|"When an activity raises
threats of harm to human health or the environment,
precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and
effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.
In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the
public, should bear the burden of proof." - Wingspread
Statement of the Precautionary Principle.
General News & Information
Mark Wartman, Minister of Agriculture,
334, Legislative Building,
Regina, SK S4S
David Forbes, Minister of the Environment,
208, Legislative Building,
Regina, SK S4S
Minister Wartman and Minister Forbes;
behalf of Beyond Factory Farming Saskatchewan, I wish to thank both of you
for taking the time to meet with us on the afternoon of April 23, 2004 to
discuss the factory production of hogs in this province.
Economic Issues set out several elements of our opposition to this
activity such as
the ethanol subsidization idea;
government’s plans with respect to the US countervailing duties;
of further loans to Big Sky Farms or any other corporate hog producer;
of the caps on the CAIS program;
government’s commitment to the environment and to family farms;
government’s vision for the people of Saskatchewan;
requirement for all hog factories with sewage lagoons to provide a
Performance Bond to the community; and
results of economic analyses the government has done on the industrial
hog production in this province.
Environment and Democracy Issues included
the conflict of
interest that Saskatchewan Agriculture & Food is in as both regulator
and promoter of industrial livestock operations;
Environment’s mandate to protect our air quality;
the Water Appeal Board’s recommendation that intensive livestock
operations secure the necessary water allocation before they are given an
Environment’s responsibility to protect our soil from harmful toxic
compounds and incorrect nitrogen-to-phosphorus levels in hog manure;
the need to honour
the democratic wishes of the RM of Livingston by withdrawing approval of
the proposed hog barn; and
failure to fulfill their election promise of A
Green and Prosperous Economy.
Encourage the use of hoop/Quonset-style barns as a way to produce
free-range or organic hogs in a humane, sustainable, and environmentally
sound method without hormones, antibiotics, sow stalls, or the pollution
of our land, air and water by liquid hog manure;
Acknowledge and support the theory that the only way to bring young
farmers on to the land is to have them own it, farm it and see a
Assist entrepreneurs to establish small local abattoirs;
Promote and support these alternative methods of producing food to
meet the growing demands of better-informed, more discriminating
consumers. The corporate way
is not working.
to the shortage of time, our Health Issues included in your briefing
material were not presented. If
you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to do so.
It demonstrates the urgent calls by major world health
organizations for a moratorium on the expansion of the hog industry.
The cause for their concern rests with the continuous
administration of low levels of antibiotics to these intensively confined
animals their entire lives. While
keeping the animals alive long enough to get them to market, this practice
supports the development of ‘superbugs’ – antibiotic-resistant
bacteria which are resistant to the same antibiotics being given to the
animals and, in illness, to humans.
in a Hog Factory - Who will forget the brief but convincing stories of the
former hog barn worker?
solutions to some of these serious problems include
regulations, not guidelines, for mega hog operations into the hands of
ILOs as ”developments” in order that they be subject to
full Environmental Impact Assessments;
government investment of public money in hog operations;
to single-desk selling of hogs;
define ILOs as industries, NOT farms, requiring them to pay their
proper share of municipal property taxes;
agricultural policies that reflect the government’s campaign promise
for a “Green and Prosperous
the humane, environmentally-friendly raising of hogs in hoop barns
with straw bedding, encouraging organic or free-range pigs;
legislation this session that requires water approvals be
complete before Saskatchewan Agriculture issue approval for an
Beyond Factory Farming Saskatchewan as a stakeholder on equal standing
with Agrivision; and
a moratorium on mega hog expansion in Saskatchewan.
his presentation on the importance of food quality for good health, and
his gift of bread made from Saskatchewan-grown certified organic stone
ground whole wheat, Elmer Laird voiced his hope that the provincial
government soon begins to look at the nutritional value rather than volume
of production or profit per acre. He
emphasized that “our health care system is getting on very shaky ground;
however, it must be built on a foundation of clean water, pure air,
certified organic nutritious food, and a clean environment or it will go
to say, we were disappointed that we were unsuccessful in our request for
a moratorium on the expansion of hog factories.
