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  • 13 Feb 2012 10:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

     

    McDonald’s Takes Action Toward Ending Gestation Stall Use; Humane Society of the United States Supports Effort

     

    (Feb. 13, 2012) undefined McDonald’s Corporation today announced that it will require its U.S. pork suppliers to outline their plans to phase out the use of sow gestation stalls, a move supported by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

    “McDonald’s believes gestation stalls are not a sustainable production system for the future.  There are alternatives that we think are better for the welfare of sows,” said Dan Gorsky, senior vice president of McDonald’s North America Supply Chain Management. “McDonald’s wants to see the end of sow confinement in gestation stalls in our supply chain. We are beginning an assessment with our U.S. suppliers to determine how to build on the work already underway to reach that goal. In May, after receiving our suppliers’ plans, we’ll share results from the assessment and our next steps.”

    “The HSUS has been a long-time advocate for ending the use of gestation crates, and McDonald’s announcement is important and promising,” said Wayne Pacelle, The HSUS’ president and CEO. “All animals deserve humane treatment, including farm animals, and it’s just wrong to immobilize animals for their whole lives in crates barely larger than their bodies.”

    McDonald’s actions are backed by leading independent animal welfare experts, including renowned scientist Dr. Temple Grandin. “Moving from gestation stalls to better alternatives will improve the welfare of sows and I’m pleased to see McDonald’s working with its suppliers toward that end. It takes a thorough plan to address the training of animal handlers, proper feeding systems, and the significant financial investment and logistics involved with such a big change. I’m optimistic about this announcement,” said Dr. Grandin. 

    Gorsky added, “We are pleased to see a number of our U.S. suppliers adopting commercially-viable alternatives. For example, Smithfield Foods and Cargill have made significant progress in this area. We applaud these, and future, efforts.”

    -30-

     Media Contacts:

    The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization undefined backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty undefined On the Web athumanesociety.org.


  • 18 Jan 2012 10:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Meet Real Free-Range Eggs

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/2007-10-01/Tests-Reveal-Healthier-Eggs.aspx

    By Cheryl Long and Tabitha Alterman

    Most of the eggs currently sold in supermarkets are nutritionally inferior to eggs produced by hens raised on pasture. That’s the conclusion we have reached following completion of the 2007 Mother Earth News egg testing project. Our testing has found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:

    • 1/3 less cholesterol
    • 1/4 less saturated fat
    • 2/3 more vitamin A
    • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
    • 3 times more vitamin E
    • 7 times more beta carotene

    These amazing results come from 14 flocks around the country that range freely on pasture or are housed in moveable pens that are rotated frequently to maximize access to fresh pasture and protect the birds from predators. We had six eggs from each of the 14 pastured flocks tested by an accredited laboratory in Portland, Ore. The chart at the end of this article shows the average nutrient content of the samples, compared with the official egg nutrient data from the USDA for “conventional” (i.e. from confined hens) eggs. The chart lists the individual results from each flock.

    The 2007 results are similar to those from 2005, when we tested eggs from four flocks all managed as truly free range. But our tests are not the first to show that pastured eggs are more nutritious undefined see “Mounting Evidence” below for a summary of six studies that all indicated that pastured eggs are richer in nutrients than typical supermarket eggs.

    We think these dramatically differing nutrient levels are most likely the result of the different diets of birds that produce these two types of eggs. True free-range birds eat a chicken’s natural diet undefined all kinds of seeds, green plants, insects and worms, usually along with grain or laying mash. Factory farm birds never even see the outdoors, let alone get to forage for their natural diet. Instead they are fed the cheapest possible mixture of corn, soy and/or cottonseed meals, with all kinds of additives undefined see “The Caged Hen’s Diet” below.

    The conventional egg industry wants very much to deny that free-range/pastured eggs are better than eggs from birds kept in crowded, inhumane indoor conditions. A statement on the American Egg Board’s Web site says “True free-range eggs are those produced by hens raised outdoors or that have daily access to the outdoors.”

