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Farm Animal Welfare Coaltion Farm Animal Welfare Coalition http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=frontpage Tue, 21 Nov 2017 21:14:32 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Pacelle pledges support for Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, Buckeye ag agreement http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=96:pacelle-pledges-support-for-ohio-livestock-care-standards-board-buckeye-ag-agreement&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=96:pacelle-pledges-support-for-ohio-livestock-care-standards-board-buckeye-ag-agreement&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50

Farm and Dairy

by Chris Kick

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — The leader of the nation’s largest animal welfare organization has pledged his support for the newly created Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.


In an Aug. 24 meeting at the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg, The Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle told board members he upholds the ballot decision Ohioans approved last fall calling for the board’s formation, and its charge to set standards of welfare for farm animals.

 

“We recognize the vote of the citizens of Ohio on Issue 2, and we recognize the authority of the livestock board,” Pacelle said during the board’s public comment period.

 

The board is the first of its kind in the nation and was approved with nearly a two-thirds vote. He called it “a novel structure to address an increasingly complex set of issues. It’s not just animal welfare, it’s production, it’s environment, it’s rural values, it’s food safety. This is a tangle of issues.”

 

Pacelle’s approval comes at a time when other midwestern states are working on their own care boards, to keep animal welfare concerns under their own power. His acceptance of the Ohio board has evolved over an 18-month period, following his unsuccessful attempt in January 2009 to negotiate with Ohio’s agriculture leaders.

 

The matter then proceeded to the state’s Issue 2 campaign and voter passage of state Issue 2 in November, which called for the creation of an Ohio-based care board to determine standards for Ohio’s livestock.

 

Change of mind

 

Initially, Pacelle and HSUS were opposed to creation of the board, but made little effort to defeat the initiative. Instead, HSUS launched its own ballot initiative in the spring of 2010, to mandate to the care board, certain “minimum standards.”

 

As the June signature filing deadline came to a close in Ohio, HSUS reported that it had collected the sufficient number to appear on the November ballot (just over 400,000). But at the same time, and virtually at the last minute, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland announced that a deal had been reached between HSUS and Ohio’s farm groups, that would ultimately prevent what he called costly spending on “an acrimonious campaign.”

 

Contentious issue

 

Pacelle said it was unclear who would have won if another initiative had appeared on the state’s ballot. What was clear is, only one party would prevail.

 

“I guarantee you that with a ballot initiative one side would have lost,” he said. “Here, we have the possibility of two sides (winning).

 

Pacelle said the compromise wasn’t easy, for his supporters, or for the supporters of Ohio agriculture.

 

“I know that while we have disagreements with some of those trade representatives and some of the representatives certainly have disagreements with us, I think we saw each other as fair-minded, serious-minded people,” he said. “If we can’t sit down in society and work some of these things out, that portends trouble.”

 

Pacelle noted there are differing world perspectives as to how animals are treated and used.

 

“We’ve got very different world views — a lot of us — on how animals should be treated in agriculture. Folks who are using the conventional methods of veal production and gestation crate production are in a different place than a lot of the folks whom I work with.”

 

Those whom he works with at HSUS promote a vegan agenda — abstaining from eating meat, dairy and other animal products. HSUS supports what it calls the “Three-R-s,” reduce, refine and replace consumption of animal foods — points that have sparked criticism from livestock producers, who want to promote and increase demand for their product.

 

But Pacelle said the standards listed in the compromise will have a positive effect on farm-consumer relations.

 

“The industry will be better off with the American consumer, if these policies are adopted,” he said.

 

Good-faith

 

The agreement, which contains the signatures of Strickland, Ohio’s major farm commodity groups and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, is not legally binding. But there are repercussions both sides could face if conditions go unmet, including a return to the ballot in future elections.

 

“This is a gentlemens and gentelowmens agreement between the parties, a good-faith effort to figure out a pathway forward for all of us … and the nation will be looking at what you do,” Pacelle said. “Are we going to have these really polarized circumstances, or are we going to find a pathway forward.”

 

Board member Jeff Wuebker, a farmer from Versailles, said Pacelle’s comments were “timely” and “a good summary” of the Ohio-HSUS agreement.

 

Jerry Lahmers, board member and farmer from Newcomerstown, said he heard some significant points in Pacelle’s testimony, some that surprised him, but in a good way.

 

“It’s interesting to me that he made these comments,” Lahmers said. “He would appear to support us.”

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thedalen@gmail.com (Administrator) frontpage Fri, 27 Aug 2010 00:50:51 +0000
Changes could cost Ohio's egg, hog industries http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=95:-changes-could-cost-ohios-egg-hog-industries&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=95:-changes-could-cost-ohios-egg-hog-industries&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 Compromise on animal welfare may hurt outside investment

By Ben Sutherly, Staff Writer Updated 1:59 AM Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ohio’s egg and hog industries, which together generated more than $1 billion in sales in 2008, recently negotiated compromises with the Humane Society of the United States on controversial housing practices for farm animals.

The agreement, reached behind closed doors in late June and brokered by Gov. Ted Strickland, headed off a potentially nasty battle leading up to the November elections that both sides said could have cost millions of dollars and bruised agriculture’s public image.

The deal, if implemented, isn’t expected to have much impact on what consumers pay for pork and eggs. But some fear it could discourage outside investment in Ohio’s hog and egg industries.

The recommendations, for example, throw another roadblock in front of state permits that would create Ohio’s largest single egg farm, Hi-Q Egg Products LLC, in Union County. The controversial project’s 6 million chickens might have increased the size of Ohio’s egg industry, the nation’s second largest, by more than 20 percent, though environmentalists, neighbors and some elected officials have claimed the farm’s environmental and community costs would outweigh its benefits.

The farm doesn’t yet have final permits, and a spokeswoman for the governor said it won’t get those permits in time to be grandfathered when the proposed rules take effect.

In negotiating a compromise, “everyone at the table understood that the Hi-Q project would not come to fruition under these rules,” spokeswoman Amanda Wurst said. A Hi-Q official said only that the agreement is being evaluated.

Under the compromise, the state’s Livestock Care Standards Board — created by voters last year through state Issue 2 — will be asked to end existing hog farms’ use of crates to house pregnant pigs by the end of 2025. New hog farms would be banned from using those “gestation crates” after this year.

The board also will be asked to place a moratorium on new egg farms that confine chickens in “battery cages.” Existing egg farms could continue to operate as they currently do, but could only expand caged egg production at existing facilities.

