Posts Tagged ‘Farming’

Pigs Raised Without Antibiotics More Likely To Carry Bacteria, Parasites

June 13, 2008

While consumers are increasing demand for pork produced without antibiotics, more of the pigs raised in such conditions carry bacteria and parasites associated with food-borne illnesses, according to a new study.

A comparison of swine raised in antibiotic-free and conventional pork production settings revealed that pigs raised outdoors without antibiotics had higher rates of three food-borne pathogens than did pigs on conventional farms, which remain indoors and receive preventive doses of antimicrobial drugs.

“Animal-friendly, outdoor farms tend to have a higher occurrence of Salmonella, as well as higher rates of parasitic disease,” said lead study author Wondwossen Gebreyes, associate professor of veterinary preventive medicine at Ohio State University.

Click here for the full article.

P.S. – As long as you thoroughly cook your meat and prepare it under sanitary conditions, you probably don’t need to worry too much about salmonella poisoning (small children, elderly people, and already sick people have a slightly greater risk of contracting it).  To be safe, you should assume that at least half of all the raw chicken, eggs, pork, etc. you encounter is contaminated with salmonella and always take necessary precautions in preparing and cooking them (read the article for more specific information about this).

The study discussed in this article was funded by a grant from the National Pork Board.  I wonder if the National Pork Board has a vested interest in supporting factory farmed pork.  This seems like it may be an attempt to scare people away from “animal-friendly, outdoor farms,” and instead encourage them to purchase meat from more animal-unfriendly, indoor farms (aka, factory farms).

What do you think about this?  Write a comment and let me know.

Study: Factory Farming Taking Toll on Health, Economy

April 29, 2008

Factory farming takes a big hidden toll on human health and the environment, is undermining rural America’s economic stability and fails to provide the humane treatment of livestock increasingly demanded by American consumers, concludes an independent, 2 1/2 -year analysis that calls for major changes in the way corporate agriculture produces meat, milk and eggs.

The 111-page report released today, sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, finds that the “economies of scale” long used to justify factory farming practices are largely an illusion, perpetuated by a failure to account for a raft of associated costs.

Among those costs are human illnesses caused by drug-resistant bacteria associated with the rampant use of antibiotics on feedlots and degradation of land, water and air quality caused by animal waste too intensely concentrated to be neutralized by natural processes.

Click here for the full article.

Measure would give food animals space, but farmers say room to roam may not be best

April 29, 2008

Tender veal cutlets. Sizzling pork chops. Savory omelets.

For a growing number of Californians, these meals are sparking a moral conundrum: Should they worry about how animals lived before their products hit the plate?

California voters will answer that question in November with a new animal welfare ballot initiative. If passed, the measure would require farmers to provide enough space for breeding sows, veal calves and laying hens to turn around and stretch their limbs.

Click here for the full article.

You really should read this whole article.  Towards the end you will find the farmers’ perspectives, and they raise some very good points about sustainability and repercussions of requiring that laying hens have more room to move around.  This issue is more complicated than it might seem, and there are lots of factors to consider, like how to decide what is ultimately most humane for the animals, and how to address the rising costs of food, and what will be most beneficial for the environment.

-Kitty Mowmow

Farm animals are prescribed for mental health

April 24, 2008

Weekly contact with farm animals may help in treating people with psychiatric disorders, researchers in Norway say.

Bente Berget and Bjarne Braastad of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in As, Norway, conducted a randomized controlled study of 90 patients — 59 women and 31 men — with schizophrenia, affective disorders, anxiety and personality disorders. The study subjects completed self-assessment questionnaires on quality of life, coping ability and self-efficacy — self-judgment of goal meeting capabilities — before a 12-week period spending three hours twice a week working with the farm animals.

“During the six months follow-up period self-efficacy was significantly better in the treatment group, but not in the control group,” the researchers said in a statement.

Click here for the full article.

Rural landowners to protest endangered species law by clear-cutting 100 sq km

April 16, 2008

The Ontario Landowners’ Association is threatening to protest the province’s endangered species law by clear-cutting 100 square kilometres.

The land, near Lindsay, is home to at least one bird that is protected by Ontario’s new species-at-risk law.

Jack MacLaren, with the landowners association, says the Liberals are forcing them to take drastic action.

If an endangered bird is found on someone’s property, MacLaren says their property values plummet and they can no longer use part of the land for farming.

He says that’s not fair because the government doesn’t offer to compensate those landowners.

Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield says there is nothing the province can do to stop the clear-cutting if it’s done on private land.

Click here for the full article.

