Trump administration to ease rules for hunting bears and their cubs in Alaska

2:02 a.m.

The National Park Service is rolling back Obama-era regulations that banned hunters in Alaska’s national preserves from using food to lure black and brown bears out of their dens.

The new rules will also let hunters use artificial light to attract black bears and their cubs, shoot caribou from motorboats, and hunt wolves and coyotes during the denning season, the Anchorage Daily News reports. The Obama administration enacted the regulations in order to prevent the destabilization of Alaska’s ecosystems.

This change is “amazingly cruel,” Jesse Prentice-Dunn, policy director for the Center for Western Priorities, told The Guardian, and is “just the latest in a string of efforts to reduce protections for America’s wildlife at the behest of oil companies and trophy hunters.”

Several Native American tribes criticized the original rule, opposing it due to rural Alaskans needing wild food sources. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) cheered the reversal, saying it was necessary “not only as a matter of principle, but as a matter of states’ rights.” Catherine Garcia

COVID-19 Exposes Flaws in Animal Protein Production

 

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Millions of US farm animals to be culled by suffocation, drowning and shooting/’A terrible way to go for £9 an hour’: fear at meat plant after three coronavirus deaths

Closure of meat plants due to coronavirus means ‘depopulation’ of hens and pigs with methods experts say are inhumane, despite unprecedented demand at food banks

A pig in Illinois, US

The pig industry is facing a major glut of market-ready hogs. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty

More than 10 million hens are estimated to have been culled due to Covid-19 related slaughterhouse shutdowns. The majority will have been smothered by a water-based foam, similar to fire-fighting foam, a method that animal welfare groups are calling “inhumane”.

The pork industry has warned that more than 10 million pigs could be culled by September for the same reason. The techniques used to cull pigs include gassing, shooting, anaesthetic overdose, or “blunt force trauma”.

In “constrained circumstances”, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), techniques [pdf] might also include a combination of shutting down pig barn ventilator systems with the addition of CO2 so the animals suffocate.

The ‘depopulation’ comes despite food banks across the US reporting unprecedented demand and widespread hunger during the pandemic, with six-mile-long queues for aid forming at some newly set up distribution centres.

The American meat supply chain has been hit hard by the closure of slaughterhouses, due to Covid-19 infection rates among workers. 30 to 40 plants have closed, which means that in the highly consolidated US system beef and pork slaughtering capacity has been cut by 25% and 40% respectively, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

The closures have meant that animals cannot be killed for food and many must instead be culled, or “depopulated” at home.

A truck loaded with chickens drives on the highway to deliver fowl to a meatpacking plant

10 million hens have already been culled due to slaughterhouse shutdowns. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

More pigs to be ‘depopulated’

As it is comparatively easier to keep cattle on farms, cow culls do not appear to be an issue as yet, and the chicken cull may have peaked, said Adam Speck, an agribusiness analyst with IHS Markit.

“[Cattle] could stay on ranches another six months if necessary. The peak of the chicken cull has passed for now. North of about 10 million chickens were depopulated, either at the chick or egg stage,” Speck said.

At the hen stage, Leah Garcés, president of US welfare organisation Mercy for Animals, said it is hard to be sure of the numbers. But, “what we know with certainty is that 2 million meat chickens [and] 61,000 laying hens”, have been killed on farms.

Compared with poultry, said Garcés, stopping or slowing the production cycle of pigs is harder, mainly because pig growing periods are about six months compared to six weeks for hens. “Pregnancies had already been set in motion when the slaughterhouse closures occurred,” she said, and pigs were already in the system.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has estimated that: “up to 10,069,000 market hogs will need to be euthanised between the weeks ending on 25 April and 19 September 2020, resulting in a severe emotional and financial toll on hog farmers”.

chicken on supermarket shelf

The peak of the chicken cull has passed, experts said, but pigs may now need to be ‘depopulated’ in large numbers. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

For pig culls, AVMA “preferred methods” include injectable anaesthetic overdose, gassing, shooting with guns or bolts, electrocution and manual blunt force trauma. AVMA methods “permitted in constrained circumstances” include ventilator shutdown (VSD), potentially combined with carbon dioxide gassing, and sodium nitrite which would be ingested by pigs.

Speaking more graphically, Garcés said manual blunt force trauma can mean slamming piglets against the ground while VSD would “essentially cook the pigs alive”.

Asked to estimate numbers of pigs that have already been culled, Speck said producers are very reluctant to depopulate. “About two million might have been culled so far due to the Covid-19 pandemic, over the last six or so weeks.”

Speck added that with slaughterhouses likely to return to 85% capacity by the end of May, the NPPC’s depopulation estimate of 10 million pigs could be significantly reduced.

Speck said breeders are thinning herds and slowing growth to reduce pig supply. “They are sending breeding sows to slaughter, aborting pregnant sows on a small scale and [keeping market-bound pigs] on maintenance style rations with less protein. Coming into the summer months the pigs will also gain weight more slowly as the weather heats up.”

Methods are ‘inhumane’

Asked about growth slowdown, Garcés said it posed other welfare risks. “One method to slow down growth is to turn the heat up inside of the warehouses beyond the pigs ‘comfort zone’ because pigs eat less when they are too hot,” she said.

The combination of feed restrictions and higher barn temperatures, she said, mean pigs are “hungry and hot, increasing their overall discomfort, which is already high in a factory farm setting”.

Hogs at a farm in Illinois, US

Many farmers now face having to cull market-ready pigs. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images

In what appears to be an attempt by the industry to reduce any negative depopulation impact, a blog managed by the National Pork Board called Real Pig Farming offers social media sharing tips for farmers. The blog suggests farmers: “Think twice before engaging with posts that show what may be happening on farms right now.”

