Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Goals of HSUS

In case there was any doubt that Wayne Pacelle and the Humane Society of the United States hope to accomplish, it was put to rest on Wayne's blog. They want to abolish animal agriculture and force people to become vegans.

"The message of this fine work also resonates with the policy of The HSUS on these questions. We believe in the Three Rs—reducing the consumption of meat and other animal-based foods; refining the diet by eating products only from methods of production, transport, and slaughter that minimize pain and distress; and replacing meat and other animal-based foods in the diet with plant-based foods."

To read the entire entry click here.

Faulty UN Report Still Haunts Livestock Producers

Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Meat Production Link With Global Warming Called 'Misinformation'

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ ----Dr. Barry Popkin, the University of North Carolina nutrition professor who repeatedly blamed meat producers yesterday for contributing more to climate change than transportation, is ignoring Environmental Protection Agency data that directly contradict his claims, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom claimed today.

In an editorial published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Popkin argued that Americans should reduce their meat consumption in part because a 2006 United Nations report suggests "livestock are responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, far greater than that of transportation." In a Reuters news story today, Popkin said he was "pretty surprised when I checked back and went through the data on emissions from animal food and livestock. I didn't expect it to be more than cars."

CCF said today that the EPA has characterized greenhouse-gas emissions related to the entire U.S. agriculture sector -- including meat, grain, fruit, vegetable, and fiber producers -- as just one-third of what Popkin attributes to meat production alone. Global estimates from the UN publication Popkin cited, "Livestock's Long Shadow," don't apply to American meat production.

Read More

The UN”s report claiming that livestock were responsible for so much of the GHG’s released has been used a lot by those whose goal is to eliminate animal agriculture. Even with the US EPA stating otherwise. As with most of these types of people, the end justifies the means and they aren’t about to let facts get in the way of their goals. They will use the worst possible report they can find and reject science all the way.

Biotech Acceptance

Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Nearly 70 Percent of Health Professionals Support Biotechnology's Use in Food Products

ST. LOUIS, March 31, 2009 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ ----Recent research reveals that 82 percent of healthcare professionals believe soy to be beneficial to the diet. And, the majority recognizes agricultural biotechnology as a method to make food products such as soyfoods even healthier. These findings come from the Healthcare Professional Biotechnology Awareness & Attitude Survey - sponsored by the United Soybean Board and conducted by an independent research firm in January 2009.

The study found that nearly 70 percent of healthcare professionals report having an overall favorable view of agricultural biotechnology for use in food products (68 percent). One in ten hold a negative view, while the remainder are neutral in opinion or unsure, suggesting a need for more outreach. When informed that biotechnology can be used to enhance soybeans in precise ways, the majority of survey respondents found these developments impressive enough they would recommend increased soyfood consumption to patients: Read More

Biotechnology is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to feeding the population of this world. Humans have been improving our food supplies for thousands of years. Biotechnology has just sped up the process.

Cargill's Cameras

Cargill implements plant auditing system
Wichita Business Journal - by Josh Heck

Cargill Beef has implemented a third-party video-auditing system that will operate 24 hours a day at its U.S. beef harvesting plants, the company announced Monday.

The goal, Cargill says, is to enhance the company’s animal welfare protection systems. All of Cargill’s U.S. plants are expected to have the program in place by the end of 2009.

The program is designed to help plant operators teach and monitor performance in animal handling. It was designed by Arrowsight, a Web-based applications service provider that also will be managing the program.

Cargill also has created a humane animal-handling training and certification program for employees.

Cargill Beef is headquartered in Wichita and operates five processing plants across the United States and Canada, including one in Dodge City. Link

Proper handling and treatment of our food animals is important all through the process. Consumers and producers alike expect a high level of care. Anything less should not be tolerated.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Prop 2's Legacy

Prop 2 fuels 'freight train'
Emboldened by a victory in California, activists likely will increase their attacks on U.S. livestock and poultry producers.
Rod Smith

THE industrial activism movement "is coming at us like a freight train," affects all of livestock and poultry production, affects states with and without ballot initiatives and likely will win additional restrictions on the way livestock and poultry are grown, according to Chad Gregory, senior vice president of the United Egg Producers.

Gregory, speaking to the "Simmering Issues Workshop" at the Midwest Poultry Federation's annual convention this month in St. Paul, Minn., discussed the aftermath of passage of the California ballot initiative on farm animal handling last year and "what's next."

He said next will be even harder attacks on dairy, meat and poultry producers by industrial activist groups like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which has become emboldened by its victory in bringing the initiative to the ballot and securing its passage.

Prop 2 becomes effective in 2015 and will force all egg production in California into cage-free housing despite negative effects on bird welfare, food safety and egg prices. For all practical purposes, according to economists and egg industry leaders, almost all egg producers in California -- including second-, third- and fourth-generation producers -- will be forced to close their farms, and California consumers will become dependent on eggs from other states, if not other countries.

Agricultural economist Don Bell, speaking to another convention session, said animal husbandry and welfare should be based on ethics and science, and regulations governing how livestock and poultry are handled, if needed, should come through legislation, not "emotionally charged ballot initiatives."

He said California consumers will be similarly dependent on eggs from non-California sources, although a bill introduced in the California Assembly could make that a moot point because state supermarkets would be prohibited from importing and selling eggs from any source that does not conform to Prop 2, whether in the state or in other states.

The bill, Assembly Bill 1437, applies to shell eggs from layers and other chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys or guinea hens, although it does not apply to liquid or powder eggs, according to its sponsor, Jared Huffman (D., sixth district). Read More

If you want to know what attacks American agriculture is going to come under from animal rights activists, we need simply look across the pond to Europe. You will also see the difficulty they are having feeding everyone as well. Egg producers are trying to figure out how to deal with this as much as anyone right now. However, we will all be in the same boat if we don't get active in this fight. If our food production suffers because of these efforts nothing less than our national security will be in jeopardy. After all the years of progress and innovation in this country, it would be a sad legacy to leave a hungry country to our children.

The Low Carbon Diet

The Low Carb(on) Diet

You've probably heard of the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet and the Best Life diet. Now it's time to consider Low Carbon Diet. It's good for the planet, and good for your health, your waistline and your bottom line. What's not to like?

While the impacts of agriculture and food production on global warming are complex, the Low Carbon Diet is pretty simple. You eat less beef and cheese. You throw away less food. And you try, when possible, to eat locally grown food.

This would be of no more than passing interest, except for one thing: a food service company called Bon Appetit, which operates more than 400 cafeterias in 28 states, is putting the Low Carbon Diet into practice, and it seems to be affecting the way thousands of Americans eat.

Two years ago, Bon Appetit, which operates cafeterias for Target, Cisco, eBay, MIT, Wheaton and Oberlin Colleges, among others, launched the Low Carbon Diet on Earth Day. For a day, it served no hamburgers for lunch.

More important, the company set a goal of reducing beef consumption by 10%. A year later, every site had reduced beef consumption by at least that much, and the system as a whole cut it back by 23%. Read More

The Low Carbon Diet is becoming the next flash in the diet pan. And appparently the worst possible thing you can eat in this diet is beef. While it wasn’t explained why beef is so evil, Bon Appetit has made it their goal to eliminateit from their menu. Obviously this decision wasn’t made with any real scientific basis, but the fact remains, they are out there telling people that in order to save the planet, you can’t eat beef.

HSUS in School

Teaching children to respect animals
The Times-Standard
Posted: 03/29/2009 01:30:28 AM PDT

EUREKA -- The Robert M. Lochtie Memorial Fund, a fund of the Humboldt Area Foundation, recently awarded $543 to the Sequoia Humane Society for the purchase of coloring books promoting respect for animals.

”We're very excited to be able to purchase this interactive tool to help teach our youth how to identify animal cruelty and encourage them to take action to prevent it,” said Cynthia Ryan, Sequoia Humane Society executive director.

The coloring book, titled, “What is Animal Cruelty and What Can You Do About It?” is published by the Humane Society of the United States and introduces readers to many of the ways and reasons that animals might be treated inhumanely while empowering children to respect and help animals by reporting abuse to adults. The book concludes with the message, “Animals deserve kindness. They deserve understanding and respect. ... Everyone does.” Read More

Basically what will be taught to these children is that animals and humans are equals. They will also try to convince these kids to practice anthropomorphism. HSUS and PETA have been very effective in reaching kids with their versions of the cycle of life. Schools have become the political battleground and it’s a place where we need to be telling our story as well.

