One More Reason to Grow Your Own and Come out the Killer Controlled Food System

FDA approves controversial drug to beef up farm animals despite being reported as the most dangerous livestock drug on market and being banned in 150 countries

by: Jennifer Lea Reynolds

FDA

(NaturalNews) If it’s been deemed bad in other countries, that’s often when the United States comes in and welcomes it with open arms. In this case, we’re talking about the fact that a California judge recently dismissed two lawsuits that claimed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) illegally approved a harmful drug additive – ractopamine hydrochloride – used in animal feed.(1)

Indeed, despite having information about the weight gain inducing drug’s detrimental effects on animals, and that the active ingredient, found in the brand Paylean, is banned in 150 countries, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers turned a blind eye.(1)

FDA records revealed that pigs in particular have suffered horrific consequences from being given the drug, which is designed to make them gain weight without having to consume a great deal of feed. While cost effective for the farming industry, it’s been found to have rendered 160,000 pigs unable to walk, to experience hyperactivity and broken limbs, and even to die.(1)

In fact, a Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN) investigation determined that ractopamine is fed to “an estimated 60 to 80 percent of pigs in the United States” and has “resulted in more reports of sickened or dead pigs than any other livestock drug on the market.” Over the years, farmers and veterinarians have repeatedly expressed concern over ailing pigs.(1)

Still, the judge feels it’s appropriate to dismiss the lawsuits while these horrors continue to unfold.

Judge’s unbelievable reason for dismissing lawsuits

A portion of the judge’s explanation for the motion to dismiss reads as follows:

Due to statutory and regulatory requirements that applications to FDA for new drugs remain confidential… plaintiffs only became aware of the approvals, and FDA’s associated decision-making, when they were final and published in the Federal Register… Thus, plaintiffs were not able to participate in the administrative process prior to the FDA approvals at issue… Central to defendant-intervenor’s motion to dismiss, plaintiffs do not allege that they pursued any administrative remedies with the FDA relating to their NEPA grievances following the FDA approvals.(2)

So there you have it. The FDA is protected by secrecy, able to approve harmful drugs under a cloak of application confidentiality, knowing full well that participation in approval processes is limited. Not everyone is in on it, of course, especially those who the FDA knows would be likely take issue and dare to ask questions.

Organizations who take issue with this additive include the Center for Food Safety, the Sierra Club, the United Farmworkers of America and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, all of whom – along with others – originally filed the suit in 2014. They maintained that it violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Administrative Procedure Act when the animal feed additive containing ractopamine hydrochloride was approved. They are also adamant that the FDA did not properly test the feed additive, which is manufactured by Elanco, a division of Eli Lilly.(1)

What this means for you

What does this mean for your food and for those who advocate the humane treatment of animals? It means that animals will continue to be given drugs that severely compromise their health. They are dying, trembling and living in a constant state of fear.

It also means that the food you eat involves an additive – ractopamine hydrochloride – which has actually been deemed “not for human use,” yet has turned up in tested meat samples. This doesn’t just pertain to pigs, either; it’s been found that ractopamine is fed to turkeys and cattle as well.(3)

If this has you shaking your head in disbelief and disgust, it should. Once again, greed enters the picture – one that’s well-framed by loopholes and hush-hush regulatory processes.

Be an “I’m Pro Goat” Supporter

There’s a big battle over pygmy goats going on in Visalia, California. Due to the lovely Agenda 21 code enforcers for the International Property Maintenance Code, a family is facing $1000 per goat per day fines for two pygmy goats. Absolutely insane. Here is a quick overview of where things are in this right now:

Current Status – What’s Going On RIGHT NOW To Legalize Goats in Visalia

DSC_4779The Current Status of Legalizing Goats in Visalia, California

PAST ACTIONS –

April 25, 2015 – We started the change.org petition to present to the City Council.

April 26, 2015 – We began reaching out to media outlets and getting the story circulating in the community.

May 4, 2015 – We rallied for the miniature goats and presented the petition to the City Council.

May 6, 2015 – We started http://www.improgoat.com to share news and information all in one place.

May 6, 2015 – We opened a GoFundMe to raise funds to offset the costs of outreach and legal fees. (Click here to donate!)

May 11, 2015 – Pro Goat supporters gathered at the City Planner meeting at Visalia City Hall to speak out in favor of food freedom during public comments on the legalization of city chickens.

May 14, 2015 – City Officials met at the Freeman house to view the living conditions of the goats, and to dispel the “goats stink” myth. The next steps were then outlined in moving forward after the inspection.

May 14, 2015 – We submitted the Site Plan Review Application to the City to be discussed at the next City Planner meeting.

UPCOMING ACTIONS –

May 20, 2015 – Meeting with the City Planners to discuss details of the proposed ordinance change.

May 21, 2015 – Signature gathering at the downtown Visalia Farmers Market.

May 23, 2015 – Pro Goat supporters will join the March Against Monsanto in Fresno to stand in solidarity for food freedom!

June 1, 2015 – Pro Goat supporters will join with the Pro Chicken supporters at the Visalia City Council meeting to stand up for food freedom!

ONGOING – We need to raise $3598 in funds to cover the legal fees for the official zoning text amendment to be drawn up. (CLICK HERE to donate!)

TBD – Once funds are raised, we will submit the zoning text amendment to the City Council to be discussed at the next possible meeting.