It said: “Most people do not understand the complexity of raising pigs and getting pork from the farm to their table. That means, “[a] good rule of thumb is to speak to a level a third grader [eight to 10 years old] would understand to ensure that things are not taken out of context.”

NPPC spokesperson Jim Monroe said that as of the week ending on 15 May, less than 25% of overall slaughter capacity was idled and the situation was improving. Monroe, added that the “tragic need to euthanise animals is to prevent animal suffering.”

For poultry, culling options are no easier. Filling sheds with carbon dioxide gas is one method, said Kim Sturla, director of welfare organisation Animal Place. Another cull method, she said, is to smother hens with water-based foam, similar to firefighting foam. Water-based foaming is categorised as the “preferred” method by the AVMA.

Previously asked about water-based foaming and other cull methods such VSD, an AVMA spokesperson said depopulation decisions were difficult and “and contingent upon several factors, such as the species and number of animals involved, available means of animal restraint, safety of personnel, and other considerations such as availability of equipment, agents and personnel”.

European campaigners said firefighting foam causes prolonged suffering. Although risks of similar livestock culls appear low in Europe so far, welfare group, Compassion in World Farming advised using foam that contains nitrogen gas because death is faster.

A 2019 European Food Safety Authority journal report said it did not find water-based or firefighting foam acceptable because “death due to drowning in fluids or suffocation by occlusion of the airways” is not seen as “a humane method for killing animals, including poultry”.

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https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/20/its-a-terrible-way-to-go-for-9-an-hour-fear-at-meat-plant-after-three-deaths-coronavirus

Family of worker at a South Yorkshire food processor with multiple Covid-19 cases and three deaths have criticised treatment of staff

The Cranswick Convenience Foods processing plant at Wombwell, South Yorkshire.

The Cranswick processing plant at Wombwell, South Yorkshire. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

Published onWed 20 May 2020 11.34 EDT

The South Yorkshire meat processing plant where three workers have died from coronavirus has been criticised for failing to adequately protect workers.

Three workers at a Cranswick food processing facility in Wombwell, Barnsley, which supplies UK supermarkets, are confirmed to have died after testing positive for coronavirus.

The UK-based company, which has annual revenue approaching £1.5bn, said there had been nine confirmed cases at the Wombwell plant, with one worker currently in hospital. The most recent confirmed case was on 11 May.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the family of a worker at the plant said staff had initially been told that social distancing in some parts of the factory was not possible, that they couldn’t wear face masks “because they would be taking them away from the NHS”, and that any staff off sick only got statutory sick pay.

“If you don’t feel well and know if you don’t go to work you’re only going to get the statutory sick pay [£95.85 a week] and are not going to be able to pay the bills, what are you going to do? I am scared he could bring it home to us and our kids. They [plant workers] have not been happy, but they’re all scared to say anything because of losing their jobs. It’s a shit way to go for £9 an hour [worker is paid £9.40 an hour].”

Meat plants across the world are grappling with serious coronavirus outbreaks. The US has been hardest hit, with confirmed cases at more than 200 meat and food processing plants and the death of at least 66 workers. There have also been clusters of cases at meat plants in FranceGermany and Ireland, where more than 500 workers have tested positive.

Giving evidence to MPs yesterday, Ian Wright, the CEO of the Food and Drink Federation, said although the UK food sector had not experienced major infection rates, it had seen “a couple of relative hotspots”. Labour MP Geraint Davies said data from the Office for National Statistics up to and including 20 April has found that plant workers in England and Wales were almost six times more likely die from Covid-19 than the average worker.

The family of the staff member said the Wombwell site had not been closed for a deep clean after the workers’ deaths as has been the case in Ireland, and that social distancing was only properly implemented in the canteen area in the past week. “It’s really hard and physical work, the plant has been busier than ever and there’s not a lot of scope for social distancing when they’re on the factory floor.”

The GMB union, which has some members at the Wombwell plant, said it was “ready to work with the company and our members at the site to review operations, and identify any issues that could impact on the safety of our members”.

Meat being processed at a Cranswick plant in Milton Keynes.

Meat being processed at a Cranswick plant in Milton Keynes. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

A spokesperson for Cranswick said it had rigorous cleaning procedures ongoing throughout the day and that the plant was sanitised at night. Social distancing had been in place in the plant since the middle of March and, in production areas where a 2m gap between people was not possible, the company had put in shielding screens or provided visors. Staff are entitled to contracted or statutory sick pay depending on their individual circumstances.

The spokesperson went on to say that while the company may initially have said it couldn’t get face masks due to NHS demands, they now had visors available for anyone who wanted to use them. Some canteen seats had been taped off with additional space provided and the company had now started sourcing single-seat tables. Equipment to temperature-check staff was also being installed this week.

“Why are they now implementing things this far into it after the deaths have happened and we’ve had the risk?” said the worker’s family.

Nick Allen, the CEO of the British Meat Processors Association, said the initial guidance provided by the government was “fairly minimal”, but that it had started issuing its own industry guidelines to members at the end of March. “This [social distancing] was something that had not been done before and has been a steep learning curve. There has been a considerable effort to get it right.”

Labour MP Geraint Davies, who sits on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee, said safe social distancing and PPE for all meat plant workers needed to be made legally enforceable. “If you work in a plant and fear for your personal safety, but realise there is a queue of people outside who will take your job now they’re unemployed, you’re left with an impossible choice. The government needs to ensure workers’ safety.”

Cranswick said in a statement: “The health and safety of all of our colleagues is our number one priority and we are doing everything we can to protect our workforce. Sadly, three of our colleagues have passed away with Covid-19. Our thoughts and condolences are with their families and we are providing full support to them and to all of our colleagues directly affected by Covid-19.