If voters had approved the HSUS’ ballot initiative in November’s elections, Tim Weaver said his Versailles-based Weaver Bros. Inc. would have gone out of business in six years rather than invest $125 million or more to revamp its large chicken houses for cage-free production. The compromise gives him more confidence his egg operation can be passed down to a fourth generation, he said.

“As a businessman, I have no problem responding to consumer demand and long-term, reasoned scientific research,” Weaver said. “It’s really difficult for me to run a business and respond to short-term, emotional, political arguments.”

Some local hog farmers, initially disappointed by the agreement, said it may have been the best option under the circumstances. The state’s few hundred hog farmers who house sows, or mother pigs, have 15 years to make the transition, but like egg farmers would have had only six years under a proposed ballot initiative for which the HSUS collected signatures prior to the compromise.

“We bought ourselves some time,” said Phillip Jordan, whose family raises hogs in Preble County near the Indiana border and has 950 sows.

Animal welfare compromise

To head off a showdown on the November ballot, farm groups, the Humane Society of the United States and Gov. Ted Strickland agreed at the end of June to make changes in how some animals on Ohio’s livestock and egg farms are housed. Here’s a look at some of the key changes will affect Ohio agribusiness:

EGGS

Now: Most commercial egg farms in Ohio are large enough to need environmental permits from the state Department of Agriculture, and must provide a certain amount of space per bird.

What’s changing: All new egg facilities in Ohio that use battery cages would be denied, but Ohio’s existing egg farms could continue to operate and could expand using current housing methods. Cage-free egg production would be one acceptable alternative.

HOGS

Now: Hog farmers may keep pregnant pigs in crates.

What’s changing: Hog farmers would have to quit keeping pregnant pigs in crates by the end of 2025.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE INDUSTRIES

Ohio is the nation’s second largest producer of eggs and ninth largest hog producer. Combined, both industries in the state were worth more than $1 billion in 2008. The long-term impact of the new agreement on Ohio’s hog and egg industries remains unclear. But it could be another significant roadblock for Ohio’s largest proposed egg farm, a controversial Union County project that could house up to 6 million chickens and potentially have increased the size of Ohio’s egg industry by more than 20 percent.

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thedalen@gmail.com (Administrator) frontpage Mon, 23 Aug 2010 03:36:10 +0000
Veggieworld: Why eating greens won't save the planet http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=94:veggieworld-why-eating-greens-wont-save-the-planet-&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=94:veggieworld-why-eating-greens-wont-save-the-planet-&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 20 July 2010 by Bob Holmes

Magazine issue 2769. Subscribe and save

For similar stories, visit the Food and Drink Topic Guide

IF YOU'RE a typical westerner, you ate nearly 100 kilograms of meat last year. This was almost certainly the costliest part of your diet, especially in environmental terms. The clamour for people to eat less meat to save the planet is growing ever louder. "Less meat = less heat", proclaimed Paul McCartney in the run-up to last December's conference on global warming in Copenhagen. And this magazine recently recommended eating less meat as a way to reduce our environmental footprint.

If less is good, wouldn't none be better? You might think so. "In the developed world, the most effective way to reduce the environmental impact of diet, on a personal basis, is to become vegetarian or vegan," says Annette Pinner, chief executive of the Vegetarian Society in the UK.

It seems like a no-brainer, but is it really that simple? To find out, let's imagine what would happen if the whole world decided to eliminate meat, milk and eggs from its diet, then trace the effects as they ripple throughout agriculture, the environment and society. The result may surprise you.

In 2008 the world consumed about 280 million tonnes of meat, 700 million tonnes of milk and 1.2 billion eggs, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Environmentally speaking, this came at an enormous cost.

All agriculture damages the environment - think of all those felled forests and ploughed-up prairies, all the irrigation water, manure, tractor fuel, pesticides and fertiliser. Agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than all methods of transport put together, and contributes to a host of other problems, from nitrogen pollution to soil erosion.

Livestock farming does the most damage. In part, that is because most livestock eat grain that could be used to feed people. As little as 10 per cent of that grain gets converted into meat, milk or eggs, so livestock amplify the environmental impact of farming by forcing us to grow more grain than we would otherwise need.

As a rough measure of how much more, consider that livestock consume about a third of the world's grain crop. So as a first approximation, a vegan world would need only two-thirds of the cropland used today. That's only part of the story, of course: meat and milk make up about 15 per cent of calories eaten by humans, so we would need to eat more grain to compensate for their loss. Altogether, switching to a vegan diet would reduce the amount of land used for crops by 21 per cent - about 3.4 million square kilometres, roughly the size of India.

Such a reduction would have a huge effect on the environmental impact of farming. Take nitrogen pollution, which can lead to eutrophication in lakes. As a small-scale illustration, environmental scientist Allison Leach of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville calculated that if everyone at her university cut out meat from their diet, it would reduce the university's nitrogen footprint - the amount of nitrogen released to the environment from all activities - by 27 per cent. This is largely because of reductions in fertiliser use and the amount of nitrogen leaching from manure. If everyone went a step further and eliminated dairy products and eggs as well, Leach found that the university's nitrogen footprint would fall by 60 per cent.

It's not just in terms of nitrogen that livestock impact the environment. Global statistics are hard to come by, but in the US at least, livestock account for 55 per cent of soil erosion and 37 per cent of pesticide use. As well as that, half of all antibiotics manufactured are fed to livestock, often as part of their normal diet, a practice that is leading to antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

That's not all. Livestock are also a major source of greenhouse gases. Much of this comes in the form of methane - an especially potent greenhouse gas - produced by microbes in the guts of grazers such as cattle and sheep, and eventually belched out to the atmosphere. Livestock farming also accounts for a lot of carbon dioxide, mostly from forests being cut down for pasture, or when overgrazing and the resulting soil erosion causes a net loss of carbon from soils. When you add all this together, livestock account for a whopping 18 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalents, according to Livestock's Long Shadow, a 2006 FAO report. Eliminating livestock would certainly make a big difference in efforts to control global warming.

Just how big a difference depends on what replaces the livestock and the land it grazes. Certainly, where pastures revert to forests - particularly in areas like the Amazon basin, for example, where 70 per cent of deforested land is now pasture - the regrowing forest will sequester huge amounts of carbon. The American plains, too, would accumulate carbon in their soil if grazing stopped. But in sub-Saharan Africa, any reduction in methane from domestic grazers is likely to be at least partially offset by increased emissions from wild grazers and termites, which compete with livestock for food. "It's certainly worth someone spending some time to look at that," says Philip Thornton, an agricultural systems scientist with the International Livestock Research Institute.