TBD – The Visalia City Council must hold a public hearing and then vote on the issue. THIS IS THE MAIN EVENT!

What YOU Can Do Now!

SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA – Share links and news stories on your newsfeed, with the hashtag #progoat. The City of Visalia is active on social media so your voice WILL be heard, and you’ll help us raise awareness.

WRITE LETTERS TO CITY OFFICIALS – Let our city officials know that you are Pro Goat! You can contact our council members (the decision makers) at:

– Mayor Steven Nelsen; snelsen@ci.visalia.ca.us

– Vice Mayor E. Warren Gubler; wgubler@ci.visalia.ca.us

– Council Member Greg Collins; greg.collins@ci.visalia.ca.us

– Council Member Bob Link; blink@ci.visalia.ca.us

– Council Member Amy Shuklian; ashuklian@ci.visalia.ca.us

CALL THE CITY COUNCIL – You can also call the City Council and voice your concerns at 559-713-4512

SHARE WITH THE MEDIA – Never underestimate letters to the editor! Share the story with news outlets, even if they’ve already covered the story. Let them know that it’s a hot topic in Visalia!

DONATE TO HELP COVER LEGAL FEES – When we get to the next stage of legalizing miniature goats in Visalia, we WILL be facing some hefty legal fees (upwards of $2000). We cannot do this without the financial support of the community! CLICK HERE to donate and to help us make this ordinance change a reality!

VOLUNTEER – We are going to be gathering physical signatures in the community, holding street side rallies, manning information booths on campus, attending city council meetings to make our voices heard, and holding MASSIVE rallies at the decision making meetings in Visalia. Stay in touch by following us on Twitter or e-mail Gingi at gingifreeman@gmail.com for more information on getting involved!

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Prices Edging Up Due to Bird Flu

The stamping out policy due to “free” trade is already affecting poultry and poultry product pricing. We now have three different strains of bird flu active in the continental US. These are deemed highly pathogenic and the policy for handling this is foolish at best. Here’s the method, birds get sick with swollen combs, the runs and likely fever. They go off feed and off water. Many begin to die. So the entire house and/or facility has all the birds killed.

The issue that I take with the eradication policy is two fold. First, and arguably most importantly, when you have definitive avian influenza and you kill everything, you are destroying not only ill birds, but most likely destroying birds with genetically carried resistance to the virus. So there are no resistant genes that can be passed on to offspring if you kill the entire flock. Quarantine is definitely a positive method of disease control to employ, but eradication is foolhardy in a long term view. It is a recipe for shortages and economic implosion of that sector of agriculture. There is no way to quarantine the air, but this brings to light the importance of diverse and extremely diffuse production methods. Smaller farms in a myriad of locations is better for all living things. It’s better for economic prosperity, environmental health, hardiness of stock, and the literal security of the food supply.But that makes sense, so we can’t have that.

 Now, the second reason I am so opposed to this eradication policy in any disease, is because it is purely in position for international trade. The OIE has “reportable” diseases that a country must demonstrate it does not have an active issue with in order to be able to continue in unabated free trade agreements. So, to comply with this trade requirement, the stamping out and eradication policies are employed.

We now have these three different strains in 16 states as of today. People are being put out of work and 32 million or more poultry have been killed. The carcasses are an environmental issue. The National Guard is bringing in water to help with the environmental concern…”Huh?” you say. Yep. Farms typically don’t have enough water available. Particularly factory run poultry farms. (In case you’re wondering, that is sarcasm.)

 As for a solution, food grade hydrogen peroxide added to the water of your chickens will help them to resist the flu. Also, being outside and eating fresh stuff the way they were designed to by our Creator to do is going help them be more resistant to disease and generally happier as well.

Here’s an article about the prices rising:

Egg, turkey meat prices begin to rise as bird flu spreads

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Prices for eggs and turkey meat are rising as an outbreak of bird flu in the Midwest claims an increasing number of chickens and turkeys. Market experts say grocery stores and wholesalers are trying to stock up on eggs, but there’s no need to worry about having enough turkeys for Thanksgiving.

The cost of a carton of large eggs in the Midwest has jumped nearly 17 percent to $1.39 a dozen from $1.19 since mid-April when the virus began appearing in Iowa’s chicken flocks and farmers culled their flocks to contain any spread. Neighboring Nebraska reported its first case of bird flu Tuesday, affecting 1.7 million chickens at an egg farm in Dixon County.

A much bigger increase has emerged in the eggs used as ingredients in processed products such as cake mix and mayonnaise, which account for the majority of what Iowa produces. Those eggs have jumped 63 percent to $1.03 a dozen from 63 cents in the last three weeks, said Rick Brown, senior vice president of Urner Barry, a commodity market analysis firm.

Turkey prices, which had been expected to fall this year, are up slightly as the bird flu claimed about 5.6 million turkeys nationwide so far. About 238 million turkeys were raised in the U.S. last year.

The price of fresh boneless and skinless tom breast meat primarily used for deli meat has risen 10 percent since mid-April to $3.37 a pound, a USDA report said Friday. Frozen hens in the 8- to 16-pound range, those often used for home roasting, were up about 3 percent to $1.06 a pound.

Egg supplies are falling short of demand, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has indicated, and Brown said egg buyers such as grocery stores and wholesalers are trying to stock up for fear that another large farm with millions of chickens will be stricken – causing prices to spike higher.

