USDA CALLS FOR TOTAL NONAMBULATORY CATTLE SLAUGHTER BAN
“Today I am announcing that USDA will begin working on a proposed rule to prohibit the slaughter of all disabled non-ambulatory cattle, also know as `downer cattle.’ In other words, I am calling for the end of the exceptions in the so called `downer rule,’" stated U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer on May 20th. The announcement heralds the reversal of a 4-year-old policy (see: http://tinyurl.com/6e3az5 ). Schafer said the rule change, which could go into effect in a few months, will eliminate confusion, increase consumer confidence, and reduce inhumane handling by ending the incentive to get “marginally weakened” cattle to slaughter. He pointed out that the total ban would have a minimal effect on slaughterplants since, of the nearly 34 million cattle slaughtered last year, under 1,000 who were re-inspected were approved by the veterinarian for slaughter (0.003%). The Humane Society of the U.S. welcomed the announcement but said the ban should take effect immediately.
The decision follows the completion of a 2-month period during which U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors were to spend 50-100% more time monitoring handling practices at federally inspected slaughterplants (see: http://tinyurl.com/5ess5w ). The results are still being analyzed. Of the 800 plants, 34 have been temporarily shut down so far this year due to inhumane handling practices, three times as many as in all of 2007. The increase is reported to be the result of more uniform inspection rather than worsening conditions.
AGRICULTURE SECRETARY ED SCHAFER ANNOUNCES PLAN TO END EXCEPTIONS TO ANIMAL HANDLING RULE
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Release No. 0131.08, May 20, 2008
INHUMANE-HANDLING ISSUES HALT MORE SLAUGHTER PLANTS
USA Today, Julie Schmit, May 20, 2008
USDA TO BAN 'DOWNER' BEEF
The Washington Post, Christopher Lee, May 21, 2008
USDA TO BAN DOWNER CATTLE SLAUGHTER
MeatingPlace, Janie Gabbett, May 20, 2008
COLORADO ANTI-CRATE BAN SIGNED; BATTERY CAGE ATTENTION
On May 14th, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter signed into law a ban on the use of crates for pregnant pigs and for calves used for veal (see: http://tinyurl.com/5aalbv ). A cooperative effort of advocacy, industry and the state government, S.B. 201 passed the Senate unanimously and the House 59-4. The legislation phases out the calf crates within four years and gestation crates within ten. “With this measure, adversaries turned into allies to advance animal welfare concerns," stated Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS). "The movement toward ending abuses such as gestation crates and veal crates is unmistakable, and states elsewhere should follow this example," remarked Dr. Bernard Rollin, a philosophy professor at Colorado State University ( http://tinyurl.com/5juo55 ) who had helped negotiate the bill’s passage.
According to HSUS, the action “also jumpstarts a process, to be administered by the Agriculture Commissioner, to allow for ongoing dialogue between agriculture and animal welfare groups.” The three entities have agreed to continue discussions on phasing out battery cages for egg production in Colorado (see: http://tinyurl.com/5pk7hm ). United Egg Producers and the Pacific Egg & Poultry Association announced a May 22nd press conference “to discuss the findings of an economic study analyzing the impact of an upcoming November ballot measure on California's egg industry” ( http://tinyurl.com/5p93mo ). The groups claim the measure “would have a negative $615 million impact on the state's economy, result in almost 3,400 job losses, increase egg prices in the state, and devastate the California egg industry, effectively banning almost all commercial egg production in California by 2015.
COLORADO: GOVERNOR RITTER SIGNS HISTORIC FARM ANIMAL WELFARE MEASURE INTO LAW
Humane Society of the U.S. press release, May 14, 2008
NEW STUDY FINDS THAT NOVEMBER MEASURE WOULD CREATE UNNECESSARY CHANGES AND A SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC BURDEN FOR CALIFORNIA EGG INDUSTRY
Business Wire, May 21, 2008
CHICAGO FOIE GRAS BAN OVERTURNED
In a 37-6 vote, the Chicago City Council has repealed the ban on the sale of foie gras that it had approved by a 48-1 vote in April 2006 (see: http://tinyurl.com/hwkba ). Efforts to overturn the ban have been underway since its passage (see: http://tinyurl.com/n6ho9 ). Notes Farm Sanctuary: “…the Illinois Restaurant Association, led by Mayor Daley’s former chief of staff, has relentlessly politicized this popular humane measure, filing a lawsuit to overturn the ban in 2007, which they lost, then appealing to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in June 2007. Oral argument in this appeal was scheduled for Tuesday, May 27.” The ban had been approved without debate, which prompted the lawsuit.
