October 31, 2014

Humane Society Launches Whistleblower Program

Pigs

The Humane Society of the United States has launched a whistleblower program for factory farm workers. The hotline will let employees at those farms, in slaughterhouses, and at livestock auctions report cruelty and animal abuse. The hotline (1-888-209-7177) offers a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people who have committed acts of cruelty to farm animals. The hotline will be distributed to factory farm workers with the help of the United Farm Workers union. Hotline callers can remain anonymous if they want. Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for the HSUS said in a statement, "the bleak conditions endured by animals on factory farms are often made worse by overt violence an neglect. Pigs are often beaten. Chickens are … [Read more...]

Perdue and HSUS Reach Settlement over Chicken Labeling

FPBChickenfarm

The Humane Society of the United States and Perdue Farms have reached a settlement of two federal cases over Perdue's "humanely raised" claim on its Harvestland chicken labels. HSUS will dismiss their claims with prejudice, in exchange for Perdue removing the label claim. Peter Petersan, Director of Animal Protection Litigation for HSUS said in a statement, "we are pleased to see the claim removed from Harvestland's packaging, which we view to be misleading. We will continue to work to protect both animals and consumers." HSUS sued Perdue twice. The first was in New Jersey. Perdue tried to have a similar case dismissed, which paved the way for that action to proceed. The second lawsuit, a class action matter, was filed on behalf of Florida consumers and alleged that Perdue raised … [Read more...]

Animal Abuse Recorded in Canada at Western Hog Exchange

Pigs

Mercy for Animals Canada has recorded inhumane treatment of pigs at a Canadian processing facility. Workers at Western Hog Exchange in Red Deer, Alberta were forcing animals to walk with electric prods and using bats to force pigs to move through crowded pens. That facility is federally monitored, and inspectors from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are on the footage. In fact, some inspectors gave the workers electric prods to use on the animals. One inspector said "if anybody has a camera, this'll be on the internet." The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has released a statement about "allegations" of inhumane treatment of the animal at that facility. They say, "Animal abuse is unacceptable, and we do not tolerate it under any circumstances." An internal review has begun at the … [Read more...]

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

Pigs

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...]

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