Posted on March 5, 2014 by Seth
New standard for chickens
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District Court of California, asking the federal court to overturn a 2010 California law requiring the same standards for in-state chickens be applied to out-of-state chickens. In 2008, California passed Proposition 2, a ballot measure that increased the standards for egg-layers, providing that such chickens must have enough space to spread their wings without touching another chicken, and be able to stand up and lay down. Animal producers in California, however, complained that because they couldn’t stuff as many birds into the same space, they are at an economic disadvantage when competing with out-of-state producers selling in California. In response the state legislature passed a law requiring that all eggs sold in California be held to the same standards required under Proposition 2. The law will take effect in 2015. While California maintains that the additional law was enacted for health safety given the atrocious conditions of battery cages, Missouri counters that the law is an unlawful attempt to regulate conduct outside of California’s boarders, and an impermissible protection against out-of-state competition, both of which are in violation of the Commerce Clause. Continue reading
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare, climate change, environmental law, factory farms | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal law, animal rights, animal suffering, animal welfare, animals, battery cages, CAFOS, california, California's Proposition 2, Chris Koster, climate change, Commerce Clause, community cages, egg production, environmental law, factory farms, farmed animals, global warming, HSUS, industrial farming, Missouri | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 16, 2014 by Seth
Although the Farm Bill is a comprehensive and nuanced piece of legislature that keeps food on our tables, perhaps the most notable part about this year’s version is something that is not in it: the “King Amendment”, a criticized hypocritical measure, did not make the final cut, due in part to a large outcry against stripping states of their ability to regulate their own agriculture. As The Huffington Post reports, industrial agriculture was checked on several other fronts as well, including measures that would have loosened corporations’ requirements for labeling animal products. It is also now a federal crime to attend or take a child under the age of sixteen to an animal fighting event. There are other very important aspects of the law, such as the reduction of Food Stamps and a drastic curtailing of farm subsidies. Still, when looking at what was at risk directly affecting animals, this one counts as a win.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal welfare, factory farms | Tagged: animal advocacy, CAFOS, environmental advocacy, farm bill, industrial farming | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 9, 2013 by David
Recently, Chipotle released an animated short film designed to draw attention to the perils of processed food, while, of course, trying to get people to play the company’s new online game. Chipotle, which was primarily owned by McDonalds until 2006, is known in the industry for its efforts to use organic ingredients and naturally raised animals in its menu. The short film is certainly touching- there are images of adorable animated cows packed in tight crates and chickens being pumped with what are presumably hormones. The main character, the Scarecrow, is working in a food processing factory as a repair man and gets a first hand look at these horrifying practices. The Scarecrow returns home to his charming cottage to find that a pepper (could it be a chipotle pepper?) has grown in his garden. He works hard in this newly
blossoming garden until he has enough food to open a stand in the city where he once worked. But there’s something missing from the Scarecrow’s new restaurant- meat. Continue reading
Filed under: animal ethics, veganism | Tagged: advertising, animal advocacy, animal ethics, Chipotle, factory farms, industrial farming, veganism | 5 Comments »
Posted on October 7, 2013 by David
On May 14, 3013, the New Jersey Assembly passed NJ A.3250 / S.1921, a Bill to Ban Cruel Confinement of Breeding Pigs by a vote of 60 to 5 in the Assembly and 29 to 4 in the Senate. The legislation prohibits the extreme confinement of breeding pigs in crates that do not allow the animals to turn around. If the legislation had been signed by Governor Chris Christie, it would have made New Jersey the tenth state to outlaw these types of gestation crates. A.3250 / S.1921 would require that breeding pigs be able to at least stand up, lie down, turn around, and extend their limbs. Continue reading
Filed under: animal law | Tagged: animal law, factory farms, gestation crates, industrial farming, New Jersey | 7 Comments »
Posted on September 2, 2013 by Seth
Recently Angelique Rivard explained some of the dangers inherent in Rep. Steve King’s amendment to H.R. 6083, the Farm Bill. What makes this amendment maddening is that Mr. King has cited law to support this measure that he would decry as the product of an overreaching government in almost any other circumstance. There is no doubt that Mr. King’s proposal is intended to end state protection for farmed animals; his website proudly declares that he hopes to terminate the efforts of animal rights groups, ensuring ”that radical organizations like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and PETA are prohibited from establishing a patchwork of restrictive state laws aimed at slowly suffocating production agriculture out of existence.”
