Farmed Animal Watch: Objective Information for the Thinking Advocate
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October 12, 2005 -- Number 38, Volume 5

1. Egg Industry Makes Deal with FTC to End Use of "Animal Care Certified" Logo

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ordered the country's egg industry to cease using the "Animal Care Certified" logo by March 31, 2006. The ruling is the result of a legal battle by activist group Compassion Over Killing (COK), which originally filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau in 2003. More than 90% of egg farmers in the US are said to raise hens according to guidelines from United Egg Producers, the trade association that used to oversee "Animal Care" logo certification. However, COK and other animal activists claim the label is misleading because the guidelines permit severe overcrowding and mutilation of the birds. United Egg Producers has evidently voluntarily agreed to change its logo to read "United Egg Producers Certified" instead of "Animal Care Certified" to avoid potential consumer backlash over the issue. The program itself and conditions for egg-producing hens will not change, however, although COK and other groups continue to lobby for an outright ban on the use of "battery" cages for hens.

1. "Federal Trade Commission Announces End to Misleading Egg Logo," COK Press Release, 10/3/05

2. "Egg Producers Group Agrees to Alter Logo, Settling Complaint," Des Moines Register, 10/4/05 (

3. "Egg Label Changed After Md. Group Complains," Washington Post, 10/4/05 (

2. Investigations and Videos Detail Conditions on U.S. and Canadian Egg Farms

KREIDER INVESTIGATION: Pennsylvania activist group Hugs for Puppies investigated three of five egg production facilities owned by Kreider Farms. The group's extensive photo and video gallery, available online, shows graphic images of hens confined to small cages stacked three high in what seems severe overcrowding. The photos also depict dead and dying birds, as well as "disposal" bins where sick or injured birds have been discarded. Hugs for Puppies has also filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau for Kreider Farm's use of the phrases "first rate animal husbandry care" and "happy chickens lay lots of top quality eggs" on its website. The group alleges that evidence collected during its investigation clearly shows these claims to be false.

"Animal Rights Group Sneaks onto Chicken Farms, Makes Video," WGAL, 10/5/05 (Includes photos and video)

"Kreider Cruelty," Hugs for Puppies, September 2005 (Includes photos and video)

L.E.L. INVESTIGATION: A similar investigation of LEL Farms, an egg production facility in Ontario, Canada, was recently conducted by a University of Guelph agriculture student. Results from the investigation, which the student conducted after being denied a tour by the farm's owner, were published in a student newspaper and included "disturbing photographs." The student claims to have found dead birds both in and out of cages, as well as decaying hen parts and living birds in the facility's manure pit. The farm's owner calls the student article "garbage," while an industry animal welfare expert suggests that the claims are "exaggerated."

"Activist Calls Ontario Egg Barn 'Horrific'," National Post, 10/10/05 (

MOARK: In Missouri, a permit for expansion submitted by Moark is in question since the company has come under fire for animal cruelty charges related to disposing of living hens who were not euthanized according to guidelines. (Also see FAW 5-27). A citizen videotaped Moark subcontractors disposing of clearly living hens in a dead pile rather than gassing them or quickly performing a "cervical dislocation," as called for by regulations. Moark has faced opposition to building new facilities in Kansas and Oklahoma, and current plans to expand in Missouri may be put on hold by the Department of Natural Resources. The department is awaiting results of the animal cruelty charge and taking into account concerns from citizens before deciding whether or not to allow Moark to add space for an estimated 3.5 million more hens.

"Animal Abuse Charges Cloud Egg Factory's Expansion Plans," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/7/05

3. Research Shows Inefficiency of U.S. Dairy Industry, High Incidence of Mastitis

Recent scientific research on dairy farming methods, dairy cow hygiene, and amino acid requirements in food provided to cows may have animal welfare implications. The first story below from the US Agriculture Research Service describes one "agro-ecologist" who has spent 15 years studying dairy farms in West Africa. Unlike in the US, where cows used for milk production are confined and their waste transported elsewhere, West African farmers will corral animals outside so their waste is directly applied as fertilizer to crops. The ARS article notes that the approach used in Africa is better for the environment and the animals. Additionally, such spreading of manure results in 35-50% greater uptake in nitrogen compared to the spreading of waste collected from animals in confinement.

Dairy cows are frequently subject to diseases such as mastitis and protein imbalances due to the complex, high growth diets they are fed. At a press briefing focused on promoting proper cow hygiene, UK dairy industry officials said, "Published research shows that on average dairy producers still experience 35-40 cases of clinical mastitis in every 100 cows." Although positioned as an economic risk for farmers, such a high incidence of clinical mastitis is also clearly an animalwelfare problem. Finally, some readers may be interested in the lengths to which farmers go to control the diets of dairy cows to support high rates of pregnancy and growth. For a lengthy discussion of amino acid requirements for dairy cows presented as "interpretive summaries" of recent research, see the third link below.