    Baloney. They’re trying to duck the issue by incorrectly defining “true free-range.” And the USDA isn’t helping consumers learn the truth, either: “Allowed access to the outside” is how the USDA defines “free-range.” This inadequate definition means that producers can, and do, label their eggs as “free-range” even if all they do is leave little doors open on their giant sheds, regardless of whether the birds ever learn to go outside, and regardless of whether there is good pasture or just bare dirt or concrete outside those doors!

    Both organizations need to come clean. True free-range eggs are those from hens that range outdoors on pasture, which means they can do what’s natural undefined forage for all manner of green plants and insects.

    The Egg Board statement goes on to say: “The nutrient content of eggs is not affected by whether hens are raised free-range or in floor or cage operations.”

    Again, that is hogwash. They think they can simply ignore the growing body of evidence that clearly shows that eggs are superior when the hens are allowed to eat their natural diet. Or maybe they think it’s OK to mislead the public to protect egg producers’ bottom line.

    After we published our first report about the high nutrient levels in pastured eggs, the Egg Nutrition Council questioned our “suggestion” that pastured eggs were better in their Aug. 8, 2005, newsletter:

    “Barring special diets or breeds, egg nutrients are most likely similar for egg-laying hens, no matter how they are raised.” There’s that double-speak, again: “Barring special diets ...” Since when are diets not a part of how chickens are raised? Come on, people, we’ve cited six studies (see "Mounting Evidence", below) showing that pastured eggs are better. The best you can say is “most likely” this evidence is wrong? Cite some science to support your assertions! The U.S. Poultry and Egg Association offers the same misleading statement on its Web site:

    “What are free-range eggs? Free-range eggs are from hens that live outdoors or have access to the outdoors. The nutrient content of eggs from free-range hens is the same as those from hens housed in production facilities with cages.”

    It’s amazing what a group can do with a $20 million annual budget. That’s what factory-farm egg producers pay to fund the AEB each year to convince the public to keep buying their eggs, which we now believe are substandard.

    The Egg Board’s misleading claims about free-range/pastured eggs pervade the Internet, even though the Board has been aware of the evidence about the nutrient differences at least since our 2005 report. We found virtually the same (unsubstantiated) claim denying any difference in nutrient content on Web sites of the American Council on Science and Health (an industry-funded nonprofit), the Iowa Egg Council, the Georgia Egg Commission, the Alberta (Canada) Egg Producers, Hormel Foods, CalMaine Foods and NuCal Foods (“the largest distributor of shell eggs in the Western United States”).

    But the most ridiculous online comments turned up at www.supermarketguru.com, a site maintained by a “food trends consultant.” It says:

    “FREE RANGE: Probably the most misunderstood of all claims, it’s important to note that hens basically stay near their food, water and nests, and the idea of a happy-go-lucky bird scampering across a field is far from the natural way of life. The claim only means that the hens have access to the outdoors, not that they avail themselves of the opportunity. The hens produce fewer eggs so they are more expensive; higher product costs add to the price of the eggs. The nutrient content is the same as other eggs.”

    If you’ve ever been around chickens, you know that whoever wrote that hasn’t. Chickens will spend almost their entire day ranging around a property scratching and searching for food. Even as tiny chicks, they are naturally curious and will begin eating grass and pecking curiously at any insects or even specks on the walls of their brooder box. “Scampering across a field,” looking for food, is precisely their natural way of life.

    Supermarket Guru did get one thing right, though. Free-range/pastured eggs are likely to be more expensive because production costs are higher. As usual, you get what you pay for. If you buy the cheapest supermarket eggs, you are not only missing out on the valuable nutrients eggs should and can contain, you are also supporting an industrial production system that treats animals cruelly and makes more sustainable, small-scale egg production difficult.

    You can raise pastured chickens easily right in your back yard undefined see our recent articles about how to do it here. Or you can find pastured eggs at local farmstands and farmers markets, or sometimes at the supermarket. Tell the store manager you want eggs from pastured hens, and encourage the manager to contact local producers. To find pastured producers near you, check out Where to Buy


  • 11 Jan 2012 11:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In what can only be described as in a haze of hysteria, Australian Egg Corporation has printed an article in their latest Newsletter prophesying the 'end of civilization as we know it' should we spurn their propaganda on the labelling of free range eggs.