Taking the Farm to the School

Students Visit Mobile ‘Farm’
POSTED: March 30, 2009

Students at Ritchie Elementary School went "down on the farm" in South Wheeling recently as mobile vocational education came to them.

The West Virginia Farm Bureau Mobile Agriculture Education Science Lab was parked at the school last week, providing the young students with the opportunity to learn about scientific and environmental principles through hands-on experiments.

The students were coached on how to make plastic from corn starch, as well as lip balm from soybeans and beeswax. They also were schooled in the principles of problem solving and collecting data, and they learned what a "hypothesis" is.

Richie Elementary School's students come from what is largely an urban area of Ohio County. And Helen L. Hardman, coordinator of the mobile vocational lab, said it is the state Farm Bureau's intent with the lab to bring vocational science to children who don't live in farming areas.

"We developed it so that kids that live in the city can understand agriculture," she commented. "They're touched every day by agriculture - from the time they get up until they go to bed at night." Read More

As I mentioned earlier, the new battleground in the animal rights war is happening in our schools. HSUS and other groups have the goal of eliminating animal agriculture. In order to accomplish that they will have to fool the next generation into believing many myths about raising animals for food. So they have targeted our youth by creating school materials that cleverly disguise their true message. I have looked at some of their materials before and when the teachers have been asked about them, they didn’t have a clue about who the organization was or what they were trying to do. Congratulations to the West Virginia Farm Bureau for their hard work in educating kids about the importance of farming, ranching and food production in this country.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Horse Transportation Bill Into'd in Senate

Senate Bill Tackles Horse Slaughter Issue
by: Pat Raia March 27 2009, Article # 13849

Two U.S. Senators have introduced legislation to prohibit the transport of horses for slaughter in Mexico and Canada. Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.) introduced S 727, the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act into the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 26.

S 727 would prohibit the transport, sale, delivery, or export of horses for slaughter for human consumption. It also criminalizes the purchase, sale, delivery, or export of horsemeat intended for human consumption.

Violators would face criminal and civil penalties, including being fined or imprisoned.

The bill is the senate's version of HR 503, the Conyers-Burton Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, introduced into the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in January. Since then, HR 503 has gathered 112 co-sponsors. It was referred to the Judiciary's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security on March 16. Link

Here is the companion bill to HR 503 that was introduced in the House of Representatives. It was introduced yesterday. As is the case in the House, this is going to the Senate Judiciary committee. The supporters of the bill know they can’t get it through the Agriculture committees so they are avoiding them. It’s ridiculous that these committees that are responsible for terrorism and homeland security have to waste their time on this horse issue.

Cancer Study, Too

Vegetarians show higher incidence of colorectal cancer: study
By Meatingplace Editors on 3/27/2009

Contrasting recent claims linking red meat and cancer risks, a new study by European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition–Oxford analyzed the cancer incidence among vegetarians and concluded the incidence of colorectal cancer was higher in vegetarians than in meat eaters, the American Meat Institute reported.

The study, which recently was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, also found the risk of malignant tumors was similar between vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

Involving 63,550 men and women recruited throughout the United Kingdom between 1993 and 1999, the study found that the incidence rate ratio for colorectal cancer in vegetarians compared with meat eaters was 1.39. IRR allows comparison with people with no prior malignant cancer for various factors like smoking, body mass index, alcohol consumption and dietary consumption of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

"The overall cancer incidence rates of both the vegetarians and the nonvegetarians in this study are low compared with national rates," researchers stated in their conclusion. "Within the study, the incidence of all cancers combined was lower among vegetarians than among meat eaters, but the incidence of colorectal cancer was higher in vegetarians than in meat eaters."

To view the full study, click here. Article Link

This was apparently the week for cancer studies to be released. According to this one, vegetarians have a higher incidence of colorectal cancer than those that include meat in their diet. They could scrap all of these studies. There is no single food groups that will kill you nor will it keep you alive forever. And food isn’t the only thing that affects our health. There are many risk factors that contribute to our overall health.

Cancer Study

Red meat study draws questions, criticism

Tuesday, March 24, 2009, 4:06 PM

by Julie Harker/Bob Meyer/Ken Anderson

A new study claiming red meat consumption shortens life spans is drawing criticism from those inside the meat industry and some questions from those outside the meat industry.

The study, conducted by the National Cancer Institute, looked at what more than a half-million people, ages 50 to 71, were eating over the span of a decade. It concluded that people who eat less red meat have fewer chronic disease issues and longer life spans.

The American Meat Institute says the study, which was published in Monday’s Archives of Internal Medicine, relies on “notoriously unreliable self reporting” about what people have eaten over a period of several years.

AMI vice president James Hodges issued a statement saying meat products are part of a healthy, balanced diet. He says “single studies cannot draw major conclusions”, but adds that, unfortunately, is what has happened.

Chrisanne Urban is a registered dietician with Marshfield Clinic, a major medical and research facility in Wisconsin. She says one needs to look at studies like this with a critical eye, “You can’t take each study word-for-word.” She says the truth lies in the big picture of what the study is showing. Read More

So after years of studying this issue, basically it comes back to the fact that you should eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. I watched an interview yesterday with an official from the American Cancer Society and even he had to admit there can be problems with studies that rely on self-reporting. Efforts on the part of livestock producers have always been to provide consumers with information about eating everything in moderation and educating them about the different cuts of meat available.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

PETA's Hypocrisy

PETA Killed 95 Percent of Adoptable Pets in its Care During 2008
Hypocritical Animal Rights Group’s 2008 Disclosures Bring Pet Death Toll To 21,339

WASHINGTON DC – Today the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) published documents online showing that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) killed 95 percent of the adoptable pets in its care during 2008. Despite years of public outrage over its euthanasia program, the animal rights group kills an average of 5.8 pets every day at its Norfolk, VA headquarters.

According to public records from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, PETA killed 2,124 pets last year and placed only seven in adoptive homes. Since 1998, a total of 21,339 dogs and cats have died at the hands of PETA workers.

Despite having a $32 million budget, PETA does not operate an adoption shelter. PETA employees make no discernible effort to find homes for the thousands of pets they kill every year. Last year, the Center for Consumer Freedom petitioned Virginia’s State Veterinarian to reclassify PETA as a slaughterhouse. Read More

It’s always interesting to see how many animals PETA has killed lately. Just like HSUS, their goal isn’t to help animals, it is to raise money through crisis creation. Actions speak louder than words and these actions pretty clearly demonstrate their hypocritical behavior.

But Will It Be Enough?

A shorter food chain has many benefits
Supporting local farms, planting home garden would cut use of fossil fuels

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Thursday, March 26, 2009

Last Saturday morning, in the midst of pancakes and maple syrup, my 12-year-old asked me the importance of Michelle Obama’s planting a garden on the White House’s South Lawn.
It was a most timely question, as I was on my way to the Georgia Organics 12th annual Conference and Trade Show at Agnes Scott College.

And it wouldn’t be until later that evening, after hearing keynote speaker and food writer Michael Pollan deliver his address to roughly 1,100 people, that I would truly be able to answer her.

After attending an upbeat, informative session on starting a farm-to-school program and a brilliant lecture by writer Dan Imnoff on the state of the U.S. food system, I realized we still have a war effort when it comes to the foods we eat.

Those of us who support local, sustainable foods, from chicken to chervil, are at war with big farming. It’s a shame, since throughout the conference speakers gave plenty of examples of small farmers across the country who make the small-farming system work every day.

Read More

“We are at war with big farming.” That is the message of this article. What is big farming? Agriculture’s job is to feed our population with the greatest efficiency. If it’s just a size issue, then where is the labor to accomplish that going to come from? Pollan wants us to farm and ranch the way we did before WWII. If you will recall, food was at a premium then and the population of this country was only around 132 million in 1940. Today our population is well over 300 million. How is that going to work? Pollan refuses to answer that question.

EU's Medical Research Ability Threatened

Crucial medical research 'threatened' by EU animal welfare plan
Mark Henderson, Science Editor

Important medical research into conditions such as autism, Parkinson’s disease, strokes and Aids will be “closed down” if a European Union directive on animal experiments is passed in its current form, leading scientists said yesterday.

Vital studies of brain and cell function that promise new therapies for serious disorders would be blocked by the proposed regulations, turning Europe into a “scientific backwater”, a coalition of research organisations warned.

