed in a fire during the early morning hours of Nov. 21st at New Life Farms near Frazee, Minnesota. A brooder stove is suspected of igniting the blaze in the barn where 20,000 newly hatched birds had been put the previous day. The exact number of chicks killed was unknown. “There was virtually no damage to the barn and no one was hurt. Thank God for miracles,” said Frazee Fire Chief Paul Thon. Fire at the same site occurred several years ago when it was under different ownership. Some 3,000 turkeys were killed when a New Life Farms barn was destroyed by fire in February 2006.

******

Fire incinerated 15,000 ducks on Halloween eve in a three-story warehouse rented by Hudson Valley Foie Gras, the largest producer of foie gras in the U.S. Exhaust fans used to ventilate the building sucked flames through it as several fire companies stood helplessly watching until water could be trucked to the rural Bethel, N.Y. location. The fire is believed to have begun in a nearby garage on the site. The cause is being investigated. “…the confinement of so many animals within such a small space is literally a disaster waiting to happen. Unfortunately, as horrible as the suffering of the ducks who burned must have been, the suffering that awaits the survivors is equally horrific," said Farm Sanctuary President Gene Baur in a released statement (see: http://tinyurl.com/2auwm9 ). A cruelty lawsuit against the company was dismissed in May (see: http://tinyurl.com/233k63 ).

******

One thousand pigs, nearly 15% of New Jersey’s pig population, were killed in a Nov. 19th blaze at Pig Farm Recycling Inc., the state’s largest pig producer. Some 900 pigs died of smoke inhalation and 100 more who were severely suffering from smoke inhalation were euthanized, according to officials. The wooden barn with metal roof and siding “held everything inside and burned like an oven," said Fire Marshal Robert Rose. (The on-line article includes a photo.) Inadequate water supply at the facility slowed firefighting efforts. Pig Farm Recycling, named for its environmental practices, has some of “the better farm managers around," said Mike Westendorf, a livestock specialist with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service.

THOUSANDS OF TURKEYS DIE IN FRAZEE FIRE
The Daily Journal, Susan Larson, November 21, 2007
http://www.fergusfallsjournal.com/news/2007/nov/21/thousands-turkeys-die-frazee-fire

WAREHOUSE FIRE KILLS 15,000 DUCKS
Times Herald-Record, Victor Whitman, October 31, 2007
http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071031/NEWS/710310360

FIRE UNDER INVESTIGATION AFTER WAREHOUSE BLAZE KILLS 15,000 DUCKS
Associated Press, November 1, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/3co77g

1,000 PIGS DIE IN FIRE AT BURLCO HOG FARM
The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sam Wood, Nov. 21, 2007
http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/nj/20071121_1_000_pigs_die_in_fire_at_Burlco_hog_farm.html

 

6. ANIMALS IN ACCIDENTS

Most of the 900 to 1,000 turkeys being transported to the Jennie-O slaughterplant in Faribault, Minnesota were killed when the truck they were in flipped over on a freeway ramp on November 12th. (The on-line article includes a photo.) The 61-year-old truck driver sustained bumps and bruises.

******

Of the 117 yearling cows in a tractor-trailer that flipped over on I-220 in Louisiana on November 14th, 23 are believed to have been killed in the crash. More than a dozen died in the trailer, while others were hit by vehicles and some fell from a bridge on the interstate. Others were found wandering several miles away. A sharp turn is said to have caused the animals to shift their weight, sending the truck onto its side. Police did not plan to ticket the driver.

******

“It was God awful,'' said the owner of Scott Golladay Stables upon seeing a huge truck on its side filled with kicking and screaming horses (photos at: http://tinyurl.com/387c92 ). Surviving the wreck were 42 of the 59 Belgian draft horses crammed in a trailer designed to hold cattle or pigs. The horses were en route from Millersburg, Indiana to Verndale, Minnesota, where they were to be auctioned. It took rescuers more than five hours to free all of them. The driver was ticketed for running a red light and failing to reduce speed to avoid a pickup truck that collided with the trailer. Additional charges for the way the horses were being transported may be made. The Hooved Animal Rescue and Protection Society is screening potential adopters, who will have to pay $50 to $100 to the company insuring the horses.

TURKEYS KILLED, TRAFFIC BACKED UP AFTER TRUCK ROLLS OVER IN MOUNDS VIEW
Star Tribune, Tim Harlow, November 12, 2007
http://www.startribune.com/142/story/1544597.html

I-220 REOPENS AFTER CATTLE TRUCK WRECK
KTBS, November 15, 2007
http://www.ktbs.com/news/I-220-reopens-after-cattle-truck-wreck-6529/

13 DRAFT HORSES DIE IN CRASH
The Chicago Sun-Times/The Associated Press, October 29, 2007
http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/625255,horses102907.article

HORSE SURVIVORS ON MEND
Chicago Tribune, Andrew L. Wang, November 2, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/294aeu

 

7. JELLYFISH KILL PENNED SALMON

Billions of jellyfish, in a dense pack of 10 square miles 35 feet deep, attacked fish penned about a mile off the coast north of Belfast in mid-November. A dozen workers in three boats struggled for hours unable to push their way through the mass of jellyfish to the pens to prevent the 100,000 salmon from dying of stings and stress. “The sea was red with these jellyfish and there was nothing we could do about it, absolutely nothing," said the managing director of The Northern Salmon Co. Ltd., Northern Ireland’s sole salmon farm. The company, which exports salmon marketed as “organic,” lost its entire fish population and claims it faces closure unless it receives emergency aid from the British government.

JELLYFISH KILL 100K SALMON IN N.IRELAND
Associated Press, Shawn Pogatchnik, Nov. 21, 2007
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hvpCeL6fPyQxurXJJEWrFiCCkd4QD8T281N02

 

8. CYCLONE DEVASTATES BANGLADESH

Roughly 350,000 buffalo, cattle, goats, sheep and poultry perished when tropical Cyclone Sidr, the deadliest storm to hit flood-prone Bangladesh in a decade, struck the country on November 15th. Many of the fish and shrimp enclosures in major production areas were destroyed and flushed by tidal waves. The human death toll has reached approximately 3,200, with thousands more injured and hundreds of thousands left homeless. Additionally, more than 227,000 acres (92,000 hectares) of cropland were completely destroyed, and 1.36 million acres (551,000 hectares) were partially damaged.

 

U.N. FOOD AGENCY CALLS FOR FUNDS TO HELP CYCLONE-HIT AGRICULTURE IN BANGLADESH
The Associated Press, November 23, 2007
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/11/23/europe/EU-GEN-UN-Bangladesh-Aid.php

 





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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.