Saturday, November 28, 2009

Animal lovers should stop sending money to zealots

Spokane Review, November 12, 2009

By Rich Landers

I took a beating in the letters-to-the-editor pages a few weeks ago for pointing out the threat national-scale animal rights groups pose to the sports of hunting and fishing.

Now I’m turning the other cheek.

Readers shouldn’t assume that the published letters were the only reaction.

Nor should they think the threat these groups pose is limited to hunters and anglers.

The published letters came mostly from one group of Spokane-area animal rights activists and Wayne Pacelle, the national figurehead for the Humane Society of the United States.

But many phone calls and e-mails called for more scrutiny of these groups and the moral fascism they are trying to impose on society’s use and enjoyment of animals.

One veterinarian pointed out that these groups are clawing their way through legal and legislative channels toward giving pets individual rights rather than leaving them designated as the property of their owners.

The vet said that, among other problems, this would have huge repercussions in the costs of veterinary care and liability.

“Can you imagine the costs of routine pet procedures if we have to run unnecessary tests and insure ourselves for protection against possible multimillion-dollar lawsuits?” he said.

Full story ....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NAIS opponents seek to end program

Animal ID opponents still seek end to program
by North Platte Bulletin Staff - 11/23/2009

A 100-group coalition -- in letters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and to Congress -- urges that the National Animal Identification System be dissolved completely and that all 100 organizations look forward to working with USDA “…to enhance our nation’s animal disease preparedness in a manner that builds upon our past successes and respects the interests of U.S. livestock producers and consumers.”

In the 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, Congress reduced NAIS funding to $5.3 million, but did not specify how those funds were to be allocated.

The letter to Congress, sent Nov. 18, asks to “…support the limited use of NAIS funding to shut down the program, and to refocus the agency on measures that truly improve animal health.”

The 100 groups recommend that USDA:

-- Formally withdraw all pending rulemaking initiated by the agency to advance NAIS and pay the associated costs;

-- Pay all existing contractual obligations and NAIS-related costs that USDA incurred prior to Sept. 30, 2009;

-- Pay all costs associated with transferring the computer hardware acquired by USDA as part of NAIS to state animal health agencies, to enable state agencies to improve their ability to communicate among agencies in the event of a disease outbreak; and,

-- Pay all costs associated with providing the people of the United States and Congress with an official, comprehensive report on all of the testimony USDA received at each of the NAIS listening sessions held throughout the country in 2009.

“We urge this course of action because, contrary to its stated purposes, NAIS will not address animal disease or food safety problems,” the letter states. “Instead, NAIS imposes high costs and paperwork burdens on family farmers and create incentives for corporate-controlled confined animal feeding operations and vertically integrated systems.”

Full story and coalition list ...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Researchers ask: Are caged chickens miserable?

Earlier this year The Agriculture and Forestry Ministry (MAF) released its findings from a survey of 60 poultry farms around New Zealand. It found both caged and cage-free egg farmng had advantages and issues. Feather loss was worse in cages; however mortality rates were more prevalent in all non-cage systems. Stress levels were similar regardless of the housing system.

In June of this year, a Clemson University animal behaviorist announced the beginning of research on the impact cages and other confinement have on the development and well-being of hens.

More studies are underway which may help counter attacks on producers by HSUS and other zealots.

Researchers ask: Are caged chickens miserable?The Associated Press
Date: Friday Nov. 20, 2009 9:48 AM ET

DES MOINES, Iowa — Are cramped chickens crazy chickens?
Researchers are trying to answer that question through several studies that intend to take emotions out of an angry debate between animal welfare groups and producers.

At issue are small cages, typically 24 inches wide by 25 1/2 inches deep, that can be shared by up to nine hens. About 96 per cent of eggs sold in the United States come from hens who live in the so-called battery cages from the day they're born until their egg-laying days end 18 to 24 months later.

Public opinion appears to side with those who oppose the cages. Voters in California approved a proposition last year that bans cramped cages for hens. And Michigan's governor signed legislation last month requiring confined animals to have enough room to turn around and fully extend their limbs.

Peter Skewes, a Clemson University researcher, is leading one of the studies comparing how different housing affects egg-laying hens. He said there are plenty of "emotional" opinions about whether the cages are inhumane, but few are based on facts.

