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JULY 20, 2008 -- Number 20, Volume 8

1. CALIFORNIA BOOSTS ITS DOWNED ANIMAL PROTECTION ACT

In addition to banning the marketing of non-ambulatory cattle, newly enacted California legislation will for the first time ever prohibit the marketing of non-ambulatory goats, pigs, and sheep. Prompted by the Hallmark recall (see http://tinyurl.com/563qae ), the state has strengthened its Downed Animal Protection Act (passed in 1994), which prohibits non-ambulatory animals at stockyards and slaughterplants from being dragged, pushed, held or sold (see: http://tinyurl.com/63jxkq ). The law now also prohibits non-ambulatory cattle, goats, pigs and sheep from being bought, sold, transported, or slaughtered for human consumption. Additionally, it requires that slaughterplants immediately euthanized such non-ambulatory animals, and that stockyards, auctions, and dealers immediately either euthanize them or provide them with veterinary care. Text at: http://tinyurl.com/6dnd6d

"This is the first time in California that there is actually a prohibition, not only on the marketing of the (downed) animals, but on the sale and transportation of those animals," said Bradley Miller, director of the Humane Farming Association. "This sets a model for the rest of the nation not only pertaining to downed cows but it also protects disabled sheep, goats and pigs in California." Violations of the misdemeanor law are punishable with jail time and/or fines of up to $20,000.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it has begun drafting a rule prohibiting the slaughter of all non-ambulatory cattle at federally inspected slaughterplants (see also end of: http://tinyurl.com/57nbj9 ). Also of note: AUDIT SAYS USDA LOST TRACK OF IMPORTED CATTLE: http://tinyurl.com/6hm6k3 and GYEONGGI TO END CONSUMPTION OF DOWNER COWS: http://tinyurl.com/5tglbo


NEW LAW BOOSTS BAN ON DOWNED COW SLAUGHTER
San Bernardino Sun, Neil Nisperos, July 23, 2008
http://www.sbsun.com/news/ci_9977225

GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL PROHIBITING MEAT FROM DOWNERS
Meat & Poultry, Joel Crews, July 24, 2008
http://www.meatpoultry.com/news/daily_enews.asp?ArticleID=95283

 

2. AVMA RESOLUTION ON VEAL HOUSING

On July 19th, at its annual convention, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) passed a resolution declaring: “the AVMA supports a change in veal husbandry practices that severely restrict movement, to housing systems that allow for greater freedom of movement without compromising their health or welfare." The resolution was passed after an alternative resolution proposed by the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (see: http://tinyurl.com/64m59s ) was referred to the AVMA’s Animal Welfare Committee. The Committee is slated to meet in autumn.

It has been a year since the American Veal Association pledged to phase out the use of crates (see: http://tinyurl.com/6lrn7c ) and it’s been even longer since the country’s two leading veal companies announced they would eliminate crating (see: http://tinyurl.com/6cn2s3 ). In an entry in his blog, HSUS head Wayne Pacelle (see item #3) notes: “In May Dr. Ron DeHaven, the AVMA's executive vice president acknowledged, ‘We should have realized, years ago, that veal crates have to go; the practice is simply not defensible in the court of public opinion.’" Pacelle comments: “Progress at the AVMA in the arena of farm animal welfare has been halting, to say the least, with food industry veterinarians seeming to control the discussion within the organization and thwarting the adoption of mainstream and well-accepted positions.”


AVMA PASSES GROUNDBREAKING ANIMAL WELFARE POLICIES
PRNewswire-USNewswire, July 19, 2008
http://tinyurl.com/5unmao

THE DR. WILL FREE YOU NOW
A Humane Nation, Wayne Pacelle, July 21, 2008
http://hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2008/07/avma-veal-crate.html

 

3. SPOTLIGHT ON WAYNE PACELLE

Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (see item #2), is the subject of a lengthy profile by the Los Angles Times, an abridged version of which also ran in The Chicago Tribune. Cattle Network’s Chuck Jolley also interviewed Pacelle, whom he notes “is, unfortunately, one of the most influential people in the beef business.” Jolley begins the extensive piece by explaining that Pacelle: “shook the beef industry to the bone when he exposed the abuse at Hallmark [see: http://tinyurl.com/5qkg6y ]. Just as the furor from that debacle was starting to die down, he rang the bell again with equally distressing tapes taken clandestinely at the Portales Livestock Auction [see: http://tinyurl.com/57nbj9 ]. Like it or not, he and his organization have made a serious impact on our industry and public opinion.”