1. "A New Approach to Dairy Farming That's 'Out of Africa,'" ARS, 9/28/05

2. "Tighter Dairy Hygiene Could Save 20 a Cow," Farmers Weekly, 10/3/05

3. "Interpretive Summaries" of Research on Amino Acid Requirements of Dairy Cows," American Dairy Science Association, 10/5/05

4. U.S. Coalition Seeks Enforcement of "28-Hour Law" for Transport of Animals

A coalition of animal protection groups is petitioning the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to enforce a law passed in 1873 that limits farmed animal transport times to a continuous 28 hours. The informally titled "Twenty-Eight Hour Law" requires that animals transported for longer than this amount of time be allowed at least 5 hours of rest, including being offloaded and given food and water. The coalition, which includes The Humane Society of the US, Farm Sanctuary, Compassion Over Killing, and Animal Angels, says that the USDA only enforces the law on trains, but that 95% of farmed animal transport currently occurs using trucks.

The language of the original law pertains to preventing cruelty to animals transported by "railroad or other means," the intent presumably including trucks. Animals transported for long durations face potential injury and illness, extreme hot and cold temperatures, denial of food and water, and trips of up to 48 hours, according to the coalition press release. The groups also say that transporting animals for long periods poses a health risk to humans given the greater potential for outbreaks of disease. The allegations are based in part on an investigation by Compassion Over Killing that included following a truckload of more than 200 pigs on a 35-hour trip from Missouri to California.

1. "Animal Rights Groups Wants 28-Hour Trucking Rule Enforced," Cattle Network, 10/5/05

2. "Animal Protection Organizations Petition USDA to Limit Long-Distance Trucking of Animals," Farm Sanctuary, 10/4/05

3. "Loophole on Wheels: Trucks and the 28-Hour Law," The Humane Society of the US, 9/28/05

5. New Health Risk from Meat and Milk Consumption as Clones Enter Food Supply

A study appearing in the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Science says that humans who consume "red meat" and cows' milk absorb a molecule that may cause tissue inflammation leading to "various diseases." The study, carried out by scientists from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), discovered that human tissue absorbs the molecular sugar "Neu5Gc" in laboratory tests. Despite occurring naturally in the flesh of lambs, pigs, and cows, Neu5Gc does not naturally exist in humans; some scientists believe it may be a source of health problems for people. The presence of Neu5Gc has been noted previously in cancer cells found in humans, and was found in both cancerous and non-cancerous cells in the current study. The greatest concentrations of Neu5Gc are found in the flesh of cows, pigs, and lambs, but also in cheese and milk produced from these animals.

Despite the implication that we still have much to learn about the health effects of eating animals, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reportedly poised to approve the sale of meat and milk from cloned animals. The FDA has considered the issue for three years as the industry largely followed a voluntary ban on the slaughter of cloned animals for human consumption. However, according to at least one report, "it has recently become clear that a few offspring of cloned pigs and cows are already trickling into the food supply." Analysts predict that if the FDA formally allows the use of clones, farmers will immediately begin producing hundreds of thousands of such animals for human consumption. However, some consumer groups and others argue that most people are unwilling to purchase animal products from clones, and they worry that marketing of such products might mislead consumers.

1. "Non-Human Molecule Absorbed by Eating Red Meat," UCSD Researchers, 9/29/05

2. "Clone-Generated Milk, Meat May Be Approved,", 10/6/05 (

6. Studies Describe European "Exotic Meat" and U.S. "Beef" Consumption Trends

EXOTIC MEATS: The UK-based reports that so-called "exotic meats" are a growing trend in England and throughout Europe, according to market research firm Mintel Group. The market for these products in the UK grew by 17% from 1999 to 2004, however, which suggest somewhat limited growth. The majority of exotic meat products include "game meats" such as venison, which some consumers perceive as more healthy. However, some UK companies are also experiencing growth in the sales of such exotic animals as crocodiles, kangaroos, ostriches, and wild boars. The UK animal advocacy group Viva! is currently campaigning to end the consumption of exotic meats in the country.

"Exotic Meats Booming as Thrill-Seekers Defy Opposition,", 10/3/05

"BEEF" CONSUMPTION: An in-depth study of US beef consumption by the US Economic Research Service (ERS) shows that consumption is highest in the Midwestern US and among rural populations. The study also indicates higher levels of beef consumption among lower-income populations, which in the US overlaps with ethnic groups including African Americans, Hispanics, and Latinos. Overall, "beef" is the second most consumed type of animal flesh in the US (measured in pounds), after chicken, with the average adult consuming 67 pounds of cow flesh per year.