Anti-cruelty farm animals bill qualifies for state ballot

April 11, 2008

A measure that proponents say would provide basic protection for 20 million farm animals in California has qualified for the November ballot.

California Secretary of state Debra Bowen certified the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act for the Nov. 4 general election.

The measure would mandate that farm animals including cattle, pigs and chickens would be given enough room to turn around and extend their limbs in the crates and cages in which they are confined by food producers.

If approved, the law would not take effect until 2015, allowing seven years for compliance.

Click here for the full article.

Should Genetic Modification And RNA Interference Be Used On Farm Animals?

April 11, 2008

A range of new technologies including genetic modification (GM) and RNA Interference are being deployed to improve the health of farm animals in a series of European and global initiatives. The ground was laid for a European platform to develop new treatments that exploit these technologies at a recent workshop organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF).

The workshop highlighted the interlocking themes underlying the debate over livestock disease research, following a series of high profile epidemics and pandemics over the last two decades, including BSE, foot and mouth disease, bird flu, and PRRSV (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus) in pigs, coupled with the public relations problems facing GM technologies.

Click here for the full article.

Microchips Could Speed Up Detection Of Livestock Viruses

March 31, 2008

Some of the worst threats to farm workers and farm animals such as bird flu, foot-and-mouth disease and other emerging viruses could soon be quickly identified by using a simple screening chip developed by scientists from the Institute for Animal Health, scientists will hear March 31, 2008 at the Society for General Microbiology’s 162nd meeting.

“The last major SARS outbreak — severe acute respiratory syndrome — which started on the border of China and Hong Kong was identified using a microarray chip. Fortunately, because of the rapid identification of the virus it was brought under control, and in spite of its seriousness caused relatively few deaths,” says Dr Paul Britton of the Institute for Animal Health in Compton, near Newbury, Berkshire. “We need a similar way of quickly identifying viruses that attack chickens, cattle, pigs, sheep and other farm animals.”

The scientists have developed a microarray, called a chip, which contains specific small regions of virus genes that react with any viruses in the samples being tested, showing up as coloured spots on glass slides. The method can also be used to see if a sample contains two or more viruses.

“At the moment the common methods for detecting viruses rely on some previous knowledge, such as recognising the clinical signs of a disease,” says Dr Paul Britton. “A system that can be used by almost anyone, and that can quickly and accurately be used to identify the particular virus early on is vital to control these diseases before they spread, and will have much wider applications.”

Click here for the full article.

Lawmakers moving on bill for pork, veal animals

March 18, 2008

Under threat of a petition drive for a ballot question, Colorado lawmakers and state Agriculture Commissioner John Stulp are moving forward with a bill to increase regulations on confined animals that are raised for pork and veal.

Senate Bill 201, sponsored by District 6 Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, would prohibit the confinement of gestating sows or calves raised for veal in a way that does not allow the animal to stand up, lie down and turn around without touching the enclosure’s sides.

“My concern is to avert a ballot initiative, which I feel this does,” Stulp said during testimony last week before the Senate Agriculture Committee. “This recognizes the need … to address future husbandry issues and hopefully get out ahead of the curve.”

Unlike the potential ballot measure, the bill does not include regulation of caged egg-laying hens.

Stulp said the bill also deals with confinement of milk calves, even though Colorado as yet has no veal production facilities. He said veal producers have expressed interest in moving to the state at the invitation of dairy farmers.


“The dairy industry has been involved in some of the discussions around how we will treat veal calves if that industry does come to Colorado,” Stulp said.

The committee, which Isgar chairs, unanimously approved the bill for full Senate debate.

Click here for the full article.

Australia: Call to alter labels for animals’ sake

March 3, 2008

 

Food labels should be overhauled to include information on the treatment of animals, says the country’s chief law reform commissioner, David Weisbrot, who believes a push for animal rights could be the next great progressive movement in Australia.

Professor Weisbrot said labelling laws have not kept up with demand for organic and free-range products and could include a “trustmark” logo to show animals had been treated ethically.

“To date, the focus of food standards has been on human health, with no additional consideration of the treatment of animals in the farming and food process,” Professor Weisbrot writes in the Australian Law Reform Commission’s journal, Reform, whose latest issue is devoted to animal rights.

Click here for the full article.

For more animal-esque music, news, and issues, tune in to Kitty Mowmow’s Animal Expo online at www.thecapstone.ua.edu, Sunday nights 8-10 central.

Animal rights in China: A small voice calling

February 28, 2008

Human rights, or the lack of them, have long been a focus of China’s critics at home and abroad. But a new rights movement—complete with idealistic local and foreign campaigners—is stirring: animal rights.