King has hardly been the darling of animal rights before this foray, as Stephen Colbert nicely summarizes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Humane Society Legislative Fund and the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund both gave him a 0% rating in 2012. This came after a 2010 statement at a National 4-H Conference that “the HSUS is run by vegetarians with an agenda whose goal is to take meat off everyone’s table in America.” King has also previously voted against broadening the definitions of the Endangered Species Act in 2005 which would have enabled better listing criteria.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare, factory farms, Uncategorized, vegetarianism | Tagged: animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal suffering, animal welfare, animals, battery cages, CAFOS, california, climate change, Congress, egg production, environmental advocacy, factory farms, farmed animals, HSUS, industrial farming, Iowa, Rep. Steve King, veganism, vegetarianism | 6 Comments »
Posted on March 7, 2013 by Seth
Though the title of this post is a bit hyperbolic in invoking the classic stereotype about English food, a new study posted in BMC Medicine confirms that processed meat, such as that found in the classic English Breakfast pictured to the right, increases the risk of premature death. The study evaluated “448,568 men and women without prevalent cancer, stroke, or myocardial infarction, and with complete information on diet, smoking, physical activity and body mass index, who were between 35 and 69 years old.” You can read the abstract here. One of the takeaways is that “if everyone in the study consumed no more than 20g of processed meat a day then 3% of the premature deaths could have been prevented.”
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal rights, animal welfare, diet, factory farms, veganism, vegetarianism | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal rights, English Breakfast, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial farming, meat, premature death, processed meat, vegan, veganism, vegetarianism | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 3, 2013 by Seth
Taco Bell moved to pull beef off its UK menus this past Friday because of traces of horse meat found in the product. A spokesperson for the company commented: ”We apologize to our customers and take this matter very seriously as food quality is our highest priority.” The problem with this statement is that it calls into question just what Taco Bell considers to be “food quality.” Obviously phenylbutazone isn’t something Taco Bell wants in its products. This is a company that is trying to brand itself as something more than fast food, from the “Think Outside the Box” campaign, to the recent artesian kitchen look with chef Lorena Garcia and her supposed quest for the “highest quality ingredients.” Not convinced? You can go to the Taco Bell website and learn more (or in keeping with the company slogan, Learn Más!). Here, at last, you can rest easy knowing that Taco Bell uses 88% premium ground beef, and 12% signature recipe. What? 12% of its product is. . . a recipe? The assurance I should get by hearing this supposed break down of ingredients is undermined when I haven’t a clue what that means. The ad tells me to go to the website learn what the recipe is, but it’s buried. Hunt it down though, and it comes out to water and a bunch of seasoning. So no worries there, I guess. How about this premium beef? Continue reading
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal rights, animal welfare, climate change, diet, factory farms, vegetarianism | Tagged: animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal rights, animals, CAFOS, China, factory farms, farmed animals, horse meat, industrial farming, KFC, meat, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, vegan, veganism, vegetarianism, Yum! Brands | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 16, 2013 by David
For those of you in the New Haven area today, please join me at iV, the Ivy League Vegan Conference. It looks like a very interesting day. I am on a panel about Ag-Gag laws.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law | Tagged: ag-gag, animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare, industrial farming, iV -- Ivy League Vegan Conference, veganism | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 11, 2012 by Seth
From the tone of the NY Times article, John Bartmann doesn’t sound like a bad man. Though some readers might demonize him because he is involved in animal farming, this isn’t the CEO of a major industrial producer, and it would be inaccurate to lump him in under the same heading. I expect Mr. Bartmann knows a thing or two about sheep husbandry, and likely has his own grievances with the CAFO industry. Still, his plight is indicative of the complicated issues surrounding modern farming, and is not free from critique. The decline of the modern rancher, especially in the drought of 2012, highlights many of the problems with food in the United States, through both animal and environmental perspectives. Continue reading
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law, animal welfare, climate change, environmental ethics, environmental law, factory farms | Tagged: 2012 drought, animal ethics, animal rights, animal welfare, animals, cafo, climate change, Colorado, concentrated animal feeding operations, environmental ethics, environmental law, environmentalism, factory farms, farmed animals, food, global warming, industrial farming, lamb, New Zealand sheep, sheep, US food market, western agriculture | 6 Comments »
Posted on November 29, 2012 by David
Heads up, law students:
From the email . . .
SUMMER LITIGATION INTERN POSITION
Compassion Over Killing (COK) is seeking Litigation Interns for Summer, 2013 (unpaid). Compassion Over Killing is a national nonprofit (501(c)(3)) animal advocacy organization. Working to end animal abuse since 1995, COK focuses on ending and preventing cruelty to animals in agriculture. The 2013 Summer Litigation Interns will work with COK’s Legal Advocacy Program in our West Coast office in Torrance, California.
The Summer Litigation Interns will work on litigation projects aimed at protecting farmed animals; most of these projects are plaintiffs’ litigation. These projects will likely employ a variety of legal theories, relating to areas such as state criminal cruelty laws, false advertising and unfair competition laws, tort liability, environmental protection laws, administrative law, tax, and corporate law. The interns will have opportunities to research new projects as well as assist heavily with ongoing projects. They will work closely with Compassion Over Killing’s general counsel. Continue reading
Filed under: animal law | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal law, Compassion Over Killing, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial farming, summer jobs | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 21, 2012 by David
In what has become a (quasi) Thanksgiving tradition, I offer these thoughts that I first penned back in 2008, when the blog was new.
