Archive for "News"

Netherlands Court Overturns Ban on Mink Farming

May 22, 2014 Comments Off on Netherlands Court Overturns Ban on Mink Farming

BlackMinkDutch News: Fur farmers celebrate as court throws out ban on mink farming
Wednesday 21 May 2014


A court in The Hague on Wednesday overturned a new law to ban breeding animals for fur from 2024.

The law will have a ‘serious financial impact’ on breeders and it is totally unclear if they will be given proper compensation, the judges said in their verdict.

The legislation to phase out fur farming was passed by the senate at the end of 2012, three years after it was agreed by the lower house.

Five million pelts

Fur farmers described the decision as ‘historic’, saying the ban would have meant the end of an economically successful sector, news agency ANP reports.

The Netherlands has some 160 fur farms producing five million pelts a year. The sector employs some 1,400 people.

The Netherlands is the third biggest fur farming nation in the world behind Denmark and China.


Junior economic affairs minister Sharon Dijksma said she will appeal against the court decision.

However, D66 parliamentarian Gerard Schouw called on Dijksma to revise the decision and take the courts comments on compensation for farmers into account.

Earlier, researchers at Wageningen University said the the cost of the ban would be €651m.

Animal rights groups said they were very disappointed at the court ruling.

‘It has been clear to breeders for years that a ban was in the offing,’ said a spokesman for animal protection group Dierenbescherming. ‘It would be awful for animals if the ban now takes even longer.’

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The War on Meat Is Part of the War on Humans

May 05, 2014 Comments Off on The War on Meat Is Part of the War on Humans
May 5, 2014 4:41 AM
I don’t mind if people decide to go vegan or vegetarian. That’s a personal decision demonstrating our exceptionalism as human beings. What other species would forego natural and nutritious food to make a moral point? But the idea that most of us will give up meat to “save the planet” is, well, hogwash. Yet the “what if” articles keep coming. The latest is from Slate, byline B.V. Anderson, who asks: “What if Everyone in the World Became a Vegetarian?

In 2009 researchers from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency…predicted that universal veganism would reduce agriculture-related carbon emissions by 17 percent, methane emissions by 24 percent, and nitrous oxide emissions by 21 percent by 2050. What’s more, the Dutch researchers found that worldwide vegetarianism or veganism would achieve these gains at a much lower cost than a purely energy-focused intervention involving carbon taxes and renewable energy technology. The upshot: Universal eschewal of meat wouldn’t single-handedly stave off global warming, but it would go a long way toward mitigating climate change.

The world is almost saved! At least Anderson notes that doing away with food animals would ruin economies (which is what many warming hysterics want):

If the world actually did collectively go vegetarian or vegan over the course of a decade or two, it’s reasonable to think the economy would tank. According to “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” the influential 2006 U.N. report about meat’s devastating environmental effects, livestock production accounts for 1.4 percent of the world’s total GDP. The production and sale of animal products account for 1.3 billion people’s jobs, and 987 million of those people are poor. If demand for meat were to disappear overnight, those people’s livelihoods would disappear, and they would have to find new ways of making money.

Yeah, well, good luck with that. Actually, Anderson’s article doesn’t even begin to assess the economic obliteration that doing away with meat animals would cause. Indeed, she fails to address how thoroughly animal products grease the wheels — literally — of society. Here’s a quote from the fanatic animal-rights lawyer Steve Wise in my book, A Rat Is a Pig, Is a Dog, Is a Boy:

Today, the use of nonhuman animal products is so diverse and widespread that it is impossible to live in modern society and not support the nonhuman animal industry directly. For example, the blood of a slaughtered cow is used to manufacture plywood adhesives, fertilizer, fire extinguisher foam, and dyes. Her fat helps make plastic, tires, crayons, cosmetics, lubricants, soaps, detergents, cough syrup, contraceptive jellies and creams, ink, shaving cream, fabric softeners, synthetic rubber, jet engine lubricants, textiles, corrosion inhibitors, and metal-machining lubricants. Her collagen is found in pie crusts, yogurts, matches, bank notes, paper, and cardboard glue; her intestines are used in strings for musical instruments and racquets; her bones in charcoal ash for refining sugar, in ceramics, and cleaning and polishing compounds. Medical and scientific uses abound. And there is much, much more.