“From the outset of the pandemic, we have followed all governmental and regulatory guidance, in many cases going beyond the guidelines provided. We have evolved our practices and implemented additional measures to protect our colleagues including social distancing as far as practical, regular deep cleaning at our sites, visors and recommended PPE for all employees in line with the Public Health England and World Health Organization guidelines.

“All colleagues have been told not to attend work if they, or anyone they live with, have any symptoms. Cranswick employees are designated key workers and are at the forefront of maintaining vital supplies of fresh food into the supermarkets. We continue to do everything we can to protect them while they carry out this critical role.”

Suffocating healthy farm animals during a pandemic is not ‘euthanasia’

With the COVID-19 outbreak shutting down, at least temporarily, an estimated 20 major slaughterhouses and processing plants in North America, millions of farm animals are left in limbo with nowhere to go.

In Iowa, the nation’s biggest pork-producing state, farmers are reportedly giving pregnant sows abortions by injection and composting dead baby pigs to be used for fertilizer. Amid supply chain bottlenecks, local political leaders warn that producers might be forced to “euthanize” around 70,000 pigs a day.

In Minnesota, JBS, the world’s largest slaughter operation, reopened its Worthington plant last month for the sole purpose of killing and dumping excess pigs. The meat processing plant partially reopened for business last week. Roughly one-quarter of the facility’s 2,000 workers have tested positive for the coronavirus.

And in Delaware and Maryland, Allen Harim Foods depopulated 2 million chickens last month, citing a 50% decline in its workforce.

Using the terms “slaughter” or “euthanasia” to describe the rapid destruction of farm animals is a misnomer. Slaughter is killing for human consumption; to ensure meat quality, the animal typically dies from blood loss. Under the federal humane slaughter law, animals (except birds) are first stunned, which means they are rendered insensible to pain.

Euthanasia literally means “a good death.” It involves ending an animal’s life in a way that minimizes or eliminates pain and distress, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The AVMA defines the term “depopulation” as “the rapid destruction of a population of animals in response to urgent circumstances with as much consideration given to the welfare of the animals as practicable.”

Among the depopulation methods deemed acceptable is using a layer of water-based foam to drown and suffocate birds. During ventilation shutdown, operators flip a switch to turn off the airflow in a barn and ratchet up the heat to as high as 120 degrees, leaving trapped birds and pigs to die from a combination of heat stress and suffocation. The process can take hours and likely results in severe suffering. In fact, other than burning animals to death or burying them alive, it is difficult to imagine a more horrific end.

The last time such gruesome depopulation methods were widely used was in 2015 in response to highly pathogenic bird flu, the worst animal disease outbreak in U.S. history, which killed nearly 50 million chickens and turkeys. In that case, birds were sick and suffering, and the justification given for the extreme step of depopulation was that it would slow the spread of the disease in the shortest time possible.

During the current pandemic, however, animals are not suffering from disease, nor are they at risk of transmitting disease to other animals or to humans. Instead, they are being killed, and their bodies disposed of, because meat companies failed to protect their workers properly from exposure to COVID-19.

The meat industry is using depopulation as a quick fix for its lack of emergency preparedness. The conventional animal agriculture industry operates a highly consolidated system that has a hard time adjusting in response to a crisis. It routinely runs slaughter lines at dizzying speeds, provides the lowest level of care to animals crammed in stressful, unsanitary environments, and extends minimal health and safety protections to its workers — to date, thousands have become ill or been exposed to the coronavirus, and some have died. This intensive, high-production system leaves no room for error, yet giant corporations give little consideration to how animals will fare in emergency situations — from disease outbreaks to natural disasters to devastating barn fires.

That hasn’t stopped industrial agriculture from begging for federal assistance, warning of meat shortages and skyrocketing prices. Farmers are also asking the federal government to bankroll depopulation efforts, along with compensating them for their losses.

Already, the Department of Agriculture has pledged that government officials and veterinarians will step in, if necessary, to “advise and assist on depopulation and disposal methods.” Because there are no federal or state regulations governing farm animal euthanasia or depopulation, more than 20 members of Congress sent a letter last week to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging his department to curb extreme measures, including ventilation shutdown and water-based foam methods.

We simply cannot trust powerful industry players and federal regulators to safeguard animal welfare. According to a recent report by the Animal Welfare Institute, JBS’s Worthington plant, a Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and a Tyson Foods plant in Waterloo, Iowa, were the top three worst large livestock slaughter plants in the country for animal welfare violations from 2016 to 2018. These three facilities account for 12% of all U.S. hog production. Violations included multiple incidents of failing to stun animals before shackling and hanging them to be dismembered, likely causing the animals excruciating pain.

Depopulation during the current pandemic is being pursued solely as a consequence of the meat industry’s failure to protect its workers, not because the animals present any real risk to human or animal health. These blatantly inhumane killing methods are completely unjustifiable.

Because these animals cannot be brought to market, millions of animal lives will be wasted. At the very least, we should spare them a cruel death.

Dena Jones is the farm animal program director for the Washington-based Animal Welfare Institute.

Suffocating Healthy Farmed Animals During Pandemic Is Not “Euthanasia”

Using the term “euthanasia,” which literally means “a good death,” to describe the mass killing of overpopulated farmed animals is a misnomer. They suffer horrific deaths.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Now that the COVID-19 outbreak has shut down, at least temporarily, an estimated 20 major slaughterhouses and processing plants in North America, millions of farm animals are left in limbo with nowhere to go.

In Iowa, the nation’s biggest pork-producing state, farmers are reportedly giving pregnant sows abortions by injection and composting dead baby pigs to be used for fertilizer. Amid supply chain bottlenecks, local political leaders warn that producers might be forced to “euthanize” around 70,000 pigs a day.

In Minnesota, JBS, the world’s largest slaughter operation, reopened its Worthington plant last month for the sole purpose of killing and dumping excess pigs. The meat processing plant partially reopened for business last week. Roughly one-quarter of the facility’s 2,000 workers have tested positive for the coronavirus.

