Debate continues today on the Continuing Resolution in the U.S. The bill would fund the government for the rest of the current fiscal year. Many amendments have been proposed and AFBF has taken a position on 22 of them.
Today an amendment was approved that would cut $2 million from the Bureau of Land Management’s budget in protest over the agency’s wild horse roundups. Indiana Republican Dan Burton says his amendment is intended to send a signal to BLM officials that most Americans want the mustangs treated more humanely on public lands. Virginia Democrat Jim Moran says Congress passed a law 40 years ago to protect the horses on the range, but that today there are more than 40,000 in holding pens and only 30,000 in the wild.
Wyoming Republican Cynthia Lummis was among those opposed. She says the well-meaning horse advocates are “loving the creatures to death” by fueling overpopulation of herds that damage the rangeland they depend upon.
Egg producers in Washington are working to prempt HSUS and its planned ballot measure to limit the food choice of citizens in the state. Two bills which carry bipartisan support are working their way through the Washington legislature would establish minimum standards for egg laying hen farms.
The bills would codify the United Egg Producer production and housing standards into Washington law. The program addresses such issues as hen space requirements, air quality, handling standards, hen treatment and facility requirements.
Kiasa Kuykendall, of Stiebrs Farms in Yelm, Wash., told the senators the HSUS asked her farm to go 100 percent cage-free. About 5 percent of her farm’s eggs are from cage-free hens.
“The proposed ban (on cages) would go against the customers. We would not survive,” she said.
Earlier this week two animal activist groups, The Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary, filed initiative language on egg production in Washington State. The language is similar to the text of Prop 2 in California in that it would require egg producers in the state to give hens enough room to turn around and extend their wings.
However this measure also includes language that stipulates all eggs sold in the state must be produced on farms that meet the same standards. This effectively bans retailers from importing eggs from non HSUS – regulated states.
“We’re trying to move across the country with this,” is how Alison Longley of Farm Sanctuary described the effort. Locally, the two national activist groups are organizing under the name Washingtonians for Humane Farms.
By now you will have all heard about Wayne Pacelle, CEO of HSUS, saying that convicted dog torturer Michel Vick “would do a good job as a pet owner.” HumaneWatch has followed the story and the fallout closely, first here and then here.The comment is preposterous of course and HumaneWatch wonders if Humane Wayne has gone completely crazy. There has been a lot of negative press for HSUS as a result and it is helping to raise awareness about just what the HSUS does with all their money.
The Daily Caller profiled the Pacelle/Vick comment in the larger context of exposing the lies HSUS shills on a daily basis. In a piece titled FoodPolitik: Farmers shouldn’t own animals, but Michael Vick can. Excuse me?, writer Rick Berman tells readers that the HSUS is NOT an umbrella organization for local pet shelters.
“We all want cats and dogs to find homes, and to not be abused. About 99.99 percent of us, for instance (HSUS’s president notwithstanding), understand that giving Michael Vick a pet will always be a risky proposition.
But it turns out that America doesn’t actually have a real “national” humane society. There simply is no big umbrella group that raises money for the pet shelter in your community. If you want to support your local humane society, you’re going to have to do it yourself.”
Ellie Krieger, a dietitian and host of Food Networks, “Healthy Appetite” was featured on the digital pages of the Huffington Post this morning praising the beef industry after touring a Cargill meat packing plant in Texas.
Rather, I am stunned by how humanly the animals were treated and by the detailed attention given to food safety at every stage of the process.
I am sure not all beef processing plants are as exemplary as the one I saw, and I applaud those who expose unacceptable practices, but it is important (and I think quite a relief) to know that there is another side to the story. I guess the truest way to explain how I feel about the way beef is produced after all I saw that busy day is to tell you that for dinner that night I thoroughly enjoyed a nice piece of beef tenderloin.
Being the Huffington Post the comment section has a few little nuggets like this,
By supporting factory-farming, we become the vampires, depicted in so many horror films, feeding on the flesh of animals. Is this the new normal?
And like this,
Yes, they are treated “humanly,” if by that you mean humans murder them in mass quantities. But if you meant treated “humanely,” mass murder seems rather cruel.
But on the whole, the conversation surrounding the article is fairly positive. There are many people in the comments section praising the author for her insight and work in reporting what goes on in a processing plant first hand. You should be one of them!
Click here to read and comment on the piece!