The day the ban was repealed (May 14th), the Chicago Sun-Times warned that aldermen had plotted “a legislative end-run that would set a new standard for violating City Council protocol and rolling over any opposition.” The article details the machinations that brought about the repeal. “Rules and traditions are becoming less important than results,” an anonymous veteran alderman said. Daley ignored pleas for a hearing on the matter by Alderman Joe Moore, the primary sponsor of the ban. Afterwards, Moore warned his council colleagues “Tomorrow it could happen to you.”
In London, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has enlisted former James Bond star Roger Moore in a campaign to end the sale of foie gras in Britain: http://www.thestar.com/living/article/427234.
CHICAGO OVERTURNS FOIE GRAS BAN
The New York Times, Nick Fox (Diner's Journal), May 14, 2008
FARM SANCTUARY: CHICAGO CITY COUNCIL REVERSES FOIE GRAS ORDINANCE EFFECTIVELY ENDORSING ANIMAL CRUELTY
Business Wire, May 14, 2008
WILL CHICAGO REPEAL FOIE GRAS BAN?
Chicago Sun-Times, Fran Spielman, May 14, 2008
FARM BILL HAPPENINGS
Following two years of hearings and discussions, the U.S. House of Representatives sent the 2007 Farm Bill (the “Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008”) to President Bush for his approval. The House passed the bill 318-106 and the Senate passed it 81-15, both with a two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto and strong bipartisan support. (Four senators did not vote, including the three leading presidential candidates: http://tinyurl.com/6hgodc )
Among the provisions of the $289 billion five-year bill are: mandatory country-of-origin labeling, interstate shipment of state-inspected meat, a permanent disaster assistance program, and an additional $3.4 billion for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP, see: http://tinyurl.com/59gto5 ). The bill also provides $34.5 million and $200 million respectively for the Foreign Market Development Program and the Market Access Program. Recipients of this promotional money include the U.S. Meat Export Federation, the U.S.A. Poultry and Egg Council, and the U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association. Additionally, to receive farm-program benefits, an individual’s non-farm income may not exceed $500,000. If farm income exceeds $750,000, an individual will not be eligible to receive direct payments. The bill also adds a provision to federal law making most forms of animal fighting a federal felony, with the maximum prison time for a single violation going from 3 to 5 years: http://tinyurl.com/5onw4w.
A coalition of 557 organizations, including commodity groups and other organizations, worked in support of the legislation. Environmental and social action advocates oppose it (see also “A HARVEST OF DISGRACE: http://tinyurl.com/5pmocw ). President Bush did veto the House version of the bill – his second veto during his almost eight years in office and the first time a comprehensive farm bill has been vetoed since 1956 (http://tinyurl.com/56xrsm ). However, due to a Congressional omission the House and Senate may have to re-approve the bill, resend it to Bush to re-veto then re-override the veto. Another two-week extension of the 2002 farm bill is predicted.