Hidden costs

A meat-free world, then, would be greener in many ways: less cropland, more forest and, presumably, more biodiversity; lower greenhouse gas emissions; less agricultural pollution; less demand for fresh water - the list goes on. Clearly, if meat, milk and eggs were on trial for crimes against the environment, the prosecution would have an easy ride. And that says nothing of animal-welfare issues.

But wait. If everyone opted to give up meat there would be significant costs, too. It is true that most livestock today are fed grain that people could otherwise eat, but it doesn't have to be so. For most of human history, cattle, sheep and goats grazed on land that wasn't suitable for ploughing, and in doing so they converted inedible grass into edible meat and milk. Even today, a flock of sheep or goats can be the most efficient way to get food from marginal land. In a world where more than a billion people don't have enough to eat, taking such land out of production would only contribute to food insecurity. Moreover, for semi-arid or hilly land, modest levels of grazing may cause much less ecological damage than growing crops.

Even pigs and chickens, which lack the digestive machinery to eat grass, don't need grain. Instead they can subsist on leftovers and whatever they forage. "Your household pig was your useful dustbin," says Tara Garnett, who heads the Food Climate Research Network at the University of Surrey in Guildford, UK. "You give your leftovers to the pigs, they deal with your rubbish, and you get meat." Fed in this way, livestock represent a net gain of calories and protein in the human diet while dealing with some of the estimated 30 to 50 per cent of food that goes to waste - a benefit that a meat-free world would have to do without. Most pig and chicken farms are missing a trick here, since the animals eat commercial, grain-based feeds.

You give your leftovers to the pigs, they deal with your rubbish and you get meat

Another downside would be the disappearance of animal by-products. A meat-free world would have to replace the 11 million tonnes of leather and 2 million tonnes of wool that come from livestock farming every year. Not only that, many farmers would miss the manure, though the use of animal fertiliser is less important than it once was. "Manure has become a minor source of nitrogen in all major agricultural countries. It's not unimportant, but it accounts for probably less than 15 per cent of total nitrogen," says Vaclav Smil, an environmental scientist at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.

Even ardent vegetarians acknowledge that dairy products and even meat may be a good thing in poorer countries. "Whilst there's no doubt that considerable reduction of meat consumption would have an environmental benefit, we do have to be careful about saying it would be the best solution if the whole world went vegetarian," says Pinner. For as many as a billion of the world's poorest rural residents, an animal or two may represent their only realistic hope for a little extra income, and a little bit of animal protein can make a big difference to a marginal diet.

What if we decided on a vegetarian, rather than vegan diet? After all, milk and eggs are very efficient ways of producing animal calories, second only to factory-reared broiler chickens. Unfortunately, an exclusively lacto-ovo livestock system simply doesn't work well in practice.

"It's difficult to switch to a no-meat but milk diet, because you cannot produce milk without meat," says Helmut Haberl, a social ecologist at the Institute of Social Ecology in Vienna, Austria. Dairy cows must calve every year to keep producing milk, and only half their offspring will be female. While many vegetarians see moral reasons not to kill and eat the males - or retired dairy cows - there is surely no practical reason to waste so much meat. Similar arguments apply to chickens kept for eggs.

So even though a meat-free world sounds good on paper, it is likely that a utopian future will still have some animal products in it. And we are talking meat, not just milk and eggs. The real questions, then, are how much meat do we want, and how will we produce it?

The answers depends on how you approach the question. The most straightforward is to assume that the world will continue to demand ever more meat. That is certainly how things are going at the moment (see "Wealth = meat").

Under this scenario, the goal will have to be producing the most meat at the lowest environmental cost. That means fewer free-range cattle and sheep grazing in bucolic pastures and more animals, especially chickens, packed into feedlots or high-density enclosures. "If you're going to keep some livestock systems, I think the ones you'll want to keep are the intensive ones," says Walter Falcon, an agricultural economist at Stanford University in California.

Indigestible grass

That's because pasture grazing is inherently inefficient. Animals burn large amounts of energy roaming about the landscape feeding on relatively indigestible grasses. They grow more slowly than feedlot animals and, as a result, emit more methane over their lifetime. A beef cow in a US pasture, for example, emits 50 kilograms of methane per year, compared with just 26 kilograms in a feedlot, according to Livestock's Long Shadow.

But even a feedlot cow is a much less efficient meat producer than an industrial pig or chicken. While these eat a largely grain-based diet and thus compete directly with humans for food, they are relatively good at converting feed into flesh while producing little or no methane. This keeps their environmental cost down: a kilogram of industrial chicken meat represents greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to just 3.6 kilograms of CO2; a kilogram of pork, 11.2 kilograms; and a kilogram of beef, 28.1 kilograms, according to an analysis by Bo Weidema of sustainable development consultancy 2.-0 LCA based in Aalborg, Denmark.

Of course, such intensive operations cause other problems as well, notably the disposal of large amounts of manure. In theory - and increasingly in practice - much of this manure could be used to generate biogas and subsequently electricity. If all US livestock manure were processed in this way, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 100 million tonnes annually, equivalent to 4 per cent of the emissions from electricity generation (Environmental Research Letters, vol 3, p 034002). With the right incentives, intensive livestock farms could cause much less environmental damage than they do today.

There is another alternative, though: treat livestock as part of the ecosystem. Garnett envisions returning animals to their original role as waste-disposal units, eating food leftovers and grazing on land not suitable for crops. "In that context," she says, "methane emissions per animal will be higher, but overall emissions would be less because there would be fewer animals."

Fewer animals means less meat of course. Just how much less, no one really knows. As a first approximation, Garnett notes that about half of global meat production comes from intensive animal-only farms, and none of these would be allowed under the ecological approach. What is left would be those ranches where animals graze on marginal land and are not fed grain - about 10 per cent of the total today - and a larger number of mixed farms where the livestock feed off crop residues, milling wastes and other leftovers.

Such a future would require a major adjustment in food preferences. People would need to eat less meat, especially in the meat-hungry west. Not only that, but we would also have to change the kind of meat we eat. "You are not going to get your fat, heavy-breasted chickens by feeding them household scraps and letting them peck for worms. You are going to get a much scrawnier animal," says Garnett.

Would people really accept pricey free-range beef and scrawny barnyard chickens perhaps once or twice a week? Certainly most do not today, opting for price and abundance over environmental impact. But change happens. Given the deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that will result if worldwide meat production continues to rise, some people are already choosing to eat less meat. And the message is definitely less, not none. For best results, meat should be medium-rare.