The directive also threatens the capacity of European countries to defend against a flu pandemic, it was claimed. It would bring hens’ eggs, which are critical to the production of flu vaccines, under the scope of vivisection regulations, creating costs and bureaucracy that could drive vaccine manufacture out of Europe. Read More

Being able to utilize animals in drug research has led to millions of human lives saved. But there is still work to be done. It seems everyday we get closer to finding cures for all kinds of different diseases that cause unnecessary suffering. Animal rights groups don’t place any more emphasis on humans than animals, so they would just as soon see a human child suffer as a lab rat. We must retain our ability to do vital medical research which requires the use of animals under very regulated conditions already.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

HSUS Tampering With ACMA Awards

HSUS plots to vote Underwood in as ACMA Entertainer of the Year

Amanda Nolz
March 24th, 2009

Yesterday, was informed of the most recent HSUS plot, and I thought I would fill you in on this scandal, as well. Last week, I wrote about endorsing Rachael Ray as an outstanding advocate for the beef industry. I believe we need to thank the celebrities that support our industry, and today, I have provided a perfect opportunity to do just that. Now is your chance to stand up against HSUS and Carrie Underwood and endorse a country singer The Academy of Country Music Awards that holds the same values that we do. If the following message moves you to take action, head to and vote for PRCA member and team roper, George Strait! It only takes a minute to register, but that minute will be well spent fighting HSUS and their sneaky schemes!

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the most radical animal “rights” and anti-hunting organization in the country, has been quietly trying to get Carrie Underwood voted Entertainer of the Year via the Academy of Country Music. The problem is, a large percentage of country music fans are also gun owners and hunters who do not like Carrie Underwood’s active support for HSUS. And HSUS knows it.

Underwood and American Idol have already listed HSUS as a beneficiary of the proceeds of one of her songs and now HSUS is enlisting their radical animal rights supporters to vote for her in the Entertainer of the Year contest. But they are trying to keep it quiet. In an e-mail sent out to supporters by Kathy Bauch, the HSUS Senior Director for Corporate Relations & Promotions, she asked people to vote for Underwood, but added, “Feel free to distribute this to friends and family, but please don’t post to lists, twitter, etc.–anything that would identify that HSUS is urging people to vote for her, or it could just breathe life into the opposition.”

Oops, too late! Perhaps someone should tell the folks at HSUS that e-mails are not exactly the most secure way of communicating their “secret” agendas. Please share this with every meat-eating, freedom loving American you know and then

I doubt there is a coincidence that a couple weeks ago Carrie Underwood decided to donate the proceeds of one of her songs to HSUS and now HSUS is trying to secretly have their members stuff the ballot box for her. Most of the people that listen to country music eat at least once a day, so why don’t we all vote for someone who is involved in agriculture like George Strait. Underwood has made it very clear that she wants animal agriculture to be eliminated. It takes just a few seconds to register and vote.

Campus Vegans Focus on Animal Rights

No meat please, we're vegans

SPARC advocates for animal rights, cruelty-free lifestyle
Sarah Ewald
Staff Writer

Published: Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chicken or beef? Most students make this choice daily for their source of protein, but some opt not to go this route. These students are vegans and vegetarians, and make their choices a bit differently.

SPARC, a student group at the University, stands for Students Promoting Animal Rights Collectively and currently has 14 members, according to the group’s Facebook page. As of spring 2008, there were 38 active members, and 187 others on the listserve who attend events. Most of the members are vegetarians or vegans.

Irena Rindos, a 2008 alumna in natural resources policy and administration, is a former member of SPARC. Rindos said the member base has fluctuated from year to year, but there has always been a core group of dedicated members.

SPARC was started in 2002 by Jared Milrad, a 2006 graduate in wildlife management, along with some of his vegan and vegetarian friends. Their main goal was to bring more vegetarian and vegan-friendly options to the dining halls.

Rindos said the group has succeeded in this endeavor.

In 2007, SPARC’s mission was changed to focus solely on animal rights. Read More

It always really bugs me when vegetarians or vegans that I talk to say they did that because of the abuse livestock suffer. The problem is that when I ask them if they have ever visited a livestock operation, they answer is almost always no. They are making these dietary decisions based on PETA videos and HSUS propaganda. When those of us in agriculture don’t get out and tell the real story of animal husbandry, this is where the information comes from.

Environmentalists Battle Each Other

March 24, 2009
Environmentalists in a Clash of Goals

WHITEWATER CANYON, Calif. — As David Myers scans the rocky slopes of this desert canyon, looking vainly past clumps of brittlebush for bighorn sheep, he imagines an enemy advancing across the crags.

That specter is of an army of mirrors, generators and transmission towers transforming Mojave Desert vistas like this one. While Whitewater Canyon is privately owned and protected, others that Mr. Myers, as head of the Wildlands Conservancy, has fought to preserve are not.

To his chagrin, some of Mr. Myers’s fellow environmentalists are helping power companies pinpoint the best sites for solar-power technology. The goal of his former allies is to combat climate change by harnessing the desert’s solar-rich terrain, reducing the region’s reliance on carbon-emitting fuels.

Mr. Myers is indignant. “How can you say you’re going to blade off hundreds of thousands of acres of earth to preserve the Earth?” he said.

As the Obama administration puts development of geothermal, wind and solar power on a fast track, the environmental movement finds itself torn between fighting climate change and a passion for saving special places. Read More

It’s an interesting situation that these environmental groups are facing. The old saying of careful what you wish for is starting to come into play. They have been very vocal about all the things they wanted done for energy production yet now when they have the chance to see it come to fruition, they are facing arguments from their own. I have noticed this seems to be the problem with most of the ideas you see from animal rights and environmental groups. They propose these grand ideas but seldom will they work well in reality.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March Blizzard

Here in western South Dakota we are in day 2 of a pretty decent spring blizzard. It's hard to tell exactly how much snow has fallen because of the wind blowing so hard. Winds were clocked near 80 mph last night. I would guess we have easily had over a foot of snow and maybe closer to 18 inches. Anyhow, our priorities were trying to get cattle fed this morning so the blog didn't get much attention. Tomorrow we will be back on track though. If I get time, I will post this afternoon. Take Care.


Monday, March 23, 2009

NYT Makes Modern Agriculture the Enemy

March 22, 2009
Is a Food Revolution Now in Season?

AS tens of thousands of people recently strolled among booths of the nation’s largest organic and natural foods show here, munching on fair-trade chocolate and sipping organic wine, a few dozen pioneers of the industry sneaked off to an out-of-the-way conference room.

Although unit sales of organic food have leveled off and even declined lately, versus a year earlier, the mood among those crowded into the conference room was upbeat as they awaited a private screening of a documentary called “Food Inc.” — a withering critique of agribusiness and industrially produced food.

They also gathered to relish their changing political fortunes, courtesy of the Obama administration.

“This has never been just about business,” said Gary Hirshberg, chief executive of Stonyfield Farm, the maker of organic yogurt. “We are here to change the world. We dreamt for decades of having this moment.”

After being largely ignored for years by Washington, advocates of organic and locally grown food have found a receptive ear in the White House, which has vowed to encourage a more nutritious and sustainable food supply. Read More

The New York Times continues their assault on food production again this week. This time they are telling their readers that any food other than organic is bad for you, anyone that raises anything other than organic is evil, and apparently “Food, Inc.” is now being considered a factual documentary. This newspaper has made it very clear they are against any type of modern food production systems. And even though the author made mention of the fact that organic can’t feed this world, he chose not to address the problem.

Idaho Legislature Considers Horse Problems

Let them be slaughtered for food, says an Iona lawmaker who wants Congress not to ban the practice.

IDAHO - Last fall, federal workers discovered 17 domestic horses abandoned on Bureau of Land Management land in Owyhee County. This year, the agency discovered 21 horse carcasses illegally dumped in Gem County.

With cases of horse neglect, cruelty and abandonment rising as the economy weakens, "I would like Congress to back off of this and let market forces take effect the way they always were," said Rep. Thomas Loertscher, R-Iona.

Loertscher has drafted a nonbinding memorial calling on Congress to remove any prohibitions on horse slaughterhouses "so that horses that are no longer useful or people just can't afford them, that there is a market out there for them to be processed."

He acknowledges: "It's not a pleasant subject."

Several bills have come before Congress in recent years to ban horse slaughter and the exportation of horses for slaughter. None passed.