We are concerned about the government’s lack of the courage to
acknowledge that the industrial method of hog production is not
sustainable and is, in fact, putting our environment and public health at
assessment” and “risk management” speak to the old way of making
decisions in environmental or health matters – dealing with the damage
after it occurs. The new and
modern tool, however, for making decisions on these issues is to apply precaution
– preventing the damage before it occurs.
We do not understand the government’s reluctance to exercise precaution
and halt the expansion of hog factories but, through future meetings, we
will continue our attempts to convince you to act wisely on this issue.
the meantime, we look forward to receiving your written responses to the
questions and concerns raised during our meeting with you.
Thank you for your time.
Beyond Factory Farming Saskatchewan
Box 23, Archerwill, SK S0E
Hon. Peter Prebble, Minister
Responsible for Sask Water
Back to top
Response to Above
June 1, 2004
Minister of Agriculture and Food,
Regina, Saskatchewan S4S
June 1, 2004
Ms Elaine Hughes
Beyond Factory Farming Saskatchewan
P.O. Box 23
Archerwill, SK S0E 0B0
Dear Ms Hughes:
Thank you for your letter of May 6,
2004, in follow-up to our meeting on April 23, 2004, in which we discussed
hog production and a number of other broader policy issues related to the
farming industry in rural Saskatchewan.
I appreciate your efforts to write and share your views on a variety
of issues, including economics, environment, democracy and health.
As you are aware, rural life and
farming has undergone dramatic changes over the last 100 years and continues
to change. We are actively
working to revitalize rural Saskatchewan and to promote positive economic
and environmentally sound growth in rural Saskatchewan.
The Province has legislation
administered by Agriculture, Food and Rural Revitalization specific to
intensive livestock production. Large
intensive livestock operations (ILOs) are reviewed by the Saskatchewan
Environment’s Environmental Assessment Branch to ensure the requirements
of The Environmental Assessment Act
are met. ILOs also require
water use approval from the Watershed Authority to ensure that resources are
not depleted and that other user needs are met.
The Crown Investments Corporation was
established to provide investment capital that would help the province
prosper and attract business development to both urban and rural
Saskatchewan. Investment into
hog production has been made by the Crown Investments Corporation, not be
individual government departments.
Saskatchewan has a well developed
regulatory process and there are opportunities for this kind of development
in Saskatchewan. There are also
new opportunities in niche markets including the production methods that you
advocate. There is substantial
interest in organic farming, free range animal production and the
establishment of small local abattoirs.
We recognize that while we may not
always agree on how to promote development in rural Saskatchewan, this
government will continue to strive to ensure a prosperous Saskatchewan and
to protect health and environment in the province.
“Original signed by Mark Wartman,
Minister of Agriculture and Food, and
David Forbes, Minister of the Environment”
Honourable John Nilson, Q.C., Minister of Health
Peter Prebble, Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Watershed
Back to top
Largest Hog Producer Files For Bankruptcy
Furnas County Farms, Nebraska's largest swine producer, filed for Chapter 11
bankruptcy protection this week. The company has 50,000 breeding sows and
annual production that accounts for 15 percent of all the hogs raised the
state of Nebraska annually.
It's the 14th-largest hog operation in the United States, according to an
annual survey by Successful Farming
Its lenders are carrying an estimated $172 million in unsecured debt,
according to records on file at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Omaha. More
than $19 million of that is held by the First National Bank of Omaha.
Scott Burroughs, part of an interim Furnas County Farms management team on
duty in Columbus on Wednesday, was trying to get out a message of
reassurance about adequate financial resources for the short term to 1,200
suppliers and to about 375 employees spread across 75 operations in the
state. In prepared remarks, Burroughs alluded to a signed letter of intent
from a potential but as-yet-unnamed buyer.
In follow-up questions about what's ahead on the Chapter 11 path, he said he
was "very optimistic that the sale will happen. But if the sale falls
through, it wouldn't be good. It would be a very negative thing to the
state," Burroughs said.
Furnas County Farms was launched by Chuck Sand, perhaps Nebraska's most
prominent pork producer, in the 1970s. Its name comes from its pervasive
presence in Furnas County and in the Arapahoe area in the south-central part
of the state. But there also are extensive holdings north of Grand Island
and a few finishing units in western Iowa.
The demise of an operation so large defies a pattern of consolidation and
concentration in which family-sized hog farms disappear and bigger
competitors qualify for lucrative production contracts from major
meatpackers. It also attracts the attention of critics who have clashed with
Sand on such issues as rural zoning and Initiative 300, the state's
anti-corporate farming law.