Much has been said about the ritual of Thanksgiving and its accompanying slaughter of hundreds of millions of defenseless birds, most of who lived short lives of unrelenting and abject misery. I have little to add to what’s already out there except my own indignation and sorrow.
But I do have something to say about the Thanksgiving ritual, particularly the embedded legal contradiction in the practice (discussed by Luis below) of pardoning turkeys. To pardon means “to release (a person) from further punishment for a crime.” At Thanksgiving, however, the concept of the pardon gets up-ended. The turkeys supposedly petitioning for clemency have committed no wrong. Their lives consist of brutal mistreatment with slaughter soon to follow (the latter, I might add, will occur devoid of any of the protections of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act since under Department of Agriculture regulations, birds are not “animals” and thus not legally entitled to a merciful death). If anything, egregious crimes have been wrought upon these birds. Yet, every year, one or two are selected at random and “pardoned.” This ritual amounts to transferring the guilt of the perpetrators on to the victims and then forgiving a token few of them in a bizarre act of self-absolution by proxy. Continue reading
Filed under: animal cruelty, animal ethics | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal rights, animal suffering, animal welfare, industrial farming, turkey pardons, veganism, vegetarianism | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 17, 2012 by David
Great symposium at South Texas College of Law last week on animal law and ethics. Many thanks to Professor Fran Ortiz for putting it together. Here’s the full lineup and, if you want to stream my lecture, you can click below (although I don’t know how long the link will be live).
Cassuto: Environment, Ethics & the Factory Farm
Filed under: animal ethics, animal law | Tagged: animal law, animal suffering, animal welfare, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial farming | 4 Comments »
Posted on October 27, 2012 by David
Terrorists, extreme vegetarians, crazy vegans… is that what they are calling us now? That is certainly what Senator David Hinkins, the Sponsor of Utah’s bill H.B. 187 that prohibits trespassing, photographing, or filming at agriculture operations said about the people opposing the bill. In defense of the bill, he argues the bill is aimed at “the vegetarian people” and “crazy vegans” who “are trying to kill the animal industry” referring to animal welfarists and those concerned with dredging out the truth about the agriculture industry as “terrorists.”
Sorry Senator Hinkins, but I don’t think that is what us “vegetarian people” are doing. Last time I checked, the vegetarian, vegan, and animal welfare movements were hinged on notions and principles such as cruelty free, environmentally friendly, and a reduction of harm and suffering for all species. The advancement of our movement has never been achieved by terrorist tactics such as fear inducing threats, punishment for exposing the truth, and suppressing people’s rights. It is a far stretch of the imagination to compare the animal welfare movement to a terrorist movement considering our mission is to end the suffering of species beyond our own. Continue reading
Filed under: animal law | Tagged: ag-gag, animal ethics, animal law, animal welfare, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial farming, veganism, vegetarianism | 7 Comments »
Posted on August 31, 2012 by Seth
Do you love your meat? Well, love it or hate it, it may well cause the collapse of our global society. In the latest report confirming the strain factory farming and overconsumption of animal products causes our environment, The Guardian reports that mass food shortages are predicted within the next 40 years if we as a species do not scale back meat consumption. It’s a simple matter of not having enough water to produce the crops necessary to support the animals needed to satisfy current consumption, to say nothing of what another 2 billion human mouths will bring to the table. If we do not scale back, food shortages and water shortages could be a worldwide reality, as well as food price spikes. Continue reading
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal rights, animal welfare, climate change, environmental ethics, factory farms | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal suffering, animal welfare, animals, arctic, Arctic oil drilling, CAFOS, clean energy, climate change, drought, endangered species, Endangered Species Act, environmental advocacy, environmentalism, factory farms, farmed animals, food shortage, GOP, industrial farming, obama, Pennsylvania gas, polar bears, Romeny, us drought, vegan, veganism, vegetarianism | 3 Comments »
Posted on August 30, 2012 by Seth
This week Brian Douglas was convicted of felony animal cruelty in Hoke County, North Carolina, and was sentenced to 30 days jail, and nearly four years probation. Mercy for Animals has hailed this conviction as “the first felony cruelty to animals conviction related to birds used for food production in US history.“ Other related defendants’ cases are pending. Since the investigation into the abuse commenced last December, Butterball has maintained that as an organization it does not condone animal cruelty. Although my search for “animal rights” or “felony” did not turn up any results on Butterball’s website, the self-described largest turkey supplier in the United States does have a slide show demonstrating the love and affection each and every bird receives. I particularly enjoy the image of a mother and son handling a poult with the text, “Our turkeys need the proper care and attention from the start. This concept of well-being is essential in order for the birds to grow and thrive.” It’s true. I’m sure the turkeys do need that care. Whether they actually get it is the question. Butterball also states that “Regular veterinary exams monitor for diseases and help to ensure the health of flocks.” Again, true, but would these be the same veterinarians that tip-off Butterball prior to a police raid? Some people are skeptical. Continue reading
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare, factory farms, thanksgiving | Tagged: activism, animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal law, animal rights, animal suffering, animal welfare, animals, battery cages, Brian Douglas, Butterball, butterball animal abuse, butterball felony, CAFOS, factory farms, farmed animals, Hoke County, industrial farming, Mercy for Animals, North Carolina, turkey, turkey cruelty | 7 Comments »
Posted on July 17, 2012 by David
… is the title of my forthcoming essay in Law, Culture & the Humanities (a special issue on Law & Food). Get it here.