Asked if he thinks the abuse revealed at Hallmark and Portales is atypical or endemic in the industry, Pacelle answers: “We've looked at six locations -- one slaughter plant and five auctions. We found problems at every location [see: http://tinyurl.com/5rpph9 ]. Lighting may strike once or twice, but not six times. There's a major problem here, and that's what we've reported. USDA's OIG found major problems when it looked at slaughter plants in a January 2006 report [see: http://tinyurl.com/6z3852 ]. And other animal welfare groups have found problems at a wide variety of slaughter plants -- from Agriprocessors in Iowa [see: http://tinyurl.com/5hjeh2 ] to Pilgrim's Pride in West Virginia [see: http://tinyurl.com/6ypjg7 ]. There was just a worker charged with criminal cruelty at a major hog factory farm in North Carolina [see: http://tinyurl.com/5ff7jd ]. The industry needs to address these problems head-on and not dismiss them as rogue actors or isolated incidents.”

Jolley subsequently asks Pacelle if he believes the problem of animal abuse within the industry is limited to workers or extends to management. Pacelle responds: “Workers have responsibilities, and they cannot just abuse animals. The arrest and prosecution of the employees of the workers at Hallmark was appropriate and just [see: http://tinyurl.com/5qkg6y ] but they were not just a couple of rogue employees. Hallmark/Westland had systemic problems. If management knew what was going on, they were complicit. If they didn't know what was going on, they were asleep at the switch and guilty of shoddy oversight. Either way, it's incriminating. We anxiously await the finding from the investigation from the USDA's Office of Inspector General” (see: http://tinyurl.com/5ess5w ). Jolley notes that he is among “a fast growing gang of influential people and organizations that believe [‘abusing an animal anywhere in the distribution chain is’] an unacceptable and morally reprehensible practice.” See also: CATTLENETWORK EXCLUSIVE: Wayne Pacelle, President, HSUS Responds to AFF Editorial: http://tinyurl.com/5zpjgn.


WAYNE PACELLE WORKS FOR THE WINGED, FINNED AND FURRY
Los Angeles Times, Carla Hall, July 19, 2008
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-pacelle19-2008jul19,0,4840426.story

HUMANE — WITH AN EDGE
Chicago Tribune, Carla Hall, July 22, 2008
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-humane_society_tuejul22,0,6770276.story

JOLLEY: FIVE MINUTES WITH WAYNE PACELLE
CattleNetwork, Chuck Jolley, July 18, 2008
http://www.cattlenetwork.com/Content.asp?ContentID=237952

 

4. RETAILERS TO BE PUBLICIZED IN RECALLS

Consumers will no longer have to rely on the goodwill of slaughterplant operators, grocery store executives and the like to find out which retailers carry dangerous recalled food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been publicizing food recalls and sources but not retailers. Beginning in August, the USDA will reveal retailers in recalls involving "a reasonable probability of serious health consequences or death for those with weakened immune systems."

The change was announced after an expansive beef recall this summer. Nebraska Beef Ltd (NBL) recalled 5.3 million pounds of beef due to E. coli contamination suspected in the sickening of 49 people in at least seven states across the country. Kroger, a major retailer of the meat, issued a recall of it in more than 20 states on June 25th, five days before NBL recalled 532,000 pounds. A week after NBL’s initial recall the company recalled the additional millions of pounds. The USDA criticized NBL, which has had previous contamination problems, for not having reacted faster after it notified the company earlier in June that samples of its beef had tested positive. An NBL spokesperson countered by stating that the company followed normal procedure.

More than two years ago, the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service proposed a retailer disclosure rule for all recalls. Industry opposed it, arguing that the information was proprietary and would not help consumers. The proposal was retriggered after the Hallmark scandal (see http://tinyurl.com/5qkg6y ). The incident followed more than 20 beef recalls in the preceding year. 

USDA’s newly announced policy drew faint praise from legislators and food safety advocates and criticism from food retailers and the American Meat Institute (and see: http://tinyurl.com/5r33s8 ). A recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office noted that several other countries and the European Union have stronger food-safety systems. The report called for mandatory recall authority and the ability to trace food back to the farm. It also noted that while the number of recalls is declining, the size of them is growing. A salmonella outbreak, which has been ongoing since April, has sickened at least 1,256 people in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Canada: http://tinyurl.com/58gkro. A recent poll found that nearly half of Americans are worried about getting sick from contaminated food: http://tinyurl.com/5nuzeg.