And in Delaware and Maryland, Allen Harim Foods depopulated 2 million chickens last month, citing a 50 percent decline in its workforce.

Using the terms “slaughter” or “euthanasia” to describe the rapid destruction of farm animals is a misnomer. Slaughter is killing for human consumption; to ensure meat quality, the animal typically dies from blood loss. Under the federal humane slaughter law, animals (except birds) are first stunned, which means they are rendered insensible to pain.

Euthanasia literally means “a good death.” It involves ending an animal’s life in a way that minimizes or eliminates pain and distress, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

The AVMA defines the term “depopulation” as “the rapid destruction of a population of animals in response to urgent circumstances with as much consideration given to the welfare of the animals as practicable.”

Among the depopulation methods deemed acceptable is using a layer of water-based foam to drown and suffocate birds. During ventilation shutdown, operators flip a switch to turn off the airflow in a barn and ratchet up the heat to as high as 120 degrees, leaving trapped birds and pigs to die from a combination of heat stress and suffocation. The process can take hours and likely results in severe suffering. In fact, other than burning animals to death or burying them alive, it is difficult to imagine a more horrific end.

The last time such gruesome depopulation methods were widely used was in 2015 in response to highly pathogenic bird flu—the worst animal disease outbreak in U.S. history—which killed nearly 50 million chickens and turkeys. In that case, birds were sick and suffering, and the justification given for the extreme step of depopulation was that it would slow the spread of the disease in the shortest time possible.

During the current pandemic, however, animals are not suffering from disease and they are not at risk of transmitting disease to other animals or to humans. Instead, they are being killed, and their bodies disposed of because meat companies failed to properly protect their workers from exposure to COVID-19.

The meat industry is using depopulation as a quick fix for its lack of emergency preparedness. The conventional animal agriculture industry operates a highly consolidated system that has a hard time adjusting in response to a crisis. It routinely runs slaughter lines at dizzying speeds, provides the lowest level of care to animals crammed in stressful, unsanitary environments, and extends minimal health and safety protections to its workers (to date, thousands have become ill or been exposed to the coronavirus and some have died). This intensive, high-production system leaves no room for error, yet giant corporations give little consideration to how animals will fare in emergency situations—from disease outbreaks to natural disasters to devastating barn fires.

That hasn’t stopped industrial agriculture from begging for federal assistance—warning of meat shortages and skyrocketing prices. Farmers are also asking the federal government to bankroll depopulation efforts, along with compensating them for their losses.

Already, the USDA has pledged that government officials and veterinarians will step in, if necessary, to “advise and assist on depopulation and disposal methods.” Because there are no federal or state regulations governing farm animal euthanasia or depopulation, more than 20 members of Congress sent a letter last week to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging his department to curb extreme measures, including ventilation shutdown and water-based foam methods.

We simply cannot trust powerful industry players and federal regulators to safeguard animal welfare. According to a recent report by the Animal Welfare Institute, JBS’ Worthington plant, a Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and a Tyson Foods plant in Waterloo, Iowa, were the top three worst large livestock slaughter plants in the country for animal welfare violations from 2016 to 2018. These three facilities account for 12 percent of all U.S. hog production. Violations included multiple incidents of failing to stun animals before shackling and hanging them to be dismembered, likely causing the animals excruciating pain.

Depopulation during the current pandemic is being pursued solely as a consequence of the meat industry’s failure to protect its workers, not because the animals present any real risk to human or animal health. These blatantly inhumane killing methods are completely unjustifiable.

Because these animals cannot be brought to market, millions of animal lives will be wasted. At the very least, we should spare them a cruel death.

“Hard Decisions: How Consumers View Mass Depopulation,” Progressive Farmer,

 May 4, 2020

“Many opposed to animal agriculture are vigorously attacking the idea of euthanasia of livestock, hoping awareness created now of how production animals are depopulated will move forward their agendas in the years to come. Karen Davis, president of Virginia’s United Poultry Concerns (UPC) told this reporter she is vehemently opposed to even the use of the word ‘euthanasia’ in response to the current situation.”

Read the article here:
How Consumers View Mass Depopulation.

This article reflects aspects of a phone interview with UPC president, Karen Davis, conducted by Progressive Farmer reporter Victoria G. Myers, on April 29, 2020. The interview was prompted by UPC’s News Release:

“Depopulation” of Poultry Does Not Mean “Humanely Killed.”

The article shifts focus to how farmers and ranchers view mass depopulation, and how farmers should manage public perception with stories about their suffering, including sharing that “you are an animal lover.”

Chickens in trash dead and alive.
Unwanted chickens are “euthanized” routinely by the poultry & egg industries.
Photo by Mercy For Animals

Colorado becomes sixth U.S. state to outlaw cruel and unsporting wildlife killing contests

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2020

 

Parks and Wildlife Commission votes to end competitive killing of coyotes, foxes, prairie dogs and other species for prizes

DENVER, CO—A coalition of leading wildlife protection organizations is applauding the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission for their vote today to ban wildlife killing contests for furbearer and certain small game species in the state. Colorado is now the sixth state in the country to ban these cruel events.

The proposal, advanced by Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff and approved today by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, prohibits killing contests that target species including mink, pine marten, badger, red fox, gray fox, swift fox, striped skunk, western spotted skunk, beaver, muskrat, long-tailed weasel, short-tailed weasel, coyote, bobcat, opossum, ring-tailed cat, raccoon, as well as Wyoming ground squirrel. Species also include white-tailed, black-tailed and Gunnison’s prairie dogs.

Upon enactment, this new regulation will put an end to events such as the High Desert Predator Classic in Pueblo, the Song Dog Coyote Hunt in Keenesburg, and the San Luis Valley Coyote Calling Competition. Winners of wildlife killing contests often proudly post photos and videos on social media that show them posing with piles of dead coyotes and other animals, often before disposing of the animals in “carcass dumps” away from the public eye.