The Humane Society of the United States spends nearly half of every dollar donated on fundraising and other overhead costs, according to the Center for Consumer Freedom.
The data comes from an analysis of HSUS’ 2009 federal tax return by Animal People News.
Earlier this year, the American Institute of Philanthropy (which runs CharityWatch.org) downgraded HSUS and the HSUS-run Fund for Animals this year to overall grades of “D.” And that was after Charity Navigator, reacting to HSUS’s high fundraising costs, gave it just one star (out of four) for efficiency. HSUS’s global arm (Humane Society International) received an overall one-star rating too.
The 2009 tax return is available for download from the HSUS website.
The governor of Nebraska is sending a strong message to the Humane Society of the United States—if the animal rights group goes after the state’s livestock industry, it’s in for a fight.
“The Humane Society of the United States is anti-agriculture and they’re out to destroy animal agriculture—and if they want to come to Nebraska, we’re going to fight them and we’re going to beat them,” Heineman says. “Agriculture is the number one industry in this state. It’s what makes our economy so strong. I’m going to stand tall and this is a fight we won’t shy away from.”
In an interview with Brownfield after his speech to the Nebraska Cattlemen’s group in Kearney, Heineman made it clear that compromise is not an option.
“In Nebraska, no deal, no compromise—we’re going to stand up, we’re going to beat them,” he says. “They’d be better off going somewhere else because they’re going to lose if they stay in Nebraska.”
HSUS has recently become more active in Nebraska, hiring a state director and holding a town hall meeting in Lincoln.
The High Plains Journal reported Colorado State University veterinarians’ recommendation to vaccinate livestock and horses against rabies due to an increased number of infected skunks in the state.
Increased infected wildlife is creating concern and imposing a need for precaution. Although bats have spread the disease for years, the increase in other wildlife infections is cause for preventative actions to be taken. The High Plains Journal reported the increased skunk infection has lead to additional livestock cases as well as a significantly increased risk rate.
CSU veterinarians recommend horses and livestock, particularly pet livestock such as llamas and alpacas, be vaccinated once a year, and also recommend vaccination of commercial production livestock in locations where there is high skunk activity. CSU veterinarians also strongly encourage all companion pet owners to vaccinate their cats and dogs. All warm-blooded animals, including humans, can be infected with rabies.
If you haven’t heard, the state of Missouri passed Proposition B by a vote of 51.6 % to 48.4%. This measure was aimed at bringing increased regulation to commercial dog breeders and was heavily supported by HSUS.
The fact that HSUS supported Prop B is not a big story. They will support almost anything that restricts people’s ability to raise animals. What is surprising, and telling, is the voting breakdown. Prop B was carried in Missouri with the support of only 13 counties. Missouri has 114 counties plus 1 independent city. What does this mean? It means that HSUS successfully campaigned in 13 counties in Missouri and was unsuccessful in 111. Why is this important? It is important because these 13 counties were in the Kansas City metro area, the St. Louis metro area and the Boot Hill region. These areas represent the major population centers that are non-agriculture. This outcome is akin to running a ballot initiative in Colorado and only needing Denver to win.
Elko county commissioners rejected supporting Madeleine Pickens’ plan for a wild-horse sanctuary.
Madeleine, the wife of T. Boone Pickens, shared her vision of Mustang Monument, a sanctuary where wild horses could roam free, which would attract tourists as well with covered wagon rides, campfires and other amenities.
The commission followed precedent and declined to support Pickens’ plan, just as it had rejected supporting another proposed sanctuary last year.
The commission’s decision carries only political weight, as the Bureau of Land Management is the entity which must approve the project.
Pickens bought the 14,000-acre Spruce Ranch near U.S. Highway 93 last month and one adjoining ranch, and is proposing to convert them into a wild horse sanctuary called “Mustang Monument.”
If the proposal is approved by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the sanctuary would be home to 1,000 mustangs initially and would be a non-breeding sanctuary.
From the blog Animal Wrongs… Debunking the Animal Rights Campaign of Misinformation
Check out this interesting and informative lecture given at a TED talk. Christien Meindertsma, author of “Pig 05049″ looks at the astonishing afterlife of the ordinary pig, parts of which make their way into at least 187 non-pork products, from bullets to artificial hearts.
New research from the Center for Food Integrity shows most consumers are twice as likely to believe the Humane Society of the United States and People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals over farm organizations when it comes to humane treatment of farm animals.