Wealth = meat

Persuading the world to eat less meat looks like a tough task. In country after country, as people become wealthier they eat more meat. Between 1980 and 2002, per capita meat consumption in developing countries doubled to 28 kilograms per year, and is projected to rise to 37 kilograms per year by 2030.

That is still less than half what the average person in the developed world eats today, and demand is still rising. In the west, people ate nearly 8 per cent more meat per capita in 2002 than they did in 1992.

When you add this to the growing population, the United Nations' best guess is that by 2050, the world will need to more than double its production of meat - an increase that would be environmentally disastrous.

Bob Holmes is a consultant for New Scientist based in Edmonton, Canada

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thedalen@gmail.com (Administrator) frontpage Mon, 23 Aug 2010 03:34:40 +0000
From Homeland to Wasteland http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=93:from-homeland-to-wasteland&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=93:from-homeland-to-wasteland&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 In the latest issue of All Animals magazine, author David Kirby describes the health and environmental problems caused by concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and the fight against industrial animal production in rural America

All Animals magazine, July/August 2010

Editor's note: David Kirby's Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment was published in March by St. Martin's Press. He also wrote the award-winning New York Times bestseller Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic—A Medical Controversy (St. Martin's Press, 2005). A journalist for more than 15 years, he has appeared on numerous television and radio programs and is a contributor to The Huffington Post.

by David Kirby

Prologue

They've been threatened with lawsuits, and with their lives. They've been shunned at church meetings and labeled anti-farm terrorists by Big Ag operators. But they never, ever give up.

For those fighting the encroachment of industrial animal production into the bucolic corners of heartland America, surrender is unthinkable. They care too deeply about the fate and well-being of rural communities, natural habitats, water and air quality, human health, and animal welfare to let corporate agriculture's share-cropping animal factories spread across the landscape without a fight, no matter how unpleasant things get.

My book Animal Factory details many of the health and environmental risks of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), risks that I came to learn about firsthand in my two years of traveling around 20 states where CAFOs are causing problems.

In some cases, it seems, CAFOs can kill.

I first heard about the hazards of factory farming from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whom I got to know through my writing on autism. Kennedy described a tragic situation in a small town called Prairie Grove, tucked in the hilly country of the poultry-packed "Chicken Belt" of Northwest Arkansas. Giant chicken companies had fed their birds arsenic—a growth promoter and intestinal disease treatment—and local farmers had then spread arsenic-laced chicken litter as fertilizer on many of the fields surrounding Prairie Grove.

After visiting the quiet, shady town, I realized how desperate things are there. Arsenic traced to chicken feed has been found in the air filters of local homes. Dozens of cancer cases, including at least 20 in children, have savaged Prairie Grove. Three 14-year-old boys came down with the same extremely rare form of testicular cancer.

I myself succumbed to much milder symptoms of CAFO pollution. After spending time near the dry, dusty megadairies of Washington and California, and breathing in copious amounts of pulverized cattle feces mixed with pathogens and drugs, I would develop a mild fever, achy joints, a phlegmatic hack, and a raspy throat. Megadairy neighbors call it "manure flu." When I got home from these trips, I would open my suitcase to a massive whiff of cow poop that I brought home with me, enmeshed in my clothes.

So when people I interviewed told me that CAFOs make them sick, I could commiserate. My experiences helped me to relate directly to the rural activists I profiled in my book—people who are defending communities against factory farming interests across the country, from the megadairies in Washington State to the jam-packed "hog belt" of North Carolina.

Mostly farmers and fishermen from conservative backgrounds, they are ordinary Americans driven to extraordinary measures. The book leaves them in the summer of 2009. What follows is a brief update on three of the activists I profiled—and how their struggles continue long after the last page is turned.


The Dark Side of Dairy

Contaminated wells, worthless homes

Helen Reddout became a full-fledged CAFO activist one summer evening in 1996, when her farmhouse was invaded by the choking stench of dairy cow effluence.

"It was like a thousand gallons of fermented sewage had been poured on my bed," she remembers.

The fertile Lower Yakima Valley, Reddout's home since the 1950s, had been overrun recently by dairy CAFOs that were driving out the small, pasture-based dairies that had dotted the area.

Much of that waste is stored in giant "lagoons" and then sprayed on cropland. But there's far more manure than the land can absorb. Overapplication of nitrogen and phosphorous contaminates the Yakima River, the Valley's lifeblood, as well as aquifers that supply water to thousands of homes.

In 1998, Reddout and her group Community Association for Restoration of the Environment (CARE) sued several local megadairies for violating the Clean Water Act. The one defendant that did not settle was excoriated by a federal judge and ordered to pay historic sums in fines and legal fees. All of the settlement money from the other defendants went to fund well-water testing around the Valley.

In Animal Factory, I detail how residents' well water had indeed been contaminated with dangerously high levels of nitrates—a known cause of diabetes, spontaneous abortions, blue-baby syndrome, and other health issues. The main source is probably manure.

To find out for sure, EPA officials took some 1,000 samples, and final results will be known this summer. The first round of testing found that one in five samples contained a level of nitrates over the safety limit of 10 parts per million; Reddout's well was contaminated at 10.7 parts per million. Affected households were ordered to stop drinking well water, and some people were told to avoid skin contact as well.

"I had to put six Kleenexes over my mouth, it smelled so bad, and we were four miles away!"

CARE's alliance also has found that the megadairies are dumping cow waste and carcasses for composting on Indian lands. The group is working with Yakima Nation leaders on banning the practices.

"They need it. One man said they were they throwing dozens of dead animals on a pile," Reddout says. "Dogs were carrying hides, skulls, and feet into his yard. His grandchildren were afraid to go outside."

Reddout's work has taken her beyond the scrubby hills of her beloved valley, most recently to Maricopa, Ariz., where a massive beef operation is making life miserable for many.

"I had to put six Kleenexes over my mouth, it smelled so bad, and we were four miles away!" she says. The stench made her throw up. "It was so sickening and so ugly. You could feel the stuff on you."

She met with distraught neighbors in a beautiful new subdivision at a mission-style home that was once worth $300,000. Now it's empty.

"The owner would love to stay here, but she's giving up and moving back to California, paying the bank $50,000 to walk away."

Several families were there, many with preschool-aged children, all on breathing machines, Reddout says, adding that "asthma and autism levels are high in the area."

Back in Yakima, the EPA agreed to molecular testing of the nitrates to determine their origin. "And once that's found, we don't want more studies or education; we want prosecution of the offenders," Reddout warns.