“Participants of wildlife killing contests often use unsporting and cruel techniques—such as calling devices that mimic the sound of prey or even pups in distress—so that they can lure shy coyotes and other animals to shoot at close range,” said Aubyn Royall, Colorado state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We thank[http://?] Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Commission for taking decisive action to ensure that Colorado no longer supports such barbaric and wasteful killing of its treasured wildlife.”

“Colorado’s ban, which is supported by the best scientific data available, is one of the strongest in the country,” said Johanna Hamburger, wildlife attorney for the Animal Welfare Institute. “The state has now joined multiple fish and wildlife agencies and commissions in concluding that these contests compromise the effective management of wildlife populations, fail to increase game populations and harm ecosystems.”  

Colorado joins five other states—California, Vermont, New Mexico, Arizona and Massachusetts—that have taken a stand against cruel, unsporting and wasteful wildlife killing contests. California banned the awarding of prizes for killing furbearing and nongame mammals in 2014; New Mexico and Vermont outlawed coyote killing contests in 2019 and 2018, respectively; and Arizona and Massachusetts prohibited killing contests that target predator and furbearer species in late 2019.

“Wildlife killing contests are a bloodsport just like dogfighting and cockfighting, which have been outlawed nationwide,” said Camilla Fox, founder and executive director of Project Coyote. “We commend Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Commission for relegating these ecologically and ethically indefensible events to the history books.”

“The majority of Coloradans respect and value wildlife and this step forward by our state wildlife department in line with those values,” said Lindsay Larris, Wildlife Program Director for WildEarth Guardians.  “We look forward to seeing CPW to continue to advance policies that reflect the importance of wildlife protection to all people in Colorado.” 

“Recognizing that all species play an important role in their ecosystem,” said Stephanie Harris, senior legislative affairs manager for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, “we commend Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Commission for this forward-thinking, science-based decision to prohibit the senseless slaughter inherent to killing contests.”

“We’re thrilled that Colorado is banning these wasteful wildlife killing contests,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Coyotes and other carnivores play such important ecological roles but had been mercilessly targeted by these barbaric events. Today’s decision by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission is a big win for Colorado’s coyotes, and we’re celebrating.”

Delia Malone from the Colorado Sierra Club said, “All native wildlife species are essential. Ecology and ethics require that we protect all native species–including species that have historically been vilified or dismissed as unimportant. Natives such as coyotes and prairie dogs contribute to healthy, viable, resilient ecosystems, and deserve our respect and our protection. We are gratified that Colorado Parks and Wildlife has chosen conservation.”

Wildlife agencies and professionals across the country have expressed concerns about killing contests because they reflect poorly on responsible sportsmen and sportswomen. In 2019 alone, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission and the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board voted to prohibit these gruesome killing contests, citing the grave damage that such events could inflict on the image of hunting in their states. Wildlife management professionals have also noted that wildlife killing contests contravene modern, science-based wildlife management principles. In 2018, more than 70 renowned conservation scientists issued a statement citing peer-reviewed science that refutes claims that indiscriminately killing coyotes permanently limits coyote populations, increases the number of deer or other game species for hunters, or reduces conflicts with humans, pets or livestock. In fact, randomly shooting coyotes disrupts their pack structure, leading to increases in their populations and more conflicts. Nonlethal, preventive measures are most effective at reducing conflicts with wildlife.

Wildlife killing contests are also destructive to healthy ecosystems, within which all wildlife species play a crucial role. Coyotes and other targeted species help to control rabbit and rodent populations and restrict rodent- and tick-borne disease transmission. And prairie dogs are an important keystone species in Colorado’s ecosystem, providing essential food and digging underground tunnels used by other native wildlife.

Wet markets breed contagions like the coronavirus. The U.S. has thousands of them.




Cows line up to be milked at a large dairy farm in Utah. (iStock)
Cows line up to be milked at a large dairy farm in Utah. (iStock)
April 21, 2020 at 3:00 a.m. PDT

On April 3, Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, joined the chorus of voices calling for the immediate closure of China’s “wet markets,” where the coronavirus is widely believed to have originated. Butchers, trappers and consumers mingle openly, slaughtering and trading live animals; it is the perfect environment for zoonotic diseases to leap from an infected creature to a human.

But China is hardly the only country where live animal markets and other squalid operations are common. Some 80 of them operate within the five boroughs of New York City alone, according to Slaughter Free NYC, a nonprofit group that opposes them. They are near residences, schools and public parks.

Less notorious but much more commonplace threats to public health are the “concentrated animal feeding operations” (CAFOs) scattered throughout the South and Midwest. These factory farms warehouse thousands of animals that wallow in their own waste with limited or no airspace, routinely creating conditions for the proliferation of super bugs and zoonotic pathogens. Nearly the entire supply of animal products consumed in the United States originate from these industrial factory farms.

The Centers Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) have warned us against the risks of factory farms for years. The unsanitary living conditions inside CAFOs weaken animals’ immune systems and increase their susceptibility to infection and disease. The factory farms’ response has been to pump the animals full of antibiotics that make their way into our food supply and onto our dinner plates, systematically fostering in humans a lethal resistance to the medicines that once quelled everyday infections. Such practices have brought humanity to the point that the WHO now estimates that more than half of all human diseases emanate from animals.

Many of us are privileged enough to stay at home in safety with our loved ones to avoid the coronavirus. But how much thought are we giving to the individuals and communities that are directly affected by our choices and lifestyles? Tens of thousands of Americans face threats to their daily health and well-being from neighboring CAFOs and the animal waste that mists or flows over their properties. They are unable to be “safer at home.” Will we apply the same energy we have put into overcoming this virus into preventing future outbreaks and helping dismantle the industries inflicting so much damage to communities across the country?