The subtitle to my book is, The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement. Without animal industries, we would suffer an economic obliteration. Notice how every bit of the cow is used. That’s productive, efficient, and I think, respectful of each animal’s death. Good nutrition aside, the catastrophic economic impact of forcing people to stop eating meat — a key goal of the animal rights movement — is one of many reasons why animal rights is part of the ongoing war on humans.

High School Ag Programs Flourish as Farms Dwindle

May 03, 2014 Comments Off on High School Ag Programs Flourish as Farms Dwindle

AP Business Writer
May 03, 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) – High school agriculture programs sprouting across the nation’s Corn Belt are teaching teenagers, many of them in urban environments, that careers in the field often have nothing to do with cows and plows.

The curriculums, taking hold as school budgets tighten and the numbers of farms in the U.S. decline, are rich in science and touted as stepping stones for college-bound students considering careers in everything from urban forestry to renewable natural resources and genetic engineering of crops, perhaps for agribusiness giants such as Monsanto, Dow, DuPont and Pioneer.

Ag-minded students are in luck: Tens of thousands of jobs open up each year in the broader agriculture field, and roughly half are filled by college grads with actual ag-related degrees, observers say.

“There’s a shortage of workers in a number of careers, and the numbers of those jobs are staggering,” said Harley Hepner, the Illinois State Board of Education’s chief consultant for ag education. “Schools that understand we can get students in the ag program know they’re going to be taxpaying citizens with good-paying jobs.”

Along with school programs, membership in Future Farmers of America is up to about 580,000 – nearly double its ranks of the mid-1980s. That spike dispels the notion the national organization is merely a haven for farm kids, given that the number of U.S. farms are on a long-term downward trend, shrinking another 4 percent between 2007 and 2012, according to the latest federal figures available.

Untold numbers of FFA members have scant to do with farms, as Rebecca Goodman illustrates.

In Indiana, where corn is king, the 18-year-old junior is her school’s active FFA president but could never be confused for a country girl. Goodman, who’s lived in Indianapolis since she was 3, had never been on a farm, and her experience with animals is limited to cats and dogs.

“The only thing I planted was a small garden, and the only thing that grew out of it were weeds,” she admits.

Yet Goodman aspires to be a conservation officer, crediting tiny Beech Grove schools’ fledgling agricultural sciences program with steering her that way.

Beech Grove’s Applied Life Sciences Academy, unveiled in November 2012, is billed as a place of hands-on, frequently technical exploration of live plants and animals. Educators say it makes a connection, helping students who otherwise may grapple with comprehending concepts and theories in a traditional math or science class.

“We live on the motto that 99 percent of the population doesn’t have anything to do with (farm) production,” said Chris Kaufman, a former state education department ag specialist who helped set up Beech Grove’s program.

Classes include animal science, plant and soil science, separate offerings of advanced animal and plant science, natural resources, and an introductory course. Some of the courses earn the students high school science credits.

Such offerings increasingly have cropped up in many states in recent years in the nation’s breadbasket. Seven Kansas high schools and four in Nebraska joined the fold in the past school year. Over the past three years, Missouri has added seven to bring its statewide total to 331 – up 82 from two decades ago – and Illinois added 10.

Beech Grove’s program, among 13 the state has added since 2010, has two middle school and two high school teachers for nearly 500 students, a number that helps the program pay for itself thanks to a state fund that gives districts a per-student stipend depending on the class. Those payouts range from $375 to $450 per student, accounting for what Kaufman says has funneled $180,000 into Beech Grove’s coffers.

“Beech Grove needed more electives and teachers, and this was a perfect fit that didn’t cost much,” he said. “This is about understanding the environment and the world around you as it relates to animals, plants and food, then going out with those skills to get a good career.”

It’s appeared to connect with Goodman, who remembers “kind of having a hard time with what I wanted to do with my life and was going by the book – be a nurse or something. It kind of made me boxed in, made me feel depressed.”

“Before this (program) came, I was in a dark place,” she said. “It’s helped me find my way back.”

Classmate Alicia Perez, 17, once dismissed learning about agriculture, convinced “this is gonna be for people who wanna be farmers.” Not so, she now submits.

“It’s an amazing program, really life-changing,” the 17-year-old junior said of learning about plants and food, which feed her dreams of becoming a chef. “My heart is in culinary arts, and there are so many different careers you can pursue in agriculture.

“This is definitely something you have to go into to realize it’s so much broader.”