“We’re starting to see a little bit of that demand increase, and the sellers are reluctant to give clients too much more than they normally have because they know what’s going on and they don’t want to be caught short either,” he said.

The number of Iowa chickens lost exceeds 26 million, the vast majority of which lay eggs for food use. That’s about 41 percent of the leading egg state’s layers and about 8 percent of the nation’s laying hens. That many chickens would lay more than 500 million table eggs a month. For comparison, Iowa chickens laid 1.4 billion table eggs in March, before the disease struck. U.S. egg production for March stood at 7.42 billion table eggs.

Some companies are beginning to notice the impact of fewer eggs. Cereal maker Post Holdings Inc., which bought egg products supplier Michael Foods last year, said in its May 7 quarterly earnings report that about 14 percent of its egg supply has been affected by the bird flu outbreak. Post estimated the impact at about $20 million through the end of September.

Michael Foods primarily supplies extended shelf-life liquid and precooked egg products and eggs used in food ingredients.

The poultry industry can replenish the supply of chickens more quickly than beef or pork industries can rebound, but it still takes time to rebuild a flock.

“They’re going to have to phase in replacing those flocks so they can get them get back into a laying schedule that results in a more even flow of eggs, and that’s going to take six to nine months,” said Tom Elam, an agricultural economist and poultry industry consultant.

It takes about four months for a hatched chick to be old enough to begin laying eggs, and it will typically be productive for about two years, Elam said. Many of the hens dying from the disease are younger and no pullets had been planned to replace them yet, Elam said. More than 350,000 pullets have been lost to bird flu – a very small portion of the 50 million egg-type chicks hatched in March, but it compounds the replenishment problem.

While new bird flu outbreaks are occurring in the turkey market – Minnesota, the nation’s leading turkey producer, has 4 million confirmed dead birds so far – Elam said cold storage stocks and the number of hens still on farms suggest turkeys will be available for Thanksgiving.

“Anybody who wants a Thanksgiving turkey is going to be able to get one,” he said. “They may have to pay a little more for it but we’re not going to have national stock-outs for Thanksgiving turkeys, yet.”

 

Right to Farm Proposed Constitutional Amendment

If you will look through my posts from the last Missouri session in 2013, you will find an awful lot of info on the “Right to Farm” proposed amendment. Click here to read the most comprehensive piece I did on it. It WILL be on the ballot here in MO  . The language was modified slightly, but we were not able to garner enough action to halt the thing from going through.

Here’s our “victory” on altering the language…instead of ensconcing “modern farming practices and technology” into the Missouri Constitution, it now reads like this:

Section 35. That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in [modern] farming [technology] and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state, subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri.

It’s going to be a mess, folks. It will require court challenges and that “farmer” and “rancher” be defined by the State.

The fact is that we already have this right, and we don’t need them to define it, because if they define it, it will mess things up royally.

The intent of the language was- and remains to be- to protect GMO proliferation, biotech interests, and corporate vertically integrated factory farming. It is not intended to protect small diversified farming, and it won’t do so in the long run.

Ballotpedia has good info on this, you can click on this link and read it.

The proponents of the “Right to Farm” amendment say that the need for this change to our Constitution is the threat of animal rights activist groups and the constraints on animal agriculture they bring about. They also intimate that the only people opposed to the amendment are animal rights activists. Guess what? I am NOT an animal rights activist, and neither are a myriad of others who are opposed to this change in Missouri’s Constitution. So that is a patent falsehood.

We don’t need this amendment, and we certainly don’t need to change our Constitution because Farm Bureau wants to increase corporate ag’s stranglehold on small, diversified agricultural endeavors. What concerns me the most is that they will define “farmer” and “rancher” and “agriculture” as adjuncts to this legislation. When they do that, we will have GMO proliferation protected by Missouri’s Constitution and it may include biotech animal ag protections as well.

This amendment is dangerous and unnecessary. Please vote no on it, and let everyone else you know about the hidden dangers and the original intentions of those who pushed this amendment forward.

 

BLM Wrecks Infrastructure at Bunkerville

This makes me wonder who is going to pay for fixing what the BLM has wrecked. I know that none of those who damaged  things they don’t own will do the right thing, but will the administration that pays them to stomp on America? I know…”The meatball says ‘NO!”‘ Once upon a time, this kind of behavior would have resulted in hanging.

I want the BLM to pay. I guess it’s good to want things.

Feds accused of leaving trail of wreckage after Nevada ranch standoff

 

The federal agency that backed down over the weekend in a tense standoff with a Nevada rancher is being accused of leaving a trail of wreckage behind.

Fox News toured the damage — allegedly caused by the Bureau of Land Management — which included holes in water tanks and destroyed water lines and fences. According to family friends, the bureau’s hired “cowboys” also killed two prize bulls.

“They had total control of this land for one week, and look at the destruction they did in one week,” said Corey Houston, friend of rancher Cliven Bundy and his family. “So why would you trust somebody like that? And how does that show that they’re a better steward?”

The BLM and other law enforcement officials backed down on Saturday in their effort to seize Bundy’s cattle, after hundreds of protesters, some armed, arrived to show support for the Bundy family. In the end, BLM officials left the scene amid concerns about safety, and no shots were fired.

The dispute between the feds and the Bundy family has been going on for years; they say he owes more than $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees — and long ago revoked his grazing rights over concern for a federally protected tortoise. They sent officials to round up his livestock following a pair of federal court orders last year giving the U.S. government the authority to impound the cattle.