Now, Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, is trying again. Read More

Quite frankly I have been amazed that so many states have taken on this problem of unwanted horses. But when the bills start coming in for the care they have to receive that will catch a government’s attention. If only there were some animal rights groups that could donate just a small portion of their nine figure budgets to operate shelters, then maybe we wouldn’t be having so many problems either.

Sow Housing Science Inconclusive

Issue Date: March 23, 2009 Issue 12 Volume 81
Sow housing science inconclusive


THE science does not currently exist to allow for rigid decisions on which type of housing is in the best interests of dry sows in commercial pork production, an international task force organized by the Council for Agricultural Science & Technology (CAST) has concluded.

The use of individual gestation accommodations (IGAs) for dry sows in commercial pork production is an issue that has raised much debate, and since public perceptions and misconceptions of welfare issues have the potential to dramatically affect swine production, CAST undertook the effort to provide an objective and scientific look at the subject.

"Too few statistically adequate, scientifically controlled trials on industry farms have been conducted; many reports are not useful for critical evaluation, thus for developing public policy," said task force chair Dr. Stanley Curtis with the department of animal sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. "More large-scale, on-farm, multidisciplinary, scientifically robust research and development are needed before rigid regulations should be imposed."

For the sake of history, farmers started moving sows inside during the mid-20th century to provide them with relief from variable weather conditions, environmental protection pressures, predators and parasitic and enteric diseases.

Additionally, the job of managing breeding pigs is physically challenging, and the added stress to herdspeople caring for larger numbers of pigs during inclement weather was a contributing factor prompting the move indoors, according to Curtis. Read More

To read CAST's entire report click here.

CAST is definitely right in that we don’t have enough scientific evidence to make sweeping legislatively driven changes to our methods of animal husbandry. But, as I have mentioned before, the changes being made are because emotion has trumped science in our society. All of our arguments for the way we raise animals has to be based in science and argued with passion and emotion. We need to be on the same playing field as our opponents if we ever expect to win.

Friday, March 20, 2009

HBO Documentary Impact

Jolley: Did You Miss The HBO Special?

Not that it was an unbiased look at “Factory Farming” practices, “Death on a Factory Farm” was really just the same old, same old sensationalism. If you thought you might have seen or heard something new, here’s a list of the absolutely unbiased resources the producers used:

-The Humane Farming Association
-Mercy For Animals
-Animal Welfare Institute
-The Humane Society of the United States
-Compassion Over Killing
-Vegan Outreach (Are you kidding me?)
-The Sustainable Table
-Animal Law Coalition

Yeah, you’ve heard it all before, haven’t you?

In a statement that would make Martin Luther King blanche, Sarah Teale, one of the two producers of the propaganda film, said, “In a way, this is the civil rights movement of our time.”

Tom Simon, her partner in crime, fired this warning shot: “But I do think the more enlightened people in the industry are realizing that if the industry doesn't police itself, if it doesn't clean up its act, somebody's going to do it for them.” Read More

Everyone involved in animal agriculture was waiting to see the fallout from the HBO documentary this week. Oddly enough, even with all they hype surrounding it, apparently it didn’t play all that well. Not if you compare it to Oprah’s show last fall that talked about animal agriculture. I think it goes to show that these shadowy animal rights groups aren’t considered mainstream nor have they earned much trust from the public. That’s the thing that Oprah has that makes her so dangerous. When we present to agriculture groups, we make a point to tell them how important it is to check where information is coming from. This article has a great list of the sources used to make the documentary.

College Students Promote Benefits of Meat

Students counter anti-meat rally
By Laura Nichols
For the Collegian, Penn State University

Standing outside the HUB-Robeson Center Wednesday, clad in red shirts with the word BEEF emblazoned across the front, students held a Meat-In in response to Monday's Meatout.

With the help of their mascot, Patty Melt -- a person dressed in a giant hamburger costume -- volunteers handed out pork sticks, beef jerky and cheese sticks.

The Collegiate Cattlewomen's Society held the third annual Meat-In as an effort to educate students about the benefits of having a diet rich in meats, milk and eggs, said Christi Graver, co-chairwoman of the day's event.

"We're the kids that grew up on farms. We know the production story of beef, pork, poultry and dairy," said Chris Molinaro, co-chairwoman of the Meat-In.

Molinaro (senior-animal science) said students were receptive throughout the event. More than a dozen volunteers handed out meat and dairy products during the lunch hours at the HUB. Volunteers also handed out food and information at Findlay Dining Commons from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

Read More

The one thing the meatout can do is provide the motivation and opportunity for us to educate consumers on the benefits of including meat in our diets. Congratulations to these young agriculturalists for promoting their industry in a positive and productive way. This is a great example of the simple things we can all do to better our industry.

MM MM Meat

Meatout makes all sorts of sense

How can you stretch your dollars and prop up your spirits? The folks at FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement) have the answer: ``Change Your Diet, Change the World.''

Get ready to celebrate, save money, show compassion and affect global change all in one go -- Friday marks the 25th annual Great American Meatout.

In 1985, the national nonprofit FARM set aside March 20 to promote animal compassion and veggie ways. Since then, countless Americans have celebrated spring by going meatless.

The Meatout is now an annual event in 20 nations including France, where it's La Journée Sans Viande (The Day Without Meat -- everything sounds better in French). Read More

One of the groups that is now trying to promote veganism in California following the passage of Prop 2 is FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement). This is the same group that started the Great American Meat-Out 25 years ago. They will use the same tired arguments against eating meat that use information from debunked sources, like the UN report on livestock emissions. Eating a balanced diet that includes meat and dairy products will always be the healthiest diet.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thank A Farmer

Thursday, March 19, 2009
Tell a farmer ‘thank you.’ Today.
by Susan Crowell

North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler was eating lunch with some staff members at a local restaurant recently when a woman walked by, laid a napkin on his table, and kept on walking to the cash register.

“I picked up the napkin and noticed she had written a note on it,” Troxler wrote in the department’s blog March 11.

“It said, ‘Thank you for protecting our food supply.’“

The woman was gone before Troxler could respond.

What a wonderful, unexpected reaffirmation of the work Troxler and others in the North Carolina department of agriculture are doing. A simple, heartfelt thank you.

Farm and Dairy received a similar hand-written note from a Geauga County reader last week, too. All it said was: “God bless the American Farmer! No one else is going to!!”

This is National Ag Week, and National Ag Day is traditionally celebrated on the first day of spring — this year on March 20. It is, I think, a good time to say thanks.

Thanks for doing a hundred thankless jobs. Who else wants to muck out stalls or scrape alleys or haul manure? Who else wants to milk cows two and three times a day, seven days a week? Who else wants to castrate or dehorn calves, or fill out reams of forms at the Farm Service Agency office? Who else wants to work in one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States?

Read More

National Agriculture Week is a fantastic time to for a two-way conversation about agriculture to happen. First, we need to take this opportunity to tell the story of our farms and ranches to our neighbors and local communities. Invite them out for a tour, or make a presentation about your operation to civic group. The sky is the limit when it comes to ways of sharing your story. And second, for consumers, this a chance for you to contact a local producer and tell them you appreciate the fact that they grow your food. Or support them at a local farmers market. These are the little things that can keep us connected as communities and neighbors.

EU Officials Learn Farming By Doing

Bureaucrats who handle EU's big farm budgets to be sent out to pasture
White-collar bureaucrats handle the biggest chunk of the EU budget — farming — so to make sure they know what's needed, they will be trading in their pinstripes for overalls.

Associated Press Writer

White-collar bureaucrats handle the biggest chunk of the EU budget — farming — so to make sure they know what's needed, they will be trading in their pinstripes for overalls.

In other words, the European Union wants these administrators to get firsthand experience on the farms they subsidize, so they will be sent to work on one for several weeks.

Often reviled as out-of-touch bureaucrats who go straight from university to their EU offices, these staff members will be sent to get their hands dirty in a program being launched next year, EU Farm Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said Wednesday.

"I am definitely in favor of giving possibilities to those that have never been on a farm. They simply don't know how things work," Boel said. "It is definitely not meant to be a punishment, but a possibility to see what is out there." Read More

What a concept! The idea that in order to write legislation that pertains to agriculture you should have some knowledge of the business is quite amazing. I actually need to congratulate Commissioner Boel for implementing the idea. How many times has the idea been mentioned but never taken seriously. Do you suppose Vilsack would suggest this idea for his employees, or maybe Congress?

Farmers Get Politically Active

Farmers Protest At The Capitol On Agriculture Day
The Hartford Courant
10:42 AM EDT, March 18, 2009

The oysters and apples displayed inside the state Capitol were signs of business as usual this morning. But the cow on the lawn outside was not.

Farmers used state Agriculture Day — a trade show for local produce that's been held at the Capitol for as long as anyone can remember — to stage an unusual protest against proposed legislation and state tax code changes that they say will decimate local farms.

Using Facebook, and capitalizing on a national craze for locally grown food that brought the term "locavore" into usage, Connecticut's farmers reached out to consumers, restaurant owners, gardeners, environmentalists and health advocates, urging them to bring signs and placards to the Capitol today.

And come they did. Farmers left their spring chores, and vocational agricultural schools sent busloads of youngsters, to form a crowd of more than 100 (plus one cow) on the Capitol steps.

Read More

It seems like not to many years ago you could safely assume that our elected officials would know how to vote on agriculture issues, after all many of them were involved in agriculture. Today it’s a different story. If there is an issue that is going to affect agriculture, we need to get active and make sure our point of view is being considered. This takes some effort and time away from your real work, but the reality is that this needs to become a regular part of your business.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Locavore Numbers Remain Low

Most Americans still not buying local: survey
By Ann Bagel Storck on 3/18/2009

Although the "buy local" movement has received plenty of media attention, most U.S. consumers are not actually buying local products, according to a survey from research firm Mintel.

The survey found that just 17 percent of adults buy local products and services as often as possible. These "True Locals," as Mintel dubs them, are willing to pay a higher price, and they'll even buy local if competitive products are better.

But the overwhelming majority of American shoppers don't feel so strongly. Mintel identified 30 percent of survey respondents as "Aspirational Locals" who say they would purchase local goods and services but don't know where to find them. Twenty-seven percent of adults are "No Locals," not caring where their food and services come from.

Mintel's survey found that people who purchase local goods most frequently purchase food. Although local fruits and vegetables are most popular, approximately one in four shoppers buy local baked goods, meats or cheese/dairy products once a week or more. Link

Supporting local farmers and ranchers is a great thing, but to listen to the media lately you would think everyone is buying local. This survey would seem to suggest that very little traction has been gained by the local food movement. I think part of the problem will always be that there aren’t a lot of areas that can grow everything that people like to eat. In order for everyone to eat local all the time, consumers will have to be willing to sacrifice variety and pay a much higher price for their food in most areas.

Poultry Farming Helps Communities

Poultry production gives big boost to farm incomes, study finds
By Meatingplace Editors on 3/18/2009

Poultry production is a key driver of rural economies, with counties that have plants generating average farm income that is almost three times that of non-poultry-producing counties, according to a new University of Georgia study.

Poultry counties also have double the net income per acre of non-poultry counties, the study of farm incomes in southern Georgia found.

Locating an integrated poultry production complex in a county requires an average initial investment of more than $180 million in hard assets, such as processing plants, feed mills, hatcheries and production houses, plus more than $50 million annually in payroll, labor and contract payments, according to the study.

A new poultry complex adds costs to the community such as additional demands on roads, utilities and schools, but these are usually more than offset by new tax revenue and spending, the study said.

Similar results likely would be found in other poultry-producing areas around the country, said study author Dan Cunningham, a professor of poultry science at the University of Georgia, in a news release issued by the Poultry Science Association.

Recent local zoning restrictions against poultry are hurting rural and state economies and lowering tax revenues, Cunningham said. Link

Often times the first thing you will hear from people against a modern livestock operation being built is that it will destroy the community in a variety of ways. However, this study, which examined areas with and without a viable poultry industry in Georgia, shows that these types of facilities improve the communities. They generate a lot of tax revenue through the jobs they create which allows these local governments to provide better services. Remember, when you destroy agriculture, grass will grow in our city streets. This is a good reminder.

Livestock Antibiotics Ban Introduced in Congress

Bill would ban nonmedical drug use in US livestock
Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:43pm EDT
By Christopher Doering

WASHINGTON, March 17 (Reuters) - Despite growing public support to ban the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in food animals, a U.S. representative said on Tuesday efforts to move legislation through Congress this year could be met with resistance.

The bill, introduced in the House of Representatives by Louise Slaughter and in the Senate by Edward Kennedy, would ban the use of antibiotics important to human health from being used on cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry unless animals are ill.

Drug manufacturers would be allowed to sell antibiotics for uses other than humans if they can show there is no danger to public health from microbes developing resistance to them.

"We're up against a pretty strong lobby. It will really come down to whether members of Congress want to protect their constituents or agribusiness," said Slaughter. "I do believe the chance are good, at least getting it through the House."

The bill has been introduced several times since the 1980s but has been blocked by agribusiness interests. Read More

As with most stories concerning antibiotics and livestock, the players are always described as evil agribusiness versus the unsuspecting public. There are no big secrets being hidden from anybody in this discussion. Antibiotics are a very effective tool for keeping livestock healthy. Even the CDC has said there is no evidence to suggest that the livestock industry is responsible for any problems nor would it solve anything if antibiotics weren’t used anymore. Livestock producers always want their livestock to be as healthy as possible. Just like parents hate seeing their kids being sick, the same goes for our animals.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Real Deal on Poor Journalism

Alison Rose Levy
Posted March 16, 2009 08:51 AM (EST)

Having a Cow and Eating it Too: The Real Deal on Food Safety

When in the Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan portrayed agribusiness' unhealthy treatment of livestock animals, some readers suddenly lost their appetite for meat, going vegan overnight.

But others found "the sane food loophole:" Organic, pasture-raised meat and dairy-- the protein complement to the fruits and vegetables First Lady Michelle Obama championed last week.

Livestock farmed in organic, sustainable, and small farm settings, are healthier, and safer from the myriad infections, wounds, and diseases common in agribusiness livestock. That's why many doctors recommend eating organic or locally raised, hormone and pesticide-free meat and dairy.

In contrast, pumped full of hormones and pesticides, herded into cramped and disease-ridden factory farms, and fattened on corn and animal byproducts, (unknown in animal diets before corporations dictated the menu) factory farm animals aren't healthy--and some doctors claim that their consumption may detract from human health via antibiotic resistance, pesticide toxicity, weight gain, endocrine disruption, and other factors. Read More

It’s always disappointing to see such horrible journalism, but when you read things like this, it makes sense why so many newspapers are struggling financially. The author talks of livestock pumped full of hormones, healthier organic food vs conventionally raised, and also tries to convince readers that BSE (also known as mad cow disease to some) is being covered up in this country. All of these are untrue, as is most everything in this article. If you don’t agree with the authors take on agriculture, take the time to leave a comment on their site.

Carroll County Producers Respond

NY Times article upsets local farmers
Ag members say hogs not linked to MRSA
Updated: Monday, 16 Mar 2009, 6:45 PM EDT

Renetta DuBose

CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof put the small town of Camden under the microscope this week after reporting that local hog farms may have caused an outbreak of MRSA or staph infections. Carroll County Ag Association member Miriam Robeson said the article is not completely accurate.

"I think it's a very poorly researched article and it's intended just to make people upset about the livestock industry, not to really inform them," said Robeson.

Kristof alleges that hog farms, like one near the Camden area, overuses antibiotics in livestock feed. He said the process leads to MRSA in the pigs, which could be transferred to humans who ear pork, use a contaminated plate or utensil or from wastes leaking into ground water.

Robeson said Kristof's accusations do not represent how Carroll County farmers operate.

"The producers in Carroll County are very responsible. They work very hard. They have to drink the water, eat the food, live with the animals or live near the animals that they take care of. They're going to be very responsible producers," said Robeson. Read More

Camden, IN has been thrust into the spotlight over the weekend after their local farmers were accused of being responsible for creating and distributing the antibiotic resistant MRSA bacteria. The NY Times continued their assault on American agriculture by printing the article over the weekend. The local ag association is working very hard to explain how antibiotics are used in a responsible manner. Healthy livestock translate into a safe food supply, so it’s important for everyone to make sure we have the tools available to keep them that way.

Don't Blame the Chickens

Poultry Council Pleased After E. Coli Results Released
posted 4:28 pm Thu March 12, 2009 - Tulsa

A spokesperson for the Poultry Community Council says she is pleased but not surprised tests show the E. coli found in Locust Grove well water was not the same strain linked to one man's death.

Jackie Cunningham responded Thursday, a day after the Centers For Disease Control released its findings, saying that the E. coli found in well water tests last month showed three different types of E. coli in the water, but not the E. coli 0111 strain that led to three hundred people becoming sick, including one man who died.

"Their science-based research validates what we have contended all the time -- that there is no connection between poultry litter and the unfortunate E. Coli outbreak in Locust Grove last year," Cunningham said. Read More

After the OK Attorney General insisted that agriculture, and specifically poultry farmers, was responsible for an E. coli outbreak, the science has failed to agree with him. Edmondson has been going after poultry producers for a years now and has yet to win in a courtroom or a science lab. Manure must be handled correctly, but it is not toxic waste like he would like people to believe. It is a valuable resource for the nutrients required to grow food.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mike Rowe's Lamb Castrating Story

In case you don't know, Mike Rowe hosts a show on the Discovery Channel called "Dirty Jobs". In this show he has been on a diverse group of agricultural operations. In this video, he talks about his experience at ranch in Colorado that runs sheep. He compares what PETA and HSUS told him prior to his visit with what he learned from the rancher and his own observations. This is a great video. It's a little long, but worth your time.

Experts Take on MRSA NYT's Article

Purdue experts on livestock and antibiotic resistance

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University experts said a New York Times opinion piece this week that tried to establish pigs as a source of MRSA infection for humans is "highly speculative."

MRSA, (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), or antibiotic-resistant staph, can be found anywhere in nature, according to Paul Ebner, a livestock microbiologist. While he said there has been an increase in the number of these infections and that pigs and other animals can be carriers, the vast majority of infections come from skin-to-skin contact with infected humans.

Making assumptions based on limited studies or information is a big jump and there is no proof to link MRSA in humans to pigs and pig operations at this time, said Ching Ching Wu, professor of veterinary pathobiology and head of microbiology in Purdue's Animal Disease and Diagnostic Laboratory. Wu said there is more scientific evidence to support the spread of MRSA among humans and from humans to animals rather than from animals to humans.

A University of Iowa study mentioned in the Times column was a pilot study that looked at only two farms, and only one of them had the organism. Another Dutch study was also inconclusive, according to the Purdue experts.

Both Ebner and Wu said that because MRSA is so prevalent, the best way to avoid infections is to always use proper hygiene.

Ebner, assistant professor of animal sciences, conducts research into microbiology issues associated with livestock, including food safety and human health implications. Wu researches infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance and is on the U.S. delegation to address antimicrobial resistance in food worldwide.

Both experts are available for stories through the weekend. Ebner can be reached at 765-494-4820 (office), 765-464-9699 (cell) and pebner@purdue.edu. Wu can be contacted at 765-494-7459 (office), 765-491-0291 (cell) and wuc@purdue.edu.

This was an article that was published in response the Kristof's New York Times article trying to link MRSA and hog production based on his own expertise. We should leave our disease research to those that are trained to do so, not newspaper reporters.

Kristof Attacks Agriculture, Again

Our Pigs, Our Food, Our Health

The late Tom Anderson, the family doctor in this little farm town in northwestern Indiana, at first was puzzled, then frightened.

He began seeing strange rashes on his patients, starting more than a year ago. They began as innocuous bumps — “pimples from hell,” he called them — and quickly became lesions as big as saucers, fiery red and agonizing to touch.

They could be anywhere, but were most common on the face, armpits, knees and buttocks. Dr. Anderson took cultures and sent them off to a lab, which reported that they were MRSA, or staph infections that are resistant to antibiotics.

Dr. Anderson at first couldn’t figure out why he was seeing patient after patient with MRSA in a small Indiana town. And then he began to wonder about all the hog farms outside of town. Could the pigs be incubating and spreading the disease? Read More

Through out the article Kristof says that he has no evidence that MRSA is related to the hog farms. He also says that no one else does either, yet he goes to great lengths to convince the reader that there is some sort of conspiracy happening in agriculture to cover this up. As with a lot of people these days, he wants to throw science under the bus in favor of emotion and conspiracy theories. I also find it laughable that in every article Kristof writes about ag, he has to refernce that he grew up on a farm. I’m sorry, but his childhood from 40 years ago doesn’t give him the ability to talk with any type of authority on disease origin or transmission, or modern livestock production. Kristof is a Michael Pollan wannabe that has realized he can make a name for himself by trying to spread fear about our agriculture and the food we produce.

Baxter Black's Visit With HSUS

On the edge of common sense: Wild horse issue needs answer
By Baxter Black

I had a visit with the president of the Humane Society of the United States recently about the abandoned horse issue. My question to him was: Since the problem is a direct result of the banning of equine slaughter plants, for which his group led the charge, what is it willing to do to help those of us who have inherited the responsibility for the mess they have made?

We discussed the woefully inadequate plan to put them in "refuges." We agreed that euthanasia is not a bad thing, but dumping your unwanted horse along the roadside, in private pastures or on park land to die of starvation is not humane.

We considered having equine animal shelters, like dog pounds. Maybe one in every state that would accept horses at no charge, hold them for 30 days in hopes they could be adopted, then euthanasia. The facility should include a free pickup service, a large feedlot to hold them and a rendering plant. He did not readily agree that his group would finance this national program. But it is the richest animal rights group in the world, and what better way, I thought, to put its money where its convictions are. Read More

It would have been fun to sit in on the conversation between Baxter Black and Wayne Pacelle. As only Baxter can, he talks of his visit here and shows the unwillingness of HSUS spend their money actually helping animals and building shelters for them. However, they are more than willing to spend the money causing the problems.

Montana's Proposed Horse Processing Facility

Emotions rear up for horse-slaughter bill
By JOHN S. ADAMS Tribune Capitol Bureau • March 13, 2009

HELENA — Emotions ran high during a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing Thursday as lawmakers heard a bill that would allow the construction of a horse slaughter facility in Montana.
Proponents of House Bill 418, sponsored by Rep. Ed Butcher, R-Winifred, said the bill would help satisfy a nationwide need for disposing of unwanted horses, while producing dozens of jobs in Montana.

Butcher said the last equine slaughterhouse in the nation closed in 2007, leaving horse owners with few options for disposing of sick, injured and unwanted horses.

"People tried, with good intentions, to ban horse processing in the hopes of saving the animal," said bill proponent Kelly Ann Terry. "This plan has backfired, and what was initially a grand theory has now put much of the horse population in greater jeopardy than it has ever been before." Read More

The Montana Legislature continues working on a bill that would build a horse processing facility. It has overwhelmingly passed the House and is now being considered in the Senate. If built, it would be the only such facility in the United States. When owners are being forced to choose between feeding their families or feeding their horses, a humane option like this would be a welcome relief. This is a resource that would be a shame to waste.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Hopefully everyone has a great weekend. My family has a wedding to attend, so it will be a great weekend of seeing old friends.

I just wanted to let everyone know that they can also follow me on Twitter. This is a fantastic way to keep up with the blog and also know what Advocates for Agriculture is up to. Just check out my Twitter site and follow me. It's easy and free!

Take care!

House Version of Cow Tax Ban

House Version of Bill to Stop 'Cow Tax' Introduced
USAgNet - 03/12/2009

House Ranking Member Frank Lucas introduced a bill on Wednesday that will prevent the government from requiring livestock producers to obtain Title V operating permits under the Clean Air Act. This is in response to the Environmental Protection Agency publishing the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the subject of Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act, which was released last summer.

The publication outlines several regulatory options, including requiring livestock producers to obtain these operating permits. The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates that the fees associated with that option would cost livestock producers roughly $88 per head to comply.

The introduction of H.R. 1426 comes on the same day that an article was printed in the Washington Post regarding EPA plans to establish a nationwide system for reporting greenhouse gas emissions. This reporting system would apply to measuring greenhouse gas statistics for confined animal-feeding operations.

"I don't think we can take any chances with this administration when it comes to putting greater burdens on our farmers and ranchers," Rep. Lucas said. "With the release of the President's budget, this administration has already demonstrated it is out of touch with production agriculture. I have heard from many farmers in my district who are concerned that this 'cow tax' will become a reality. This bill is a way to protect our livestock producers from costly and burdensome government intervention."

Lucas' proposal is a companion bill to the Senate version, introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) last week. Link

This is a very critical piece of legislation for animal agriculture. If you agree with this then you need to let Washington, DC know about it. We know for sure that those who are tyring to put us out of business will be contacting them.