Here’s the abstract:
Law and food are distinct concepts, though the discipline (Law and Food) implies a relationship worthy of study. The conjunction (“and”) creates meaning. However, its absence also conveys meaning. For example, “meat animal” suggests that animals can be both meat and animal. This conflation has powerful legal Continue reading
Filed under: animal law, Uncategorized | Tagged: animal ethics, animal law, animal welfare, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial farming, National Meat Association v. Harris, USDA | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 13, 2012 by David
Here’s a teaser from my forthcoming piece, “Hot, Crowded & Legal: A look at Industrial Agriculture in the United States and Brazil.” The article is co authored with the fabulous Sarah Saville (Pace JD 2012) and will appear in the Animal Law Review. The article is based on a talk I gave at the Review’s Inaugural Symposium in Fall 2011.
This essay examines the impact of industrial animal agriculture in the United States and Brazil. It surveys the respective regulatory environments in the two countries and discusses how their regulatory regimes have enabled the spread of factory farming while taking little heed of its pernicious effects. We focus on the United States and Brazil for several reasons. First, they are the first and eight largest economies in the world, respectively. Second, both countries have very large agricultural sectors and play significant roles internationally. In addition, both countries have begun to address the issues raised by factory farming while yet having much work yet to do.
Filed under: animal law | Tagged: animal law, Brazil, climate change, comparative animal law, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial agriculture, industrial farming | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 22, 2012 by Seth
Humans have been flirting with the idea of lab-grown, or in vitro meat for a while. We’ve commented about it previously here. PETA has a standing offer of a $1 million monetary incentive for the first successful synthetic meat that can find its way to supermarket shelves. Yesterday, FT Magazine ran a feature by William Little about a lab in the Netherlands that is poised to take the big step between the laboratory and the cash register, though that step is still years away.
As usual, many of the problems surrounding this concept have been revealed through humor. Thank you, Mr. Colbert. But it isn’t the public’s perception that I worried about as I read Mr. Little’s article. It’s the viability of this process. I’ve read articles touting the benefits of lab meat, including reduced pollution and less consumption of natural resources, if the process is profitable. I’m not arguing that replacing the CAFO system we currently employ for our meals isn’t admirable. I just question whether this is the way to do it, and if we aren’t just creating a new monster.
Filed under: animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal experimentation, animal rights, climate change, environmental ethics, factory farms | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal experimentation, animal law, animal rights, animal suffering, animal welfare, animals, CAFOS, environmental ethics, factory farms, industrial farming, PETA, veganism, vegetarianism | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 12, 2012 by David
If you needed to torture puppies in order to enjoy the taste of chocolate, would doing so be wrong? Wouldn’t doing so be obviously wrong? Most who would say ‘yes’ regularly purchase and consume factory-farmed meat, seeing no problem with the latter, and yet, the two may not be morally distinguishable. According to at least one philosopher, they are not. In a highly provocative and creative paper, Alastair Norcross makes the case that purchasing and eating factory-farmed meat is morally comparable to torturing puppies for gustatory pleasure, and meat-eaters who realize this ought to become vegetarians (or at least give up factory farmed-meat). It’s an argument worth thinking about. (Other arguments for vegetarianism can be found here and here).
Norcross begins his paper with the story of Fred, who is on trial for animal abuse (see the lecture version here). The police discovered that in Fred’s basement, 26 puppies had each been confined in small wire cages. For 26 weeks, Fred would perform a series of mutilations on them, without anesthesia, and then brutally end their lives. His defense? He is a lover of chocolate, and torturing puppies was the only way for him to enjoy it. Continue reading
Filed under: animal ethics, animal rights | Tagged: Alastair Norcross, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial farming, veganism, vegetarianism | 28 Comments »
Posted on January 2, 2012 by David
United States livestock, mainly those animals raised for meat, are fed 28.8 million pounds of antibiotics each year. This translates to 80% of all antibiotics in the country, including those for human use. The consequence of consistently feeding antibiotics to livestock is antibiotic resistant bacteria. Humans come in contact with these bacteria through eating food from industrial livestock facilities, living in environments contaminated with waste from such facilities, or by direct contact with animals that are over medicated. Illnesses, in humans, caused by these bacteria do not react to antibiotics as they are supposed to, and instead become “super bugs” that require much stronger and heavier dosages of antibiotics. Some infections have been found to not even react to these stronger antibiotics, for example staphylococcus. Continue reading
Filed under: factory farms | Tagged: animal law, animal welfare, antibiotic use, environmental law, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial farming, subtherapeutic antibiotics | 8 Comments »
Posted on November 29, 2011 by David
On Friday, November 18th 2011, McDonald’s and Target announced they were dropping one of their main egg suppliers after videos emerged showing the supplier’s employees engaging in multiple acts of cruelty against its animals. The undercover videos shot by the animal activist group Mercy for Animals show various acts of severe cruelty being committed against the birds at different facilities of Sparboe Farms, a Minnesota based company.
