In this file:
· When the Title Match is Big Ag vs. Hobby Farms, PETA Wins
· The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act And Undercover Employees
· Fighting for Animal Welfare on the Path Towards Animal Liberation
· PETA files complaint against Fort Valley State slaughterhouse
When the Title Match is Big Ag vs. Hobby Farms, PETA Wins
Brandi Buzzard Frobose, Opinion, Dairy Herd Management
July 10, 2019
The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of Brandi Buzzard Frobose, and do not necessarily represent the views of Drovers or Farm Journal.
Fair Oaks Farms, a progressive dairy, pork and crop farm in northwest Indiana, was recently the subject of some less than savory media attention. Four employees, three of whom had already been fired by the time the footage surfaced, were seen committing heinous acts of animal abuse, with zero remorse for their actions. As the video made its way across social media and television news, the perpetrators were condemned, cussed and pursued by law enforcement. Rightfully so, because animal abuse is taken very seriously by the agriculture community and should not be tolerated, ever.
However, as Fair Oaks Farms reeled from the unexpected blow and struggled to recover, another vein of hateful, sinister commentary was making its way across the Internet. Can you guess what it was?
If you said criticism of “Big Ag,” ding, ding — you win! Except not really, because when big farms and small farms quarrel, no one wins … except PETA, HSUS and other animal rights extremists.
Before we go further, let me say this: big is not bad. Small is not bad. Bad is bad. Again, for those in the back, bad behavior is bad for the ag sector, regardless of whether it stems from a 1,000 head dairy or a chicken farm with 20 birds.
When the blame for animal abuse is taken off the abusers and placed on the farm owners, our customers — aka grocery shoppers — see this and take it as a truth. They perceive that big farms must be bad because they are larger and, generally, have more employees than just one or two family members. They start to distrust the grocery store and any farmer they can’t see face-to-face, which for local food markets is great. But for the agriculture community in general, is severely detrimental.
Now, let me stop those who are fixing to throw me into the flames. The vehemence is not one-sided. Because for every vitriolic sneer directed towards large farms and ranches, there is an equal and opposite reaction directed at their smaller cousins; more often than not in the form of “hobby farm.” This line of criticism is just as harmful as its counterpart and also lends to distrust of farmers, ranchers and food. Circling the wagons and firing inwards is a waste of time, passion and ammo, folks.
In case you aren’t a statistics lover like myself, I’d love to share some data with you...
The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act And Undercover Employees
Sarah Phillips, JDSupra
July 10, 2019
In recent years, farmers and ranchers have been increasingly targeted by animal rights groups trespassing on their properties, stealing farm animals, and other acts of vandalism. The frequency with which undercover animal rights groups infiltrate farms, ranches and other animal enterprises as undercover employees is increasing. In light of this increased activity, farmers and ranchers are searching for new ways to guard their property and protect their animals, especially after a breach of privacy. Although some state legislatures have attempted to regulate the release of video or photographs taken at an animal enterprise without permission, much related legislation has been successfully challenged on constitutional grounds.
For example, in Animal Legal Defense Fund, et al. v. C.L. Butch Otter and Lawrence Wasden, No. 1:14-cv-00104-BLW (D. Idaho Aug. 3, 2015), the court held that legislation which targets journalists or activists, who may be critical of animal enterprises, could violate the constitutional right to freedom of speech. While that ruling protects filming and the subsequent release of a video, there still may be legal remedies that farmers and ranchers can seek against those who enter their operation under false pretenses to harm their animals and business.
The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), 18 U.S.C. § 43, is a federal law that protects against the potential damage and harm caused by members of animal rights groups. The AETA prohibits individuals who have traveled in interstate or foreign commerce, or used or caused to be used the mail or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, from damaging the property of an animal enterprise, or intentionally putting the owner of an animal enterprise in fear of death or serious bodily injury. An individual found guilty pursuant to the AETA faces a range of penalties, including fines and imprisonment depending on the severity of harm and economic damage caused.
Can farmers and ranchers use the AETA to prosecute those individuals who knowingly accepted employment of an animal enterprise for the purpose of harming that business and the animals therein? To succeed with an AETA claim, farmers or ranchers would have to demonstrate the damage to the animals, 18 U.S.C. § 43(a)(2)(A), or show how undercover employees interfered with or conspired to interfere with the operation. 18 U.S.C. §§ 43(a)(2)(B),(C).
Until these questions are explored in a court of law...
Fighting for Animal Welfare on the Path Towards Animal Liberation
A conversation with Farm Sanctuary founder Gene Baur.
Aazan Ahmad, Earth Island Journal
July 10, 2019
Gene Baur got his start in animal advocacy more than three decades ago, selling vegan hotdogs in the parking lot of Grateful Dead concerts to raise money for animal rescue operations. In 1986, he made things official when he founded Farm Sanctuary, an organization that rescues farm animals and promotes a plant-based died. As part of his work, Baur — who describes himself as both an animal rights and animal welfare advocate — has set up sanctuaries for former farm animals in both New York and California.
Gene Baur’s work extends beyond rescuing cows, pigs, sheep, and other domesticated animals. He has visited hundreds of farms and slaughterhouses to document conditions there, including the small cages and close quarters that barely give animals space to move. He has led legislative efforts, including a Florida campaign in the early 2000s that resulted in the passage of the first law in the United States to ban gestation crates and to make it mandatory for farm owners to provide their animals enough space to be able to move around.