That could happen. EPA officials told her they will make nitrates in Yakima groundwater a "showcase issue" this year, she says. "And that's a great victory for our valley."

"Manure Lady" vs. Giant Crab Bubbles: Welcome to Eastern Indiana

Barbara Cox doesn't know whether to laugh or cry when her grandchildren call her "The Manure Lady." But she has to admit that the nickname fits. Cox has scrambled around her native Indiana for several years, helping people organize against CAFOs, both those that are incoming and those already in place.

In Indiana, where Gov. Mitch Daniels has vowed to double pork production by 2015, it's not always easy work. But that hardly intimidates Cox: She packs a wallop of energy into her 5-foot-3 frame, and her down-home but serious demeanor has led officials to fear and respect the plucky little grandma from eastern Indiana.

Cox is strongly pro-agriculture and, coming from a dairy family, she knows all about cows.

"I learned that you treat the animals right and you will prosper," she says. "We had the most pampered cows in the county: about 80 to 100 of them."

Now, most dairy cows in Indiana are packed into concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), like one that was threatening Winchester, a small dot in the sprawling cornfields east of Muncie. Union-Go Dairy was storing 21 million gallons of waste in a lagoon lined with synthetic material, to prevent seepage.

But methane and other gases got under the lining, creating an archipelago of six big bubbles towering 20 feet into the air like giant brown popovers. In the summer of 2008, Cox warned officials the crap bubbles could explode into flaming balls of methane, damaging buildings, killing livestock, contaminating wells, and coating nearby acres with a greasy film of liquid cow poop.

But it wasn't until a Wall Street Journal reporter showed up and wrote about the "bubble-trouble" lagoon that officials ordered the dairy to do something. Owner Tony Goltstein was threatening to pop the bubbles with a knife. But that could unleash a witch's brew of deadly methane, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide into the surrounding area.

"How are they going to safely burst those bubbles?" Cox demanded of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. "It's a huge concern for our health."

The crap bubbles could explode into flaming balls of methane, contaminating wells and coating nearby acres with a greasy film of liquid cow poop.

Eventually, a team of experts was dispatched to deflate the lagoon, inserting special valves into the bubbles and allowing the dangerous gases to slowly escape.

Cox had warned about CAFO cleanups for years, urging Indiana to require "financial assurance packages" against catastrophic events. But such reform is hard to achieve.

"We've taken bills to the legislature, only to see many stopped or not even heard in committee," she frets. "This year, we had one that would ban spreading manure within two miles of a state park." The biggest spreading weekends are Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day, she notes, when the parks are most in use.

But even this simple measure faltered, especially after the Indiana Chamber of Commerce opposed it. "I asked them why, when so many small businesses depend upon tourism near the parks," she says. She got no answer.

Another failure "really ticked me off," Cox says: an unsuccessful bill to ensure the proper disposal of dead animals. "When you have a compost pile for dead livestock, it's supposed to be covered and locked, so wild animals don't drag things into people's yards," she says. "And they voted it down—such a simple thing and they made it sound like something at the U.N."

But the Manure Lady won't fade away.

"We have pictures," she warns. "Dead turkeys in creeks, hog heads in backyards, rotting cowhides in gardens. They can't dispute those. They know we worked very hard on this issue."

And they know that Cox and her group, Indiana CAFO Watch, will be back again next time around.

Pigs, Poultry, and Pollution: Col. Dove to the Rescue

Rick Dove did two tours of duty in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine and a lengthy stint as a judge at Camp Lejeune, not far from his home on the Neuse River in New Bern, N.C. But it's his long wars with the hog concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) at home and chicken farms in Maryland that left the biggest mark.

Sometimes his work almost kills him. Dove still feels the effects of a nearly lethal multi-drug-resistant E. coli infection he contracted in 2008, after he fell from a canoe while trying to collect runoff samples at a Perdue poultry contractor on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

As an advocate for the Waterkeeper Alliance, he was leading some investigators up a tidewater ditch to the point where chicken CAFO leachate was likely spilling from a drainage pipe. From there, the waste could easily make its way to the Chesapeake Bay, site of legendary algal blooms and foul fish kills.

Dove knows all about the environmental and health hazards of letting too many nutrients from CAFOs leach into waterways. He left the Marines to become a fisherman on the Neuse, but it didn't last long. In the 1990s, nutrient-rich waters produced a raft of algal blooms, fish kills, and outbreaks of the dreaded protozoa Pfiesteria, which sucks blood from fish by the millions and sickens people on the water. A string of hurricanes in the late '90s swept both pigs and lagoon waste into massive foaming cauldrons of filth and death.

Dove and his colleagues—such as Larry Baldwin, Lower Neuse Riverkeeper in North Carolina, and Kathy Phillips, Assateague Coastkeeper in the Delmarva region—continue monitoring CAFOs. Using evidence gathered from their surveillance flights and risky water testing in ditches, they have filed two new Clean Water Act lawsuits.

One case involves "one of the worst polluters" in North Carolina, Dove says. "It's been problematic going back to the 1990s. We'd find discharges and turn the evidence over to the state, which did little more than apply a slap on the wrist." The state is "not doing what it should to monitor CAFOs and enforce the law," he adds. "So we decided to finally do something, and sent volunteers out and collected sufficient evidence to file a suit."

"The environmental problems associated with industrial hog pollution can no longer be ignored."

In February, Dove, Baldwin, the Neuse River Foundation, and the Waterkeeper Alliance sent a 60-day "notice of intent" to sue a 7,000-hog operation, J.C. Howard's Hill and Taylor Farm, "for illegally discharging harmful pollutants—including fecal coliform and oxygen-depleting nitrogen and phosphorous—into waters of the Neuse River watershed," says a Waterkeeper statement.

As Baldwin notes, with 2 million-plus hogs in the watershed producing the equivalent fecal waste of more than 20 million people, "the environmental problems associated with industrial hog pollution can no longer be ignored." The parties are discussing ways to eliminate the lagoons and sprayfields at this facility without litigation.

In Maryland, Phillips and Waterkeeper filed a similar notice against Alan and Kristin Hudson and their corporate contractor, Perdue Farms, who they allege are contaminating a stream that leads to the Chesapeake. They seek fines, operating changes, five years of monitoring, and legal fees.

Dove and Phillips had flown over the area in search of chicken waste piles near waterways, finding one such spot at the Hudson farm. Downstream from the CAFO—the same location where Dove took his near-fatal tumble—high levels of fecal coliform and E. coli were found on eight different days, according to the complaint.