As this disaster continues to ravage society, we must examine our role in the emergence of the coronavirus and our vulnerability to a growing number of diseases as a result of our impositions on the animal kingdom and the environment. This probe cannot end with bats, monkeys, pangolins and other exotic wildlife supposedly to blame for recent contagions. It should encompass all of the supporting industries that contribute to the debilitation of communities, our susceptibility to illnesses and our complete defenselessness in their wake. A real public-health reckoning would have us reshape our patterns of consumption, curbing our dependence on animal products. A bacteria-infested (and inhumane) food supply makes people sick.

Covid-19 is a devastating indicator of what’s to come if we don’t make rapid and sweeping changes, the least inconvenient of which is closing down all live-animal markets and CAFOs in the midst of this global pandemic.

Spain cancels Pamplona bull running festival as daily coronavirus cases drop again to 3,968 but the number of new deaths climbs to 430

Spain’s best-known bull running festival in the northern town of Pamplona has been cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis, Pamplona city hall said today.

The San Fermin celebration is centuries old and typically attended by hundreds of thousands of people.

During the celebration half-tonne fighting bulls chase hundreds of daredevils, many of whom wear traditional white shirts and scarves, through the narrow streets of the city each morning.

The municipal council agreed to suspend the event which is held each year between July 6 and 14.

The San Fermin celebration in northern town of Pamplona is typically attended by hundreds of thousands of people

The San Fermin celebration in northern town of Pamplona is typically attended by hundreds of thousands of people

Acting mayor of Pamplona Ana Elizalde told a news conference: ‘As expected as it was, it still leaves us deeply sad.

‘In this context there is no place for fireworks, bullfights or bull runs. We are supposed to wear masks, keep a social distance – measures that are incompatible with what San Fermin is.’

People travel from all over the world to Pamplona to test their bravery and enjoy the festival’s mix of round-the-clock parties, religious processions and concerts.

A 50-year-old lawyer from Colorado who has run with the bulls 99 times at San Fermin cancelled his flight in February.

Peter N. Milligan, who wrote a book about his experiences at the fiesta, had been planning to return to Pamplona this year.

Spanish bullfighter Gines Marin performs with a bull at last year's festival on July 7 in Pamplona

Spanish bullfighter Gines Marin performs with a bull at last year’s festival on July 7 in Pamplona

Bulls charge through streets of Pamplona for annual festival

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He said: ‘I was expecting this. Considering the stay at home rules, I would imagine the city would have been overrun if they decided to proceed. Seems like a very smart decision.’

He added: ‘I know this cancellation will be devastating to our friends economically in Pamplona. Fiesta is a tough time to stay healthy under the best of circumstances.’

Spain today recorded a fall in the number of new coronavirus cases but an increase in daily deaths, as 3,968 more people were infected and another 430 died.

The 3,968 new cases – down from 4,266 yesterday – bring the total from 200,210 to 204,178, an increase of 2.0 per cent.

The fall is notable because Spain typically sees an increase in new cases on Tuesdays when delayed weekend figures are fully accounted for.

Deaths increased by 430 today, a higher jump than yesterday’s 399 which takes the overall death toll from 20,852 to 21,282.

This graph shows the daily number of new coronavirus cases in Spain. Today's figure was 3,968, slightly down from yesterday's 4,266

This graph shows the daily number of new coronavirus cases in Spain. Today’s figure was 3,968, slightly down from yesterday’s 4,266

This chart shows the daily number of deaths. Today's figure of 430 is a slight increase from yesterday's 399

This chart shows the daily number of deaths. Today’s figure of 430 is a slight increase from yesterday’s 399

Coronavirus patient Maria Josefa Arias, 76, is taken to hospital by emergency technicians Marisa Arguello de Paula and Itxaso Garcia Giaconi in Galdakao in Spain

Coronavirus patient Maria Josefa Arias, 76, is taken to hospital by emergency technicians Marisa Arguello de Paula and Itxaso Garcia Giaconi in Galdakao in Spain

Spain has been in lockdown since March 14, and the measures are expected to be extended with slight relaxations until May 9.

Health emergency chief Fernando Simon says the rate of new infections in Spain is continuing to fall despite an increase in testing.

The regular increase in cases of around 2-3 per cent a day is far lower than the 15-25 per cent which was typical at the height of the crisis in mid-March.

On average, Spain’s new infection count for Tuesday has been higher than on Monday, probably because of delays in reporting weekend figures.

However, today’s jump of 3,968 was smaller than yesterday’s 4,266, which had marked a slight increase from Sunday’s figure of 4,218.

Against that, Spain had said yesterday that its 4,266 new cases included more than 1,000 older ones which had only just been confirmed.

There are fears that the true death toll may be far higher than 21,282, which have been amplified since Catalonia started disclosing thousands more deaths last week after taking a tally from funeral homes.

Those Catalan deaths have not been recorded in Spain’s nationwide figures, despite the region’s calls for the government to do so.

Simon, the emergency response chief, has acknowledged that the ‘real number of deaths is hard to know’.

Even families burying their dead are not always certain what their loved ones died of.

In a nursing home near Barcelona, an 85-year-old woman died on April 8 of ‘possible’ Covid-19, said her daughter Amparo, citing a doctor’s death certificate.

Amparo said her mother was not tested, accusing political leaders of not protecting citizens and dismissing the official tally as useless.

‘Additional people have died because (politicians) have not made sufficient testing possible so that we can know the reality,’ she said. ‘We have left them to die alone.’