Animals are treated dreadfully in Chinese farms, laboratories, zoos and elsewhere. There are grim factories where thousands of live bears in tiny cages are tapped for medicinal bile. At safari parks, live sheep and poultry are fed to lions as spectators cheer. At farms and in slaughterhouses, animals are killed with little concern for their suffering.

According to Zhou Ping, of China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress, few Chinese accept that animals have any rights at all. She thinks it is time they did, and in 2006 put forward China’s first national animal-welfare law. Her proposal got nowhere, and there is no sign of progress since. “There is so far”, she says, “only a small voice calling for change…”

Click here for the full article.

Hound River Farm in Georgia Is First Sheep Farm to Become American Humane Certified

February 27, 2008

The American Humane Certified farm animal program provides independent verification that livestock and poultry are raised humanely, in accordance with science-based animal welfare standards set forth by American Humane and its independent Scientific Advisory Council. Among other aspects, producers certified through American Humane’s program must ensure that their animals have ready access to fresh water, a nutritious diet, medical care and are handled by trained caregivers. They also must provide their animals with a comfortable environment that limits stress and enables them to freely express their normal behaviors.

Hound River Farm, a family-owned Katahdin meat sheep business in south Georgia, sells fresh and frozen lamb processed at Towson Cold Storage under the Hound River Farm label. The sheep and lambs graze freely in a predator-protected environment — no feedlots or artificial feeding methods are used. The sheep have constant access to well-managed pastures, supplemented, as needed, with hay grown on-site.

For more information about Hound River Farm, go to www.houndriverfarm.com. For more information about American Humane Certified, visit www.americanhumane.org/certified.

Click here for the full article.

See the video that led to beef recall

February 18, 2008

In aftermath of beef recall, watch video and take action to protect downer cows.

Take action for animal welfare standards for federal purchases!
 

February 18, 2008

 

Beef Recall Underscores Need to Protect “Downer” Cows

Dear Kitty Mowmow,

Take action now!Yesterday, the USDA issued the largest recall of beef in U.S. history, the latest action in response to The Humane Society of the United States’ groundbreaking undercover investigation of a dairy cow slaughter plant in Southern California.

The recall of 143 million pounds of beef came two days after San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos filed criminal charges against slaughter plant workers caught on video torturing crippled cattle, and two weeks after the USDA shut down that slaughter plant.

Our undercover investigation revealed shocking abuses of “downed” dairy cows — those who are too sick or injured to walk — at the Hallmark Meat Packing Company slaughter plant. Cows too weak to stand were dragged along the ground, shocked with electric prods, rammed with forklifts, and even forced to endure water being forced into their noses and throats — an act right out of the manual on water boarding.

Please watch our investigative video, and then take action today to stop this cruelty from happening again.

Our video of the cruelty is very difficult to watch. Even worse is the thought that an outfit like Hallmark Meat Packing Company got away with this kind of abuse every day, without proper oversight from the USDA.

Urge the USDA to tighten its lax enforcement of the downer rule and to close the rule’s loophole — so that cows who are obviously in no shape to walk are not brought to slaugherhouses in the first place and then abused once they are there.

Thank you for all you do for animals.

Sincerely,

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

Farm Farm Animals Animals

February 17, 2008

What do the FDA, cloning, music, and animals have in common?

They are all featured in tonight’s episode of Kitty Mowmow’s Animal Expo!

Join me as we explore the implications of cloning animals, using cloned animals as food, and the FDA’s recent rulings regarding this issue.  Most importantly, listen to great animal-esque music about animals that will be most affected by this issue – farm animals.

Tune in from 8-10 pm tonight!

-Martha Jean, aka Kitty Mowmow

Online livestock auctions save time, money — and are better for the animals

February 14, 2008

Dave Peine has been selling cattle at the South St. Paul stockyards and directly to local meatpacking companies nearly all his life. But last month, the second-generation livestock producer auctioned off 70 steers and heifers – without having to haul the animals off his Hampton, Minn., land.

Peine, 47, sold his cattle through an online auction run by Central Livestock Association, which owns and runs the South St. Paul stockyards and four other markets in two other states…

…The online service is catching on with more farmers, ranchers and meatpackers, Dressen said. About 500 head of cattle were sold on the association’s Web site in 2006, the first year. The number swelled to more than 4,500 in 2007.

The site, http://www.centrallivestock.com, averages three auctions a week, compared with one just six months ago.

Cattle sold online go directly from seller to buyer, which not only keeps transportation costs low, Dressen said, but also reduces stress and sickness in the animals...

Click here to read the full article.