The feds, though, are being accused of taking the court orders way too far.

On a Friday night conference call, BLM officials told reporters that “illegal structures” on Bundy’s ranch — water tanks, water lines and corrals — had to be removed to “restore” the land to its natural state and prevent the rancher from restarting his illegal cattle operation.

However, the court order used to justify the operation appears only to give the agency the authority to “seize and impound” Bundy’s cattle.

“Nowhere in the court order that I saw does it say that they can destroy infrastructure, destroy corrals, tanks … desert environment, shoot cattle,” Houston said.

Bundy’s friends say the BLM wranglers told them the bulls were shot because they were dangerous and could gore their horses. One bull was shot five times.

But Houston said the pen holding the bull wasn’t even bent. “It’s not like the bull was smashing this pen and trying tackle people or anything,” he said. “The pen is sitting here. It hasn’t moved. No damage whatsoever. Where was the danger with that bull?”

Plus he said BLM vehicles appear to have crushed a tortoise burrow near the damaged water tank. “How’s that conservation?” he asked.

The BLM has not yet responded to a request for comment on these allegations.

Bundy has refused to pay the grazing fees or remove his cattle, and doesn’t even acknowledge the federal government’s authority to assess or collect damages.

The bureau has said if Bundy wasn’t willing to pay, then they would sell his cattle.

However, there was a problem with that plan — few in Nevada would touch Bundy’s cattle for fear of being blacklisted.

“The sale yards are very nervous about taking what in the past has been basically stolen cattle from the federal government,” Nevada Agriculture Commissioner Ramona Morrison said.

Documents show the BLM paid a Utah cattle wrangler $966,000 to collect Bundy’s cattle and a Utah auctioneer to sell them. However, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert refused to let Bundy cattle cross state lines, saying in a letter: “As Governor of Utah, I urgently request that a herd of cattle seized by the Bureau of Land Management from Mr. Cliven Bundy of Bunkerville, Nevada, not be sent to Utah. There are serious concerns about human safety and animal health and well-being, if these animals are shipped to and sold in Utah.”

That letter was sent three days before the BLM round-up, which is why the cattle were still being held Saturday in temporary pens just a few miles from Bundy’s ranch. Morrison says BLM was sitting on cattle because it had no way to get rid of them — setting up a potential tragedy as orphaned calves were not getting any milk and feed costs were about to skyrocket.

The showdown is far from over. The BLM says it will “continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially,” though Bundy still doesn’t recognize federal authority over the federal lands that he continues to use in violation of a court order. The federal judge who issued that decision says Bundy’s claims “are without merit.”

That order from October 2013 says Bundy owes $200 per day per head for every day he fails to move his cattle. That amounts to roughly $640 million in damages owed to the federal government for illegally grazing his cattle.

William La Jeunesse joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in March 1998 and currently serves as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.

 

Feeding Hogs Swine Is Likely Culprit in Hog Deaths

Feed Is Suspect in Spread of Deadly Pig Virus

March 30, 2014 7:28 p.m. ET

Porcine plasma has been a mainstay of piglet diets in the U.S. since the 1990s. It helps protect young pigs from disease and helps them switch from milk to a grain-heavy diet. Shown, a sow and her healthy piglets on a Missouri farm last year. Associated Press

My Comments on following article:

 Despite the nearly 100% traceability achieved in hogs via ADT (which is NAIS done a little differently, or the National Animal Identification System after name change) the hog industry is STILL experiencing a massive disease problem. The entire sell behind NAIS was that traceability would stop disease. Ha! We all know that tags or chips can’t stop disease, and this PED epidemic shows that solidly.

 However, there are some pretty serious issues brought to light by the PED epidemic. First of all, it should be obvious to anyone that the forced cannibalism that is largely responsible for Mad Cow (BSE) is a bad idea for all species. Secondly, the consolidation in agriculture, especially hogs and chickens, is a serious concern. The fewer producers of food, the easier it is to run into natural or created shortages.

 Anyway, kudos to the reporter for doing a good job on the feed issue that looks to be responsible for 7 million pig deaths in about one year….Truthfarmer

Scientists and regulators investigating the mysterious spread of a deadly virus plaguing the U.S. pork industry are stepping up their scrutiny of what the nation’s hog herd eats.

With a dearth of solid leads, investigators are exploring whether something in pig feed could be a conduit for porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, which has spread to 27 states and killed millions of young pigs since it was first identified in the U.S. last April. One focus of the inquiry: porcine plasma, a widely used feed ingredient made from the blood of slaughtered hogs and fed to piglets.

Scientists say the virus, one of the most devastating diseases to afflict U.S. livestock in years, is fatal only to young pigs, and poses no threat to human health or food safety. But it has rapidly increased costs for major hog-farm operators, such as Smithfield Foods Inc. and Maschoffs LLC, as prices for replacement pigs have soared to new highs.

The disease threatens to curb U.S. pork supplies in coming months and raise costs for big meat processors, such as Hormel Foods Corp. and Hillshire Brands Co. , as well as retailers and consumers, analysts say.

The number of new confirmed cases of the virus has accelerated recently, confounding farmers and veterinarians, who have ramped up their already stringent “biosecurity” measures since last spring. Those precautions include more aggressively disinfecting trucks and workers’ boots and clothing when they enter and leave farms and barns.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Agriculture Department and pork-industry officials are examining a range of feed ingredients and manufacturing processes as well as other possible pathways for the virus, like contaminated air or dust particles carried from farm to farm.

