July 24, 2014

USDA Whistleblower Speaks Out Against Idaho’s Ag Gag Law

Cow

Dr. Daryl Jacobs, a USDA whistleblower from Idaho, has spoken out against that state's ag gag law, which was signed by the governor last week. He has made a statement to Food Integrity Campaign about why undercover videos are needed to protect animals and to keep the food supply safe. He said, "as a former veterinarian for the USDA, I have seen a lot of unfortunate things come out of Idaho dairy farms. Broken bones, cows sick with cancer, and loaded with antibiotics. I understand why some farms would want to keep their abuses hidden, but a few bad apples shouldn't get the benefit of a bad law. Undercover investigation is important for exposing all kinds of illegal and immoral activities, not just problems at dairy farms, and whistleblowers need video to validate and substantiate what … [Read more...]

Ag Gag Bill Signed into Law in Idaho

Cowbluesky

This week, Idaho Governor C. L. Otter signed the latest ag-gag bill into law. The law was created, promoted, and passed in retaliation to undercover videos that exposed animal abuse at Idaho's Bettencourt Dairy farm in 2012.  That video showed workers caning, beating, and sexually abusing cows. Employees were fired and prosecuted as a result of the exposure. [Warning: the video is very disturbing.] Matt Rice, the director of investigations at Mercy for Animals, said in a statement, "Governor Otter has decided to keep corrupt factory farming practices from the public. He's created a safe haven for animal abuse. These facilities that supply food to the entire country. No other industry has that kind of immunity. Not only will this ag-gag law perpetuate animal abuse, it endangers workers' … [Read more...]

Piglets Fed to their Mothers at Iron Maiden Hog Farm in KY

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, a highly contagious and deadly pig disease has affected more than half of all states.

The Humane Society has released a disturbing undercover report about conditions at the Iron Maiden Hog Farm in Owensboro, Kentucky. The investigation, which was conducted in early 2014, found that more than 900 piglets died from a diarrheal disease in a two-day period. The piglet's intestines were ground up and fed back to their mothers and other sows, which is a practice prohibited by state law. The Humane Society statement said, "this practice appears to be fairly widespread within the industrial sector of the pig industry." In addition, Iron Maiden Hog Farm's practices are harsh and inhumane. HSUS is asking the Kentucky Livestock Care Standards Commission to end gestation crate confinement of pigs and to examine the practice of feeding diseased piglets to surviving pigs. The … [Read more...]

USDA Closes Central Valley Meat, Again

FPBGroundbeef4

Central Valley Meat, a California slaughterhouse that supplies meat to the National School Lunch Program, has been closed by the USDA for unsanitary conditions, according to the Los Angeles Times. A recall has not been issued. The closure is the latest in a string of recent troubles for Central Valley, located in Hanford, CA. In 2012, the USDA closed operations at the plant for a week after a video by a nonprofit group showed workers mistreating animals.  And six months ago, the company recalled almost 90,000 pounds of meat that may have contained small pieces of plastic. Details of the conditions discovered by USDA inspectors were not provided. But they said operations would be suspended until the compant had developed a corrective action plan. The previous closure, in 2012, … [Read more...]

Legislators Urge USDA to Ban Downer Calf Slaughter

Calves

Based on the Humane Society investigation last month into a calf slaughter plant in New Jersey, 72 members of Congress are asking the USDA to ban the slaughter of downer calves. They say that animals that are unable to stand  because they are too sick, injured, weak, or tired should not go into the food supply. A loophole in federal regulations allows this. The USDA granted a 2009 Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) petition last year requesting an end to the inhumane practice of slaughtering downer calves, but no more action has been taken. That video showed employees at the plant kicking and shocking non-ambulatory calves in their faces, necks, and torsos to force the baby animals to move off the trucks and into holding pens. These actions took place right in front of a USDA … [Read more...]

Humane Society Against Idaho Ag-Gag Law

Cowbluesky

The Humane Society of the United States is running television ads in Idaho opposing a bill proposed there to ban undercover investigations, also known as ag-gag laws. An investigation in 2012 by Mercy for Animals exposed animal cruelty at an Idaho dairy factory farm prompted the bill. That undercover video led to the arrest of a manager and two other employees at Dry Creek Dairy, owned by Bettencourt Dairies. Employees were seen on vilm beating and electrically shocking cows, twisting their tails to inflict pain, and dragging a cow who couldn't walk by her neck with a chain attached to a tractor. So the state's dairy asked for a law banning undercover videos. Lisa Kauffman, HSUS's Idaho state director said in a statement, "The Idaho dairy industry's damaged reputation is only going … [Read more...]

Fish Oil Craze Wiping Out Rare Shark

Whale Shark

The health craze for consuming fish oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is wiping out the whale shark, a rare species that is vulnerable to extinction. The sharks eat plankton and grow up to 40 feet long. These fish are the biggest fish and shark in the world and are very gentle, and are an internationally-protected endangered species. A factory in China slaughters 600 whale sharks every year, and exports at least 300 tons in oil from the shark livers. An organization in Hong Kong called Wild Life Risk has issued a report about that Chinese factory, located in Zhejiang Province. The agency's investigation ended in December 2013, and they issued their report January 27, 2014. The products from this shark are being sold internationally "in contravention of CITES (the Convention … [Read more...]

Humane Society Video Shuts Down Catelli Brothers for Abuse

Calves

The Humane Society of the United States taped an undercover video at Catelli Brothers, a calf slaughter plant in Shrewsbury, New Jersey that found horrific abuse and mistreatment. The USDA shut down the plant after being shown the video. Downed calves that were too sick, weak, or injured to walk were shocked, kicked, lifted by their ears and tails, and dragged by chains. The Humane Society says this abuse shows that the USDA must strengthen regulations to specify downed calves must be euthanized rather than being forced to walk to slaughter. Calves are usually slaughtered when they are 16 to 20 weeks old. Some veal, called bob veal, comes from calves who are killed when they are only a few days old. The Humane Society is asking the public to send a message to the Administrator of … [Read more...]

Tyson Foods Drops Farm Caught Abusing Animals

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, a highly contagious and deadly pig disease has affected more than half of all states.

Tyson Foods has severed a contract with West Coast Farms in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma after Mercy for Animals filmed employees hitting, kicking, and throwing animals, sticking fingers in their eyes, and leaving piglets to die after being abused. One employee threw a bowling ball at an animal. The company is taking possession of the animals on the farm. The National Pork Producers Council said the abuses "violate the high standards of the U.S. pork industry." and said that authorities should investigate these incidents and bring charges against anyone who abused animals at this facility. The employees in the video have been fired by the farmer, who expressed outrage at his employees actions. But the undercover worker who filmed the video said he reported abuse to the owner three separate … [Read more...]

Humane Society Says Ag-Gag Bills Hide Animal Cruelty

FPBChickenfarm

The Humane Society of the United States is asking consumers to sign their pledge to fight anti-whistleblower "ag-gag" bills being passed in states around the country. These bills are often sponsored by the agricultural industry, and try to criminalize undercover investigations that have exposed animal cruelty and food safety violations in the past. The pledge asks people to share information with family and friends about this issue. This year, eleven states have tried to pass these laws that make it a crime to report a crime; they were defeated in legislatures or vetoed by governors in all states. Since 1990, six states, including Iowa, Montana, and Kansas have adopted these laws. Undercover videos have exposed cruelty in farms in many states, and in 2008 a Humane Society expose … [Read more...]

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