Rod Johnson, executive director of the Nebraska Pork Producers, said the
closing of so many hog operations "would have a devastating impact on
some of the rural communities out there." And a loss of that much hog
production, or even a significant portion of it, "would have a negative
impact on every producer." Nebraska meatpacking plants already have to
import 35 percent to 40 percent of the hogs they process, Johnson said.
Furnas County Farms was done in by a combination of factors, Burroughs said.
One of the most burdensome was an outbreak of Porcine Respiratory
Reproductive Syndrome, or PRRS, in more than 50 percent of its locations
since 2000. The virus typically reduces litter sizes and interferes with
weight gain among animals suffering respiratory distress.
Betsy Freese, livestock editor at Successful
Farming magazine in Des Moines, also pointed to high feed costs
and more. "The problem is their cost structure," she said. "A
lot of their facilities are old. Their genetics are not looked at as being
very good." When grain prices climb rapidly, "that always affects
these larger producers," she said, "because they don't raise their
Source: OsterDowJones Commodity News
Back to top
Red Williams Interview on CBC
March 16, 2004
Hi Noon Edition:
I thought it was strange that Professor Red Williams mentioned
several times in his interview with Rosalie Woloski, that 'outside
agitators' are the main obstacle to intensive livestock operations in
Unlike Mr. Williams' organization, Agrivision-- the people in this
province who are against factory farming receive no funding from
either government or business, have almost no political
influence with mainstream parties and get very little media
How much more lopsided would Mr. Williams like this issue to be?
Click here to listen to the
Back to top
with Factory Farming?
The intent of presenting this data is not to
"demonize farmers, many of whom went into the business out of a desire
to work with nature and be close to the land, and don't like what's going on
any more than you or me. But something has happened to the way animals are
treated in modern meat production that is a disgrace to the human spirit,
and a violation of the ancient human-animal bond...
The process of rearing farm animals in the US has
changed dramatically from the family farms of yesteryear. This reality,
coupled with the exemption of farm animals from laws that forbid cruelty to
animals, has produced a heartbreaking situation. More animals are subjected
to more tortuous conditions in the US today than has ever occurred anywhere
in world history. Never before have the choices of each individual been so
important." John Robbins, The Food Revolution (2001)
* All statistics and information compiled from The Food
Revolution by John Robbins (2001), Diet for a New America by John Robbins
(1987), Frances Moore Lappe's Diet for a Small Planet and the Rainforest
- Production of excrement by total US human
population: 12,000 pounds/second
- Production of excrement by US livestock: 250,000
pounds/second (including 25 pounds of manure per cow per day)
- Sewage systems in US cities: Common
- Sewage systems in US feedlots: None
- Amount of waste produced annually by US livestock in
confinement operations which is not recycled: 1 billion tons
- Where feedlot waste often ends up: In our water
- Gallons of oil spilled by the Exxon-Valdez: 12
- Gallons of putrefying hog urine and feces spilled
into the New River in North Carolina on June 21, 1995, when a
"lagoon" holding 8 acres of hog excrement burst: 25 million
- Fish killed as an immediate result: 10-14 million
- Antibiotics administered to people in the US
annually to treat diseases: 3 million pounds
- Antibiotics administered to livestock in the US
annually for purposes other than treating disease: 24.6 million pounds
- Antibiotics allowed in cow's milk: 80
- Percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to
penicillin in 1960: 13%
- Percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to
penicillin in 1988: 91%
- Reason: Breeding of antibiotic resistant bacteria in
factory farms due to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock
- Response by entire European Economic Community to
routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: Ban
- Response by American meat and pharmaceutical
industries to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: Full and
Numbers of Animals Slaughtered for Food in US:
- Number of cows and calves slaughtered every 24 hours
in the US: 90,000
- Number of chickens slaughtered every minute in the
- Food animals (not counting fish and other aquatic
creatures) slaughtered per year in the US: 10 billion
- Transcript of New York Times full page ad published
June 22, 2001 detailing the horrors of our modern-day slaughterhouses.
With 309-330 cows per hour coming by on the "disassembly"
line, there are many who are still fully conscious with eyes wide open
when skinned and cut apart. They die literally piece by piece.
