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.