    Humane Choice brings a reasoned response to the article.

    High Politics and Low Blows - A Rebuttal
    Australian Egg Corp Progegganda


    Lee McCosker gives a Humane Choice perspective on the Australian Egg Corp article entitled 'High Politics and Low Blows in NSW' by Kai Ianssen.  Read the article here ....


  • 24 Nov 2011 1:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Despite confusing information from the WA Department of Agriculture and Food, long serving Board Member of Australian Pork Limited (APL), Mr Neil Ferguson, will stand trial for animal cruelty tomorrow, 25th November, in Perth.

     

    Ten charges of cruelty to pigs have been laid against Mr Ferguson and many other charges against members of his staff at Westpork Ltd. 

     

    The Criminal Registry has confirmed that six matters are listed for trial under section 19 (1) & 19 (3)(h) of the Animal Welfare Act, and that another four charges are listed for an argument on the particulars. The matter is set down for a full day hearing from 9.30 am.

     

    Westpork and Ferguson have been charged with an additional four charges of animal cruelty not in duplication.  Further charges are set down for mention on 14th December.

     This is the second time that Mr Ferguson has appeared before the courts on charges of cruelty yet requests for Mr Ferguson to be removed from the Board of APL, Australia’s peak industry body for pork producers had been dismissed.

    Ferguson is also the Chairperson of the WA Agriculture Produce Commission Pork Producers Committee that funds the West Australian Pork Producers Association (WAPPA) and industry training.

    Concerns are mounting that a recent reshuffle of the State’s Animal Welfare Legislation administration will allow the Westpork cruelty matters to dissipate while Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) struggle to get themselves prepared to for the looming trial date.

    “We are concerned that the change in administration from Local Government to DAFWA will mean that this matter will not be given the full attention that it needs.  If DAFWA fumble because they lack preparedness, Mr Ferguson could walk free on a technicality for a second time.  Our inquiries so far have given cause for concern,” says Lee McCosker, Chief Operating Officer of Humane Choice.  “Our calls to the Department in the lead up to Friday’s case indicate they are confused about Friday’s matter and were unsure if it was even a trial date.   The Department state that they are committed to monitoring welfare and enforcing the Act so we certainly hope that they stand by that statement and ensure their staff are fully engaged for this trial.”

    DAFWA does have a role to play in protecting animals from cruelty.  Let’s hope they are on the ball for this one.

    Further information:

    Criminal Matters

    Telephone: (08) 9425 2222
    Facsimile: (08) 9425 2777
    Criminal Listings Email: pmclistings@justice.wa.gov.au


  • 22 Nov 2011 1:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Long serving board member of Australian Pork Limited (APL), Mr Neil Ferguson will stand trial for animal cruelty on the 25th of this month in Perth.

    Ten charges of cruelty to pigs have been laid against Mr Ferguson and many other charges have been laid against members of his staff at Westpork Ltd.

    This is the second time that Mr Ferguson has appeared before the courts on charges of cruelty yet requests for Mr Ferguson to be removed from the Board of APL, Australia’s peak industry body for pork producers, have been dismissed. 

    Concerns are mounting that a recent reshuffle of the State’s Animal Welfare Legislation Administration will allow the Westpork cruelty matters  to dissipate while the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) struggle to get themselves prepared for the looming trial date.

    We are concerned that the change in administration from Local Government to DAFWA will mean that this matter will not be given the full attention that it needs.  If DAFWA fumble because they lack preparedness, Mr Ferguson could walk free on a technicality for a second time.  Our inquiries so far have given cause for concern,” says Lee McCosker, Chief Operating Officer of Humane Choice.  “Our calls to the Department on the lead up to Friday’s case indicate they are confused about Friday’s matter and were unsure if it was even a trial date.   The Department states that they are committed to monitoring welfare and enforcing the Act so we certainly hope that they stand by that statement and ensure their staff are fully engaged for this trial.