The research was released Wednesday at the CFI’s Food Summit, held in Chicago. The Web-based survey was completed by 2,002 respondents selected to reflect the overall composition of the population.
After HSUS and PETA, farm animal veterinarians, the Agriculture Department and university experts ranked next, followed by state and national farm organizations and small livestock farmers. Large-scale livestock farmers ranked last in animal welfare credibility.
Media attention to animal welfare issues corresponds to lower demands for meat both in that quarter and the following quarter, according to an economic analysis from Kansas State University.
The researchers created an index of stories about animal welfare presented in top U.S. newspapers and magazines from 1982 to 2008 for the analysis. All indices (pork, poultry and beef) have gone up in recent years. Media attention to pork and poultry welfare issues was linked to reduced pork and poultry demand in an economic model that included these indices.
Beef demand did not seem to be directly related to increased media attention, but the industry is not immune, the researchers wrote.
“In particular, this study found increased media attention caused a reallocation of expenditures to nonmeat food rather than reallocating expenditure across competing meat products,” the report says, adding that the pork, poultry and beef industries are at risk if consumers respond to increased media coverage by cutting back on their total meat purchases
HumaneWatch brought our attention this morning to a YouTube video which shows Dr. Ron DeHaven, the Executive Vice President of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), speaking last August. Mr. DeHaven takes the Humane Society of the United States, and specifically HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle, to task for favoring scare tactics and emotionalism over science and real expertise in the horse processing debate:
“Tugging on peoples’ heartstrings to raise money is easy, finding real solutions to animal welfare concerns and the challenges that go with them, is not easy.”
Animal agriculture was under attack at the Animal Rights 2010 Conference and the Humane Society of the United States-hosted Taking Action for Animals, two of the nation’s largest animal rights events. Both meetings were held in Washington, D.C. during July 2010.
AR 2010 and TAFA brought together more than 1,000 activists to discuss the political strategy of the animal rights movement. Speakers at both conferences provided participants with tactics to target the animal agriculture industry through demonstrations, litigation, and ballot initiative campaigns. Animal activist leaders taught attendees how to utilize social media tools to fundraise and share videos from undercover operations.
Key Quotes from AR 2010 and TAFA Speakers:
“These people are rednecks and we are superior.”
- Bryan Monell, an activist who has frequently obtained illicit employment at farms and research facilities in order to obtain undercover video footage
The relationship between the super-rich Humane Society of the United States and the thousands of (often very poor) U.S. pet shelters is the stuff of legend in the animal rights movement. We’ve heard stories about HSUS using its checkbook as both carrot and stick, and a large number of pet sheltering professionals—the folks who do all the heavy lifting—have come to resent it.
In 2008, the Humane Society of the United States had an operating budget of $99,664,400. (See line 18 on page 1 of this document.) But it paid less than one-half of one percent of all that money to organizations that do hands-on dog and cat sheltering—the functions its TV ads suggest are HSUS’s main focus.
More on this at HumaneWatch.org
If you sell a bird or a snake in San Francisco, you could wind up in jail.
The city’s Commission of Animal Control and Welfare will consider an ordinance tonight that would make it a crime to sell pets – including dogs, cats, hamsters, mice, rats — everything except for fish.
If the ordinance is passed, San Francisco could become the first city in the nation to ban the sale of all pets.
“People buy small animals all the time as an impulse buy, don’t know what they’re getting into, and the animals end up at the shelter and often are euthanized,” Chairwoman Sally Stephens told the San Francisco Chronicle. “That’s what we’d like to stop.”
Pet store owners are fighting mad.
“It’s terrible,” pet store manager John Chan told the newspaper. “A pet store that can’t sell pets? It’s ridiculous.”
The Board of Supervisors would have final say on the issue.
California restaurants and supermarkets will be required to import only eggs produced in compliance with the 2008 ballot measure Proposition 2, or Prop 2, according to legislation that has now passed the California General Assembly and is heading to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for his signature.
Prop 2 requires that hens have sufficient space to sit down, stand up, turn around and extend their wings without touching an enclosure, which effectively makes conventional cage production systems in California illegal when the law takes effect in 2015. The measure passed with two-thirds of the vote and is already driving egg producers out of California.