Factory Farm Animals with Diseases from Intensive
- A report by the USDA estimates that 89% of US beef
patties contain traces of the deadly E. coli strain. Reuters News
- US pigs raised in total confinement factories where
they never see the light of day until being trucked to slaughter: 65
million (total confinement factories are banned in Britain)
- US pigs who have pneumonia at time of slaughter: 70%
- Primary source of Campylobacter bacteria:
Contaminated chicken flesh
- People in the US who become ill with Campylobacter
poisoning every day: More than 5,000
- American turkeys sufficiently contaminated with
Campylobacter to cause illness: 90%
- Americans sickened from eating Salmonella-tainted
eggs every year: More than 650,000
- Americans killed from eating Salmonella-tainted eggs
every year: 600
- Increase in Salmonella poisoning from raw or
undercooked eggs between 1976 and 1986: 600%
- 90% of US chickens are infected with leukosis --
chicken cancer -- at the time of slaughter.
- Average lifespan of a dairy cow - 25 years; average
lifespan when on a factory dairy farm - 4 years.
- Water needed to produce 1 pound of wheat: 25 gallons
- Water needed to produce 1 pound of meat: 2,500
- Cost of hamburger meat if water used by meat
industry was not subsidized by US taxpayers: $35/pound
- When water shortages occur, citizens are often
requested to not wash cars, water lawns and to use low-flow shower
heads. However, cutting back on meat consumption would save much more
water given that the water required to produce just ten pounds of steak
equals the water consumption of the average household for a year.
- About 70% of the water used in the 11 western states
is dedicated to the raising of animals for food.
- Years until the Ogallala Aquifer runs dry (formed by
glaciers, the largest underground lake in the world and source of fresh
water beneath an area from Texas to South Dakota, and Missouri to
Colorado): 30 to 50
- The amount of water that goes into a 1,000 pound
steer would float a (Naval) destroyer. (Newsweek article "The
Browning of America")
- Amount spent annually by Kellogg's to promote
Frosted Flakes: $40 million
- Amount spent annually by the dairy industry on
"milk mustache" ads: $190 million
- Amount spent annually by McDonald's advertising its
products: $800 million
- Amount spent by the National Cancer Institute
promoting fruits and vegetables: $1 million.
Back to top
by Family Farmers - a Powerful Marketing Message
Farm & Countryside Commentary
by Elbert van Donkersgoed
March 16, 2004
"Grown locally by family farmers" was the
first choice of more than 75 percent of consumers in an Internet survey. The
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Iowa has tested prototypes for
food ecolabels - seals or logos indicating that a product has met a
certain set of environmental and/or social standards. The study found
that the term locally grown, when combined with family farmers, appears to
be a powerful marketing message.
No wonder New York City's Greenmarket Farmers Market is
such a success. In a couple of decades a project begun as a
once-a-week market at Union Square in Manhattan is now an agency with
42 markets in 31 locations throughout New York City. At least 20
of the markets operate year round; the flagship market in Union Square now
operates four days a week, and 1/3 of markets are in low income areas where
malnutrition and obesity are endemic.
Last week, Tom Strumolo, Greenmarket's director, spoke
to the Second Annual Local Food event sponsored by the Toronto Food
Policy Council and Caledon Countryside Alliance. He described
Greenmarket as a unique service to New York City, both in structure
and accomplishment. Those accomplishments include:
- Fresh food for a quarter million customers per week
during the peak season;
- A nutrition program for low income families worth
almost a million dollars per year;
- Over 105 restaurants supplied with fresh ingredients
- Student educational tours three days a week;
- Donation of 500,000 pounds of unsold food to food
banks each year;
- 20,000 acres of farmland close to the city kept in
- a group of family farmers succeeding in spite of
The Greenmarket structure is unique. It is a program of
the Council on the Environment of New York City, a privately funded citizens
organization in the Mayor's Office. Greenmarket trains market managers. For
the farmers, staff takes care of the nitty-gritty details of approvals for
new sites, relationships with community boards, weekly advertising,
publicity events and arrangements for accepting credit cards, food
stamps and nutrition vouchers.