    DAFWA does have a role to play in protecting animals from cruelty.  Let’s hope they are on the ball for this one.


  • 22 Nov 2011 1:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Long serving board member of Australian Pork Limited (APL), Mr Neil Ferguson will stand trial for animal cruelty on the 25th of this month in Perth.

    Ten charges of cruelty to pigs have been laid against Mr Ferguson and many other charges have been laid against members of his staff at Westpork Ltd.

    This is the second time that Mr Ferguson has appeared before the courts on charges of cruelty yet requests for Mr Ferguson to be removed from the Board of APL, Australia’s peak industry body for pork producers, have been dismissed. 

    Concerns are mounting that a recent reshuffle of the State’s Animal Welfare Legislation Administration will allow the Westpork cruelty matters  to dissipate while the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) struggle to get themselves prepared for the looming trial date.

    We are concerned that the change in administration from Local Government to DAFWA will mean that this matter will not be given the full attention that it needs.  If DAFWA fumble because they lack preparedness, Mr Ferguson could walk free on a technicality for a second time.  Our inquiries so far have given cause for concern,” says Lee McCosker, Chief Operating Officer of Humane Choice.  “Our calls to the Department on the lead up to Friday’s case indicate they are confused about Friday’s matter and were unsure if it was even a trial date.   The Department states that they are committed to monitoring welfare and enforcing the Act so we certainly hope that they stand by that statement and ensure their staff are fully engaged for this trial.

    DAFWA does have a role to play in protecting animals from cruelty.  Let’s hope they are on the ball for this one.


  • 18 Nov 2011 1:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Humane Society International (HSI) is supporting the Greens Party in calling for the closure of Australia’s leading livestock producer representative, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), in light of their failure to properly self-regulate and support strong and effective animal welfare standards and practices within the industry.

    As we have seen from MLA’s failure to effect high animal welfare standards during the horrible events uncovered in Indonesian abattoirs, they obviously do not have the intent nor the capabilities to meet their responsibilities,” said HSI Director, Verna Simpson. “MLA has demonstrated that they cannot be both the marketing authority and the animal welfare authority, and the responsibility for animal welfare must be taken out of their hands.”

    In light of this situation and the MLA’s inability to monitor and improve animal welfare, it is clear that Australia needs a public body to provide accurate and independent advice on animal welfare matters,” Ms Simpson stated.  “HSI is calling for the creation of a new governing entity which can effectively manage animal welfare issues – under the broad banner of a Ministry of Food.”

    According to a Beef Levy Review report conducted by the MLA in 2009, the authority states their intention to budget a mere $186,000 a year for improving animal welfare standards until at least 2015.

    From beef producer levies alone, the MLA totals $70 million in revenue a year.  It further receives $38 million annually from the Government for research and development.  To consider that MLA has budgeted a paltry $186,000 annually for improving cattle welfare is outrageous, and cannot be accepted,” said Ms Simpson.

    Discarding MLA and establishing an independent auditor under a new Ministry of Food will provide for much stronger scrutiny and regulation and vastly improved implementation of key animal welfare standards.”


  • 19 Oct 2011 1:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Humane Choice has taken an unprecedented stand in support of small free range producers nationally and today has shone the spotlight on the Australian egg industry’s peak industry body Australian Egg Corporation (Egg Corp) and the inequity of its Egg Corp Assured program.  The industry owned quality assurance program is to come under scrutiny for its bias towards large producers and the misuse of their Egg Corp Assured Trademark.

    “Egg Corp has taken advantage of producer and consumer confusion over standards, codes of practice, production definitions and accreditation logos for far too long,” stated Chief Operating Officer for Humane Choice, Lee McCosker.  “We have Codes of Practice in place for animal welfare and environmental management for free range egg production that make a very clear statement about what the acceptable stocking density is for free range hens and that is 1500 birds per hectare.  Stocking rates are not ‘uncapped’ as Egg Corp would have us believe.”