USDA TO BEGIN NAMING RETAILERS IN MEAT RECALLS
Los Angeles Times, Nicole Gaouette, July 11, 2008
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/washingtondc/la-na-recall12-2008jul12,0,3950739.story

STORES WITH RECALLED MEAT TO BE LISTED
The Pig Site, June 14, 2008
http://www.thepigsite.com/swinenews/18477/stores-with-recalled-meat-to-be-listed

NUMBER OF SICK TIED TO NEBRASKA BEEF GROWS AGAIN
The Associated Press, July 18, 2008
http://tinyurl.com/69yzdr

NEBRASKA BEEF LTD. UNDER FIRE FOR SLOW RESPONSE TO E. COLI REPORT, USDA SAYS
The MedGuru, Clarence V, July 8, 2008
http://tinyurl.com/6nootx

USDA SAYS NEBRASKA BEEF SLOW TO RESPOND TO E. COLI
Business Week, Josh Funk, July 7, 2008
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D91PAEOO0.htm

LEGISLATION WOULD GIVE FEDS POWER TO FORCE FOOD RECALLS
The Columbus Dispatch, Misti Crane, July 17, 2008
http://tinyurl.com/6s856l

 

5. PETA PROPOSAL PROMPTS WINN-DIXIE WELFARE PLAN

Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., which has 521 stores, has announced plans to improve conditions during production and slaughter for some of the chickens and pigs in its supply chain. The announcement was made five months after the company received a complaint from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Winn-Dixie’s plan entails: giving purchasing preference to suppliers that use controlled-atmosphere killing, buying 5% of the turkeys it uses from suppliers using this method by the end of 2010; giving purchasing preference to suppliers that don't use gestation crates, and increasing the total amount of pig meat that it buys from crate-free facilities by 5% over each of the next three years; giving purchasing preference to producers of cage-free eggs, and increasing the amount of cage-free eggs that it sells to 4% by the end of 2009 and to 5% by the end of 2010, with a goal of reaching 10% within the next five years. PETA responded by withdrawing a shareholder proposal for a report on progress made toward improving animal welfare practices which it had submitted for inclusion at the company’s annual meeting.

DIXIE'S NEW ANIMAL WELFARE PLAN APPEASES PETA
Jacksonville Business Journal, Christian Conte, July 14, 2008
http://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/stories/2008/07/14/daily21.html

 

6. HORSES VS RANCHERS

A century ago, some 2 million wild horses roamed the Western U.S.  Today, according to the government, an estimated 63,000 wild horses survive, nearly half (30,000) of whom are in government captivity. As forage competition with cattle increased during the 1940s and 50’s, wild horses were rounded up and slaughtered. (Today, at least 3 million cattle graze public land.) In 1971, Congress unanimously passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act to protect them. Instead of sending captured horses to slaughter, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began adopting them out. In 2004, legal protection was removed for wild horses over the age of ten and those who haven’t been adopted after a third attempt.

In recent years, the roundups have been accelerated but adoptions have fallen off. The BLM has determined 27,000 to be an appropriate number of horses to manage, and is now considering “sale without limitation” --including selling horses for slaughter-- or euthanasia. (In the past to thin herds at government holding facilities horses were shot.) This policy is aggravated by federal grazing studies that, because of a lack of funding, are often out of date in terms of horse populations and favor the livestock lobby’s version of ‘appropriate management levels,’” writes Deanne Stillman, author of the recently published Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West. Wild horse advocates are calling for a moratorium on roundups, and for alternatives such as birth control and tax breaks for those who allow wild horses to roam their property.

The BLM has agreed to wait for a report on the wild horse situation by the Government Accounting Office (GAO), which is due in September. In its last such audit, conducted in 1990, GAO noted that wild horses were “vastly outnumbered on range lands by livestock.”

See also EQUINE PLIGHT: Proposed Wild Horse Shoot: http://tinyurl.com/5oe6xp and OUR FEDERAL PUBLIC LANDS: Wildlife Habitat or Cattle Pasture?: http://tinyurl.com/656vdd

Bison and elk are also being targeted by ranchers and government officials, purportedly for disease control. See: http://tinyurl.com/65goh6 and http://tinyurl.com/68c3rz

‘THE WILD HORSE IS US’
Newsweek, Tony Dokoupil, July 1, 2008
http://www.newsweek.com/id/144279

ON MUSTANG RANGE, A BATTLE ON THINNING THE HERD
The New York Times, Felicity Barringer, July 20, 2008
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/20/us/20mustangs.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

WILD HORSES AREN’T FREE
Los Angeles Times, Deanne Stillman (op-ed), June 2, 2008
http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jun/02/opinion/oe-stillman2

PLAN TO KILL WILD HORSES RUNS INTO TROUBLE
CNN, July 7, 2008
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/07/07/wild.horses.euthanasia.ap/index.html

THE KILLING FIELDS
The Economist, June 26, 2008
http://www.economist.com/books/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11613949

WILD HORSES MAY FACE DEATH SENTENCE
Morning Edition (National Public Radio), John McChesney, July 21, 2008
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92691184






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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.