Most significantly Greenmarket has branded their
markets as "locally grown by family farmers." Middlemen, resellers
or brokers are thus excluded from their 42 markets. With few exceptions, all
items must be grown, raised, foraged, caught, or otherwise produced by the
seller. Greenmarket staff members routinely visit and work with the farmers
to improve displays, identify new ethnic crops and to make sure that what
they sell at market is grown or raised on their farms.
Greenmarket Farmers Market in New York City is an
economic success -- proof that locally grown by family farmers is a
powerful marketing message.
Back to top
Farmers Worry Hogs are Latest US Target
Web Access: Click
By Roberta Rampton
2004-03-08 22:48:37 GMT
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, March 8 (Reuters) - Canadian farmers said on Monday they
are worried their hogs will be the latest product added to a U.S. hit list
of Canadian farm exports if a new challenge by U.S. pork producers is
On Friday, the National Pork Producers Council filed petitions with the U.S.
government accusing Canadian farmers of dumping subsidized hogs south of the
border, depressing prices.
"It just seems to be one problem after another for all of agriculture
in Canada," said David Rolfe, a farmer and president of Keystone
Agricultural Producers, a lobby group in the Prairie province of Manitoba.
Canadian wheat has been kept out of the United States by countervailing and
dumping duties for the past year, and Canadian live cattle have been banned
since last May after a case of mad cow disease.
Now U.S. hog producers want duties of up to 20 percent on Canadian hog
exports, which farmers could have to pay as early as Aug. 12.
The U.S. group argued Canadian government programs -- including a federal
whole-farm income insurance program -- help farmers export hogs at cheap
"They seem to be clutching at straws as far as programs go in
Canada," Rolfe said, noting the federal plan does not cover losses and
only insures 70 percent of farmers' recent average income to comply with
"They were marginal programs at best," said Rolfe, who raised hogs
until last year. "If you claimed two years in a row, you were in deep
Canadian hog farmers have endured three years of poor returns because of low
prices, high feed costs and the surging Canadian dollar.
But exports have boomed, reaching 7.3 million hogs in 2003, up more than 35
percent from 2001.
The huge increase came at a time when U.S. farmers lost money, which will
likely mean the case will proceed, a Washington trade lawyer familiar with
Canada-U.S. trade issues said.
"That doesn't guarantee you that you're going to win a case, if you're
the U.S. industry, but it probably means you're going to get a case
going," the lawyer told Reuters.
"I think people ought to take the case seriously," the lawyer
Even temporary duties could be devastating for hog farmers, said Claude
Vielfaure of Hytek, one of Canada's largest hog production networks.
"In the meantime, you've got to be able to pay the bills and
live," Vielfaure said, noting Canadian farmers have seen 20 percent of
their returns disappear with the climb in the Canadian dollar relative to
the U.S. greenback over the past year.
Most of the increase in exports came in the form of baby pigs shipped by
Canadian Prairie farmers to U.S. feeder barns in the U.S. Midwest, said
Kevin Grier, livestock analyst with the George Morris Center in Guelph,
"It's supplying a demand down there: that's the frustrating
thing," Grier said, noting Prairie farmers can raise weanlings cheaper
than their U.S. counterparts, but U.S. farmers have cheaper feed costs.
"Prairie producers don't get any subsidies," Grier said.
A duty would likely drive down prices offered by Canadian packers by an
equivalent amount, Grier said, adding to pressure on farmers.
"It's terrible news at a terrible time," he said, explaining
Ontario hog farmers lost an average of more than C$10 ($7.60) per hog sold
through 2002 and 2003.
"How much can these guys take?" Grier said.
Copyright Reuters 2004
03/09/2004 08:58 a.m. CDT
Back to top
An Open Letter to the Prime
February 2, 2004
The Right Hon. Paul Martin
Open letter to The Prime Minister
Feb. 2, 2004
The Federal and Provincial Governments have pumped in millions of dollars
via the C.A.R.D. and other programs to facilitate huge Intensive Livestock
Operations for many years. These support payments are generated by the
Despite the input, neither the Government nor the Industries have come up
with a definite Plan to protect our Health, Water, Air, Land or the Family
Farm. The noble projections that Family Farmers had carved out have been
ruined by Corporate intrusion. The unforgiving pollution and grief that
these Industries have created from Coast to Coast should bring a sobering
thought to Government and yourself.
Canadians, as a whole, do not want Ecological Terrorism. The sympathy for
these polluters must not be greater than the well being of Canadians and
their Land Base.
Please put Canada back in the hands of its People and not Corporate
Back to top
January 29, 2004
I hope the discovery of BSE in Canadian cattle will be
a wake-up call to the policies of both federal and provincial agriculture
I am referring to programs such as CARDS (Canadian
Adaptation and Rural Development), which according to your department has
invested $60 million a year since 1995, "to stimulate progressive
change in agriculture and the agrifood industry."
Unfortunately in Saskatchewan, much of this grant money
has gone to factory-farming operations, many of which raise hogs.
Similarly, many provincial programs are aimed at encouraging this type of
agriculture. And we're beginning to see the consequences; bird flu
from Asia could be the next crisis heading our way.
Because of the BSE scare, more and more consumers are
paying closer attention to how their food is raised, and they're coming to
the conclusion that factory farms are not the direction to go. They want
their meat--whether it be pork, beef or chicken--raised by family farms in
the traditional, healthy way.
Yet your funding of intensive livestock initiatives
throughout Canada is promoting the exact opposite. Your department's
grant programs should begin reflecting the changes in public and consumer
Back to top
Letter to the Editor
January 13, 2004
Columnist Wrong to Back Factory Farms
What planet has Kevin Hursh been living on?
At a time when the Canadian beef industry has nearly
been brought to its knees by BSE, and when television programs--the most
recent being the CBC's Nature of Things (Farming Inc., Jan 7) are showing
the tragic consequences of factory farming--Mr. Hursh continues to 'whistle
in the dark', making outrageous excuses for the industry.
In his Jan. 7th column "Size Does Matter on
Saskatchewan Farms", Mr. Hursh mentions pork baron Florian Possberg's
theory that opposition to intensive livestock, including I suppose Big Sky
Farms, stems from an aversion in this province to anything large and
'potentially' successful. Hursh says we should get over our jealously
and accept the reality of the new agriculture. He thinks
opponents of factory farms are small-minded--we're likely all socialists,
and we believe that everybody should be equally poor.
That is complete and utter bunk!
If Mr. Possberg and others in the factory farming
business were manufacturing widgets instead, I'd gladly buy their widgets
and I'd be happy if they all became multi-millionaires. But I can't
bring myself to support an industry which has so many negative implications:
for the environment, for animal welfare and for the survival of
smaller farms, which Mr. Hursh seems to be ready to write off.
Hursh says animal care in factory farms is better than
ever. That's not saying much! There's a big difference between
the way free-range pigs are raised and the pigs raised in factory farms,
which are stacked inside like sardines or caged in tight pens and
forced to stand in their own feces. Are these the same types of
operations Mr. Hursh once described in a column on his investment in Big
Sky Finishers Inc., as 'piggy hotels?' If these pigs could
only talk, Mr. Hursh, there would be plenty of complaints to the front desk.
American environmental lawyer Robert Kennedy Jr.
accuses the intensive livestock business of buying off politicians. I
would like to believe that's not the case yet in Canada. Politicians
in this country are already dazzled enough by the few jobs that factory
farms create, that they ignore the plight of the small producers they
displace and the other damage that will surely come.
Back to top
Disease Attributed to Broken Food System and Poorly Enforced Health Policies
Statement by the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE)
December 24, 2003
Despite Agriculture Secretary Veneman's statement that the
Department of Agriculture "has had an aggressive surveillance program
...to insure detection and a swift response" for mad cow disease, the
facts are to the contrary. A
broken food system and negligently enforced public health policy are
endangering the health of Americans.
In 1996, the World Health Organization (WHO) made four
recommendations to protect the public from an outbreak of the disease, which
have yet to be instituted in the
. The WHO
recommended the following:
Feeding Infected Animals to Other Animals.
US deer and elk with chronic wasting disease are fed to hogs and
All Sick Animals.
Sick animals which are unable to walk on their own
power, "downers," like the one found yesterday in
state, should be tested for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad
cow disease). The
tests fewer than 2% of the downers which are sent to slaughter for human
, for example, tests 100% of their "downers."
Feeding Bovine Brains, Eyes, Spinal Cords or Intestines to People or
In 1997, USDA tests showed that 88% of meat processors sampled were
producing beef products which contained unacceptable material.
Weaning Calves on Cow's Blood.