The defendants have moved to dismiss the case. They say that inspectors determined the pile was human sewage sludge, to be used for fertilizer, and asked the Hudsons to move it back from the ditch. The plaintiffs dispute this account. Pretrial motions are being argued in federal court.

Dove knows that pursuing legal matters can take time. So does waiting for change to come from the top: Congress and the White House. But he's losing patience.

"North Carolina still has 2,600 pig cesspools cooking in the hot sun. If I were Mother Nature, I would say 'Enough is enough.' And now they are predicting much larger hurricane seasons, and these factories and lagoons are still out there, in harm's way."

One of these days, "probably not too far off," Dove warns, "nature is going to deliver one swift kick in the butt to us, and the best that environmentalists will be able to say is, 'I told you so.' And I don't know what that's going to be worth. There'll be no value in that because it'll be too late."

This is part one thru three of a four-part series. The entire article is published in the upcoming July/August issue of All Animals magazine. Part four will be published on Friday, July 16.

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thedalen@gmail.com (Administrator) frontpage Mon, 23 Aug 2010 03:32:27 +0000
Illinois adds animal welfare to livestock board brief http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=92:illinois-adds-animal-welfare-to-livestock-board-brief&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=92:illinois-adds-animal-welfare-to-livestock-board-brief&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 By Rita Jane Gabbett on 7/14/2010
Weber Inc

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation this week expanding the responsibilities of the Advisory Board of Livestock Commissioners in order to ensure the well-being of poultry and domestic animals.

“It is important that all animals – from household pets to livestock – are treated in a manner that is ethical and humane, and this bill is an important measure to ensure just that,” Quinn said in a news release.

Under Illinois Senate Bill 3604, effective immediately, the Advisory Board of Livestock Commissioners will be responsible for approving administrative rules related to the well-being of poultry and domestic animals. The board will also work to prevent, eliminate and control diseases that affect them.

Under the law, the Illinois Department of Agriculture will now be required to submit rules and regulations involving animal welfare issues that the board previously did not oversee.

The board consists of 25 members, 17 of which are appointed by the governor. Under the new law, each member appointed by the governor will serve a five-year term. Previously, there were no term limits for the governor’s appointments.

The new law also gives the governor authority to replace inactive board members.

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thedalen@gmail.com (Administrator) frontpage Mon, 23 Aug 2010 03:30:53 +0000
Animal Rights 2010 National Conference http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=91:animal-rights-2010-national-conference&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=91:animal-rights-2010-national-conference&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 From: July 15 at 4 PM
To: July 19 at 11 PM

Care about animals? Come out and visit 90+ FREE exhibits ~ social justice groups, compassionate shopping, delicious food, animal art, and more!

Conference includes speakers, updates from Whale Wars & other animal advocacy groups, and awards.

Conference Web site is www.arconference.org. Or call 888-ASK-FARM. Conference is hosted by Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) and co-sponsored by numerous animal advocacy organizations.

Cost: Exhibits are FREE to all. However, the rates for conference participation vary depending upon number of days attending.

Note that some of the participating organizations have additional events planned for Mon. July 20th.

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thedalen@gmail.com (Administrator) frontpage Mon, 23 Aug 2010 03:29:52 +0000
All things animal in Southern California and beyond http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=90:all-things-animal-in-southern-california-and-beyond&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=90:all-things-animal-in-southern-california-and-beyond&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 Los Angeles Times

June in animal news: Five questions with Humane Society of the United States leader Wayne Pacelle

July 2, 2010 |  8:20 pm

We're asking leaders in the animal protection movement to give us their insights into current issues affecting animals. Here, Humane Society of the United States president and chief executive Wayne Pacelle shares his take on the month of June in animal news and what animal lovers should watch for in July. Pacelle's responses represent his own views and not necessarily ours.

WaynePacelle Unleashed: What do you view as the most important development in animal news to happen in June?

Wayne Pacelle: A landmark agreement for the benefit of animals was reached in Ohio. Signature-gatherers for Ohioans for Humane Farms were certain to qualify a ballot measure to curb some of the most abusive practices on factory farms, similar to the ballot measure that California voters approved in November 2008.

Gov. Ted Strickland is a friend to animal protection and agriculture groups, and he pulled us together to try to reach an agreement. The agreement was driven by HSUS's reform agenda, and in the end, we settled on eight landmark reforms in the state in exchange for us holding off on submitting our measure for 2010. (Signatures do not expire in Ohio, so if the agreement is not honored, the signatures we've collected remain valid and we can pursue the measure next year.)

Californians are familiar with the basic issues, since Proposition 2 in 2008 received more "yes" votes than any other citizen initiative in state history. That ballot measure set in motion a phase-out of some abusive confinement practices on factory farms -- an idea that is widely supported by food retailers and family farmers in addition to consumers and animal advocates.

In lieu of a 2010 ballot fight in Ohio, the governor, The HSUS and the Ohio Farm Bureau agreed to the following:

-- A ban on veal crates by 2017.

-- An immediate ban on new gestation crates in the state, although existing facilities using them will have 15 years to end their use.

-- A moratorium on permits for new cage confinement facilities for laying hens.

-- A ban on strangulation of farm animals and mandatory humane euthanasia methods for sick or injured animals.

-- A ban on the transport of downed cows for slaughter.

-- Enactment of legislation to create felony-level penalties for cock fighters.

-- Enactment of a bill cracking down on puppy mills.

-- An administrative ban on the acquisition of dangerous exotic animals as pets such as primates, bears, lions, tigers, large constricting and venomous snakes, crocodiles and alligators.

Unleashed: What were the Humane Society's biggest projects in June?

Pacelle: Apart from Ohio, I joined a group of scientists for an independent assessment of wildlife devastation as a result of the Gulf oil spill. The HSUS team traveled by helicopter, by long-range boat and by land -- and it was clear that more people must be deployed to seek out and assist with oiled wildlife. We began urgent discussions with the Obama administration toward that aim.

Meanwhile, we also coordinated the delivery to 12 tons of pet food to help economically distressed families keep their dogs and cats in the hardest-hit coastal parishes of Louisiana. And we assisted local shelters by transporting 33 dogs north to make room for animals surrendered by residents whose incomes are drying up -- a sad and often overlooked consequence of this disaster.

Also in June, we appealed to the Federal Trade Commission to stop Rose Acre Farms, the country's second-largest egg producer, from making false animal welfare claims about having a "humane and friendly environment" for its caged hens. These and other claims are grossly misleading, no two ways about it.