Police hand out face masks in Spain as the lockdown eases

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Health workers wearing white protective suits transfer a patient from her home to the Hospital Infanta Leonor in Madrid on Sunday

Health workers wearing white protective suits transfer a patient from her home to the Hospital Infanta Leonor in Madrid on Sunday

Healthcare workers prepare to move a coronavirus patient at the intensive care unit of the Povisa Hospital in Vigo, Spain

Healthcare workers prepare to move a coronavirus patient at the intensive care unit of the Povisa Hospital in Vigo, Spain

The government has defended its count – which only includes those tested – and said that tracking confirmed deaths allows it to better study the outbreak’s evolution.

Suspected deaths should be analysed at a later stage, the government says.

In other countries, such as Italy and the Netherlands, a large number of coronavirus deaths might not have been reported because of under-testing in nursing homes.

From March 1 to April 10, Spain reported 16,353 coronavirus deaths. But according to the National Epidemiology Centre’s database MoMo, there were 22,487 more deaths than normal for the time of year over the exact same period.

A large part of the 6,134 difference is likely related to COVID-19, said Pedro Gullon, a Spanish Epidemiology Society board member.

But it had to be carefully interpreted because it could also include non-coronavirus deaths of people who did not attend hospitals, he said.

A justice ministry spokesman said it was ‘ridiculous’ to say that the real number of coronavirus deaths could be concealed.

The issue is adding to friction between the government in Madrid and regions with a high degree of autonomy, including Catalonia, whose regional leadership has been waging a long campaign for independence.

The leader of the main opposition People’s Party, Pablo Casado, has demanded that ‘all the truth be told’ about the number of dead.

A lawmaker from the far-right Vox tweeted: ‘No smokescreen will cover the deaths you try to hide’.

The San Fermin festival, which dates back to medieval times and was immortalised in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises was last called off in 1997 after Basque separatist group ETA assassinated a local politician.

Sixteen people have been killed in the bull runs since officials began keeping track in 1910, most recently in 2009 when a 27-year-old Spaniard was gored in the neck, heart and lungs.

The pandemic has also forced the suspension or postponement of major events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Coachella music festival in southern California, and the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

Bulls and runners make their way into the arena in Pamplona

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Spain cancels its world-famous Pamplona bull running festival because of coronavirus

Take a GIANT STEP: Go Vegan!

United Poultry Concerns <http://www.UPC-online.org>
21 April 2020

Take a GIANT STEP: Go Vegan!

By Karen Davis, PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns

This article, excerpted from Life Can Be Beautiful – Go Vegan!
<https://www.upc-online.org/govegan.pdf>, is featured in
the April 2020 issue of *The Echo World: The Alternative Voice in the South*
<http://www.theechoworld.com>. The
Echo World appears in print and online.

*There’s never been a better time to switch to a diet free of animal
products.*

Animal-free eating gets easier every day as more and more people seek
healthy,
delicious vegan foods and restaurant dishes. More and more supermarkets
sell a
range of easy-to-prepare products marked Vegan. With today’s culinary
creativity
and technology, we can enjoy delicious textures and flavors without worrying
about the cholesterol, type-two diabetes and other health issues linked to
unhealthy, animal-based diets. Let’s look at the arguments.

*Why Choose Vegan?*

As the human population grows, food-safety and environment problems grow,
and
animals raised for food get treated worse. They suffer more cruelly, grow
sicker
and pass their sickness on to us. By choosing vegan, we refuse to support
the
suffering of billions of animals while enjoying the health benefits
associated
with plant-based foods.

Fortunately, the demand for animal-free foods is growing. People want meals
that
are healthy, better for the environment, and compassionate to animals.
Sales of
vegan meat and dairy-free products are rising rapidly in the United States
and
elsewhere in the world, according to food trend analysts.1 Plant-based
eating is
a path toward a healthier, more sustainable and caring way of life.

*The Environment*

Much of the destruction of our forests and wildlife is due to animal
agriculture. Our forests, especially our rainforests, absorb carbon dioxide
from
the atmosphere and exchange it for oxygen. When we slash and burn forests to
graze cattle and grow soybeans to feed billions of poultry and pigs, we
diminish
our ability and our children’s ability to breathe fresh air. Currently,
seventy
to eighty percent of the world’s soy goes not into tofu but into food fed to
farmed animals.2

A plant-based diet helps to protect our forests and our environment. In
“Saving
the Planet, One Meal at a Time,” American journalist and Presbyterian
minister,
Chris Hedges, writes: “With animal agriculture as the leading cause of
species
extinction, water pollution, ocean dead zones and habitat destruction,
becoming
vegan is the most important and direct change we can immediately make to
save
the planet and its species.”3

*Animals Raised for Food*

The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production reported that of
all the
terrible things they witnessed in their investigation of farmed animal
facilities, “The most appalling was a facility that produces chickens for
eating. It was totally dark and the dust and ammonia smells were
overwhelming.”4

Animals raised for food are treated badly and they are very unhealthy.
Chickens,
turkeys and ducks are crammed in filthy, dark buildings loaded with
bacteria,
flu viruses, toxic funguses and poisonous gases that burn their eyes, their
skin, and their lungs. With no fresh air, sunshine, or normal activities,
the
birds develop painful skeletal deformities, soft watery muscles, stress
hormones
and heart disease.

Chickens and turkeys go to slaughter with rotting livers (necrotic
enteritis),
“wing rot,” pus-filled lungs, and ammonia-burned skin. Rotting intestines
and
ulcerated flesh are removed at the slaughterhouse. Corpses are drenched in
chlorinated water to conceal flesh sold falsely to consumers as “healthy.”5

Former Tyson chicken slaughterhouse worker Virgil Butler and his partner,
Laura
Alexander, described their switch to an animal-free diet: “We just couldn’t
look
at a piece of meat anymore without seeing the sad, tortured face that was
attached to it sometime in the past.”6

*”Free-Range,” “Cage-Free,” “Humane Farming”*

These terms sound reassuring, but the reality behind the scenes is
different. As
soon as they are born, most hens used for “cage-free” eggs are painfully
debeaked, and all male chicks are destroyed at the hatchery since they
don’t lay
eggs. “Free-range” turkeys are violently “milked” and inseminated by hand,
newborn calves and piglets are torn from their mothers, and baby chicks,
turkeys
and ducks are denied the comfort of their mother’s wings.