Though the evidence is inconclusive, some researchers say that porcine plasma could be spreading the virus from adult pigs that show few symptoms, or that some plasma may have been contaminated in transit.

The ingredient has been a mainstay of piglet diets in the U.S. since the 1990s, after scientists discovered it provided antibodies to protect young pigs from disease and helped them switch from feeding from their mother to the grain-heavy diet common on livestock farms.

Studying feed is hard because manufacturers mix and process feed differently. Associated Press

Last month, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency disclosed that it had found plasma contaminated with the virus, after multiple hog farms in Ontario that were hit by PED, and another farm on Prince Edward Island with a suspected case, all reported that they bought feed from the same vendor, Ontario-based Grand Valley Fortifiers.

The Canadian agency said that the virus was present in plasma that originated in the U.S. and was obtained at the company that manufactured Grand Valley’s feed, which the agency has declined to identify. It said the plasma contained virus “capable of causing disease in pigs.”

Earlier this month, however, the agency said laboratory tests in which it fed Grand Valley’s feed pellets to piglets failed to demonstrate that the feed, which contained plasma and many other ingredients, could cause infection.

Still, Grand Valley recalled its products containing plasma and no longer uses the ingredient, said Chief Executive Ian Ross. “While we don’t have conclusive evidence that our feed infected any pigs, it is clear that live virus was present in the plasma in some of our products,” he said. “We’re not willing to play Russian roulette with clients, hoping we never get a bad batch [of plasma] in the future.”

The U.S. Agriculture Department and the FDA, which have been investigating potential pathways for the virus’s spread, said they haven’t been able to link feed samples to a known case of the disease. The FDA has been studying the manufacturing process at the U.S. facility that supplied plasma for the Grand Valley feed, and is seeking “to learn more” about the conditions the raw material is subjected to, said agency spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey.

Scientists say studying animal feed is difficult because feed manufacturers mix and process their feed differently.

Porcine plasma is one of more than 40 ingredients in typical piglet feed. “Many people think that feed is the most likely suspect,” said Greg Stevenson, a veterinary pathologist at Iowa State University who has studied the virus. “But practically speaking, we have no proof.”

Suspicions already have roiled the half-dozen companies that manufacture plasma in the U.S. and Canada; some farmers have stopped feeding the ingredient to their pigs, out of caution.

Sunterra Farms, of Acme, Alberta, recently stopped feeding plasma to the 300,000 pigs it raises each year in the U.S. and Canada. “There are a lot of people making this decision,” said Ben Woolley, vice president.

“People are turning away from the products,” said John Bowlsby, a vice president of Minnesota-based Hemotech LLC, a U.S. plasma supplier whose business has suffered. “We’re trying to weather the storm on this.”

Smithfield Foods, a unit of China’s WH Group Ltd. and the largest hog farmer and pork processor in the world, declined to comment on plasma. Maschoffs, North America’s largest family-owned pork producer, said that without firmer epidemiological evidence linking plasma to the virus it continues to use the ingredient in piglet diets while working with suppliers to ensure its safety.

The North American Spray Dried Blood and Plasma Protein Producers, which represents plasma makers, said porcine blood products that are properly sourced, collected and processed are safe and don’t contribute to the spread of the virus. Louis Russell, the group’s chairman, said that feed ingredients like plasma could be contaminated after processing, during transportation or mixing.

Porcine plasma is made from blood captured in chilled vats at slaughterhouses. It is treated with an anticoagulant and spun in a centrifuge to separate the plasma from blood cells, then transported in insulated trucks to processing plants. The plasma is shot through a spray nozzle into a heated chamber to evaporate excess water, leaving a powder that is run through stainless-steel dryers, bagged and shipped to feed companies.

Plasma makers say they collect blood only from healthy animals in federally inspected slaughter plants. But because the virus has only a mild effect on fully grown hogs, infected animals might not be identified at slaughter, said Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council, a trade group.

Mr. Russell, who is also CEO of American Protein Corp., of Ankeny, Iowa, one of the world’s largest plasma producers, said the industry is conducting research to “validate” the safety of the product. “We understand the significance of this disease,” he said. “We’re working closely with other groups to understand how we can contribute to solving the problems of the disease.”

Write to Jesse Newman at jesse.newman@wsj.com and Kelsey Gee at kelsey.gee@wsj.com

Regulating Cow Farts- Methane Madness of the EPA

Years ago, the UN was funding studies with cattle wearing back packs that measured their flatulence to determine the amount of methane being pumped into the air by cattle. The idea was that cattle farts were creating global warming to some extent. Well, now the EPA is setting the stage to reduce methane emissions by cattle in the dairy sector in the US by 25%. Never mind that our overall cattle levels are at 1951 levels. Never mind that the number of dairy farms fell by 52,000 from 1997 to 2007. Evidently we need more destruction of those who would actually try to feed us good quality food that isn’t factory produced. Smaller diversified farming is better for the land, farmers, consumers and the economy. It’s also better for food security, distribution and civilization overall…But those who want us off the land and easily controlled want to regulate cow flatulence. Grr.


White House looks to regulate cow flatulence as part of climate agenda

As part of its plan to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, the Obama administration is targeting the dairy industry to reduce methane emissions in their operations.

This comes despite falling methane emission levels across the economy since 1990.