"Hopefully we will contribute something so decisions can be made based on science and knowledge about how we house birds and the implications for different systems," said Skewes, who is in the early stages of a three-year study funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

full story .....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Illinois: RC offers proposals to protect livestock

Policy draft recommends IDOA animal jurisdiction

Martin Ross
Published: Nov 12, 2009

The Illinois Farm Bureau Resolutions Committee seeks to bolster health and educational resources and policy protections for an already-beleaguered livestock industry.

Amid concerns about state ballot initiatives and local efforts aimed at restricting livestock activities, RC proposals support granting Illinois Department of Agriculture jurisdiction over care of all livestock and companion animals statewide. IFB producer delegates will review policy proposals at the organization’s Dec. 5-8 annual meeting in Chicago.

The RC proposal is aimed at providing strong, ag-based guidance in the face of pressure from activist groups such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). RC Ag Policy-National Issues Subcommittee Chairman Kent Mellendorf noted the prospective impact of California’s recently passed, HSUS-backed Proposition 2 on West Coast egg producers.

Ohio voters by a nearly two-to-one margin recently supported establishment of a new Farm Bureau-backed Livestock Care Standards Board that will recommend guidelines for the care of the state’s livestock. Oklahoma and Michigan have passed legislation prohibiting local governments from enacting livestock rules or ordinances that are more restrictive than state ag regulations, the latter with support from the American Humane Society.

The RC also proposed commodity groups pool resources in a “direct concentrated effort” to educate consumers on use of best management practices especially in livestock production. As activists mobilize to restrict production practices, livestock, dairy, and mutually reliant crop groups are recognizing the value of pooling resources to “target one area at a time, vs. each one trying to do a little bit on their own,” Mellendorf said.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Issue 2 and Beyond

From our friends at the Animal Agriculture Alliance:

Issue 2 and Beyond

November 5, 2009 - On November 3, Ohioans showed their overwhelming support for local farmers and food safety by voting in support of Issue 2. The proposed Livestock Care Standards Board passed with more than 63 percent of the vote thanks to an inspiring grassroots effort by farmers and ranchers, agriculture organizations, veterinarians, and consumers to protect Ohio's agriculture industry. These individuals should be commended for effectively reaching out to the public to share the importance of animal agriculture within their state. Full press release ...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ohio voters overwhelmingly pass Issue 2

Congratulations to Ohio voters who had the wisdom to place animal husbandry under the guidance of those with hands-on experience instead of philosophers with a counter productive agenda.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Ohio voters overwhelmingly pass Issue 2
by Susan Crowell

COLUMBUS — Unofficial voting results indicate Ohio voters gave their approval to Issue 2, the ballot measure to amend the state constitution and create a livestock care standards board.
With 99.99 percent of the precincts reporting, the unofficial tally saw 63.65% of Ohio voters (1,958,646 people) voting for Issue 2, while 36.35% or 1,118,484 voters, voted “no.”
The constitutional amendment will create a state Livestock Care Standards Board. The 13-member board, comprised mostly of farmers, veterinarians and agricultural industry leaders, will create and implement livestock care guidelines.

The ballot measure was triggered by conversations between the Humane Society of the United States and Ohio ag leaders last February, in which the HSUS hoped to create out a working relationship to develop livestock care standards like those negotiated in Colorado (and most recently in Michigan this fall). More specifically, HSUS said it wanted to ban the use of poultry cages, veal crates and gestation stalls in the Buckeye State.

If Ohio ag groups chose not to work with the HSUS, the activist group leaders said they would take the battle to legislators or work to pass a ballot initiative in 2010.

Ohio ag leaders, however, quickly moved to push the idea of a constitutional amendment to create the livestock care standards board, feeling the proactive approach would have a stronger ag foundation than that pushed by the Humane Society of the United States.

As it looked like the state’s voters had approved Issue 2, John Lumpe, president of the Ohioans for Livestock Care Political Action Committee (PAC) said it was clear that voters understood “that a board of experts is the appropriate entity to make decisions on behalf of animal agriculture and food production in our state.”

“Voters agree with Ohio’s farm community and our diverse base of supporters — decisions about food and farming should be made in Ohio, by Ohioans,” Lumpe said in a prepared statement.

Full story: