Thursday, January 31, 2008

So Fresh, So Easy...

EBAA's activities revolve around improving the lives of animals in agriculture, which leads us to regularly work with local companies to bolster animal-friendly policies.

We were greeted with wonderful news this week of the expansion of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets to the Bay Area in 2009. This supermarket chain is a cut above the rest when it comes to poultry egg purchasing. Fresh & Easy has the right idea: “We believe everyone deserves fresh and wholesome food they can afford. Our eggs come from cage-free chickens.”

The celebrated grocery chain is apart of a growing national network of cities, educational institutions, farmers, and retailers that oppose the intensive confinement of laying hens--a notoriously common egg industry practice.

Join EBAA in thanking Fresh & Easy for its Good Egg Policy. Please send the company an email today!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

California animal ag hit hard this week

Two important stories pertaining to farm animals in California have surfaced in the media this week:

Farmer John rethinks pig breeding in California

As you may recall, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and EBAA last year sued a California-based hog producer over the use of the controversial gestation crate. With the exit of Farmer John, it looks like intensive pig breeding may soon be disappearing from the Golden State landscape all together:

"Hormel Foods' Farmer John unit is getting out of the hog breeding business in California, selling about 9,000 sows at its Corcoran, Calif. operation. 'The market has grown increasingly competitive and the rising cost of feed and fuel is making it that much more difficult for livestock operations to compete,' spokesman Steve Duchesne said in a telephone interview. He also said an increasingly difficult regulatory environment in California played into the decision. 'We could not fool ourselves into thinking the regulatory environment would become any more favorable,' he said, citing an upcoming ballot initiative expected in California's November election to ban sow stalls, field crates and battery cages." Read the full story online.

The horror of school lunch meat unmasked

Today, we learned about the use of waterboarding and other cruel acts on "downer cows" at a California slaughterhouse. The video footage captured at Southern California's Westland Meat Company/Hallmark Meat Packing speaks for itself. Westland is a key supplier of the USDA's National School Lunch Program. The federal agency suspended its purchasing relationship with Westland. Read the announcement from the USDA's Ed Schafer.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What is the California egg industry saying about cage-free egg production?

Gary West, the president of a leading California egg company and chairman of the United Egg Producers, recently voiced his opinions on the California ballot initiative underway to ban caged egg production. Check out the video interview of Mr. West online.

Speaking of battery cages, San Francisco became the fourth California City to oppose caged egg production this week. One more wing up for the birds!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Let's meet up in the City by the Bay!

Do you want to speak up for animals in your area but don't know how to get started?

Join EBAA at Speak Up for Animals in San Francisco. Hosted by PETA, this mini-conference will be the perfect place for you to meet like-minded people in your area and find out how to get involved with the efforts of local animal protection organizations. Learn how to be a more effective advocate for animals and what each of us can do to make the world a kinder place.

When: Saturday, February 2, 12 noon-3 p.m.

Where: The Fort Mason Center, Meeting Room D-100

Registration: $10 in advance, $15 at the door

Registration is easy. If you have any questions, please email

Friday, January 4, 2008

What's an antibiotic? Even USDA isn't sure.

In recent times, poultry producers, including Foster Farms, have been mulling over the meaning of 'natural' with respect to meat products. A revealing news report was released this week by Meat & Poultry:

The case seems straightforward enough. Tyson Foods petitions USDA to use the words "Raised Without Antibiotics" on the labels of its chicken products, and the department gives a go-ahead. Then some naysayers complain that such a label is misleading, since a category of antibiotics called ionophores are present in the chicken feed Tyson specifies and uses for its so-called antibiotic-free chicken. USDA goes back to Tyson to say it had approved the previous label too quickly. The company and the government negotiate a deal, and new wording is approved: "Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans."

Yet a scent of mystery hovers in the air. The naysayers, gathered and organized as the Truthful Labeling Coalition and claiming a membership of "thousands of grassroots citizens in all 50 states," use a Washington, D.C., address but dont have a phone number; email sent to the TLC address bounces back. However, the TLC did issue a statement back in December congratulating Perdue Farms on becoming a member. The huge poultry processor joins other "grassroots citizens" in the TLC such as Foster Farms, Gold'n Plump Poultry and Sanderson Farms.

For its part, Tyson Foods feels no need to add to comments already made in a release announcing the new agreement with USDA. Carol Tucker Foreman, the consumer advocate, former assistant secretary of agriculture, and frequent thorn in the side of the mainstream industry, actually endorsed the agreement -- but she’s not returning phone calls either.

And the third leg on this wobbly beast, USDA, evidently isnt positive whats an antibiotic and what isnt.

To a degree, the matter is tangled politically in USDA’s consideration of a comprehensive new definition of the word "natural" for beef. Up to now, "natural" has meant, in USDA labeling regulations, "minimally processed," a definition that bears little, if any, resemblance to the word’s use by consumers and in food-product marketing campaigns. The Department will accept comments until Jan. 28 on its new proposal to allow use of "natural" to describe certain livestock-production protocols.