The White House has proposed cutting methane emissions from the dairy industry by 25 percent by 2020. Although U.S. agriculture only accounts for about 9 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, it makes up a sizeable portion of methane emissions — which is a very potent greenhouse gas.

Some of these methane emissions come from cow flatulence, exhaling and belching — other livestock animals release methane as well.

“Cows emit a massive amount of methane through belching, with a lesser amount through flatulence,” according to How Stuff Works. “Statistics vary regarding how much methane the average dairy cow expels. Some experts say 100 liters to 200 liters a day… while others say it’s up to 500 liters… a day. In any case, that’s a lot of methane, an amount comparable to the pollution produced by a car in a day.”

“Of all domestic animal types, beef and dairy cattle were by far the largest emitters of [methane],” according to an EPA analysis charting greenhouse gas emissions in 2012. Cows and other animals produce methane through digestion, which ferments the food of animals.

“During digestion, microbes resident in an animal’s digestive system ferment food consumed by the animal,” the EPA notes. “This microbial fermentation process, referred to as enteric fermentation, produces [methane] as a byproduct, which can be exhaled or eructated by the animal.”

It’s not just the dairy industry that the Obama administration is clamping down on. The White House is looking to regulate methane emissions across the economy from agriculture to oil and gas operations — all this despite methane emissions falling 11 percent since 1990.

 

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/28/white-house-looks-to-regulate-cow-flatulence-as-part-of-climate-agenda/#ixzz2xYjr5aR7

Another Problem with Massive Amounts of Government Data

While I want to make clear that I do not like CAFO’s, I also want to make it even more clear that I do not at all appreciate terrorism, theft, destruction of property and harassment. Also, as some of you have heard me speak about, I have been involved in attempting to get information on Morningland Dairy from my own state’s agency for over four months. None of that information could possibly be deemed to be used to terrorize anyone with. Simple transparency in governmental actions is the desire behind the request for my FOIA on Morningland….More about that tomorrow.

What I want to share with you is the result of the EPA showing exceptional and dangerous favoritism to animal rights activists. Please read this article and share it with anyone you think may have an interest in protecting privacy.

January 14, 2014 6:30 PM

The EPA’s Privacy Problem
Farmers and ranchers sue after the EPA releases confidential information to environmental groups.

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The fire at San Joaquin Valley’s Harris Farms burst out suddenly and rapidly, consuming 14 trailer trucks in the dawn of January 8, 2012. Wreaking more than $2 million in damage, it constituted one of the biggest acts of agro-terrorism in American history.

An anonymous news release issued by the Animal Liberation Front, a radical animal-rights group, explained that unnamed activists had placed containers of kerosene and digital timers beneath the trucks, linking them with kerosene-soaked rope to carry the fire down the row, “a tactic adapted from Home Alone 2.” The statement concludes threateningly: “until next time.” The perpetrators remain uncaught.

Two years later, farmers and ranchers in 29 states worry they’ll be similarly attacked; last year, the Environmental Protection Agency released to environmental groups extensive personal information about 80,000 to 100,000 agricultural operations.

The data released included names of owners, addresses, global-positioning-system coordinates, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and, in some instances, notes on medical conditions and inheritances. Though environmental groups had requested information about “concentrated animal feeding operations” — “CAFOs” in the bureaucratic lingo, and “feedlots” in the vernacular — some of the information released clumped in data about crop farms, too.

Farm groups say the EPA violated farmers’ and ranchers’ privacy, increasing their risk of agro-terrorism as well as harassment or litigation from animal-rights and environmental activists. The EPA has admitted to having improperly released farmers’ data on two occasions, and has twice attempted to claw back those records.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council are now suing the EPA to prevent it from releasing even more information. Though it hasn’t been much covered, the case has significant implications regarding privacy. It also raises questions about whether the EPA acted politically, cooperating with environmental groups to help them achieve long-term regulatory goals.

“This is really important to farmers and ranchers because this is not just a place of business — this is where they live, this is where their children play,” says Danielle Quist, senior counsel for public policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation. “We are not opposed to transparency in agriculture. In fact we are a huge supporter of transparency. But that’s not what we’re talking about with this lawsuit. All citizens in this country deserve the protection of their private home information. Our farmers and ranchers deserve that same protection.”

Agro-terrorism is a primary concern, say agricultural groups, but there are others: Because the information released is so comprehensive, some worry that it may be used by activist trespassers or scoured over by class-action litigators who could profit from suing feedlots for any shortcomings.

Ashley McDonald, environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, tells National Review Online that “we’ve actually heard from folks that, yes, there has been some suspicious activity that they think might be tied to [the EPA] release.” And Grace Boatright, legislative director for the National Grange, says it has been “pretty disconcerting for families to have their private information accessed by groups that have made it pretty clear they don’t agree with all their current business practices.”

Yet environmental groups say the data collected and released by the EPA is standard for other industries and that farmers and ranchers shouldn’t be treated exceptionally.

“Sometimes the owner or the operator of the facility lives at the facility, so I think that’s given rise to some questions about personal privacy,” says Eve C. Gartner, staff attorney at Earthjustice’s Northeast office. “But it does seem to me like a very difficult question: If someone chooses to locate their home at an industrial facility, does that automatically mean that everything about that facility becomes private?”