Calves in the
are drinking up to three cups of "red cell blood protein" each
day to wean them; this protein may contain infected material.
Although in 1997 the FDA issued a final rule banning most
mammalian protein in feeds for ruminant animals, as of October 2003, a total
companies were in violation of federal regulations to control mad cow
Evidence indicates that mad cow disease is the product of an
increasingly industrialized food system where parts of deceased animals are
routinely fed to live animals to keep costs down. Cattle are fed animal
byproducts, implanted with hormones, and are routinely fed antibiotics to
promote quick growth and keep them alive.
The majority spend most of their lives crowded on feedlots, where
they live in a mixture of mud and their own filth, have no shade or
protection, and have no freedom of movement.
These practices are having a grave impact on the integrity of our
"Mad Cow Disease is a red flag that exposes the deadly
flaws employed by our broken food system," says Karen Hudson of the
GRACE Factory Farm Project. "The corporate industrial model of
agriculture has brought us to the position we are in today. Grinding up dead
farm animals to feed to live animals should be banned worldwide."
Testing animals for Mad Cow is not the solution; the only
viable answer to this problem is to change the way animals are raised.
Consumers can help create this change by supporting family farmers
who raise animals sustainably.
For more information on factory farming and Mad Cow, visit www.factoryfarm.org.
For more information on how to find sustainable food in your area, visit www.eatwellguide.org.
Back to top
Book Stirs Bad Air Over Hog
Saskatoon Star Phoenix
December 13, 2003
If you call up "hog barns" on the Saskatchewan Government Web
site, you will, according to this story, be inundated with what feels like a
public relations campaign. The story says that the government's optimistic
vision of the hog mega-barns that have been springing up around the province
recently allows for no discouraging words.
But at the community level, these intensive livestock operations
or confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), as they're variously known,
are a source of ongoing controversy. On one side are those interested in
preserving family farms and protecting the environment, and on the other the
corporations that own the ILOs and the governments that support them.
That includes the Saskatchewan government, which has an equity interest
in one hog barn operation and has spent $30 million or so of taxpayers'
money on the industry. Among other things, those who build the hog barns are
exempt from some taxes the rest of us pay.
The story says that a new book titled Beyond Factory Farming by the
non-profit, non-partisan Saskatchewan branch of the Canadian Centre for
Policy Alternatives (CCPA-Sask.), is a slim volume based primarily on papers
presented to a conference by the same name held in Saskatoon last year.
The story adds that the book was edited by Alexander (Sandy) Ervin, a
professor of anthropology at the University of Saskatchewan; Cathy
Holtslander, a national organizer on the factory farming issue for The
Council of Canadians; Darrin Qualman, once a farmer at Dundurn who is now
the executive secretary of the National Farmers Union, and Rick Sawa,
director of CCPA-Sask.
Holtslander was quoted as saying in a recent interview that, "One of
the key issues in Saskatchewan is that the Department of Agriculture has
sole authority over approval. They are also involved in promoting the barns,
and the government has invested in Big Sky Farms. So when you have a
conflict of interest between the regulator and the promoter, and the
regulator is also an investor, it's pretty difficult to find the kind of
objectivity we can trust."
The story goes on to say that the vertical integration of the industry
has created huge problems in the U.S. because the corporations can actually
benefit from poor hog prices, because they can take their profits at the
packing and wholesaling levels. Family farm producers cannot, and they're
forced out of business.
Back to top
June 5, 2003
To the Editor:
The advantages of raising pigs in a pasture-like
environment as opposed to intensive confinement had been realized centuries
ago. Author Gary Allen, among
others interested in history and economics, knew intensive production units
are promoted by the super rich to institute a form of international
socialism aimed to squeeze out small-scale entrepreneurs.
Then hire some of the displaced as their labour force.
The Western Producer of April 1 included Greg and
Bonnie Spragg’s pasture pig operation.
The Spragg report is based on their own experience.
Realistically, we must take a broader look. Pasture raised pigs being
exposed to sun and fresh air are healthier.
This means fewer deaths and much less medication.
In addition, odour and environmental problems aren’t anywhere near
to that of intensive livestock operations.
Furthermore, people with sensitive tastes upon eating pork are able
to determine whether the porker was raised conventionally or in a pig
factory… This alone should
convince health conscious governments to outlaw pig factories…
Back to top