"Factors Affecting US Beef Consumption," USDA / ERS, Oct-05

7. Farmed Animal Statistics: U.S. Food Consumption Data

According to the US Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS), data from the first quarter of 2005 show decreased consumption for most animal products compared to the same period in 2004. The only exceptions are cheese and "processed meats;" consumption of these two products increased by 2% and 3%, respectively, over the first quarter of 2004. However, consumption of most other animal products declined, including most notably poultry, down by more than 23%. Consumption of "pork" was down by 7%, and there were also slight declines in the consumption of fish, "beef," milk, and eggs. Note, however, that the analysis only includes items purchased in retail food stores for consumption at home. ERS suggests that those declines may be due to the continued fading of the recent popularity of low-carbohydrate diets.

Longer-term trend shows a different picture. ERS provides historical per capita consumption data for a wide range of animal-based food products, from which we can calculate growth or decline rates. The table below shows a comparison of per capita consumption of these products in 1994 and 2003, including a total percentage change over the 10-year period. Despite a large 40% decline in "veal" consumption, overall "red meat" consumption remained constant. The most growth has been in chicken consumption, which increased by 18% over the 10-year period, and cheese consumption, which increased by 15%. Consumption of fish, shellfish, and eggs has been modest but consistent over the same period (8-9%).

    Measured in Pounds 1994 2003 % Change
    Dairy Products 579.6 592.8 +2%
    - Cheese (exc. cottage) 26.5 30.6 +15%
    - Beverage milks 209.3 186.0 -11%
    - Ice cream 16.0 16.7 +5%
    Red Meats
    113.5 111.9 -1%
    - Beef 61.9 62.0 -1%
    - Pork 49.0 48.5 -1%
    - Veal 0.8 0.5 -40%
    - Lamb and Mutton 0.9 0.8 -8%
    Poultry 62.6 71.2 +14%
    - Chicken 48.7 57.5 +18%
    - Turkey 13.9 13.7 -1%
    Eggs 30.3 32.7 +8%
    Fish and Shellfish 15.0 16.3 +9%

1. "Food Dynamics and USDA's New Dietary Guidelines," USDA / ERS, Sep-05

2. "Table 39 - Per Capita Consumption of Major Food Commodities," USDA / ERS, 1994-2003

3. "Briefing Room: Food Consumption," USDA / ERS, Updated regularly

8. Upcoming Farmed Animal and Related Events

See for further details.

    "Science and Society Improving Animal Welfare," Welfare Quality Project, European Commission
    November 17-18, 2005; Brussels, Belgium

    "International Meat Animal Welfare Research Conference," American Meat Institute
    February 22, 2006; Overland Park, Kansas

    "Meat Industry Animal Handling Conference," American Meat Institute
    February 23-24, 2006; Overland Park, Kansas

9. Other Items of Interest

"Sheep Death Research Finds Low Mortality Rate," ABC Australia, 10/10/05
After resumption of the live sheep trade between Australia and the Middle East in September, the first ship carrying more than 120,000 sheep arrived in Jordan to deliver 10,000 animals. Scientists monitored the voyage as a trial to determine the acceptability of sheep mortality levels during transit. According to one Australian professor and monitor, the mortality rate was running at "about 0.4%" (nearly 500 sheep), which is considered low.

"Technology that Can Predetermine the Sex of Cattle and Swine Livestock is Acquired by Microbix," Newswire, 9/30/05
A technology developed at the University of Guelph (Canada) will allow farmers to predetermine the gender of cows and pigs. It is being billed (by the company that recently purchased the technology) as the biggest breakthrough in animal farming since artificial insemination. The technology may eventually have significant welfare implications as well, including preventing the unwanted births of male calves to dairy cows, currently a major driver of the US veal industry.

"Over Crowding Negatively Affects Small and Large Groups of Pigs Equally," Farmscape, 10/5/05
Students at the Prairie Swine Research Centre (Canada) conducted a study showing that overcrowding negatively impacts pigs in both small and large group settings. According to one researcher, "In both cases, the uncrowded groups of pigs outperformed the crowded groups in terms of the amount of feed consumed, feed efficiency and rate of gain." There was also more evidence of leg sores for pigs housed in overcrowded environments. (

"Fast Facts on Avian Flu," ABC News / World Health Organization / National Institutes of Health / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, / US Department of State, 9/29/05
ABC News has published a set of diverse "fast facts" regarding avian influenza, compiled from major US and international health government and agencies.

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Compiled and edited by Hedy Litke and Che Green, 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.