Many speculated that California, already an egg-deficit state, simply would import eggs produced in cage operations elsewhere in the country, but assembly member Jared Huffman introduced AB 1437, which requires buyers to make sure imported eggs meet Prop 2 standards. Violations would carry fines of up to $1,000 and jail terms of up to 180 days, according to the bill.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has reached an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for a vote on her resolution that essentially vetoes the Environmental Protection Agency’s scheme to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
Debate and a vote is expected by June 10, after the Senate returns from its Memorial Day recess. AFBF strongly backs the Murkowski resolution and urges state Farm Bureaus to contact their senators during the recess and ask them to vote for the resolution.
In the meantime, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is saying he expects the Senate to pass the Murkowski resolution. “I think it will pass. There are a lot of people who will be in the camp of, ‘We should do it, not the EPA,’” said Graham, who is a co-sponsor of the resolution.
The resolution needs 51 votes to pass. Even if the measure passes the Senate, it faces a tougher climb in the House, and President Barack Obama is expected to veto the measure if it manages to clear both chambers.
A federal judge Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought by horse activists that sought to halt the roundups of wild horses in Nevada and the stockpiling of the animals in Midwestern facilities.
District Judge Paul L. Friedman in Washington, D.C. dismissed In Defense of Animals, Craig Downer, a Nevada wildlife ecologist, and Verdi children’s author Terri Farley’s lawsuit against government agencies on the basis that the parties did not have standing to take legal action in the matter of holding the horses in a long-term facility and because the roundup in the Calico area of Nevada ended in February.
Colorado State University’s Department of Animal Sciences is offering Beef University, a hands-on workshop on Thursday, June 3 and Friday, June 4 at CSU’s Agricultural Research Development and Educational Center, 4482 E. County Road 56, Fort Collins.
This day-and-a-half workshop is open to all individuals seeking beef knowledge. The workshop topics include:
Cattle production and handling
Consumer demand and methods to increase profitability
Beef University has become recognized as a key outreach program to help cattle producers improve production practices that influence the safety, wholesomeness and quality of the beef they produce.
Producers can expect to hear from key individuals in the livestock industry, including the world-renowned CSU faculty member Temple Grandin, animal handling and well-being expert.
When it comes to eggs, choices being made in the U.S. marketplace seem pretty overwhelming. A report published by Feedstuffs Online revealed today that Americans buy conventional eggs from cage housing systems in a ratio of 40:1 compared to cage-free eggs. That information originated from Information Resources Inc. (IRI), a firm that tracks checkout scanner transactions from 34,000 grocery and other retail stores in the U.S.
Other facts reported in the story indicated that Americans pay three times less for eggs than Europeans do. More than half of all Americans prefer that eggs be produced using current cage methods or that producers change to less intensive aviary or colony systems. Only 44 percent said they prefer cage-free housing, but apparently those people are not voting with their pocketbooks.
The board of directors of McDonald’s has recommended that the company’s shareholders vote against a proposal to require that 5 percent of the eggs purchased for the chain’s restaurants in the United States be the cage-free variety. The proposal was advanced by the Humane Society of the United States.
The McDonald’s board said that the science was not there to support a switch.
“As we have examined this issue over the years, we have determined that there is no agreement in the global scientific community about how to balance the advantages and disadvantages of laying hen housing systems,” the company said in a proxy statement.
Some major fast food companies, including Burger King, Subway and Wendy’s, and the retailers Wal-Mart and Trader Joe’s, have already made some level of commitment to purchasing or selling cage-free eggs.
The naming of the members of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board is “a great step toward Ohioans taking control of animal care issues,” according to John C. (Jack) Fisher, executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF). “Now we all have the responsibility to participate in the process,” he added.
The majority of the board’s 13 members were announced today (April 6) by Gov. Ted Strickland.
The Care Board was created in November when Ohio voters passed State Issue 2 by a nearly two-to-one margin. State legislators recently completed the enabling legislation, which was signed into law by the governor on March 31.
The Care Board will address the proper treatment of farm animals within several contexts including the safety, availability and affordability of food plus livestock agriculture’s relationship to jobs and economic development.
The HSUS is pushing for additional reforms on the newly created Care Board, in the coming November election.
Head, Heart, Hands and HSUS?
The National 4-H Organization is catching heat for allowing the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to make a presentation at the National 4-H Conference in late March.