Food Companies Unhappy with FDA Feed Proposal

Apr 16, 2014 Comments Off on Food Companies Unhappy with FDA Feed Proposal


4/16/14 12:05 AM EDT

Expired marshmallows, broken crackers, stale donuts, even orange peels are among the billions of pounds of would-be waste that help feed livestock every year.

By regularly diverting its waste in this way, the food industry prevents millions of tons of greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere, but an obscure proposal under a 2011 food safety overhaul could inadvertently send much of the reusable food back to landfills.

Food manufacturers send the vast majority of their waste to be turned into animal feed, which many view as a significant achievement considering that more than 30 percent of all food in the United States is thrown away. But the Food and Drug Administration has proposed placing new sanitation and record-keeping requirements on feed production that could increase compliance costs and paperwork — mandates that many in the industry and on Capitol Hill warn could make it too expensive for businesses to continue recycling.

“World food needs are going to increase dramatically,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), ranking member of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, said at a recent hearing on the FDA’s budget.

Blunt urged FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to revise the proposed animal feed rule, which was required under the Food Safety Modernization Act, to give more consideration to food byproducts used in feed.

“Normally, we’d think about how we need to produce more food, but [we also need to] more effectively use the food and food products we have,” Blunt said, adding, “I think this is a big issue.”

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents more than 300 top food companies and supports the food safety overhaul broadly, is raising alarm about the feed proposal. The group has said the FDA’s approach would be costly, bad for the environment and provide little or no food safety benefit.

“Of course, our members do not want to use landfills except as a last resort, but they may have no other option if compliance costs are too high,” the group said in 88-pages of comments on the proposed regulation. Tonnage sent to landfills “could drastically increase,” the group warned.

Food manufacturers kept about 44 billion pounds of food waste out of landfills in 2011, including such discards as French fry potato peels and granola bar trimmings, according to data compiled by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, a collaboration between GMA, the Food Marketing Institute and the National Restaurant Association.

In its own economic analysis, GMA has estimated that nearly 70 percent of the waste stream from food manufacturers goes into animal feed and only 5 percent is dumped in landfills. The bulk of the remaining waste is composted or applied to land.

Those numbers would change dramatically if the FDA proposal becomes law, the group said. The proposed regulation would require manufacturers to create food safety plans for all of the byproducts going into feed, a potentially costly mandate that would likely prompt companies to divert as little as 22 percent of their food waste to feed and almost 28 percent to landfills in order to save money and avoid the hassle, GMA estimated.

Overall, the rule would cost food manufacturers about $444 million a year, GMA said, which is more than three times what the FDA estimated for the human, livestock and pet food industries combined. That includes $100 million in lost revenue from animal feed buyers and $344 million in increased landfill and compost fees.

In environmental terms, carbon dioxide emissions would increase by 4.7 million metric tons annually — the equivalent of adding about a million passenger cars to the roads, the group said.

“It is bad public policy for FDA to put companies in the situation of having to decide whether to incur significant expenditures for compliance, with minimal, if any, augmentation to the health of humans or animals, or to engage in a practice that it known to be environmentally unsustainable,” GMA said in its comments on the rule.

The industry group has asked the FDA to overhaul its proposal and cost-benefit analysis and conduct an environmental impact assessment, which the agency has argued isn’t necessary. The FDA’s analysis found that the proposal would provide “potential improvements” to public health by reducing contamination in animal feed and the animal products that people consume, but the agency did not provide figures and said it is “unable to quantify the benefits of the proposed rule.”

David Plunkett, a senior attorney at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said he believes it’s unlikely companies will divert their food to landfills and that such concerns are overblown.

“Trade associations have the job of constructing the ‘worst case scenario’ to minimize the impact of regulations, but the reality is often very different,” Plunkett said. “Companies are accustomed to [hazard control] plans for food safety, and it is unlikely that pet food and animal feed are going to disappear into landfills simply because of this rule’s minimal requirement to practice safety and keep good records.”

Responding to pushback on several of its food safety proposals, the FDA announced in March that it plans to issue “revised language” for the feed rule, and top officials have said that they’re committed to finding a practical solution to food waste concerns.

At the recent Senate appropriations hearing, Commissioner Hamburg told Sen. Blunt that she has brought the waste issue to the attention of her team.

“We want to support sustainable agriculture practices,” Hamburg said. “It makes enormous sense. We do believe this can be addressed in a practical, sensible way.”