All animals raised for food – “free-range” included – are slaughtered,
trashed,
or trucked to live animal markets and rendering companies when their
moneymaking
life is over. Farmers do not keep “useless” animals. The idea that billions
of
humans can have billions of “humanely-raised” animals is untrue.

*What About Fish?*

Fish are intelligent beings with feelings. When pulled from the water, they
suffocate in panic and pain, the same as humans and other land animals do
when
drowning. Being hooked in the mouth or caught in a net is torture for fish
that
are increasingly raised in huge aquatic factory farms as a result of human
overpopulation, overconsumption and ocean water pollution. They’re
subjected to
genetic engineering, drugs and diseases the same as their terrestrial
counterparts. *The Guardian* reports that “the oceans are massively
overfished,
with more than half now being industrially fished.”7

*Foodborne Diseases*

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that the major foodborne
pathogens –
viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi – occur mainly in “meat, poultry,
seafood, dairy products and eggs.” 8 Foodborne bacteria such as E. coli,
Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Listeria can migrate from people’s
intestines to
other body parts – blood, bones, nerves, organs, and joints – to cause
chronic
illnesses later in life, such as arthritis. Salmonella and E. coli
contamination
of plants such as spinach, tomatoes and melons comes from animal farming
operations. Fruits and vegetables do not generate this contamination.

*Antibiotics*

Farmed animals are fed massive amounts of antibiotics. Antibiotic-resistant
bacteria remain in slaughtered animals even on the dinner plate.
Urinary-tract
infections (UTIs) caused by E. coli affect millions of women. These
infections
correlate particularly with eating chicken. To reduce the risk, women are
encouraged to eat the plant-based chicken products available in stores and
fast-food franchises. These products taste just as good and do not present a
risk of UTIs.9

*The Good News*

When all is said and done, a plant-powered diet produces a legitimate
feeling of
wellbeing in people. In “The Evidence for a Vegan Diet,” James McWilliams,
associate professor of history at Texas State University, writes: “For me,
the
most persuasive evidence supporting a healthy vegan diet is the everyday
reality
that a dozen or so people with whom I eat have done extraordinary things as
a
direct result of intelligent veganism. They’ve conquered obesity, chronic
disease, depression, and a host of food-related disorders by exclusively
eating
an exciting diversity of plants. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned, it is
this:
the diet empowers.”10

*Notes*

1. Monica Watrous, “Plant-based foods go mainstream in 2019
<https://www.meatpoultry.com/articles/22399-plant-based-foods-go-mainstream>
,”
*Meat + Poultry*, December 27, 2019.

2. Farhad Manjoo, “Stop Mocking Vegans
<https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/28/opinion/vegan-food.html>,” *The New
York Times*, August 28, 2019.

3. Chris Hedges, “Saving the Planet, One Meal at a Time
<https://www.truthdig.com/articles/saving-the-planet-one-meal-at-a-time/>,”
*Truthdig*, November 10, 2014.

4. Robert Martin, executive director of the Pew Commission on Industrial
Farm
Animal Production interviewed in *E Magazine*, July-August 2008.

5. Karen Davis, “Chickens: Their Life and Death in Farming Operations
<http://advocacy.britannica.com/blog/advocacy/2018/10/chickens-their-life-and-death-in-farming-operations/>
,”
*Encyclopedia Britannica*, October 1, 2018.

6. Virgil Butler & Laura Alexander interviewed in “Slaughterhouse Worker
Turned <http://www.upc-online.org/fall04/virgil.htm>
Activist <http://www.upc-online.org/fall04/virgil.htm>,” *Poultry Press*,
Fall 2004.

7. Damian Carrington, “Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to
reduce
<https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-and-dairy-is-single-biggest-way-to-reduce-your-impact-on-earth>
your impact on Earth
<https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-and-dairy-is-single-biggest-way-to-reduce-your-impact-on-earth>,”
*The Guardian*, October 30, 2018.

8. Buzby & Roberts, *FoodReview*, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Economic
Research
Service, May-August 1995.

9. Martha Rosenberg, “Are Your Frequent UTIs From the Food You’re Eating?
<https://www.theepochtimes.com/are-your-frequent-utis-from-the-food-youre-eating_3019245.html>

*The Epoch Times*, July 27, 2019.

10. James McWilliams, “The Evidence for a Vegan Diet
<https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/01/the-evidence-for-a-vegan-diet/251498/>
,”
*The Atlantic*, January 18, 2012.

Order printed copies of:
*Life Can Be Beautiful – Go Vegan*
*UPC Merchandise* <https://www.upc-online.org/merchandise>

KAREN DAVIS, PhD <http://www.upc-online.org/karenbio.htm> is the President
and Founder of United Poultry Concerns, a
nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful
treatment
of domestic fowl including a sanctuary for chickens in Virginia. Inducted
into
the National Animal Rights Hall of Fame for Outstanding Contributions to
Animal
Liberation, Karen is the author of numerous books, essays, articles and
campaigns. Her latest book is *For the Birds: From Exploitation to
Liberation:*
*Essays on Chickens, Turkeys, and Other Domesticated Fowl* (Lantern Books,
2019).


United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
Don’t just switch from beef to chicken. Go Vegan.
http://www.UPC-online.org/ http://www.twitter.com/upcnews
http://www.facebook.com/UnitedPoultryConcerns

View this article online
<https://upc-online.org/bookreviews/200421_take_a_giant_step-go_vegan.htm