The courageous acts of individuals from organizations like Mercy for Animals, and the internet, have become a farm animals’ best friend. As blogger George Buchanan correctly states in his discussion of the workers harming the hens, many other animal right organizations have also gone undercover to expose the conditions of poultry farms. Just recently, after the release of undercover videos taken at a slaughterhouse by Richard Couto and his organization, The Animal Recovery Mission, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and the City of Hialeah Police Department arrested an accused ringleader of the illegal slaughterhouse. He was subsequently charged him with three counts of animal abuse and 40 counts of confining animals without food or water. Rudesindo “Rudy” Acosta and his associates’ acts of brutal violence against hundreds of helpless animals, including cows, horses, sheeps, pigs and ducks, is beyond egregious and completely shocking to the conscience.
Undercover video taken includes the repeated beating of pigs with sledgehammers while their stomachs are sliced open. In one instance, “the killer actually put his hand in the pig’s jugular and ripped it out with his bare hands” said Couto. Investigators also allege that animals were butchered and boiled alive in some instances. Another video shows a cow struggling to stay alive after being shot. Its head is draped over a bucket and a knife rammed into its throat. “I can’t imagine what that animal was going through,” said Couto. Animals are kept aliive to slowly bleed out because the blood has monetary value and is used to make blackened sausage. Investigators told reporters that more slaughterhouse raids could be coming. They say they’re not going to allow this kind of animal abuse in their city. Just last week, the accused ringleader made his first appearance in Miami-Dade County bond court. The judge set bail for $500,001. Yup – over half a million dollars – now this is a judge I would like to shake hands with! Continue reading
Filed under: animal cruelty, animal law | Tagged: animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal law, animal suffering, animal welfare, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial farming, McDonalds, Mercy for Animals, Sparboe, undercover videos | 3 Comments »
Posted on November 27, 2011 by David
More on the Sparboe mess…:
Sparboe Farms, which runs facilities in Colorado, Iowa, and Minnesota, that supply both Target and McDonalds with eggs, was dropped by the two companies due to animal cruelty. A group called Mercy for Animals filmed “hens crammed in crowded cages, workers burning beaks and one, trying to shove a bird inside the pocket of a co-worker, apparently for fun. Another worker presses his thumb against the back of a chick’s neck until it breaks”
The egg supplier, Sparboe Farms, was also sent a warning letter earlier in the week by the FDA, which “found ‘serious violations’ after visiting five of the companies’ production facilities, including failure to have and implement a written Salmonella Enteritidis prevention plan and failure to prevent stray poultry, wild birds, cats and other animals from entering poultry houses.” Both PETA and The Humane Society have complained, and released videos of the inhumane treatment that occurs at these poultry facilities in years past. But, perhaps with huge corporations such as McDonalds and Target pulling their accounts from egg suppliers, like Sparboe Farms, other suppliers will take notice and not only set standards that conform with anti-cruelty laws; but will also keep an eye on their employees to ensure the treatment that cost Sparboe Farms the lucrative accounts of McDonalds and Target, does not take place at their egg supplying facilities. Continue reading
Filed under: animal law, animal welfare, factory farms | Tagged: animal abuse, animal cruelty, animal law, animal suffering, animal welfare, battery cages, factory farms, farmed animals, Humane Society, industrial farming, McDonalds, PETA, Sparboe, Target | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 25, 2011 by David
Mercy for Animals revealed an undercover video of five egg producing farms in three states that both McDonald’s and Target purchase from. Mercy for Animals had its people hired at Sparboe farms and wired them with hidden cameras from May 23rd to August 1st to document the animal abuse occurring. Sparboe Farms is one of the nation’s largest egg suppliers and has facilities in Iowa, Minnesota, and Colorado. Target Corp. was purchasing from the Litchfield Minnesota one and has now agreed to pull all eggs from this farm off its shelves. Target claims to have just been made aware of the facilities conditions and that is why they are immediately stopping their purchases. McDonald’s had purchased from the Vicent, Iowa plant for all its west locations and now says it will never work with Sparboe again. McDonald’s and Target released full statements on their decision to stop using Sparboe. Continue reading
Filed under: animal law, animal welfare | Tagged: animal abuse, animal law, animal suffering, animal welfare, battery cages, egg production, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial farming, Mercy for Animals, PETA, Sparboe, Target | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 17, 2011 by David
Most Americans care about the welfare of farmed animals. Egg companies
Image courtesy of Compassion Over Killing
know that, and many market their eggs with labels claiming the hens were treated well. What consumers don’t know is that many of the animal welfare claims on egg cartons are meaningless.