Meanwhile, the EPA has developed a “food recovery hierarchy” to guide food waste policy. Its top priority, aside from reducing waste, is to feed hungry people and, after that, to feed animals.

ConAgra Foods, which owns such popular brands as Chef Boyardee and Reddi-wip, used the EPA recommendations to develop its waste-reduction strategy, Gail Tavill, the company’s vice president for sustainable development.

“Our strategy was really to move up that value hierarchy,” Tavill said. “Feeding animals, for us, is a huge part of our strategy.”

Tavill pointed to shelf-stable pudding as a key example. Typically, the company will produce some initial batches of pudding cups to ensure the process is sterile before making cups to ship to consumers.

“For many years, those finished cups were going into the landfill,” Tavill said. But then ConAgra Foods started working with another company that could separate the pudding from the cups to use in poultry feed and recover energy from the plastic. Cost was not a significant factor in pursuing this relationship, she said. While it did deliver a small savings, the real driver was working toward keeping valuable materials out of landfills. Today, ConAgra Foods diverts about 87 percent of its total food waste stream to animal feed, she said.

Tavill expressed concern that FDA’s proposal will prompt companies to discontinue their recycling efforts. Compliance will be especially difficult for manufacturers who handle multiple products or those with a lot of ingredients, such as soup and pot pies, she said.

“[The regulations] are pretty prescriptive,” Tavill said. “What is the problem that the rule is trying to solve? Where’s the risk that they’re trying to solve? … Is the effort to comply with the requirements equal to the risk?”

Dozens of other companies also are expected to weigh in on the proposed feed rule. Food giant Cargill told POLITICO that it supports the food safety law, but “believes that the regulation should have some flexibility due to the broad nature of the animal food, feed and ingredient space.”

Despite the problem that food waste presents, recycling hasn’t attracted as much high-profile attention in the United States as it has in other countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, celebrities advocate feeding discarded food to pigs under a campaign dubbed “The Pig Idea.”

Taking a cue from across the pond, the Agriculture Department and EPA launched the less-cleverly titled U.S. Food Waste Challenge this past summer to raise awareness of the need for more recycling.

“The food industry in general is starting to pay more attention to the waste stream and find ways to capture value from what they previously threw away,” said Jonathan Bloom, author of the food-waste treatise “American Wasteland.” “As the cost savings become clear, more and more companies are looking at it,” he said.

Consumer awareness of the issue is also growing, he said.

“People are becoming increasingly interested in where their food comes from, and a natural offshoot of that is to ask, ‘Where does it go when we’re done with it or when we don’t use it?’”

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Animal Rights Extremists Increasingly Targeting Individuals

Mar 12, 2014 Comments Off on Animal Rights Extremists Increasingly Targeting Individuals

Note: While focusing specific on Animal Research, this article is extremely relevant to all animal-use industries, as many of the tactics identified here are used on other targets.

Online News Editor of Science Magazine

Animal rights activists have dramatically shifted their tactics over the last decade, targeting individual researchers and the businesses that support them, instead of going after their universities. That’s the biggest revelation to come out of a report released today by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States.

The purpose of the report—The Threat of Extremism to Medical Research: Best Practices to Mitigate Risk through Preparation and Communication—is to provide guidance to scientists and institutions around the world in dealing with animal rights extremists. That includes individuals and groups that damage laboratories, send threatening e-mails, and even desecrate the graves of researchers’ relatives. In 2004, for example, Animal Liberation Front activists broke into psychology laboratories at the University of Iowa, where they smashed equipment, spray-painted walls, and removed hundreds of animals, causing more than $400,000 in damage. In 2009, extremists set fire to the car of a University of California, Los Angeles, neuroscientist who worked on rats and monkeys. And other researchers say activists have shown up at their homes in the middle of the night, threatening their families and children.

“We wanted to create an international document to get people thinking about the potential of animal extremism,” says Michael Conn, a co-chair of the committee that created the report and the senior vice president for research at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock. “These activities can happen to anybody—no one is immune.”

Personal attacks, in particular, appear to be on the rise. The report looks at 220 reported illegal incidents within the United States between 1990 and 2012. It finds that from 1990 to 1999, 61% involved universities, while just 9% involved individuals. From 2000 to 2012, however, only 13% of incidents involved universities, while 46% involved individuals. Actions against businesses are also on the rise, with 17% of incidents from 2000 to 2012 involving investors and business partners, two groups not even mentioned in the previous decade’s numbers. These latter incidents included activists threatening to protest businesses that supply animal feed to research labs and airlines that transport research animals. “If all of a sudden companies refuse to supply you with paper towels or lab coats, you have a serious problem,” says Conn, who himself was the target of animal extremism—receiving threatening phone calls and being followed through airports by activists—when he was the administrator of an animal facility at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland. “It makes it very difficult to get your job done.”

