Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Last chance to be heard

Any of you who know me know that I want as little government intervention in agriculture as possible. Two weeks ago I sent out a request to write to Dr. Nancy Helpern during the comment period about animal handling guidelines and I got some negative feedback from some my best supporters. I believe that this is a pro-active step in animal agriculture. The attempts to legislate us out of business are endless and well-funded. At the Animal Rights conference, a man who finances these initiatives bought me breakfast while he was telling me how he would do it.

Sunday morning I had breakfast with Bradley Goldberg from New York. He spent 35 years in the investment banking business; now at age 59 he is spending his retirement using his wealth to change food production. His group, Animal Welfare Trust, is not about animal welfare but it is animal liberation. One of the projects he has “invested” in is Farm Sanctuary and the New Jersey legislation. It is not a coincidence that a story appears today in the New Jersey Star Ledger with a wonderful slant towards Farm Sanctuary. Read entire story, although check this out from the story…

"I'd wish I wasn't tethered all the time. But you know what, I'm a person, that's why I'd wish that," said Larry Katz, chair of the Department of Animal Science at Cook College and a farm industry adviser. "You have to try to view the world as the animal does and not expect the animal to perceive the world as a human does."

"The American public enjoys the healthiest, safest, cheapest food supply in the world," Katz said. "That has been the fuel for so many of our other economic advances, which have allowed us the luxury of starting to think about what is humane."
I don’t know Larry Katz, but we all have something to learn from him. Those two paragraphs NEED to be adopted by every one of use who desire to be heard. Nice job Mr. Katz.

The deadline for comments on the proposed legislation ends Friday. If you haven’t responded, you need to. I am not telling you what to say although this is a nice first line:

I’m writing to you in support of the Humane Animal Standards as published in the May 5,2003 New Jersey Register (35 NJR 1873).

Send them to: humane.standards@ag.state.nj.us

Irradiation battle

Speaking of the luxury of thinking, on June 18, 2003 this story appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer about Hatfield Meats. The anti-irradiation movement is somewhat harder to understand than the animal rights issue. Don’t believe for a minute that whether it is irradiation, animal rights, environmentalism or global warming that they aren’t all connected. “Anti’s” will use any source of “fear” or “anxiety” that might get attention.

For example did you know “health foods” such as St. Johns wort is irradiated? How about fruits and vegetables, wheat flour, etc? During irradiation beef receives a dose of 4.5 kGy and herbs get 30 kGy. So it is not only possible but highly likely that the same “weenies” are complaining about irradiated beef immediately after consuming irradiated herbs on their veggie-burger.

An excellent resource on the subject of irradiation is the Minnesota Dept of Health website. Be sure to look at this Journal of Food Protection report on lettuce, where are the weenies on this one?

Gamma-irradiated lettuce

In studies, irradiation at 1 or 2 kGy improved overall appearance of fresh-cut lettuce and reduced browning. Fresh-cut iceberg lettuce packaged in passive modified atmospheres can tolerate 1 kGy of radiation. Results demonstrate that irradiation at doses of less than 2 kGy can be used to improve the safety of fresh-cut iceberg lettuce without loss of quality. The irradiated lettuce was stored at 37.4°F (3°C) for 14 days without significant quality loss compared to non-irradiated control lettuce.

Animal Rights 2003

I just returned home from the Animal Rights 2003 Conference in DC. What an eye-opening event this was, even for me. It would best be described as an “Activist Training Camp.” Training levels range from teaching college girls (in search of a “cause”) how to stand on street corners distributing literature to convicted felons teaching an eager audience how to burn, bomb and destroy private property and deal with law enforcement if they are caught. Some very alarming things are happening within this movement, especially the invasion of the freedoms and privacy of those outside the movement. Groups you have never even heard of, such as SHARK, are there discussing strategies. SHARK is an Illinois based group with many campaigns, but this is straight from their website www.HuntersRapeNature.com.


SHARK's number one tool is video footage, and no one does video quite like SHARK. Using hidden video, long range video, and even video cameras that see in the dark, SHARK leaves no place for animal abusers to hide. SHARK's award-winning video footage is supplied to local, national and international media, lawmakers, courts and other animal advocacy organizations.

Birds of Prey

SHARK has also taken to the air to help animals, using Ultralite aircraft to divert animals from hunters' bows and guns, for surveillance, and to protest animal cruelty. Dubbed the "Birds of Prey," SHARK's Animal Rights Air Force sends animal abusers scurrying for cover. These machines allow us to go where there are no roads, and beyond fences and walls.

See the Ultralite in action!

In these videos, SHARK president Steve Hindi drops down to say "Hi" to hunters at the Woodstock Hunting Club, and in the process he keeps geese and ducks from being shot. The club subsequently closed.

According to this movement, factory farms confine animals and they don’t like that. However,free range hunting isn’t good either because we kill animals. Many of their platforms include preaching about humane handling of either farm animals or wildlife, but it is really a path to humanizing food animals. This hunting issue is especially fascinating that humans in this day and age think they are more in touch with “nature” and yet hunting is not considered “natural”. I need to inform the neighborhood coyotes that they should start treating my calves more humanely. They simply have no compassion for other animals!

Make no mistake about it – the people in these movements know that they will not convert everyone to a vegan lifestyle but they plan to harass and legislate their values upon us.

Where are the headlines

Obesity lawsuits are surfacing everywhere and people want to blame everyone but the person responsible for what they see in the mirror. Reuters had a story Friday with the true facts. Here is excerpt

Doctors should regularly prescribe exercise as a way to lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease and diabetes, the American Heart Association said on Monday.

The National Center for Health Statistics reported in May that a quarter of all Americans get virtually no exercise. Only 19 percent engage in a "high" level of physical activity.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States and other industrialized countries, killing more than 700,000 Americans a year.

Weenie Roaster of the week

Phil Clemens of Hatfield, PA responded to 60 minutes about “Pork Power”, a segment taped in 1996 about the alleged ills of the pork industry in North Carolina. The segment aired this past Sunday. Congratulations Phil, your “Weenie Roaster” certificate and bumper sticker are in the mail. This is what Phil told them.

I was very surprised that you did not include Robert Kennedy, Jr with Water Keepers Alliance about his comments on hog farm and hog farmers. He has been quoted that hog farmers are greater terrorists that Osama Bin Laden and he will do everything he can to have all hog farms removed from the US, and then he will go after chicken and beef, etc. Some of the people used in the story are connected and have the same "wild" thinking as Kennedy and don't care if they have the facts or can make them up. As Bernie Goldberg once told me, 60 minutes and the other news organizations begin with the end in mind and then interview people to make their point. Your reporting is as accurate as the New York Times.

This was mine, sure would like to see you what you sent them?

In reference to your Power Pork story that aired on June 22, 2003, the “information” you presented was very dated and clearly in line with your agenda to chase food production out of the United States. As a 6th generation United States farmer, I wish the major media outlets in this country would evaluate the credibility of special interest groups before presenting them as experts in the field. Furthermore, if your goal is to be considered anything more than an infomercial, the least you could do is include both sides of the story. You might consider including the view of someone who is actually involved in producing some of the safest, highest-quality food in the world – a US farmer. Maybe your goal wasn’t credible journalism since you felt that pigs should be nominated for academy awards rather than recognizing them for their true purpose – a source of protein and vitamins in a balanced diet.

Trent Loos
Proud 6th generation livestock farmer
Loup City, NE