Posts Tagged 'factory farming'

AIC is going to lay low over the summer and come back revamped by fall.  Here are two unmitigated downers to mull over in the meantime.

Statistics . . .

On Friday, Manitou RCMP went to the property in the RM of Lorne. Officers discovered as many as 500 dead pigs, along with about 160 that were so sick that they had to be put down. Many of the animals were found living without proper food, water or ventilation.

 RCMP said evidence of “severe neglect” was observed. About 2,000 animals were rescued.

. . . tragedy.

I’m very sad to say that Sunny also had to be put down recently. Sunny was surrendered to the shelter back in August 2009, and he was a super-sweet, cuddly older boy. He was finally adopted in December, only to be returned two months later. He was clearly depressed to be back in the shelter, and his awesome personality quickly disappeared. He stayed in the corner, not moving, not interested in people. And then recently, he started biting people when they tried to pet him. Four months had passed since he’d been returned, it was clear no one was going to adopt him, he was depressed and he was going to hurt someone.

Cyborg cows

At a high-tech dairy farm in Moncton.

The day begins with the first milking at 4:30 a.m. As each cow is led into the “milking parlour” a computer reads a microchip in her ear, relaying information about milk output to a screen attached to the milking machine.

This information allows farm workers to keep track of how much milk each cow is producing. If a cow produces below her average, it’s a signal she may be sick.

A computer monitor attached to the wall provides detailed information on each cow. The flat screen looks out of place on the manure-splattered wall.

Alarming regularity

Andrew Hunt of We’re All Animals on barn fires.

Barn fires happen with alarming regularity in Canada. We could sit here and crunch death-toll figures, but numbers never tell the whole story.

To comprehend the horror these animals experience in the final moments of their lives, you have to imagine what it’s like to be caught inside one of these blazes.

In the May 7 fire, spreading flames and searing heat likely triggered thousands of deafening screams. About 1,600 sows caught fire inside of cramped gestation crates. In the intense heat, many of the pigs split open while still alive and their internal organs spilled out. Some stressed pigs tried to bite their way through metal bars. Not one pig survived.

Minimal input

Veterinary professor looks at beef production trends.

In some cases, animal care has been overlooked, and demand for some veterinary services has declined.

He said higher vet costs and lower animal values mean sick and unproductive cattle are more likely to go untreated.

Deaths and illnesses that occur on the range or in the feedlot are often viewed as inconsequential.

“Raising cattle is not fun like it used to be,” Janzen said. “Guys used to get out there and pay (closer) attention … because there was value in it.”

He said the new system of beef production is part of a larger trend that is sometimes called minimal input animal agriculture.

More animals

Against the Enviropig.

The aspect of the project that bothers me is the claim that it will allow CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) to increase the numbers of pigs they are raising.

Project leader John Phillips told Reuters that with their reduced phosphorous poop, hog farms could raise 50 per cent more animals and still meet environmental rules.

Where will all the extra feed come from? Since we export most of our pork, will we get the environmental impacts while the U.S. customers get the meat?

I think the Enviropig is just a technofix – a solution added on to a problem, rather than preventing the problem from arising in the first place.

Zero doubt

A review of Mark Schatzker’s Steak.

In Texas, Schatzker learns about meat grading and marbling, and that “fat is flavour.” He also visits a feedlot where 32,000 crowded-in cattle, shot up with hormones and antibiotics, gorge themselves on flaked corn feed, and release clouds of lung-clogging fecal dust into the surrounding air. The sights, sounds and scents of the feedlot might be enough to turn some meat eaters off beef, but Schatzker does not (later) abandon grain-fed “commodity beef” on principle; he rejects it on taste, firm in the belief that “despite the veggie-friendly urgings of lentil-eating university coeds and the grumblings of bearded vegans who lurk at the edges of cocktail parties, there is zero doubt that humans are designed to eat meat.”

Big change

A profile of DeWinton’s Rescue and Sanctuary for Threatened Animals.

The RASTA grounds are like Old MacDonald’s farm, with big and small animals walking around like family. Chickens take methodical steps scanning for snacks while potbelly pigs root around with the same goal in mind. Rabbits hop by. A dog sleeps in the sun. Guinea fowl, with their elegant spotted feathers, strut around as the cat and the horses overlook the scene.

In the paddock, miniature donkeys, llamas, goats and horses hang about.

It’s an interspecies lounge area, everyone living free-range style.

That’s a big change for the RASTA residents. The chickens, for example, were rescued from a factory farm where they had laid eggs in a tight cage, suffering constant pecking from other chickens and were unable to stand or stretch their wings. When chickens’ egg production drops they are no longer valuable and are often destined to be tossed alive in a wood chipper Cerny said.


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