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My Cowboy Code

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On this National Day of the American Cowboy, I felt inclined to post my version of the “code.”

  • Live by the Golden Rule.
  • Practice tolerance and understanding of others.
  • Be hospitable to strangers. Anyone who wanders in, including an enemy, is welcome at the dinner table.
  • Do not inquire into a person’s past. Take the measure of a man for what he is today.
  • Never pass anyone without saying “Howdy”.
  • Never steal or trespass. Thieves and trespassers pay with their life.
  • Defend yourself whenever necessary.
  • Family ALWAYS comes first.
  • Look out for your own. Read more…

Resolving Animal Cruelty

Spring 10 Bull Pair

I tip my hat to the California Cattlemens Association and Assemblyman Jim Patterson for submitting AB 343 with coauthors Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, Assemblyman Brian Dahle, Assemblyman Brian Maienschein and Senator Jim Nielsen and endorsement by the California Farm Bureau.

It is refreshing to see a bill that truly works to address the issue of animal cruelty in agriculture.

Unlike bills in other states, AB343 protects the right to video and photograph, protects the worker from reporting observed abuse, promotes cooperation with local law enforcement and puts the welfare of the animals above the bottom line and above the next fundraising campaign.

AB343 combines common sense with moral fortitude. It requires that animal abuse is reported in a timely manner, in order to minimize suffering, allow for a proper investigation and see that appropriate charges are brought against the offender.

Finally, an animal welfare bill that those in agriculture and those outside of agriculture, who care about the welfare of animals, can stand together in support of.

…This bill would require any person who willfully or knowingly photographs, records, or videotapes animal cruelty to provide a copy of the photograph, recording, or videotape to local law enforcement within 48 hours of taking the photograph, recording, or videotape, and would encourage the person to provide a copy of the photograph, recording, or videotape to the owner of the animal or poultry, or a representative of the owner. This bill would define animal cruelty for its purposes as any act involving an animal, as defined, or poultry, as defined, described in prescribed criminal offenses…

Immigration and Animal Welfare

Realizing this post may result in a fiery storm of comments, I still wanted to share the following thought, simply to ‘spark’ deeper thought.

I find it interesting that when Arizona passed its immigration law, a group of people strongly supported it and another group strongly opposed it, based on the states’ rights argument. Now, California has passed an animal welfare law (Prop 2) and the group previously supporting Arizona’s rights is now supporting Federal language to overturn, while the group against Arizona’s legislation is now supporting California’s right to enforce Prop 2. Ironic?

To be clear, I supported Arizona’s right to pass immigration legislation and while I disagree with Prop 2, I also support California’s right to enforce it. Without the ability to enforce it, California’s farmers will be at a significant disadvantage and likely be forced out of business due to unfair competition.

I am curious if anyone else has noticed the irony of these two situations.

PS Let’s keep the comments civil :-)

Reference Links:

Midnight Egg amendment

Arizona SB1070

California Proposition 2

 

Labeling, GMOs, GMEs, and COOL

Off and on, over the past few months, I have seen and participated in several discussions relating to labeling and specifically, labels relating to GMO’s. Twitter is not the best place to have this discussion, in my opinion, so I have put together my thoughts on the subject here.

GMO vs GEO

I catch myself using these two terms interchangeably and I should not be. There is a major difference between genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) and genetically engineered organisms (GEO’s).

Modify: to limit; to make minor changes in; to make basic or fundamental changes in often to give a new orientation to or to serve a new end.

Engineer: the creative application of scientific principles to design or develop structures; to construct or operate the same with full cognizance of their design; to forecast their behavior under specific operating conditions.

All biological organisms, plants, animals, bacteria, etc., have been modified, or changed, since the beginning of time. In some cases it has been through natural processes, outside of the direct influence of man. In other instances, man has directly modified through selection. For example, keeping wheat that had more grains per head, grass that could tolerate drought, cattle that gain weight quicker or more efficiently are all manners in which man has modified organisms.

GEO’s, on the other hand, have been engineered my man to exhibit specific traits. Plants have been engineered to withstand drought, repel insects, disease and the infamous herbicide Roundup. Arizona State provides a fairly clear dissertation on Plant Genetic Engineering. Read more…

Denmark, Antibiotics, Rest of the Story

During the past week I have noticed an increase of the promotion of Denmark’s ban on the use of antibiotics for sub-therapeutic use. What has not been publicized is what has transpired since the ban went into place…it has not been all “roses.” These points were compiled after being able to hear a presentation by Dr. H. Scott Hurd of Iowa State.

1. Antibiotics are being used very sparingly since the ban. Farmers and veterinarians must now wait until animals are exhibiting clear signs of illness before treating which leads to higher doses of antibiotics being used to treat the animal, suffering and an increase in mortality. The Denmark ban led to an increase in diarrhea in pigs and an increase in deaths by more than 20% World Health Organization Report.

2. It is important to understand that the antibiotics used to prevent disease are not used to treat humans. However, the antibiotics used to treat disease, are also used to treat humans. The ban actually increases the use of more antibiotics that are shared in use with humans, not decreases.

3. The Denmark ban has led to a decrease of farms in Denmark from nearly 25 thousand in 1995 to fewer than 10 thousand in 2005. Farms were unable to remain in business due to the increase in death loss.

4. Since the Denmark ban, antimicrobial use has increased nearly 110% while number of animals has only increased 5%, due to higher dosages being used to treat, rather than prevent (DANMAP 2008).

5. Denmark now exports their pigs at weaning to other countries to be fed out for market, nearly 5 million in 2008.

6. Enterococcus spp, is the only bacteria that showed a decrease in resistance since the ban was put in place, and it is not even a food borne pathogen (DANMAP 2008).

7. Since the antibiotic ban, farmers in Denmark are now utilizing zinc to help control diarrhea in hogs and ironically, it is highly likely that this may be encouraging incidence of Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus (MRSA).

8. Most importantly, the WHO has stated that there has been no evidence of improved public health since the ban. In fact, resistant Salmonella in humans has increased and Denmark had their largest outbreak of MSRA (WHO 2002).

For more information on this and other food risk modeling information, I encourage you to visit Dr. H. Scott Hurd’s page.

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