February 19, 2018

Legislators Urge USDA to Ban Downer Calf Slaughter

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

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

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

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

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

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...]

USDA Inspector Uncovers Tyson Slaughterhouse Crime

According to the Government Accountability Project, a federal food safety inspector uncovered violations of humane handling regulations at a USDA-regulated Tyson Foods plant in Iowa. Jim Schrier was a USDA meat inspector for 29 years. GAP Food Integrity Campaign Director Amanda Hitt said in a statement, "USDA's retaliation against Mr. Schrier is in direct violation of the federal whistleblower law, and mirrors the experiences of other meat industry whistleblowers we've worked with at GAP. It is evident that internal government mechanisms for reporting abuse simply do not work. Iowa's Ag Gag law, which criminalizes undercover videotaping, is a terrible idea." Mr. Schrier reported violations to his supervisor, including seeing conscious animals being shackled and slaughtered, a … [Read more...]

House Farm Amendment BIll Would Strike Down Anti-Cruelty Laws

An amendment sponsored by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) would prohibit states from enacting laws that prevent animal cruelty on farms. The bill would stop state governments from placing conditions on means of production for food that is produced in other states but sold in their own state. King said the amendment would "shut down the Humane Society of the United States, PETA, and other radical organizations from creating a network of restrictive state laws that will slowly push agriculture production towards the demise." The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is denouncing this bill, saying it would weaken state animal cruelty laws across the country. The organization said that "this dangerous provision, which passed on a voice vote, would prevent states from … [Read more...]

Tennessee Governor Haslam Vetoes Ag Gag Bill

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has vetoed the so-called ag gag bill that had passed the legislature in his state. That bill had been opposed by the Humane Society and other groups since it criminalizes whistleblowers who seek to expose animal abuse. Governor Haslam released a statment regarding HB 1191/SB 1248 that said in part, "our office has spent a great deal of time considering this legislation. We've had a lot of input from people on all sides of the issue. After careful consideration, I am going to veto the legislation. I have a number of concerns. First, the Attorney General says the law is constitutionally suspect. Second, it appears to repeal parts of Tennessee's Shield Law without saying so. If that is the case, it should say so. Third, there are concerns from some district … [Read more...]

Animal Rights Groups Oppose Feinstein’s Egg Bill

Animal rights groups, including the Humane Farming Association, Friends of Animals, and SAFE, are opposing the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013 sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein. Referred to as the "Rotten Egg Bill" by opponents, the measure would make a deal between the United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States the law of the land. Bradley Miller, National Director of the Humane Farming Association (HFA) said, "the egg industry wants to establish egg factory cages as a national standard that could never be challenged or changed by state law or public vote. The American public overwhelmingly supports the banning of egg factory cages, not measures such as this which would ban the outlawing of cages. This bill would be disastrous for laying hens … [Read more...]

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