Farmed Animal Watch: Objective Information for the Thinking Advocate
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February 2, 2007 -- Number 4, Volume 7

1. CANADA'S LARGEST PIG PRODUCER PHASING OUT GESTATION STALLS

Following Smithfield Foods announcement last week (see: http://tinyurl.com/ytke4c),
Maple Leaf Foods, the largest pig producer in Canada, announced it, too, will phase out its use of gestation stalls in favor of group pens within the next 10 years. The change will apply only to the pigs it breeds (about 120,000, some 25%) and not to those it buys to slaughter. Consumers of meat from the company will have no way of knowing which system was used. Maple Leaf plans to reduce the number of pigs it owns within two years to about 50,000. Florian Possberg, an official with the Canadian Pork Council (CPC), said the decision sets the bar for industry and others may have to follow suit. He predicts many producers leaving the industry as a result. CPC is re-evaluating production methods and advised pig producers to proceed with caution in regard to the announcement. Some 1.6 million pigs in Canada are kept in gestation stalls.


MAPLE LEAF TO SET PIGS FREE FROM CAGES
Toronto Star, Dana Flavelle, February 01, 2007
http://www.thestar.com/article/176954

MAPLE LEAF TO PHASE OUT SOW GESTATION STALLS
The Star Phoenix, Jeanette Stewart, February 01, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/2gbfco


2. VEAL COMPANY TO ELIMINATE TETHERING

Marcho Farms, one of the largest veal producers in the U.S., announced it will stop tethering calves. The company says calves will have space to turn around and lie down and the ability to interact. Older calves are to be group housed. Thousands of calves are said to already be on the new program, and Marcho plans to convert its remaining operations over the next few years. (Half of Marcho’s calves are from Amish operations Farm Sanctuary investigated Marcho in 2002 and reported finding “…a pile of dead calves, calves lying in their own diarrhea and a stockroom filled with stacks of antibiotics to keep the calves alive until slaughter.” Photos on NoVeal.org (hyperlink: http://tinyurl.com/29yxlf ) are said to be of a Marcho facility: http://tinyurl.com/24hsxt


VEAL COMPANY TO ELIMINATE TETHERING
Farm Futures (citing MeatingPlace.com), Jan. 29, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/2r8j5j

GROCERY CHAIN HAS HISTORY OF APATHY TOWARD ANIMAL ABUSE
Farm Sanctuary Alert 7/14-25/05
http://www.farmsanctuary.org/actionalerts/update_wegmans.htm


3. HORSE SLAUGHTER RULING DEVELOPMENTS

In light of the recent ruling against horse slaughter in Texas (see: http://tinyurl.com/yuhh3c), American Airlines and Delta Air Lines suspended overseas transport of horsemeat due to uncertainty over the legality of shipping it out of Texas. The two horse slaughterplants in Texas said they will continue processing horsemeat for zoos and other animal food but not for human consumption as they prepare an appeal. Some 95% of their horsemeat output has been for (overseas) human consumption. The plants are reviewing their options, including moving to Canada or Mexico, or expanding other production (they also process bison, ostrich, emu and wild boar). The operator of the only other U.S. horse slaughterplant, in Illinois, said it will not expand even if the Texas plants close, due to the threat of future legislation against the industry. The Republican and Democratic heads of the House Agriculture Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee have sent a bipartisan letter urging Representatives to not vote for the recently reintroduced federal legislation against horse slaughter.


TEXAS SLAUGHTERHOUSES CONTINUE TO PROCESS HORSE MEAT
The Kansas City Star, Jim Fuquay, Jan. 27, 2007
http://www.kansascity.com:80/mld/kansascity/news/nation/16561778.htm

HORSE-SLAUGHTER INDUSTRY IN FLUX
The Dallas Morning News, Jim Getz, January 25, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/2h7rgb


4. MAINE SLAUGHTER PROPOSAL

LD 57, a bill introduced in Maine, seeks to prohibit the slaughtering of farmed animals or presence of dead farmed animals within sight of other farmed animals in commercial and custom slaughterplants as of Jan. 1, 2009. It would also allow for financial grants for the associated modification of slaughterplants. One slaughterplant owner questioned the effectiveness of such a law given that there are no inspectors for custom slaughterplants.sell Buzzelli, asserts his clients are innocent. A January 30th court date has been set.