In my article, The Morally Informed Consumer: Examining Animal Welfare Claims on Egg Labels, I argue that egg consumers have a right to know how hens are raised. Most hens are packed eight or nine birds to a cage. The cages are so small that hens are unable to stretch a wing. The overcrowding causes them to fight, so their beaks are cut off to prevent them from injuring other birds. The fewer than 5% of eggs in theU.S. that are not produced under these conditions are from hens that were not even allowed outside. Continue reading
Filed under: animal law, animal welfare | Tagged: animal cruelty, animal law, animal welfare, animal welfare standards, battery cages, egg production, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial farming | 5 Comments »
Posted on November 14, 2011 by David
The horrors of slaughterhouses were brought home to many Americans in 2007 when undercover video shot by the Humane Society of the United States at a California slaughterhouse showed workers abusing cows who were unable to walk (“downers”) by dragging them with forklifts, using water hoses on them, and shocking them with electric prods. Footage of the video can be seen here. The slaughterhouse was the second largest supplier of meat to the National School Lunch program, and the Department of Agriculture recalled 143 million pounds of meat following the release of the video. California responded to this abuse by strengthening a state law relating to downed animals so that any such downed animal in a slaughterhouse is to be humanely euthanized immediately, and their meat shall not be sold for human consumption.
The meat industry has claimed that California’s law conflicts with a federal law, the Federal Meat Inspection Act, which requires downed animals to be examined. Under the federal regulations, if an animal shows signs of specified illnesses during the examination, its meat to be destroyed, but otherwise it may be butchered for human consumption. Asserting that the California law is preempted by federal law and that it violates the dormant commerce clause, the National Meat Association brought suit in National Meat Association v. Brown. A district court judge granted an injunction which was overturned by the Ninth Circuit. The Supreme Court granted certiaori and on November 9, 2011 heard arguments on the case. The decision is expected in a few months, but unfortunately the Court seemed to be leaning towards the meat industry during the arguments. Continue reading
Filed under: animal law | Tagged: animal cruelty, animal law, animal welfare, downer cows, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial farming, National Meat Association v. Brown, slaughterhouses | 3 Comments »
Posted on September 13, 2011 by David
Jillian N. Bittner
You drive to the supermarket in your “green” car, checking your back seat before you leave for your re-usable bags– yet you stand on line about to purchase the packaged beef sitting at the bottom of your cart and do not stop to think twice about the environment? – Perhaps you should.
While the environmental legal community emphasizes the desperate need to harness and reduce CO2 emissions as a way to mitigate the current and impending consequences of greenhouse gases on climate change, the community at large has ignored the impact of a greater culprit – CH4, or rather methane gas. Animal agriculture accounts not only as a source of CO2, or nitrous oxide (N2O; another potent greenhouse gas), but is the number one source of methane gas worldwide – beating out the effects of vehicles and airplanes combined. But why should the environmental and legal communities be more concerned with CH4? According to the EPA, “methane is about 21 times more powerful at warming the atmosphere than CO2 by weight.”
Cows, and the corresponding beef industry, are the largest contributors of methane gas. Cows produce this effect partly through belching and flatulence as a consequence of their digestive systems, which are characteristic of ruminant animals. Yet CAFOs remain unregulated. Continue reading
Filed under: animal law, climate change, diet, environmental law, factory farms | Tagged: animal law, CAFOS, climate change, diet, environmental advocacy, environmental ethics, environmental law, factory farms, farmed animals, global warming, industrial farming, meat, methane | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 15, 2011 by michelleland
WETA/20th Century Fox: The ape rebellion in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”
6:35 p.m. | Updated
Last weekend, I took my two sons, 13 and 21, to see “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” which we thoroughly enjoyed on several levels. It’s a rousing slave revolt, an entertaining techno-thriller, a drama about a dysfunctional household (chimp included) dealing with disability and job-related stresses (in the conflicted genetic engineer played by James Franco). (Manohla Dargis liked it, too, as did my sons’ favorite critics, the team at Spill.com.
It’s also a film about the troubled relationship of Homo sapiens to its closest kin, the other species in our taxonomic family, the Hominidae. Abuses have occurred from the forests of the Congo basin and Borneo to the research centers of drug companies and universities.
In the realm of drugs and medicine, there’s certain research that can only be done on apes or other primates. Where does one draw the line, in terms of which research goals are lofty enough to justify killing or causing pain to animals. Are some animals too sentient for such uses?