Making Beef Even Safer

USDA approves shot for cows aimed at E. coli
By STEVE KARNOWSKI – 17 hours ago

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota company has won federal approval to become the first in the U.S. to market an E. coli vaccine for cattle, a new weapon against a foodborne disease that can cause serious illness in people and even death.

Epitopix LLC was given a conditional license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to sell its vaccine.

Nayyera Haq, a USDA spokeswoman, called it "an important step toward improving food safety in this country," and a major beef group agreed.

"It really is a major milestone for our industry," Michelle Rossman, director of beef safety research for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, said Thursday. Read More

The beef industry continues to look for improved methods of production. But when you already produce the safest product in the world, big breakthroughs can be harder to come by. However, E. coli 0157 H7 has been one of areas we have been concentrating on improving. E. coli can be a problem in all types of food, not just beef. If this new technology works well, everyone that eats will benefit.

New Animal Cruelty Laws

Breeders skeptical of animal cruelty law
By Jake Wright IDS
POSTED AT 12:38 AM ON Mar. 12, 2009

INDIANA - Area dog breeders and pet owners alike are concerned about the proposition of a new bill aimed at reducing animal cruelty.

The bill is intended to strengthen anti-animal cruelty laws and crack down on puppy mills, which are mass breeding facilities that produce puppies for sale in pet stores, over the Internet and directly to customers. But some breeders said they are worried the laws put in place to help are going to do more damage than good.

The bill, H.B. 1468, passed the Indiana House of Representatives last month with a landslide 81-14 vote and will now go before the Senate. If the Senate passes the bill, it will then be put before the governor, who will either sign the bill or veto it.

If passed, the bill would expand Indiana’s animal cruelty statute from just neglecting food and water to neglecting shelter and medical care. Also, anyone convicted of animal cruelty would no longer be allowed to own a pet.

The bill also cracks down on puppy mills by requiring them to give dogs ample exercise outside their cages and facilities, consistently clean the cages, and construct the cages to protect dogs from disease and injury and have sufficient heating, cooling and ventilation. Read More

Just think about this for a minute. HSUS is backing legislation like this all over the country that will require dog breeders to protect dogs from disease and injury and have sufficient heating, cooling and ventilation. This is exactly what hog farmers ar already doing and have been doing for quite some time now. Yet HSUS is also demanding that hog farmers take their hogs out of this type of environment and put them outside. It just goes to show that their main concern is promoting a vegan society, not the proper care of animals.

More on Will & Pollan

Columnist sips the Pollan Kool-Aid
By Steve Cornett

Did you see that George Will has bought into the Pollan Premise? (Click here to read it.) Will is usually a careful thinker and reporter. His column last week is testimony to just how persuasive Michael Pollan’s arguments are.(Click here to read Pollan's views on food policy from the New York Times magazine.)

Somebody better get busy presenting the other side of this story, because now we have both our new president and a leading conservative thinker playing footsy with a most radical concept.

Michael Pollan is the teacher, writer and “food activist” who is pushing a premise that holds that food is too cheap in the United States. He says that cheap food is a bad thing because we eat too much of it and get fat and unhealthy and that is a big part of the health care problem. And, by the way, the way we farm produces a big carbon footprint.

He summed it all up a couple of years ago with this bit of advice in a New York Times piece: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

His primary target is subsidized corn, but to get at corn he likes to say mean things about “factory farm” feedlots and how cheap corn makes cheap meat and, ergo, we’re all fat slobs because of cattle feeders.I’ll let the corn guys take care of themselves on this. I’ve read both ways on the science behind the anti-corn syrup argument and don’t pretend to know the answer. But you can’t blame red meat for this obesity problem, and especially not the explosion in diabetes.

Here, after just a bit of Google research, are a couple of graphics that ought to make anybody—much less somebody with George Will’s intellect—question that premise. Read More

I shared the original article that George Will wrote earlier this week. Here is Steve Cornett’s take on it. He makes some very valid points, with the research to back them up. Not just a feel good idea that Pollan likes to share with everyone. Pollan is not a sacred cow, his ideas need to be criticized because they will not work.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

With Them or Against Them?

L.A.'s animal terrorists
Animal rights advocates must repudiate the extremists who attack medical researchers -- and those who provide them support.
Tim Rutten March 11, 2009

On monday in Washington, President Obama heralded the return of what he terms "sound science" to the administration of federal policy.

At that moment in Los Angeles, a joint federal and local law enforcement task force was investigating the latest incident in a 3-year-old terrorist campaign being waged against UCLA medical researchers. This time, a group that calls itself the Animal Liberation Front firebombed a car on Saturday belonging to a neuroscientist whose research into psychiatric disorders involves primates.

This was the latest incident in a long-running war. Since July 2006, extremists who oppose the use of animals in any medical research have attacked UCLA scientists or their property in five actual or attempted arsons and five acts of criminal vandalism. Telephone threats have been made, and researchers' children have been followed to and from school.

There also have been more than 40 demonstrations, many at the scientists' homes -- often in the middle of the night by people whose identity is concealed by hoods -- involving intense harassment, including banging on windows and chanting profanities.

As UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, himself the director of a medical research lab, told me: "Imagine having protesters outside your home on many weekends, screaming to your children and neighbors that you are a murderer, or being pointed to a website that describes you in the most vile terms possible, lists your home address and encourages people to do you harm, or going to bed wondering whether this will be the night that someone tries to burn down your house." (The university has spent more than $1 million in extra security costs since 2006.)

Read More

A strong point is made in this article for animal rights activists to consider. Will they condemn the actions of these terrorists that they did in the name of animal rights? They don’t seem to come running out of the woodwork to speak against these people. So in the end, it seems that most animal rights groups seem to support this type of activity. If they don’t, they should prove me wrong.

Generation Y in Ag

Local ranchers work on their image
Feeling misunderstood, cattlemen come together to educate the public
By Sarah Hubbart

Jolene Moxon grew up in a ranching family. Her grandparents ran cattle in Trinity County, and her father worked in the dairy industry in Arcata. She remembers showing cattle at the Humboldt County Fair, proudly sporting her blue-and-gold Future Farmers of America jacket as she led her steer around the woodchip-filled ring.

Her family and other ranchers and dairy farmers she knew all treated their animals humanely, so she was dismayed last year when a now-infamous video, surreptitiously filmed by animal-rights activists, showed horrific animal cruelty at a Chino slaughterhouse. Images of an injured cow being relentlessly pushed by a forklift were seared into her mind—as well as the minds of millions of Americans who saw them.

Moxon is now part of a new generation of ranchers who are working to overcome the animal-cruelty charges lobbed at the industry since the video appeared.

“People need to realize that was one example, not the entire group. Now the entire business is suffering for it,” she said, shaking her head solemnly. Read More

The excitement that exists in college students preparing to return to production agriculture is second to none. They are energized to contribute to the industry they love. Their excitement is contagious. If you ever need your batteries recharged, just spend some time with the younger people in agriculture.

Losing Farmland

E-I-E-I-Ohhhhh .... Farmers bemoan shrinking farm acreage
By Andy Johns,ajohns@timesfreepress.com
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
updated 11:47 p.m. MT, Tues., March. 10, 2009

Chattanooga, Tenn. - In 2007, Dorothy Jones came very close to becoming a statistic.
About to turn 60 with arthritis creeping into a few of her joints, she put 30 acres of the farm her father bought in the 1940s up for sale.

"I was tired," she said, sitting with her husband, Mac, on the front porch of her home at the Harrison farm.

After the farm was on the market for a year, she decided she would take down the "For Sale" sign and get back into the fields, bringing in goats and cattle where her father had grown strawberries and cotton.

"Everything about this place reminds me of how hard my dad worked," she said.

But many farmers in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia didn't have the same change of heart as Mrs. Jones. The three states lost 1.5 million acres of farmland between 1987 and 2007, a 5 percent decrease, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2007 Census of Agriculture released in February. Read More

The loss of farm land needs to start being a concern of this entire country. It’s not just the land that is being developed either. There is also land that is being taken out of production by activist judges, zoning restrictions, and others. All of these continue to add up and threaten the ability to produce enough food and fiber for our country.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

HBO Movie on Ag

U.S. pork producers brace for HBO special on cruelty

Reuters March 9, 2009 - 12:00 a.m. EST

DALLAS (Reuters) - U.S. pork producers, already worried that high prices for their product may chase pinched shoppers to the chicken section, are facing another possible hit - an HBO special on animal cruelty in factory farming.