The HSUS urged Gov. Schwarzenegger to sign a bill to require that shelled (whole) eggs sold in California comply with Proposition 2's animal welfare and food safety standards. And speaking of well-known names, celebrity chef and television personality Guy Fieri announced he will phase in the exclusive use of cage-free eggs at his two restaurant companies: Johnny Garlic's and Tex Wasabi's.

We assisted with cockfighting raids in California, Tennessee and South Carolina, and a dogfighting bust in Virginia -- demonstrating the unhappy fact that these criminal enterprises continue to undermine our communities and our culture. On the upside, law enforcement agents are increasingly determined to stamp out these horrible criminal rings.

I know you asked for "big" projects, but sometimes smaller initiatives bring home big results over time. Our grass-roots work gets results for animals month after month. In June, for instance, we held a free microchip clinic for pet owners in New Orleans with the Southern Animal Foundation. People lined up to participate. We also conducted a rabies-shot clinic in Jackson, Miss., with the Mississippi Animal Rescue League. We are very active in the Gulf promoting responsible pet ownership and combating pet overpopulation by encouraging spaying and neutering.

Finally, please let me add that we joined millions of Americans in mourning the loss of one of the nation's foremost voices for animals, West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd, who died at 92.

Unleashed: What will the Humane Society be working on in July?

Pacelle: We have pledged to do all we can to assist with the animal tragedy unfolding in the Gulf. The needs are great and our millions of supporters want animal rescue to be a higher priority. I can tell you that TV images, as powerful as they are, fail in one important respect: They do not adequately convey the scale of the area involved.

In Missouri, we are working to enlarge the coalition supporting a groundbreaking ballot measure designed to protect dogs from the worst cruelties involved with large-scale puppy mills. Like other businesses, large-scale dog breeding operations should answer to basic regulations in the public interest -- and that's what this initiative will do. With agricultural leaders now on our side against puppy mills in Ohio, large-scale breeders who resist even modest reforms are increasingly isolated.

As usual, you can expect our Animal Rescue Team, and our Mobile Animal Crimes Lab, to be on the road somewhere in the cause of combating cruelty and assisting local shelters and law enforcement.

Unleashed: How can interested animal lovers help in July?

Pacelle: Spring and summer are the busiest times for local animal shelters, with more litters of kittens and puppies coming through their doors. You can help save lives by spaying and neutering your pets. Also, consider volunteering your time and talents by walking dogs, socializing cats or becoming of a pet foster parent.

We encourage people to join with us in promoting the Shelter Pet Project -- the first-ever animal advertising campaign by the Ad Council. After all, a small increase in shelter adoptions can make a huge different for dogs and cats who need only a home and love. You can learn more about this important -- and entertaining -- campaign at TheShelterPetProject.org.

Our annual gathering of the nation’s animal advocates occurs in Washington, D.C., on July 24 and 25 -- and your readers are welcome. Taking Action For Animals is a vital conference for people who are able to attend and who want to make a real difference. Details are available at HumaneSociety.org.

I would also ask all your readers to join our HSUS e-mail list. We keep people up to the minute on actions they can take to help prevent cruelty.

Unleashed: What do you think is the most common misconception about your organization?

Pacelle: Let me see if I can frame the question a little differently. For some Americans, animal suffering is instinctively synonymous with household pets -- issues like overpopulation, abandonment, intentional acts of cruelty and human disregard. We spend a good deal of our time and energy on these problems. But we also work to bring public attention to other widespread animal cruelties. I don't think there is a "misconception" necessarily, but sometimes a lack of awareness. The Humane Society of the United States was established in 1954 by far-sighted people who understood that some cruelties were beyond the capacity of local animal shelters to deal with. We've been faithful to that mission ever since.

After all, many forms of animal cruelty do not occur where the public can see. Let me give you an example. In the South, a horrible blood sport has taken root. Foxes and coyotes are trapped from the wild, and one by one they are released inside pens and then dogs are turned loose to chase them down and kill them. Hard to believe, but this is called "sport." We are working to bring this misery to an end, forever. Florida is in the process of instituting a ban, and we are dedicated to eliminating it in every state.

What I'm saying is that animals depend on the good hearts of millions of Americans -- at the local level, at the national and the global level. Thank you for this chance to discuss our work -- and to readers, thank you for being engaged in the quest to end animal cruelty.

Wayne Pacelle has been the president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States since 2004 and, before that, was its spokesman and chief lobbyist for almost 10 years. He writes a blog about animal protection issues called A Humane Nation.

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thedalen@gmail.com (Administrator) frontpage Mon, 23 Aug 2010 03:28:50 +0000
ARS Study Eyes Egg Quality and Composition http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=89:ars-study-eyes-egg-quality-and-composition&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=89:ars-study-eyes-egg-quality-and-composition&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 By Sharon Durham
July 7, 2010

There's no substantial quality difference between organically and conventionally produced eggs. That's one of a number of findings in an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) study examining various aspects of egg quality.

ARS food technologist Deana Jones and her team in the agency's Egg Safety and Quality Research Unit in Athens, Ga., found that, on average, there was no substantial quality difference between types of eggs. So, no matter which specialty egg is chosen, it will be nearly the same quality as any other egg.

About 6.5 billion dozen shell eggs are produced each year in the United States, with a value of about $7 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service.

The ARS team found the biggest difference was the size of egg within a carton between brown and white eggs. Though brown eggs weighed more, white shell eggs had higher percentages of total solids and crude fat. But, according to the study, there was no significant difference in the quality of white and brown eggs.

Quality is measured by Haugh units, named after Raymond Haugh. In 1937, he developed the Haugh unit as a correlation between egg weight and the height of the thick albumen, or thickest part of the egg white. The Haugh unit has become the most widely used measurement of interior egg quality and is considered to be the "gold standard" of interior egg quality determination.

Jones and her team conducted a survey of white and brown large-shell eggs with various production and nutritional differences such as traditional, cage-free, free-roaming, pasteurized, nutritionally-enhanced, and fertile. The goal was to determine if physical quality and compositional differences exist among these different eggs.

Among the claims most often addressed on shell egg cartons are: husbandry practices, hen nutrition, enhanced egg nutrition (omega-3), organic and fertile. Pricing for these products is typically at a premium but can vary from market to market.

This research was published in the journal Poultry Science.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

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thedalen@gmail.com (Administrator) frontpage Mon, 23 Aug 2010 03:27:51 +0000
Farm owner won't face animal abuse charges http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=88:farm-owner-wont-face-animal-abuse-charges&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=88:farm-owner-wont-face-animal-abuse-charges&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 Tuesday, July 6, 2010  09:13 AM

By Holly Zachariah

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/07/06/cow-abuse-charges.html?sid=101

MARYSVILLE, Ohio -- A Union County grand jury has decided the owner of a Union County dairy farm caught in an abuse scandal should not face criminal charges.