MAINE BILL CALLS FOR CHANGE IN ANIMAL SLAUGHTER PRACTICES
Times Argus (Associated Press), Jan. 26, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/24sv96


5. LIVE TURKEYS USED AS TARGETS

In what an investigator called "the most gutless act of cruelty," 40 live turkeys, weighing 20 to 25 pounds each, were fastened to straw bales by their feet. Contestants including children, paid $12 for three attempts to hit one of the turkeys with an arrow, with those drawing blood winning the bird. "None of the ones I saw shot were killed instantly," said Keith Mohler, a local humane officer with Farm Sanctuary. "They all flapped and squawked, he said. Afterwards, the 40 wounded turkeys were beheaded. Tipped off by a female member of the 2,000-member Elstonville (Pennsylvania) Sportsmen's Association, Mohler attended the September 9th event as her guest. After taking photos, he called the state police. Club members were “outraged” when they shut the event down. Mohler cited the club for 8 anti-cruelty counts and 4 counts of offering live animals as contest prizes. Each cruelty charge carries a maximum fine of $750, the other charges a maximum fine of $250. The club plans to contest the charges. The case has been reported on CNN and as far away as Taiwan.

SPORTSMEN’S GROUP CITED FOR TURKEY KILL
Intelligencer Journal, Brett Lovelace, Jan. 26, 2007
http://local.lancasteronline.com/4/29722

SPORTSMEN TO FIGHT CRUELTY CHARGES FOR TURKEY SHOOT
Lancaster New Era, Ad Crable, Jan. 31, 2007
http://local.lancasteronline.com/4/200282


6. STARVATION CASE UPDATE

More than 600 animals have died in what The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) is calling “one of the largest animal cruelty cases known in the United States.” Responding to a request from the medical examiner, HSUS employees arrived to help with surviving animals from the Oklahoma case (reported in last week’s digest: http://tinyurl.com/2bjvnq). A slide show of the grisly scenes they encountered there can be viewed at: http://tinyurl.com/2ytu4e Over 2,000 dead or starving animals were found on land owned by David Bell. He has been charged with seven counts of animal cruelty, which is a felony in Oklahoma. Other charges are pending. Altogether, Bell owns four parcels of property amounting to between 800 and 900 acres. The case may be the first in which a bond law instituted last November will apply. It would make him liable for the cost of caring for the animals until the case is settled, unless he forfeits them.

OKLAHOMA RANCH: A SCENE OF HORROR
The Humane Society of the U.S., Rhonda Lucas Donald, Jan. 22-24, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/26s75w

THOUSANDS OF SICK, DEAD ANIMALS FOUND ON RANCH
Pryor Daily Times, Kathy Parker, Jan. 25, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/yvxbu7


7. PIG TORTURE CASE UPDATE

In the Ohio case of pig torture at Wiles farm (see: http://tinyurl.com/385bz3), all three accused men have pled not guilty. While there has been loud support for them by some locals, special prosecutor Frank Forchione said he believes an impartial jury can be selected and he is no longer considering requesting a change of venue. Forchione was appointed as special prosecutor to avoid conflict of interest since the farm owner’s daughter is an attorney with the county prosecutor office. Bradley Miller, head of the Humane Farming Association (HFA), which conducted the undercover investigation of the farm, said he suspects the official search of the property may have been delayed and the family tipped off in advance of it. (The complaint was filed on September 20th, the search ensued on November 8th.) Wayne County officials deny it. The Wiles farm remains in operation, with the Wayne County Humane Society involved to ensure it complies with the law. HFA has contacted U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D – Ohio) about federal legislation regarding animal cruelty. Video news reports of the hearing, including footage of alleged pig abuse, can be viewed at: http://tinyurl.com/2v483w and http://tinyurl.com/3dg754 and http://tinyurl.com/35otvk

FARMERS PLEAD NOT GUILTY TO ANIMAL CRUELTY CHARGES
The Daily Record, Christine L. Pratt, January 31, 2007
http://www.the-daily-record.com/news/article/1543431

PROSECUTOR DISPUTES ALLEGATION OF OFFICE LEAK FRANTZ REACTS TO FARMING GROUP LEADER'S SUGGESTION WILES WAS ALERTED TO SEARCH OF HOG OPERATION
The Daily Record, Christine L. Pratt, Feb. 2, 2007
http://www.the-daily-record.com/news/article/1552382

 





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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.