Producers at the annual Pork Industry Forum were discussing the documentary, "Death on a Factory Farm," which the network plans to premier on March 16 and show 20 times by April 1.
The documentary, based on a video taken by the Humane Farming Association, an animal rights group, "takes a harrowing look at animal cruelty in an Ohio factory farm as chronicled through undercover footage," the HBO website said.

Owners of the Ohio farm were charged with animal cruelty following six weeks of secret filming of events there.

The video also contains footage of the trial where representatives of the pork industry gave testimony detailing acceptable hog care practices, Tom Simon, co-producer of the documentary, told Reuters. Read More

We’ve known this show on HBO has been coming for quite some time, however, no one knows for sure what to expect. First off, let me start by saying that I would never support anyone that is abusing animals. However, there are things that are done on livestock operations that most people don’t understand. There is no doubt that it will try to make livestock producers look as evil as possible. They will also try to convince people that every producer wants to treat their animals cruelly. The best way to defeat these images is to invite people out to your farms and ranches. Show them the great care you give to your livestock. No body else can do this for you, you have to tell your own story.

CA's Animal Rights Push

California bill could test boundaries of animal rights
March 9, 2009, 7:53AM

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — Errant motorists beware: Puppy hit-and-run could soon be a crime.
Pushing animal rights in a whole new direction, a state lawmaker has proposed slapping California motorists with a fine and possible jail time if they flee the scene after hitting a jaywalking dog, cat or any other pet or farm animal.

The measure by Democrat Mike Eng would require that drivers attempt to provide medical aid to an injured animal and notify the owner or animal-control authorities.

It’s one of a herd of bills introduced in the Legislature this year that could test the boundaries of what constitutes humane treatment of animals in California.

In the aftermath of a big victory for Proposition 2, the November ballot measure that made groundbreaking changes in the confinement of farm animals, state lawmakers from both parties are pushing changes affecting Fido, felines and even flocks of geese. Read More

California animal rights activists, feeling very proud of their passage of Prop 2, are pushing for new and stricter animal rights legislation. It’s interesting that they want to put the responsibility on the driver, if they hit an animal, rather than the owner of the animal that allowed them to be in that situation. And are they going to specify what animals you have to stop for? What happens if you hit a mouse or a frog, maybe a bird? No one wants to see an animal hit by a vehicle, but common sense needs to be involved in writing some of these laws.

More Researchers Threatened

Activists destroy UCLA researcher's car
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

WESTWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Animal rights activists have long targeted researchers at UCLA who use animals in their experiments. There have been threatening phone calls and e-mails and five separate firebombings.

The latest attack was early Saturday morning, when a researcher woke up to a loud noise. He found that his car had been set aflame and destroyed.

A group called the Animal Liberation Brigade claimed responsibility for the attack on a Web site. The group objects to the use of monkeys and other animals in university medical research.

In its Web site posting, the group claims that the researcher addicts monkeys to methamphetamines and other street drugs. It also used the researcher's name in a warning it posted that said, "Here's a message just for you. We will come for you when you least expect it and do a lot more damage than to your property." Read More

As was predicted, members of the terrorist animal rights group ALF burned up a car as retaliation for the arrest of some of their members. I highlight this group frequently because I believe it’s important to realize what animal rights activists are capable of and how their actions affect human welfare. These researchers perform very important studies that contribute to new medicines and health improvement in humans.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Blaming Agriculture

Where the Obesity Grows
By George F. Will
Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tom Vilsack, Iowa's former governor, calls his "the most important department in government," noting that the Agriculture Department serves education through school nutrition programs and serves diplomacy by trying to wean Afghanistan from a poppy-based (meaning heroin-based) economy. But Vilsack's department matters most because of the health costs of the American diet. If Michael Pollan is right, the problem is rooted in politics and, in a sense, Iowa.

Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and "In Defense of Food," says that after World War II, the government had a huge surplus of ammonium nitrate, an ingredient of explosives -- and fertilizer. Furthermore, pesticides could be made from ingredients of poison gases. Since 1945, the food supply has increased faster than America's population -- faster even than Americans can increase their feasting.

Agricultural commodity prices generally fall. But since a rare surge in food prices gave the Nixon administration a political scare, government policy, expressed in commodity subsidies, has been, Pollan writes, to sell "large quantities of calories as cheaply as possible," especially calories coming from corn.

"All flesh is grass" says the scripture. Much of the too-ample flesh of Americans (three of five are overweight; one in five is obese) comes from corn, which is a grass. A quarter of the 45,000 items in the average supermarket contain processed corn. Fossil fuels are involved in planting, fertilizing, harvesting, transporting and processing the corn. America's food industry uses about as much petroleum as America's automobiles do. Read More

This is some extremely poor journalism for a very respected author. Basically, Will took everything that Pollan said as truth without doing any type of background research. He took Pollan’s complaints, which are based on unfounded fears, yet offers no analysis of what could be done differently. And while there are different ways to farm, there are only a few ways that will produce enough food to feed everyone.

Highlighting Producers

Healthy animals means healthy food
John Schlageck
Saturday, March 7, 2009

Today, raising livestock on a farm or ranch is a dynamic, specialized profession that has proven one of the most successful in the world. Today’s animal husbandry, or care and feeding of livestock, is no accident.

Rather, it’s because of the dedicated men, women and children who raise and care for this state’s livestock. For generations, Kansas farmers and ranchers have watched over and nurtured cattle, hogs, sheep, chickens and other livestock from sunup to sunset – every day of the year.

Few consumers are aware of livestock producers’ relationships with their animals. They don’t know how the meat, milk, eggs and other food products wind up on their dinner table. But today, more and more are becoming interested.

Amy Saunders raises cattle in Jefferson County and markets her family’s beef in nearby Lawrence and suburban Kansas City. Her customers want to know her and her family.
In the case of Saunders, when her customers buy her family’s beef, they’re also buying the complete package.

“They’re buying us,” Amy says. “They’re buying a quality product, and they know exactly who produces it.” Read More

Highlighting the great people and great stories they have to tell is exactly what we need to be doing in our industry. What we have been able to accomplish in agriculture is nothing short of amazing and has never been seen before in human history. All of us in agriculture have a story to tell and there has never been a more important time to share it. Consumers want to meet the people that are growing their food. Extend your hand and introduce yourself.

Carrie Underwood Continues Support of HSUS

Carrie Underwood Remakes Mötley Crüe Hit for American Idol
March 9, 2009

Carrie Underwood has recorded a version of Mötley Crüe's "Home Sweet Home" for American Idol. Starting on Wednesday (March 11), the song will be played when contestants are voted off the show and will be available as a digital single on iTunes on March 16.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). "I've always loved this song, and besides being very fitting for Idol, to me, the title is also very fitting with animal rescue and finding animals their own homes," Underwood said. "So we felt it was important to tie the release into an amazing animal charity like the HSUS." Underwood won American Idol in 2005. Link

Carrie Underwood continues to financially support a vegan based, animal rights group. From a girl that grew up around ranching, it’s highly disappointing. But what’s more disappointing is her support of a group that is telling her fans to become vegans, a diet that is quite dangerous for growing and developing teenagers. This isn’t the message I want my children to get from their favorite musicians.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Livestock Antibiotics

Pork Industry Says Antibiotics Are Necessary for Animal Agriculture
Sunday, March 08, 2009 :: Staff infoZine
By Heather Lockwood

Washington, D.C. - infoZine - Scripps Howard Foundation Wire - The Food and Drug Administration puts all antibiotics used in animal agriculture through a "very vigorous approval process" that considers the safety of the animals, their human handlers, consumers and the environment, said Jennifer Greiner, a veterinarian and director of science and technology for the Pork Producers Council. She is the daughter of pork producers.

The FDA approves antibiotics in animal agriculture for four uses: treatment, prevention, bacterial control and growth promotion. The FDA considers all but growth promotion to be therapeutic uses.

"We truly believe ‘nontherapeutic' is just a bad term. Any time you use an antibiotic, whether it be a lower dose or a higher dose, that antibiotic is going to kill some kind of bacteria," she said. "All antibiotics have some sort of therapeutic value." Read More

In order for producers to give the best possible care to their animals, antibiotics need to be available to use. No matter the dosage, it is benefitting the animal by contributing to its health and well-being. These products are too expensive to use haphazardly, so precise usage is always implemented by the producers so that that they are producing a safe affordable food product.