A grand jury met last week and heard testimony from an Ohio Department of Agriculture veterinarian, the Union County Humane Society and others before deciding that dairy farmer Gary Conklin did nothing criminal, according to Union County Prosecutor David Phillips.

Jurors saw hours of video tape recorded by an undercover employee of the animal-rights group, Mercy For Animals, not just the few minutes that group posted on YouTube, Phillips said.

On the tape, Conklin employee Billy Joe Gregg is seen viciously beating and abusing cows and calves at the Plain City farm. Gregg has since been fired. He has been charged with 12 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and faces a felony weapons charge. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Also on the tape, Conklin is shown kicking a cow that is lying down.

Phillips said the portion of the tape shown publicly was spliced together and that Conklin's behavior was taken out of context. The Union County sheriff's office said it had four veterinarians with experience in large-animal care review the tape.

"In context, Mr. Conklin's actions were entirely appropriate," Phillips wrote in a news release this morning. "The veterinarians told law enforcement that cows who remain down are at risk of injury or death. A cow's muscles may atrophy. Once that happens, the cow may never get up and may suffer or die."

In an e-mailed statement, Gary Conklin called the announcement bittersweet.

"It is gratifying that the grand jury found no reason to bring any charges against our farm, family members or current employees," he wrote. "However, we remain extraordinarily saddened by the willful abuse of animals on our farm by one of our former employees."

He said this has been "a horrible time for the Conklin family" and that Gregg's abuse did not reflect the farm's commitment to animal care. He said he hopes to put the matter behind him, and continue to run the fourth-generation cattle-sales business along Rt. 42.

Jurors also reviewed the actions of another Conklin employee as well as the Mercy for Animals investigator, who admitted to poking animals with pitchforks to maintain his cover, and they found nothing that merited criminal charges, Phillips said.

The criminal investigation isn't over, however. Phillips said threats of violence and murder made by animal-rights activists against the Conklins are still under review and information may be forwarded to the U.S. Attorney's Office for possible charges under the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

Daniel Hauff, director of investigations for Mercy For Animals, said he could not comment until he had seen the prosecutor's office news release.

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thedalen@gmail.com (Administrator) frontpage Mon, 23 Aug 2010 03:26:45 +0000
Landmark Ohio Animal Welfare Agreement Reached Among HSUS, Ohioans for Humane Farms, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, and Ohio’s Leading Livestock Organizations http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=87:landmark-ohio-animal-welfare-agreement-reached-among-hsus-ohioans-for-humane-farms-ohio-gov-ted-strickland-and-ohios-leading-livestock-organizations&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 http://farmanimalcare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=87:landmark-ohio-animal-welfare-agreement-reached-among-hsus-ohioans-for-humane-farms-ohio-gov-ted-strickland-and-ohios-leading-livestock-organizations&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50 Phase Out of Extreme Confinement Systems for Breeding Pigs and Veal Calves; Immediate Moratorium on Battery Cage Construction, and Other Animal Welfare Reforms to Be Implemented

Gains in the Making on Puppy Mills, Cockfighting and Exotic Pet Trade

COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 30, 2010) – A deal struck among The Humane Society of the United States, Ohioans for Humane Farms, Ohio agriculture leaders and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland will lead to major animal welfare improvements in Ohio on a raft of issues, reforming industry practices and improving prospects for adoption of critical legislation in other areas. The agreement puts a hold on a planned factory farming initiative on the fall ballot.

“I’m grateful to Governor Strickland and his administration for their outstanding leadership on these issues,” said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO. Pacelle appeared with Gov. Strickland and Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Jack Fisher at a press conference to announce the agreement. “This agreement moves us forward on all of the components of the proposed ballot measure as well as other important advances for animals, too. I look forward to working with the Legislature and the Livestock Care Board to see these reforms adopted.”

The agreement includes recommendations from all of the parties for the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Care Board, the Legislature, and the Governor to adopt the following provisions:

· A ban on veal crates by 2017, which is the same timing as the ballot measure.

· A ban on new gestation crates in the state after December 31, 2010. Existing facilities are grandfathered, but must cease use of these crates within 15 years.

· A moratorium on permits for new battery cage confinement facilities for laying hens.

· A ban on strangulation of farm animals and mandatory humane euthanasia methods for sick or injured animals.

· A ban on the transport of downer cows for slaughter.

· Enactment of a legislation establishing felony-level penalties for cock fighters.

· Enactment of legislation cracking down on puppy mills.

· Enactment of a ban on the acquisition of dangerous exotic animals as pets, such as primates, bears, lions, tigers, large constricting and venomous snakes, crocodiles, and alligators.

“Ohioans should be proud that our state will be implementing these meaningful animal welfare reforms, and I am extremely grateful to all the Ohio animal advocates who gathered signatures to make this day possible,” said John Dinon, executive director of the Toledo Area Humane Society and president of the board of directors of Ohioans for Humane Farms. “Although I am a bit disappointed that action on battery cages will be delayed due to the compromise reached today, I still consider this a great victory for Ohio's animals and animal advocates.”

“These reforms represent important progress for farm animals and other animals in Ohio, and we’re grateful to all our volunteers in Ohio who worked so hard to make this happen,” said Gene Baur, president of Farm Sanctuary.

Ohio is one of only 11 states that do not have a felony law against cockfighting. The relatively meager penalties have made the state a safe haven for cockfighters from nearby states, and hampered law enforcement efforts to crack down on the illegal activity. The legislation, H.B. 108, passed the House and is awaiting a vote in a Senate committee.

The HSUS reached the agreement with the Ohio Farm Bureau and other agricultural commodity groups on the same day Ohioans for Humane Farms would have delivered more than 500,000 signatures to the Secretary of State. The group gathered enough signatures to put an anti-factory farming measure before Ohio voters in November.

“We are grateful to the Ohio volunteers who put tremendous energy towards the effort to gather enough signatures to place the measure on the ballot,” said Pacelle. “Their effort led to this  agreement that moves the ball forward on all those reforms while leading the state to address other serious animal welfare concerns and avoiding a costly and contentious campaign.”

-30-

Media Contact: Heather Sullivan, 301-548-7778, hsullivan@humanesociety.org

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching “HumaneTV” in the App Store.

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thedalen@gmail.com (Administrator) frontpage Mon, 23 Aug 2010 03:25:55 +0000