“A questionable undercover video from a Minnesota farm released today by Mercy for Animals (MFA), a front group for the Humane Society of the United States, is the latest attack against America’s hog farmers,” says the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).
Prior to an anticipated press conference that is expected to be full of misinformation, here are some important facts from the NPPC:...More
An industry report released today details the efforts and progress America’s livestock, poultry and egg producers have made over more than a decade in ensuring animal well-being, protecting the environment, using antibiotics responsibly and producing the world’s safest food....More
One of the greatest concerns when sows are housed in groups is the incidence of aggression. This is somewhat surprising, given that sows in the wild live fairly harmoniously in groups. The reason for this discrepancy between commercial and wild pigs is that sows in the wild essentially never form new groups and their feed resources are generally scattered throughout their environment, greatly reducing competition among individuals....More
Production agriculture is facing increasing pressure from consumers about pork — not so much about whether the products are lean or not, but for the farming practices used to produce that product, says Purdue University agricultural economist Nicole Olynk Widmar.
“When consumers talk, they mention things like the welfare associated with the production of bacon or the welfare associated with making pork chops. It’s the new consumer reality,” she says....More
It’s been another week where antibiotic issues were prominently featured in the news. Perhaps you saw the news release from the Chipotle restaurant chain? The company says it is evaluating its policy when it comes to allowing the use of antibiotics to treat sick animals that may be in the company’s supply chain. Chipotle acknowledges that there are times when the company simply cannot obtain meat from animals that have not been raised completely antibiotic-free. When this situation occurs, Chipotle posts signs to let customers know that substitutions have been made. I’ve seen these signs in my local Chipotle....More
The grand opening for Pig Adventure at Fair Oaks Farms in Fair Oaks, IN, is set for Aug. 5, 2013. Public tours of the facility will leave from the Fair Oaks Farms campus (just off I-65, Exit 220). Indiana dignitaries and government officials will be welcomed to the celebration at Fair Oaks Farms....More
The August issue of National Hog Farmer is devoted to the topic of analyzing antibiotic use. As we’ve been putting the finishing touches on our stories this week, the topic of antibiotics in agriculture has been swirling in social media circles once again. Perhaps you have been following the Twitter and Facebook conversations involving a recent Panera Bread advertising campaign professing (via a chicken character shaped like a medication capsule and a graphic depicting a barn made out of pills) that farmers who use antibiotics are lazy. The take-home message is that antibiotic-free chicken is the way to go—along with a false implication that antibiotics are commonly found in meat. In a testament to the importance of agricultural advocacy, Carrie Chestnut Mess, a dairy producer who blogs as Dairy Carrie, created a blog post entitled, “Dear Panera Bread Company.” Minnesota pork industry blogger and agricultural advocate Wanda Patsche followed suit in her own blog. The posts started a social media backlash against the misleading advertising campaign and ultimately, got the attention of Panera management....More
The causes of diarrhea in piglets include all three classes of pathogens: bacteria, viruses and protozoa. However, when presented with diarrhea in pigs less than 7 days of age, the list becomes much shorter: Escherichia coli, the clostridial diseases, transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) and now porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus....More
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced that it will grant a 90-day waiver of a new hours-of-service rule for truckers hauling livestock and poultry.
Official announcement of the decision was published in the Federal Register on July 11.
As of July 1, the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break if more than eight hours have passed since they began service. For drivers hauling livestock, the hours of service would include time loading and unloading animals....More
This week the House of Representatives likely will vote on including the “Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013,” the so-called Egg Bill, in the 2013 Farm Bill. The bill seeks to put into federal law an agreement between the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the United Egg Producers (UEP) to mandate federal egg production standards....More
Even though the cool weather has lingered on, it’s nearly the official start of summer. The cool, low humidity days have been good for people and pigs.
Soon, however, there will be stretches of hot and humid weather to contend with. To help livestock and poultry deal with summer conditions, a new app on heat stress has been developed, according to the Iowa Pork Industry Center....More
At World Pork Expo last week, the Pork Checkoff announced new and improved tools to assist pork producers in evaluating the financial impact of sow housing choices, improving workplace safety, reducing their environmental footprint and identifying problems within breeding stock.
Sow Housing Calculator
A new Sow Housing Calculator will assist producers in making important decisions about remodeling or other facility or management choices on the farm....More
As part of Tyson Foods’ commitment to proper treatment of farm animals, the company Thursday announced the formation of an independent Farm Animal Well-Being Advisory Panel. Members will serve as advisers to the Tyson FarmCheck program, a comprehensive initiative designed to ensure responsible care and overall well-being of farm animals....More
This week the American Meat Institute (AMI) released a video tour of a pork slaughter plant hosted by leading animal welfare expert Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University....More
The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) has provided $150,000 to support two programs in the Iowa State University (ISU) College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. One encourages budding entrepreneurs to return to rural Iowa and another supports the expansion of swine welfare training.
The Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative will receive $100,000 and the animal science department’s applied research in animal care and well-being project will receive $50,000....More
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR) have introduced the “Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013.” This legislation, known as the “egg bill,” would codify the 2011 agreement between the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the United Egg Producers (UEP)....More
Domesticated animals deserve respect and care. That’s animal welfare – and a priority of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), an organization comprised of livestock, equine, poultry and aquaculture producers, producer organizations, veterinarians, extension personnel, academicians, scientists, federal and state regulatory agencies and allied industry. Jim Fraley, Livestock Program Director for Illinois Farm Bureau and co-chair of NIAA’s Animal Care Council, stresses that animal welfare and animal rights, however, are not the same....More
Over objections from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Kentucky Board of Agriculture approved standards Tuesday for the care of farm animals, according to a report by Janet Patton in the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader.
HSUS said Agriculture Commissioner James Comer had promised a public hearing before a vote....More
The Center for Food Integrity and the U.S. pork and dairy industries have launched “See It? Stop It!? Animal care starts with you,” a proactive demonstration of agriculture’s commitment to farm animal care. The initiative empowers, and in fact, demands that if signs of animal abuse, neglect, mishandling or harm are witnessed, anyone working on a farm or in a farm setting has an obligation to report it immediately. ...More
Pork producers are taking visitors on a virtual tour to show how farmers are using technology to protect their pigs and the environment, thanks to new videos on the Pork Checkoff’s new YouTube channel.
“We know the pork industry’s messages resonate when they are delivered by farmers,” says Teresa Roof, public relations manager for the Pork Checkoff. “Farmers have many positive stories to share, and YouTube videos offer a powerful way to share these stories.”...More
Scott Hurd, DVM, is launching a new blog at the Meathingplace.com Web site. According to Meatingplace.com, “The Gentle Vet” blog will be an outlet from which Hurd will provide insight pertaining to medical and animal welfare issues and myths affecting the meat processing industry....More
Transporting hogs to packing plants can produce casualties: 0.27% of groups arriving at packing plants were classified as “subject,” based on an earlier study by Cate Dewey, DVM, University of Guelph in Ontario....More