CONGRESS SENDS "VETO-PROOF' FARM BILL TO PRESIDENT BUSH
Meat & Poultry, Bryan Salvage, May 16, 2008
FARM BILL PASSES; BUSH VETO COMING; OVERRIDE POSSIBLE
BEEF, P. Scott Shearer, May 15, 2008
ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS TRY TO SINK FARM BILL
Delta Farm Press, Forrest Laws, May 14, 2008
'THE DOG ATE MY TRADE TITLE'
Agriculture Online, Jeff Caldwell, May 22, 2008
DO OVER: MISSING PAGES SEND FARM BILL BACK TWO STEPS
MeatingPlace, Janie Gabbett, May 22, 2008
FIRST U.S. VEGGIE PRIDE PARADE
A giant pea pod and a huge carrot were among hundreds of other colorful participants in the first Veggie Pride Parade in the U.S., held in New York City on May 18th. Inspired by the Veggie Pride parade first held in Paris in 2001 (see item #7: http://tinyurl.com/5tqcgx ), organizer Pamela Rice, of the VivaVegie Society, explained that the event’s purpose was to promote vegan and vegetarian lifestyles and the ethical treatment of animals. “We want people to understand the ramifications of their food choices,” she said. A giant pink replica of a human colon, complete with polyps and a soiled colostomy bag, help bring home the health implications of the parade, which passed through Manhattan’s old meatpacking district (in Greenwich Village). The event included speakers, music, free food and literature, and the marriage of mascots Penelo Pea Pod and Chris P. Carrot. Photos, media links and other info about the parade can be found at: http://www.veggieprideparade.org. See also: http://tinyurl.com/65gca7
PROUD VEGETARIANS, IN COSTUME, TAKE TO THE STREETS
The New York Times, Cara Buckley, May 19, 2008
‘GIVE PEAS A CHANCE,’ VEGGIE PRIDERS WILL SAY
The New York Sun, Gary Shapiro, May 15, 2008
WORLD VEGETARIAN WEEK
May 19th to 25th is being observed as World Vegetarian Week. During the week, the (U.K.) Times, with a circulation of over one million, ran “10 REASONS TO GO VEGGIE” on the home page of its Life and Style section, concluding, “If you are ready to give it a try check out www.VegCooking.com for recipes and meal plans and to take the World Vegetarian Week 7-Day Pledge.”
A new survey commissioned by Swedish Glace reveals that one in ten Brits are either vegetarian or vegan, with nearly the same number having tried but failed to switch to a meat-free diet. The vast majority became vegetarian on account of the way animals are kept, treated and killed for food, or because they are morally opposed to killing animals. A third said they did it for health and fitness.
10 REASONS TO GO VEGGIE
The Times, May 20, 2008
READY, VEGGIE, GO!
Easier Lifestyle, May 15, 2008
OPRAH AND OTHERS GO VEG
“How can you say you’re trying to spiritually evolve, without even a thought about what happens to the animals whose lives are sacrificed in the name of gluttony?” blogged Oprah Winfrey after rereading “A New Earth,” by motivational speaker Eckhart Tolle. The talk show mega-celebrity is going vegan for 3 weeks as part of a “cleanse,” which was also inspired by Kathy Freston, author of Quantum Wellness. "I had been focused on what I had to give up – sugar, gluten, alcohol, meat, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese. `What's left?' I thought," Winfrey wrote on day two. `Apparently a lot. I can honestly say every meal was a surprise and a delight…’” More at: http://tinyurl.com/3zm346 There is speculation that fellow talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres may also try veganism: http://tinyurl.com/4jgvku. See also: OPRAH CHECKS OUT THE VEGAN DIET: WILL AMERICA FOLLOW?
Sports figures following in the veg route who have recently made news include National Basketball Association players Nakia Sanford and six-time all-star Taj McWilliams-Franklin, along with Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers: http://tinyurl.com/5p4vov (and see: http://tinyurl.com/5hkxb3 ). "He could put his hand over your entire head and crush you," actor Steve Carell (The Office) says of international wrestling sensation Dalip Singh Rana, a 7 foot, 3 inch vegetarian who weighs in at 420 pounds: http://tinyurl.com/6gkqkw. Ultimate Fight champ Mac Danzig explains, “When I decided to go vegan, I was able to make the 155-pound weight class much easier, and I haven’t lost an ounce of muscle”: http://outsports.com/jocktalkblog/?p=943.
OPRAH WINFREY GOES VEGAN FOR 21 DAYS
Access Hollywood, May 22, 2008
OPRAH WINFREY'S 21-DAY DIET DETOX
People, Caris Davis, May 22, 2008