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal suffering, animal welfare, animals, diet, environmentalism, factory farms, farmed animals, faux meat, industrial farming, meat, meat consumption, meat production, meat-eating | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 27, 2011 by David
Last week’s post about The Ghosts in Our Machine featured insightful and thought provoking remembrances of the ‘aha’ moment from 3 of the project team members – Jo-Anne McArthur, Liz Marshall and Ananya Ohri -
Those remembrances were so honest and inspiring that I found myself going back to the post and reading them over and over again – especially during those moments when I wondered if there will ever be true justice for animals.
Just as inspirational are the writings of 2 other team members – Nina Beveridge (producer) and Lorena Elke (researcher). These are their reflections on the project and what it has meant to them on a very personal level.
Working on“The Ghosts In Our Machine” has been a unique and transformative experience for me. It is a cross media documentary so we wanted to employ cross media strategies to gain support and build community. First we built a website ‘demo’ as a sales tool to find funding partners. Simultaneously Cross Media Director/Producer/Writer Liz Marshall created a beautiful trailer with our photographer Jo-Anne McArthur. We accomplished these with a lot of hard work, sweat and support from professionals who collaborated with us. Once our website and trailer were unveiled, we launched our social media campaign (facebook, vimeo, youtube), which Liz has done an amazing job spearheading. As our community took shape and the outreach progressed, we launched our crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo. The best part about the indiegogo campaign is that the people who donated have become really vested in our project. This is where the magic really started to begin for me. I feel like we are a big family now. It’s exciting to see so many people rooting for the project! Continue reading
Filed under: animal advocacy | Tagged: activism, Ananya Ohri, animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal rights, animal suffering, animal welfare, diet, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial farming, Jo-Anne McArthur, Liz Marshall, The Ghosts in Our Machine, veganism, vegetarianism | 3 Comments »
Posted on June 25, 2011 by David
The New York “ag-gag” bill S 5172, designed to deter meth addicts from stealing anhydrous ammonia overdosed on reason and died today on the senate floor. Maybe the New York state representatives realized that the majority of meth labs in this country have been outsourced to Mexico.
Or maybe they realized that anhydrous ammonia is primarily used for plant/ soil fertilization and since factory farmed animals are not pasture raised, animal farmers probably don’t have that much NH3 lying around anymore. Continue reading
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law | Tagged: ag-gag, anhydrous ammonia, animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, animal welfare, ASPCA, CAFOS, Constitutional Law, environmental ethics, factory farms, farmed animals, First Amendment, industrial farming, meth labs, New York, photojournalism | 2 Comments »
Posted on June 11, 2011 by David
Good article in GOOD Magazine on environmentalism and industrial agriculture featuring an interview w/me.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law, diet, environmental ethics, factory farms | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, climate change, diet, environmental advocacy, environmental ethics, environmental law, environmentalism, factory farming, factory farms, farmed animals, global warming, GOOD Magazine, industrial agriculture, industrial farming, industrial food, veganism, vegetarianism | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 10, 2011 by David
Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, and most recently New York have introduced bills designed to suppress undercover photojournalism which exposes food safety issues, criminal activity, and the abuses that occur behind the closed doors of the animal agribusiness. Although these bills have slightly different language, each one, if passed would criminalize the act of taking a photograph or videotaping farmed animal facilities without the written consent of the owner.
The justification for New York’s “ag-gag” bill: Continue reading
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law, Uncategorized | Tagged: ag-gag, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal law, animal rights, animal suffering, animal welfare, factory farms, farmed animals, First Amendment, industrial farming, New York | 4 Comments »
Posted on May 20, 2011 by David
Approximately 2 million animals are slaughtered in the Netherlands without stunning each year. This number is composed mainly of poultry, but also of large numbers of sheep and cattle. Although Dutch and European laws generally prohibit slaughter without stunning, exception is granted to ritual slaughter, practiced by parts of the Jewish and Muslim communities. In 2008, the Royal Dutch Veterinary Society published a report proving that this practice causes the animals to experience much stress and unacceptable suffering (video produced by the Party for the Animals, contains shocking footage).
