Workers Caught Harming Hens

More on the Sparboe mess…:

George Buchanan
  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

EPA Releases Emissions Data on CAFOS — Interpretation to Follow

David Cassuto
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.

Some Thankful Sea Lions

Gillian Lyons

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, since 2008 40 California Sea Lions have been removed from the Bonneville Dam area (which straddles the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington.) 25 of these sea lions were euthanized, 10 were given to aquariums and 5 were captured and subsequently died (of unspecified causes.)  Why was such a charismatic species being systematically removed from the area?  The sea lions feed on spring chinook salmon and steelhead when the fish become stymied by the Dam and such action was needed, the agency claimed, to protect the endangered and threatened fish runs.  Apparently, however, NMFS determined that only those sea lions that were “persistent offenders” and were caught repeatedly eating salmon or steelhead deserved the “removal” sentence, and as of March 2010, the agency had a list of 64 sea lions eligible to be euthanized for such behavior.         Continue reading

State by State Breakdown of Animal Protection Laws

David Cassuto

To read about it, go here; for the breakdown, here, here, and here.

A Small Victory for Live Skinned Raccoon Dogs

Michelle Land

On January 29th, the Humane Society of the United States announced a settlement had been reached with clothing retailer Saks Fifth Avenue on the matter of false advertising and mislabeling of fur garments.  As a result, Saks has agreed to impose new garment labeling practices and change advertising policies.  Lord & Taylor and Andrew Marc retailers have similarly settled, with Macy’s and Neiman Marcus refusing to budge in the HSUS lawsuit.

At issue is a regulatory loophole that currently allows many fur-trimmed items to be sold without informing consumers whether and what kind of fur those products contain.  As reported on the HSUS website, dozens of falsely advertised or falsely labeled fur garments were identified across the industry with Raccoon Dogs as the most commonly misrepresented type of fur.  A previous post here explained that Raccoon Dog fur is often labeled as a different animal, as “faux” fur, or possibly not even labeled at all. Continue reading

Animal Drop Boxes and the Economic Recession

Katy Steere

Dog left in drop box in Sacramento, CA

As more and more Americans face poverty and homelessness during this economic recession, their pets are being left at after hours shelter drop boxes in droves. Foreclosure pets make up a great number of the pets surrendered every day. After hours drop boxes are outdoor kennels attached to shelters where people can anonymously abandon their animals when shelters are closed. Animal drop boxes are controversial because states with animal cruelty laws in place have provisions making animal abandonment illegal.

Elkhart, Indiana is one of the hardest hit recession areas in the United States. Kari Huus of MSNBC.com writes, “Each day at five, staff members of the Humane Society of Elkhart County close the animal shelter and hold a meeting. And each day, like clockwork, they begin hearing a “thump, thump, thump” from outside.” Many of the animals being dropped off are malnourished, diseased and beyond the point of rehabilitation. The shelter is seeing an influx of 600 to 700 animals each month while the shelter only has space for 266 animals. Huus writes, “Since October 2008, the shelter has handled 5,783 animals, 42 percent of which were abandoned anonymously.” When the drop box becomes full overnight, the staff finds animals tied up outside the shelter as well as animals roaming the parking lot. Because of this overwhelming influx of animals, the shelter is euthanizing two to three times the number of animals it would in an average month. The Elkhart Humane Society is desperate for donations to help them deal with this incredible influx.  Continue reading

Ohio’s Issue 2

Laura Schierhoff

In February, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) met with members of Ohio’s livestock industry to discuss passing humane legislation in that state.  HSUS had its eye on Ohio to pass legislation to ban the use of poultry cages, veal crates and gestation stalls.  Agribusiness in Ohio knew this was not such a far fetched idea, given California’s Proposition 2 landslide ballot-initiative win last November.  Proposition 2 banned the confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.  (Arizona and Florida have also passed similar measures.)  The meeting was said to be “extremely cordial” according to a member of the Ohio Farm Bureau.  However, with the fear of something like Proposition 2 going on the ballot in November, big agriculture in Ohio was scared.

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