Farm Sanctuary has also gone to court to fight for animals. In 2001, the group sued the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) over a law that allowed industries to slaughter downed cows — cows that are either extremely ill or too injured to walk — for meat. In 2003, Sanctuary Farm won the lawsuit. The practice is now illegal.
By rescuing farm animals, educating people about them, and advocating for the animals’ rights, Baur hopes to end farm animal cruelty and encourage people to adopt vegan lifestyles. Earth Island Journal spoke with him about his long career, how he copes when he comes face-to-face with animal abuse, and whether he thinks we’ll ever live in a post-meat-eating world.
Was there a specific moment that shaped your view of animals as sentient beings with undeniable rights?
I first had a connection with animals when I was perhaps nine or ten years old and had a very close emotional bond with a cat named Tiger. And so at that time I knew that animals were individuals, with personalities and likes and dislikes. I felt that since I was very young, but I also grew up eating meat without thinking very much about it.
And then in high school and college I began questioning the idea of eating farm animals, and I went vegan in 1985. It was a process for me. I had a connection with Tiger when I was very young, but I was not consistent in my behavior until going vegan in 1985 when I was 23 years old.
Can you briefly describe your ideology about animals’ welfare and animal rights?
Well, when people ask me if I'm an animal rights person or an animal welfare person, I say I'm both. I think that it's important to work on incremental reforms to prevent suffering while we continue working towards the broader goal of animal liberation. Also, when animals are rescued and live at sanctuaries, it could be said that they have “rights,” but they also need to have their welfare taken care of. Sometimes people get in the business of rescuing animals and they're not very good at providing them with good welfare, which we take very seriously at Farm Sanctuary.
Animal rights and welfare I think are both important. I also think that in some cases there's been an unnecessary divisiveness around labeling whether a person is an animal rights person or an animal welfare person. I think these approaches exist on a continuum, and any step towards preventing suffering and raising awareness and moving us towards a vegan world is a step I support.
How are animals cared for at the Farm Sanctuary sanctuaries, and how do conditions at these sanctuaries differ from those on traditional farms?
At Farm Sanctuary the animals are our friends, not our food, and we look after them like many people take care of their cats or dogs or dependent family members. At Farm Sanctuary we provide them with what they need to thrive, which includes spacious pastures and clean barns. If they're injured or sick, they get the best veterinary care possible. They're treated like individuals, and they are also free to express themselves as social animals and to develop relationships with other animals, including people. At farm sanctuary, the animals are allowed to live long, happy lives.
In contrast, on production farms, animals are seen primarily as commodities, and they're commonly denied necessary veterinary attention. They're confined in cages and crates so tightly that in some cases they can't even turn around or move. They're crowded in warehouses by the thousands, and then they're killed at very young ages. Chickens, for example, are usually killed at around six weeks old. So, basically, they live short, miserable lives on factory farms that treat them like inanimate production units. They're denied basic humane consideration, and even though farm owners don’t intend for those animals to live long lives, the conditions are so harsh that hundreds of millions die every year before even reaching the slaughterhouse.
You’ve been involved in undercover investigations to reveal the terrible conditions animals are subjected to in farms, stockyards, and slaughterhouses. What was it like to participate in those investigations? ...
Farm Sanctuary worked to get laws passed to protect farm animals in Florida, Arizona, and California. Can you explain what protections these laws provide? ...
Do you believe there will come a time when people stop eating meat completely? If so, do you have any thoughts on when that might be? ...
Do you think that humans are capable of coexisting with other species of animals without disturbing or exploiting them? ...
Some people may have compassion for animals, but have a hard time taking action when they hear about animal suffering. What message do you have for people who may have an interest in this issue, but haven’t taken the next step towards getting involved? ...
What’s next for you? Do you have any new projects planned to promote animal welfare? ...
PETA files complaint against Fort Valley State slaughterhouse
A federal agency says a worker there shot a bull in the head 10 times with a bolt gun before knocking it unconscious
Author: WMAZ Staff (GA)
July 10, 2019
FORT VALLEY, Ga. — Animal rights activist group PETA is asking District Attorney David Cooke to prosecute an alleged animal-abuse case at Fort Valley State University.
They're citing a letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that claims a worker had to shoot a bull in the head 10 times with a captive-bolt gun before knocking it unconscious.
PETA's news release says, "this bull experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at Fort Valley State University."
In addition to asking Cooke to prosecute the worker, PETA is urging people "to go vegan and help prevent more animals from suffering in slaughterhouses."
Their news release includes the letter from the USDA to Fort Valley State's Georgia Small Ruminant Research and Extension Center.
The letter describes the June 26 incident at the FVSU slaughterhouse and says they violated rules for using captive-bolt stunners. Those rules say animals should be knocked unconscious "with a minimum of excitement and discomfort."
The letter is signed by Phyllis Adams, district manager of the USDA's Atlanta office. She could not be reached for comment.
Barney Welch, acting manager of the Atlanta office, declined to comment and referred questions to the USDA's press office.
The USDA letter is headed "notice of suspension" and says...
more, including links