In response, the FASEB report contains a number of recommendations. It advises researchers to limit the amount of personal information they make available on the Internet, for example. It says universities should assemble a “crisis management team” composed of scientists, security personnel, press officers, and legal consultants, so that they can quickly respond to incidents. And it recommends that researchers and institutions actively engage with the public, inviting members of the community to view their facilities, for example, as a way to combat animal rights propaganda. OHSU, for one, allows local residents to tour its primate research center on a regular basis; it also offers summer programs, such as Camp Monkey, for grade-school students.

Eric Bernthal, the chair of the board of directors of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), says he agrees that scientists should combat animal rights extremism. “We don’t condone terror and destruction of property,” he says, noting that HSUS has achieved its animal welfare goals by working with legislators. But he says the FASEB report spends far too much time on how scientists can mitigate attacks and almost no time on why these attacks are occurring in the first place. “If you’re going to give advice to researchers about how to solve this problem, the most constructive way is to use fewer animals in research,” he says, “not assemble crisis communication teams.”

Bernthal says HSUS would like to work with Conn and other scientists to figure out ways to reduce the number of animals in biomedical laboratories. “There are still some circumstances where animal research is vitally important,” he says. “But there are huge steps that can be taken to phase it out.”

The Mink Industry is Important Market for Fish Waste

Nov 05, 2013 Comments Off on The Mink Industry is Important Market for Fish Waste

In Norway, farmed fur animal producers purchase almost 50,000 tonnes of waste from fish poultry and meat production. In the report Seafood 2025 – How to Create the World’s Wild Fish Industry, which was published in March this year by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Industry Association (FHL), it is stated that the fishing fleet dumps 35 per cent of its waste, amounting to 196,000 tonnes.  Read more….


Oct 08, 2013 Comments Off on REWARD NOW $50,000 FOR INFORMATION

alf1Animal rights extremists have been attacking family mink farms all over North America recently.  These attacks, besides being cruel and traumatic to the animals, are federal crimes and fall under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.  Hundreds of animals have now suffered and painfully died due to these assaults on hard working families and their farms.  The perpetrators are not heroes, or idealists; they are felons that break into and destroy people’s livelihood, terrorizing families in the dead of night.  In order to help stop these offenses, Fur Commission USA  is offeringreward of up to $50,000  for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. Please, if anyone has any information that could help solve these crimes, call 717-983-TIPS (8477) or contact your local FBI field office.  Farms in the following locations have suffered these assaults.

Burley, Idaho
July 29, 2013

Morris, Illinois
August 14, 2013

Keota, Iowa
August 30, 2013

Coalville, Utah
September 13, 2013

Ebensburg, Pennsylvania
September 25, 2013

New Holstein, Wisconsin
October 5, 2013

Grand Meadow, Minnesota
October 7, 2013

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier: Farmers need to be vigilant, officials say

Aug 20, 2013 Comments Off on Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier: Farmers need to be vigilant, officials say

Third a three-part series by Dennis Magee.

WATERLOO, Iowa — Those familiar with the tactics of hard-core animal rights activists suggest farmers with livestock plan ahead for potential trouble, accepting that isolation in rural Iowa does not provide perfect protection.  In fact, remote locations work in favor of extremists bent on criminal mischief or worse. Read more…

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier: Iowa’s history with animal rights activists goes back decades

Aug 19, 2013 Comments Off on Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier: Iowa’s history with animal rights activists goes back decades

Second in a three-part series by Dennis Magee

WATERLOO. Iowa — Because of an incident in November 2004 at the University of Iowa, state law enforcement officials became acquainted with a figure familiar within the extreme animal rights community. Read more….

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier: Butter Cow incident a reminder of animal rights extremists’ presence

Aug 18, 2013 Comments Off on Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier: Butter Cow incident a reminder of animal rights extremists’ presence

First in a three-part series by Dennis Magee

WATERLOO, Iowa — Irreverent pundits found a fun topic to roast last week when someone poured red paint on the famous butter cow, a tradition at the Iowa State Fair since 1911. Read more….