In this file:
· Avoid Audit Fear: Create a Culture of Animal Care
· Fair Oaks Farms Details Changes Following Animal Abuse Allegations
· Animal cruelty becomes federal crime
Avoid Audit Fear: Create a Culture of Animal Care
Jennifer Shike, FarmJournal's Pork
November 26, 2019
In the past 30 years, the pork industry has made great progress through the implementation of animal welfare programs, audits and assessments. These tools have helped pork producers demonstrate the many ways that they are listening to consumers and their expectations.
These programs often include animal-based measures or outcomes, documentation and facility assessments.
Because of this, it can be easy to view animal care audits as a one-and-done event, says Paul Ayers, animal care manager for The Maschhoffs. That’s why he is focused on avoiding the audit mentality and instead, creating a culture of animal care into the work their employees do each and every day.
“Animal care and production performance and production goals for your farm should not be mutually exclusive,” Ayers says. “I’m a firm believer if you’re doing well with animal care and preparing for audits, you are also going to be doing the things that will position the farm for success for production performance.”
One of the ways he tries to help employees avoid “audit fear” is to get their animal care teams in the barns on a routine basis to help support training and help with follow-up actions on the back end of audits.
“We try to position our animal care team to be more involved in training, follow-up...
Fair Oaks Farms Details Changes Following Animal Abuse Allegations
by Betsy Jibben, AgWeb
Nov 25, 2019
Fair Oaks Farms is a dairy and agri-tourism destination in Indiana. It prides itself on opening up its operation, being transparent and educating the public.
Yet, the farm’s reputation was hindered in June when an animal activist group released undercover videos of several employees allegedly abusing cows and calves and doing drugs.
In an interview, co-founder and owner Mike McCloskey says he didn’t think it would ever happen on their farm.
“We had a breakdown in our system that unfortunately resulted in some mistreatment of our animals,” McCloskey says.
The videos became an investigation. The Newton County, Indiana, Sheriff's Department says three former employees were charged with animal cruelty. Only one was apprehended and detained.
In a social media video, McCloskey said three of the employees had been reported by their co-workers for animal cruelty. All three were terminated before the owners knew there were any undercover videos.
We asked McCloskey if law enforcement has updated him about the suspects.
“I really have not [been] involved in the investigation other than to cooperate with [law enforcement] in anything they’ve asked for,” said McCloskey.
McCloskey says he’s made harsh changes to fix what happened. That includes continuous employee training and installing new cameras in every place a cow and an employee would have any interaction.
“I brought on a third veterinarian who is 100% dedicated to animal welfare,” said McCloskey. “That individual has, I think right now, has six employees under her observing all of this footage on an ongoing basis.”
Those employees went through intense animal welfare training, even training on how to observe footage and protocols to report it.
“I can’t assure you or anyone that there may not be another person who decides to maybe do the wrong thing,” said McCloskey. “But I can assure you we will detect it immediately with the systems we have now.”
The Animal Agriculture Alliance says animal activist tactics have ramped up over the last three to five years on farms, especially using undercover videos.
“These campaigns are not a new tactic in any stretch of the imagination,” said Hannah Thompson-Weeman, the vice president of communications with the Animal Agriculture Alliance. “What we’ve seen them do with targeting large, well-respected, household name brands has really upped the ante.”
In an effort to be more transparent to the public, Fair Oaks Farms will soon open a "Robotic Dairy" center as it unveils robots in some of its parlors. McCloskey says it's not just a benefit for the cows...
Animal cruelty becomes federal crime
“We cannot change the horrors of what animals have endured in the past, but we can crack down on these crimes moving forward. This is a day to celebrate.”
By Olivia Rosane, Nation of Change
November 26, 2019
A bill making animal cruelty a federal crime is now the law of the land after President Donald Trump signed it on Monday.
The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) expands a 2010 law banning videos that show animals being harmed, The New York Times explained, making the acts themselves also illegal under federal law. Its passage was truly a bipartisan effort. It was introduced into the House by a Republican and a Democrat from Florida and passed in both the House and Senate unanimously.
“PACT makes a statement about American values. Animals are deserving of protection at the highest level,” Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) CEO and President Kitty Block said in a statement reported by ABC News. “The approval of this measure by the Congress and the president marks a new era in the codification of kindness to animals within federal law. For decades, a national anti-cruelty law was a dream for animal protectionists. Today, it is a reality.”
The sponsoring of animal fights is already banned by federal law, according to The New York Times, and animal cruelty is a federal felony in all 50 states. But this law, which punishes the intentional harming of animals with fines and prison sentences of up to seven years, will make it easier for prosecutors to tackle cases that cross state lines and funnel more resources towards animal cruelty cases.
“It is important that we combat these heinous and sadistic acts of cruelty, which are totally unacceptable in a civilized society,” Trump said at the signing ceremony Monday, as The New York Times reported.
The new law will make a big difference for animal welfare in the nation’s capital, CBS News explained:
“This bill is particularly important to us as the only humane law enforcement agency in D.C.,” Chris Schindler, vice president of field services at the Humane Rescue Alliance told CBS News in a statement. “Our officers investigate thousands of animal cruelty cases each year, but have been unable to truly bring justice for the animals in instances when the cruelty occurs across multiple jurisdictions.”
“The PACT Act is a necessary tool for us to provide further protections for animals and our community, and will ensure some of the most horrific acts of animal cruelty are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Schindler’s statement continued.
The effort to legislate against animal cruelty on the federal level stretches back to the late 1990s, The New York Times explained. That’s when HSUS began investigating so-called “crush videos” that depict the torture or murder of animals, frequently when a woman steps on them. A ban on these videos was passed in 1999, but was struck down by the Supreme Court for violating the First Amendment after some argued that it was too extensive. President Barack Obama signed a replacement law in 2010, which the current law expands...
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