Stop the Long Distance Transport of Animals for Slaughter

February 13, 2008

If you are having trouble viewing this E-newsletter, click here.

Born Free USA United with Animal Protection Institute
Campaigns and Programs Take Action Press Room Support Us

Stop the Long Distance Transport of Animals for Slaughter

Undercover Farmed Animal Investigation Reveals Unnecessary Cruelty to Animals

Today, February 12, 2008, marks the release of a two-year investigation by Handle with Care, a global coalition of national and international animal welfare organizations — including Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute (Born Free USA)— seeking to end the long-distance transport of animals for slaughter.

Revealed in the investigative footage, gathered across several countries and continents, is evidence of the brutality of transporting live animals long distances — only for them to be slaughtered at the journey’s end.

One of the worst routes for cruelty was the 4,000 mile journey from Canada to Hawaii –endured by up to 15,000 pigs a year — in which investigators uncovered a number of serious animal welfare issues.

“Anyone who watches the footage of pigs desperately trying to escape when they are finally let out of containers in Hawaii after more than a week of brutal confinement cannot help but be moved by their suffering. It is unconscionable to permit the unnecessary long distance transport of animals to continue,” said Monica Engebretson, Born Free USA’s Senior Program Associate.

We need you to help us put a stop this cruel and unnecessary trade as soon as possible. So please check out the ways you can help and take action today.

To find out about the investigation and take action right away, click here.

You can view the footage and get more indepth coverage of the investigation and the issue by clicking here.

‘Stop live animals exports for slaughter’

February 12, 2008

A worldwide campaign aimed at banning the long-distance transport of live animals for slaughter has been launched in London.Animal charity workers shot secret film footage during a two-year long investigation of the global trade in live animals which they say is cruel and unnecessary.

The Handle With Care coalition is using shock pictures of animals being shipped around the world in overcrowded and filthy conditions before they are finally slaughtered.

They hope consumers will be so horrified by the images of sheep, cattle, horses, pigs and chickens moved in horrendous conditions in journeys that can take weeks they will embarrass governments into finally banning the trade.

Click here for the full article.

Sharing this email from HSUS: “Cruelty in our children’s school lunches?”

January 30, 2008

 Note to Readers and Listeners:

In this post, I’m enclosing an email I received from the Humane Society of the United States regarding their “Factory Farming Campaign.”  I’m posting it here for educational purposes. Kitty Mowmow’s Animal Expo is going to stay neutral on this and many other animal-related issues.  That is, I usually try to post news and opinions of others without letting my own opinions interfere.  Kitty Mowmow’s Animal Expo should be considered a starting-point for discussion and one of many ways to educate yourself about animal-related news and issues.

-Kitty Mowmow

Reduce the suffering of animals raised for meat, milk and eggs
 

January 30, 2008 

 

Tell USDA: Stop Allowing the Torture of Downed Cows to Feed Our Schoolchildren

see the investigation videoDragging cows too weak to stand. Shocking them with electric prods when they can’t walk. Ramming them with forklifts. Even forcing water down their throats — right out of the manual on waterboarding.

Our shocking undercover investigation revealed these and other abuses of “downed” dairy cows — those who are too sick or injured to walk — at a Southern California slaughter plant. And The Humane Society of the United States’ investigation also discovered that the meat from these tortured animals gets fed to children through the National School Lunch Program! Please watch our investigative video, and then take action today to stop this cruelty.

Our video of the cruelty is very difficult to watch. Even worse is the thought that an outfit like Hallmark Meat Packing Company got away with this kind of abuse every day, without proper oversight from the USDA.

Urge the USDA to tighten its lax enforcement of the downer rule and to close the rule’s loophole — so that cows who are obviously in no shape to walk are not taken to slaughter in the first place.

Don’t forget to tell your friends and family how they can help, too.

Thank you for all you do for animals.

Sincerely,

Wayne Pacelle
President and CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

P.S. You can find the full details of this shocking investigation on our website or in a recent Washington Post story.

Conservation grazing: It’s a maaa-rvellous idea!

January 24, 2008

hebridean-sheep.jpg

A rare breed of sheep could be the key to preserving some of Leicestershire’s most treasured countryside.

A group of Leicestershire experts are meeting next month to thrash out a plan which could see flocks of Hebridean sheep being used to turn county scrubland back into rolling green fields and wildflower meadows…

…Hebridean sheep were bred to cope with the barren conditions on the Hebridean Isles and thrive on land not suitable for other breeds.

Their ability to eat coarse grasses and young tree seedlings make them ideal for “conservation grazing” – a system where animals are grazed on land specifically to return it to its former glory.

Click here to read the full article.