Animal-rights activists claim the feedlots systemically abuse animals. PETA, for instance, cites everything from manure smells that cause cows “chronic respiratory problems, making breathing painful” to “a highly unnatural diet” that causes “chronic digestive pain — imagine your worst case of gastritis that never goes away.”

Environmental groups say feedlots increase emissions, cause pollution, and contaminate drinking water. Jon Devine, the senior attorney at the water program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, recently wrote that such operations “generate nasty waste” because “animal manure contains bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, as well as organic compounds, heavy metals, antibiotics, pesticides, and hormones.”

Farm groups dispute these claims, questioning the environmental effect and highlighting improved humane practices with respect to feedlot animals.

Regardless, environmental and animal-rights groups have long sought more federal control of CAFOs, pushing for two specific policy goals: requiring the government to collect extensive data about feedlots, and requiring feedlots to be regulated and permitted under the Clean Water Act.

In the last decade, the EPA has mounted a largely unsuccessful effort to increase permitting requirements for feedlots. But environmental groups were able to work out a settlement with the agency in 2010, compelling it to begin collecting CAFO data.

Judge Orders Animals Returned….Humane Society Slow to Respond

Velma Muessemeyer had her animals confiscated by the St Louis Humane Society and the Franklin County Missouri Sheriff’s Department in November. A judge ordered those animals be returned, and my understanding is that St Louis Humane Society has not yet responded to the judge’s order. Here is an article which repeats an error about a previous seizure of Muessemeyer’s property. It states that 150 sick animals were taken previously. In the original articles regarding the seizure, the animals were not all couched as being sick. Some of them were reported to have respiratory issues, and the writer of the error extrapolated that to all of the animals being “sick”. Kind of like having 150 school kids. A few of them might have sniffles, and therefore they are all “sick”. It makes one wonder about the state of the educational system in Journalism…I guess if I were to follow their trend I’d say that all journalists are unintelligent, which is patently untrue.

Here is an article regarding the most recent order on Muessemeyer’s animals:

Judge orders return of animals taken by Humane Society from St. Clair property

FRANKLIN COUNTY • A judge here has ordered that animals taken by the Humane Society from a home near St. Clair — the second such seizure at that property in 3½ years — be returned to their owner, who is charged with animal abuse.

But despite the judge’s order, which was issued last week, the animals have not been returned, said one of the owner’s attorneys.

The 192 rabbits, 25 goats, 10 cats, 21 chickens, four dogs and a duck were taken Nov. 12 from Velma Muessemeyer’s property in the 1300 block of Parkway Drive.

The Humane Society’s Animal Cruelty Task Force joined Franklin County sheriff’s deputies who entered the property after obtaining a search warrant. A tipster concerned about conditions on the property alerted authorities.

The animals were living in dirty and dangerous conditions without shelter from the cold, the Humane Society said at the time. Rabbits were kept in raised wire-bottom cages with feces piled inside as well as up to a foot below the cages.

The goats appeared to be suffering from respiratory problems, while the cats and other animals were living in dirty conditions in a home on the property, the Humane Society said.

Muessemeyer, 75, was charged with 21 counts of misdemeanor animal abuse stemming from the treatment of the animals. But Franklin County Associate Circuit Judge David Tobben ordered on Dec. 19 that the animals be returned to Muessemeyer. In his order, he said that evidence showed some of the animals were underweight and ill but that there was no evidence the vast majority of the animals were in danger.

“If the issue were the propriety of taking children into custody based on the condition of the property, there is no question in the court’s mind that the condition of the property, especially the house, justifies such action,” Tobben wrote. “The issue is not neglect of children however, it is neglect of animals.”

Taylor Goodale, an attorney from Union who is representing Muessemeyer, said Friday that she had done nothing wrong and that taking the animals was a violation of her property rights. He also said she had been raising animals for about 60 years.

The property is the same one where more than 150 sick rabbits and other animals were seized in February 2010. Franklin County prosecutors made an agreement not to charge the property owner if she agreed not to have any animals other than her two pet dogs, some goats and rabbits. That probation ended in February 2012.

The Humane Society said it had filed suit to retain the animals.

“The care and protection of these animals is the main priority of the Humane Society of Missouri, and we will pursue all lawful means to gain permanent legal custody to ensure their welfare,” the organization said in a statement.

Efforts to reach Bob Parks, the Franklin County prosecutor, were not immediately successful.

 

Digesting Regulations–I’m a Pet Store…or a Dealer, or a Breeder, or Not, or What???!!!

USDA’s APHIS, the same illustrious service that brought us the NAIS which morphed into the ADT, has blessed us all with the distinction of being regulated as a pet store if we aren’t already regulated as licensed breeders. The way the regulations read is confusing at absolute best. The number of breeding females is an aggregate number of all animals covered under the Animal Welfare Act of 1966. That’s virtually every thing that is warm blooded and referred to as a “pet” or used for exhibition. Dogs, cats, farm animals sometimes, rabbits, etc. They say you can have four or less breeding females and not be licensed, but if you sell them online then you are a retail pet store. They also give you the capacity to earn up to $500 gross annually and be exempted from being either a pet store or a breeder.

Now there are exceptions that are astonishing. For one, if the animals are sold as breeding animals, then you are exempt. So every dog could be sold as breeding stock with hybrid vigor and they would be exempt. Or if the animal is a working animal, you’re ok as well. So you could sell poodles as watch dogs and be exempt. But if they are pets, you are not exempt. Basically, if they want to they can deem anyone selling any of the covered animals as under their regulatory authority.