    Egg Corp administers the Egg Corp Assured program that licences producers to use their logo on egg cartons.  The quality assurance program operates under a certification trademark and as such indicates to consumers that the eggs carrying that logo meet a particular standard.  In this case, that producers meet the requirements of the Model Code of Practice for Animal Welfare – Domestic Poultry.

    In recent media, Egg Corp have acknowledged that their audits have revealed free range stocking densities in excess of 50,000 birds per hectare.

    Egg Corp is in breach of their own standards and rules of their quality assurance program and has allowed producers to misrepresent their product.  Egg Corp have effectively licensed producers to deceive the public into believing that all eggs labelled free range and carrying the Egg Corp Assured logo act within the guidelines of the Code of Practice when this is generally not the case.


  • 23 Sep 2011 1:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Animal Welfare Labels (www.animalwelfarelabels.org.au) website has been developed to help take the confusion and guesswork out of all the terms and labels that consumers are faced with by presenting common conditions in standards for welfare-focused cattle, sheep, pig, and poultry certification schemes.  It gives consumers the opportunity to see the detail of the standards behind the label.

    Australian Egg Corporation has announced to its members that it does not endorse such a guide and suggests that there is little benefit in being a part of it.  That is a slap in the face to consumers who would like to make informed decisions and to the true free range producers who are proud of their standards and want to reach markets that are seeking higher welfare outcomes.

    “When the egg industry is facing such turbulent times over labelling issues, one would have thought this website would be embraced by industry and be seen as a golden opportunity to provide clarity and transparency for claims made on egg cartons,” says Lee McCosker of Humane Choice.  “Humane Choice is a participant on this website because it provides a chance for producers to showcase their production system and define the husbandry and housing they employ on their farms."

    Misleading claims abound when it comes to labelling free range products and the animalwelfarelabels.org.au website is a one stop shop that allows consumers to compare brands and accreditation bodies.

    We would encourage all free range egg producers who are proud of their production standards to add their information to the website, in spite of AECL suggesting there is no benefit.  The only one not to benefit from this site is AECL and their outrageous idea of what constitutes free range.

    “This site is the only place you can compare production standards and it illustrates the gap between real free range and the industrialised version of free range,” says Ms McCosker. “We are urging producers to add their weight to the free range debate by adding their standards to Animal Welfare Labels in spite of Australian Egg Corporation’s suggestion that there is no benefit.   If you are a small producer working to high welfare standards this may be your last chance to be differentiated from farms with 40,000 hens per hectare."


  • 22 Sep 2011 1:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Until now, it has pretty much been a free-for-all when it comes to labelling free range eggs.

    The burgeoning demand has led to some producers simply re-inventing themselves with clever marketing and incorporating the words ‘free’ or ‘free range’ into their brand to capture a share of this market.  Consumer needs and wants have been ignored, or just exploited by those that have chosen to misrepresent their product.

    Consumers have an expectation when they purchase free range eggs.  At the very least there should be some guarantee that these birds are actually free to range.  Allowing massive increases in stocking densities for outdoor birds will only line the pockets of intensive producers and will be detrimental to consumer perceptions of the free range industry, the health and welfare of the birds, and damaging to the environment.

    Industry is almost frantic to take control of the term free range and has attempted to implement these changes quietly without full producer consultation or, more importantly, without consideration for just what the consumer perceives free range to be.

    “Feeding a growing population is no justification for hijacking the term free range,” says Lee McCosker from Humane Choice. “What the Australian Egg Corporation is proposing is not only socially and environmentally irresponsible, but would also be the equivalent of hen feed lots. The term ‘free range’ belongs to those producers that are truly committed to giving the consumer the ethical product that they seek.  The choice is the consumer’s to make and must not be taken from them with deceptive labelling.  If it’s not free to range, simply call it something else.”

    Humane Choice will be attending the launch of the Greens’ Truth in Labelling Bill (for free range eggs) to show our support for this much needed initiative. We need legislation now that will define free range and protect not only the consumer, but the welfare of layer hens and the environment.


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