This month, the Tweede Kamer (the Dutch Lower House of Parliament) completed a first reading of a bill to prohibit ritual slaughter, i.e. to make the existing ban on slaughter without prior stunning absolute. The bill was introduced by the Dutch Party for the Animals (PvdD), which holds two seats in the House. Although the proposal is likely to be adopted, it has received plenty of media attention. The discussion has been focused on the clash of fundamental rights and values. Continue reading
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare | Tagged: animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal slaughter, animal suffering, animal welfare, Belgium, Dutch Party for the Animals, Estonia, factory farms, farmed animals, Holland, Iceland, industrial farming, Netherlands, Norway, ritual slaughter, Royal Dutch Veterinary Society, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tweede Kamer | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 17, 2011 by David
photo by Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times
In a podcast accompanying the article, Specter acknowledges there is “ghoulish” aspect to “lab meat,” but notes that industrial-scale livestock husbandry is ghoulish, as well. He then ticks down the benefits, beyond the ethical one of having meat without slaughterhouses, if this technology can prove profitable. These include less demand for land and pesticides, fewer emissions of methane and more options for developing foods without harmful health impacts. Continue reading
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal suffering, animal welfare, animals, diet, environmental ethics, environmentalism, factory farms, farmed animals, faux meat, industrial farming, meat, meat consumption, meat production, meat-eating | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 31, 2011 by David
With a hat tip to Scu and a huzzah to the NY Times, this graphic speaks for itself:
Filed under: animal ethics, animal law, diet | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, animal suffering, animal welfare, diet, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial farming, meat, meat consumption | 3 Comments »
Posted on March 28, 2011 by David
Well, there go the rights of farmed animals and whistleblowers in Iowa. On March 17, 2011, the Republican-dominated Iowa House of Representative voted 65-27 to approve a bill criminalizing secretly recording factory farm practices. Under the bill, House File 589 § 9, drolly named “Animal Facility Interference,” any person who produces, possesses or distributes an audio or visual recording of an animal facility without the consent of the owner is guilty of either a class D felony or aggravated misdemeanor. The bill still has to pass through the Democrat-controlled Senate before officially becoming Iowa law, but with similar proposals popping up in other states including Florida, the idea of prohibiting these exposé recordings is picking up steam. Continue reading
Filed under: animal welfare, factory farms | Tagged: animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, animal welfare, criminalizing video-recording, factory farms, farmed animals, First Amendment, HSUS, industrial farming, Iowa, Iowa House File 589 § 9, PETA | 10 Comments »
Posted on March 18, 2011 by David
As is the case in many countries, Holland’s factory farming business has always been largely hidden from the ordinary consumer’s view. This is no small feat in a country that slaughters half a billion farm animals per year. Holland is as densely populated as New Jersey, less than twice its size. Over the past five years however, the number of factory farms (loosely defined as >12,500 pigs, >185,000 egg laying chicken, > 300 milk cows per farm according to Dutch animal welfare organization WakkerDier) has almost tripled, sparking local resistance and debate. Continue reading
Filed under: animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, factory farms | Tagged: animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal agriculture, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare, factory farming, factory farms, Holland, industrial farming | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 10, 2011 by David
No matter how many cups of Yerba Mate I drink or how many lamps I turn on (or off) to get the right lighting, I can’t focus on my law school work. After living in New Orleans for close to six years my body knows Mardi Gras is approaching. It knows I should be there. Anyone who has been to the New Orleans Mardi Gras knows that once the thought of Mardi Gras comes to mind, so many good memories are recalled and flow throughout the brain.
One memory that always comes to mind is the amazing food New Orleans has to offer. This is a funny thought for me because I am vegan. I actually stopped eating meat, while working at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans in 2007. But for some reason when I think about New Orleans, food is always the first thought that come to mind. Not surprisingly, New Orleans has a pretty small selection of vegan restaurants. One of my favorite qualities of New Orleans, its stagnancy, is also its worst enemy. Continue reading
Filed under: animal advocacy, diet, veganism | Tagged: animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal welfare, crawfish farms, environmental advocacy, environmentalism, factory farming, fish farming, industrial farming, Mardi Gras, meat production, meat-eating, New Orleans, New Orleans cuisine, oyster farms, vegan, veganism, water pollution | 5 Comments »
Posted on January 14, 2011 by David
Here’s an interesting development
: EPA has released data from a national
study of emissions from CAFOS that raise pigs, broiler chickens, cattle, and turkeys. Of course, we don’t know how interesting it is because the agency has not yet interpreted the data. If you’re of a number-crunching bent, you can see it all here
Filed under: animal law, environmental law, factory farms | Tagged: and the Environment, animal law, animal welfare, Association of Irritated Residents, CAFOS, Center on Race, Clean Air Act, Clean Air Task Force, climate change, Dairy Education Alliance, El Comite para el Bienestar de Earlimart, environmental advocacy, Environmental Integrity Project, environmental law, EPA, factory farms, farmed animals, Friends of the Earth, global warming, greenhouse gases, Humane Society, industrial farming, Poverty, Purdue University, Waterkeeper Alliance | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 12, 2011 by David
Ok, there’s much to catch up on and this will be the first post of several. Let’s start with the AALS Animal Law Section panel held last Saturday in San Francisco. The conference in general was quite good. Despite a labor action at the main conference hotel, which caused many sections (including ours) to be moved at the last minute, and despite the session taking place at O-dark thirty (8:30 a.m.) on a Saturday, the session was well-attended by interested folk, many of whom were new to animal law. Continue reading
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law, animal law education, Uncategorized | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, animal welfare, CAFOS, climate change, environmental advocacy, environmental ethics, environmental law, factory farms, farmed animals, global warming, industrial farming | 2 Comments »