I try really hard not to curse, but after reading the final rule (which you can read here if you have the stamina) I find that I have to quote my husband, I don’t know whether to shit or go blind.

Thankfully there is a lawsuit that has been filed. I hope there is an injunction against the USDA on this insanity. You can read about it below:

Dog and Cat Clubs Tell Uncle Sam to Scat
           (CN) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture illegally and arbitrarily is requiring “tens of thousands of dog and cat breeders” to get licenses and submit to unannounced inspections and the costs of complying with “new structural and sanitation standards,” dozens of dog and cat clubs claim in court.

     Forty dog clubs – and two cat clubs – led by the Associated Dog Clubs of New York State, sued the USDA in District of Columbia Federal Court.
More cats than dogs are kept as pets in the United States, according to the Humane Society: 95.6 million cats and 83.3 million dogs.
Forty-seven percent of U.S. households have at least one dog, and 46 percent have at least one cat, according to the Humane Society.
Why 40 of the 42 plaintiff clubs are dog breeders, and only two represent cats, is a poser. Possibly it’s because dogs and dog owners are clubbier than cats and cat people.
Whatever the reason, the clubs challenge “The Retail Pet Store Rule,” 9 CFR Parts 1-3, which took effect on Nov. 18. The regulation was promulgated under the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq.
The rule originally was aimed at large breeders who sell over the Internet, but was expanded to include all breeders, including “small-scale breeders,” i.e., the members of the plaintiff clubs, “without any support for doing do,” according to the complaint.
According to the dog clubs’ lawsuit: “The Rule radically changes, without justification, 47 years of USDA’s regulatory oversight of retail pet stores. Specifically, the Rule redefines ‘retail pet store’ to potentially require tens of thousands of dog and cat breeders throughout the United States, including members of plaintiffs, to obtain licenses, to subject their residences to unannounced, on-site inspections, to incur substantial costs to comply with new structural and sanitation standards, to risk the health and lives of their dogs and cats from exposure to the deadly Parvovirus, Panleukopenia, and other diseases, and to place their personal safety at risk by opening their residences to strangers.”
The clubs claim that when Congress passed the Animal Welfare Act in 1966, it “specifically exempted retail pet stores” from the Act’s licensing and inspection requirements.
“Although Congress has amended the AWA several times since its passage, Congress has not changed or narrowed the AWA’s exemption of retail pet stores,” the complaint states. “By promulgating a regulation instead of seeking a statutory solution in Congress, the USDA has circumvented congressional intent. Moreover, the Rule’s redefinition of ‘retail pet store’ is inconsistent with the required record that was developed to justify the Rule.”
The USDA estimated that the rule would affect 2,600 to 4,640 breeders, the dog clubs say – an estimate that is way off base.
“In fact, as was noted in the comments, the Rule potentially affects tens of thousands of breeders, including the almost 19,000 members of the 42 plaintiffs, located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Significantly, the clubs and registries comprised by plaintiffs represent less than 1 percent of the dog and cat clubs and registries in the United States, yet the cumulative number of plaintiff members alone is four times the maximum number of breeders that APHIS [the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] estimated would be potentially affected.”
The dog clubs want the rule declared invalid and enjoined as arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with the AWA, exceeding the jurisdiction of the USDA, and a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.
The clubs are represented by Philip Hecht.
The Humane Society criticized the lawsuit in a statement, and said it plans to “intervene in the lawsuit and join the government in defending the common-sense regulation.”
The Humane Society said that the rule was enacted to crack down on “large-scale puppy mills.” The statement said that the rule “closed the regulatory loophole” that let puppy mills sells abused dogs online without oversight.
The Humane Society statement did not address the dog clubs’ objection that the rule indiscriminately affects back-yard breeders.
Here are the plaintiffs: Associated Dog Clubs of New York State, Inc; Australian Shepherd Club of America; American Dog Breeders Association, Inc.; Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and Breeders; California Federation of Dog Clubs; Albany Kennel Club, Inc.; Albany Obedience Club, Inc.; Allpurrs Cattery; American Fox Terrier Club; American Pomeranian Club; American Russell Terrier Club; Belgian Sheepdog Club of America; Cat Fanciers Legislative Group; Charlottesville-Albemarle Kennel Club; Chattanooga Kennel Club;; Chihuahua Club of America; Cleveland Collie Club; Colonial Newfoundland Club; Columbia Poodle Club of Oregon and Southwest Washington; Dachshund Club of Greater Buffalo; Dachshund Fanciers of Central Virginia; Eagle Rock Kennel Club, Inc.; Erie Canal Schipperke Club; Goldendoodle Association of North America;; Huron Valley Australian Shepherd Association; International Bengal Cat Society; International Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club; Kennel Club of Palm Springs; Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of America; Minuteman Samoyed Club, Inc.; Mississippi Canine Coalition, Inc.; Northland Newfoundland Club; Potomac Bassett Hound Club; Saratoga (NY) Kennel Club, Inc.; Schenectady Dog Training Club; Shawangunk Kennel Club, Inc.; Shetland Sheepdog Club of Western New York; Society for the Perpetuation of Desert Bred Salukis; Syracuse Obedience Training Club; Tri Valley Shetland Sheepdog Club of Northwest Los Angeles; Weimaraner Club of the Washington DC Area; and the Working Australian Shepherd Club of Upstate New York.

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