The focus of the conference’s workshops was supposed to be civic engagement, community service and youth volunteerism. However, some of those who sat in on the HSUS presentation say the material was more focused on HSUS’ goals related to animal rights and animal welfare.
The propaganda passed out during one of the workshops at the conference showed kids how to write letters to the editor, start a club, appeal to legislators, influence others and push for vegan meals in their school cafeterias.
Many state 4-H organizations are scrambling to separate themselves from the controversy. For example, the Kansas 4-H Youth Development Program has issued a statement emphasizing it does not agree with the values supported by HSUS.
The National 4-H Organization defends the HSUS workshop.
New ratings from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities, show a downgrade for the Humane Society of the United States.
“Charity Navigator now gives HSUS a lower level of trustworthiness than the notoriously radical People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA),” the Center for Consumer Freedom points out in a press release.
The Center for Consumer Freedom points to this as evidence that HSUS “is not adequately fulfilling its stated charitable purpose.”
“HSUS’s 2008 tax filing shows that the group spent less than one percent of its collected donations on grants to hands-on pet shelters. It put five times as much into its executive pension plan during that year,” the Center for Consumer Freedom says.
Kentucky’s House Agriculture and Small Business Committee on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a revised version of a Senate bill that establishes a commission to set care standards for farm animals. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.
Kentucky Senate Bill 105 seeks to prevent extremist animal rights groups from setting policy, while also providing a way to push farmers who are “bad actors” out of the business, said Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, the bill’s sponsor.
“The goal of this legislation is to create a commission that provides a vehicle for defining practical animal care standards from a scientific approach, rather than it being an emotion-driven conversation,” Givens said.
The bill was backed by the Kentucky Farm Bureau and creates a livestock commission of 13 voting members, including five commodity group representatives appointed by the governor. One member would be an at-large appointee interested in food safety.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed the country’s 17th case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) since 2003, in a 6-year-old beef cow in the province of Alberta. No part of the animal’s carcass entered the human food or animal feed systems, according to the CFIA. Officials report that the birth farm of the cow has been identified and an investigation is under way.
The BSE case was detected via Canada’s national surveillance program. Canada remains a controlled risk country for BSE under World Health Organization (OIE) guidelines, so exports of Canadian cattle or beef are not likely to be affected.
Voters in Switzerland this weekend roundly rejected a proposal that would have provided abused animals with defense lawyers. The rejection was a disappointment for animal advocates in Switzerland, a country that currently has the worlds strictest animal care laws on the books. According to the AP…
Tiana Angelina Moser, a lawmaker for the Green Liberal Party, said animal rights advocates would look for other ways to make sure laws against animal abuse are properly applied and those who hurt animals receive appropriate punishment.
“It’s definitely disappointing, I thought it would have been a closer vote,” said Moser. “I don’t think it’s a ‘no’ to animal protection, but a ‘no’ for this particular measure.”
The country’s 160-page animal protection law states exactly how much space owners must give Mongolian gerbils (233 square inches) and what water temperature is required for African clawed frogs (18-22 degrees Celsius; 64-72 degrees Fahrenheit)
It is quite sad that such a proposal made it to the ballot box in the first place, but we think the outcome is worth breathing a sigh of relief over.
Consumer Group Reminds Americans that Less than One Percent of Donations to HSUS Benefit Local Pet Shelters
Seventy-one percent of Americans questioned in a new opinion poll wrongly believe the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is an “umbrella group” for America’s local humane societies. Sixty-three percent incorrectly think their local “humane society” is affiliated with HSUS. And fifty-nine percent falsely believe HSUS “contributes most of its money” to local organizations that care for cats and dogs.
The poll, which sampled the opinions of 1,008 Americans, was commissioned by the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) and conducted by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) of Princeton, New Jersey.
“These numbers indicate that Americans don’t really know what the Humane Society of the United States is all about,” said CCF Director of Research David Martosko. “HSUS intentionally uses those sad dogs and cats in its TV infomercials as props in an animal rights fundraising shell game. Meanwhile, thousands of American pet shelters are underfunded and struggling.” Martosko blogs about HSUS at www.HumaneWatch.org.
According to the federal income tax return filed by HSUS for the tax year 2008, less than one-half of one percent (0.5%) of the organization’s budget consisted of grants to hands-on pet shelters. HSUS does not run a single shelter for dogs or cats anywhere, and it is not affiliated with any local “humane society” organizations.