This week marks a major victory for farm animals. After an independent, 2 1/2 -year analysis, experts released a report Wednesday calling for major changes in the way corporate agriculture produces meat, milk and eggs.
The report, "Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Production in America," concludes that "concentrated animal feeding operations," or CAFOs, not only fail to provide the humane treatment of livestock, but also have an impact on human health and the environment, and undermine rural America's economic stability.
Sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the report finds that the “"economies of scale" used to justify factory farming practices are largely an illusion, perpetuated by a failure to account for associated costs.”
Read the Washington Post article here.
Download the full report here: "Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Production in America." (6MB PDF)
On the eve of the Kentucky Derby, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is calling for sweeping reforms to the bluegrass states laws protecting horses and other animals. According to a 2007 report released by ALDF, Kentucky ranks dead last in the nation in its laws protecting animals.
A recent horse neglect case in Harrison County highlights the stark contrast between the thoroughbred treatment of Kentucky’s prized Derby racers and the countless horses suffering in rural counties without adequate legal protection.
Of the over 30 neglected horses--three of whom were tattooed thoroughbreds who had been "run out"--16 were discovered dead on the property of defendants Haskell and Dinah Risner of Cynthiana by the time state police finally executed a search warrant in early November 2007. County Attorney Charles W. (Bill) Kuster would only authorize an "on-site" seizure--meaning that the suffering horses were left in the defendants’ care after their arrest and release, after which an additional horse died due to an untreated parasitic infestation.
Despite ALDF’s offers of assistance throughout the case, the horses were never seized from the defendants, who ultimately were given a slap-on-the-wrist plea agreement.
In addition to the Harrison County case, an epidemic of horse cruelty cases across the state have highlighted the weaknesses in Kentucky’s animal protection laws, including recent cases in Rockcastle County, Rowan County, and Jessamine County.
"It’s a sad irony that while Kentucky promotes--and profits from--its world-renowned horse race, horses are literally starving to death throughout the state, often in plain sight of local law enforcement," says Scott Heiser, director of ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program. "Until the legislature and local sheriffs and prosecutors begin to take animal protection seriously, the home of the Derby will continue to hold the dubious title of ‘best state in the nation to be an animal abuser.’"
Read more about the animal protection law reforms ALDF is actively seeking in Kentucky…
A Sierra Club representative contacted me on Earth Day last week about possibly working on a future project together with ALDF, and it reminded me that our work overlaps in many ways—that protection of the environment is good for the animals, and vice versa.
I’m lucky enough to live in upstate New York, a place where deer, rabbits, and squirrels cross through my yard, and I have even seen the neighborhood’s elusive fox emerge from the nearby woods to trot up my street. Recently I discovered that if I take a certain road to the store, I might see a flock of 8 magnificent wild turkeys who must reside in a forest that borders a field where they rather recklessly hang out endlessly in full view from the road, if they are not in fact IN the road.
Seeing wildlife out in the open has absolutely thrilled me in an indescribable way ever since I was a child, and it still does. In those moments I truly feel like nature has chosen me to have a glimpse of a special, beautiful secret, and I hold my breath and watch as long as I can, until the animal returns to its normal place hidden out of view of humans (except for the turkeys).
All of which is a long way of saying, don’t forget the wildlife. I know that with all the work we do at ALDF on companion animal cases and farm animal issues, it’s easy to forget about the wildlife--who are usually exempt from most animal protection laws, hunted when out in the open, and whose habitat around the world is diminishing daily.
I’m teaching my 6-year-old son to appreciate these specially revealed moments in nature, to respect all animals, and to do what we can to ensure their habitat is preserved before it’s all gone. He thinks the deer are "awesome" and can identify as many bird species as I’ve been able to teach him (note to self: bone up on learning more bird species). Despite his mother’s extreme phobia about snakes, my son has embraced them. Literally. So we do what we can to remember the wildlife, and their environment, and hope others will too.
There’s a reason a song named, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" was written – because, as so many of us know, breaking up is indeed really hard to do! If going through the emotional part of a break up wasn’t hard enough, so many times "the stuff" accumulated during the relationship must be divvied up between the parting parties – sometimes taking the form of an overflowing box of "stuff" owned by one of the parties, tossed out haphazardly onto the front lawn. C'est la vie – such is life.
However, things can become more complicated when companion animals are involved. A story published by Reuters yesterday reports that an increasing number of couples who split up are less concerned about who gets the cutlery and more concerned about custody of Cuddles, the cat.
An excerpt from the article:
"With pets being treated more as one of the family than just an animal, the fate of Fido or Cuddles is becoming a growing problem which lawyers are taking on board, drafting "petimony" contracts and sparking a new focus on animal law issues." Read more…
If you’re involved in a custody dispute, or if such a dispute is likely, be sure to check out ALDF’s pet custody resource page for helpful tips.
If you are an attorney handling a pet custody case, ALDF may be able to file an amicus curiae brief in your case, arguing that the best interests of the animal involved be considered in determining custody. Email us if you are an attorney requesting this type of assistance.
If you’re not involved in a custody dispute but are going though a breakup, well, ALDF can’t be of much help there. But I can say, Purely Decadent Peanut Butter Zig Zag soy ice cream has always helped me get through life’s rough spots...
Mending fences and scratching pig bellies were just a couple of the activities University of Florida law students participated in at Rooterville, a pot-bellied pig sanctuary in Florida.
Members of the University of Florida’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapter recently took part in a large-scale volunteer event at Rooterville where they spent the day working with others from different organizations and colleges doing facility maintenance, assisting with inoculations, and the favorite chore of the students and the pigs, petting and brushing.
As a part of ALDF’s Animal Law Program, Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapters share ALDF’s mission to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. Currently, there are 119 SALDF chapters at accredited law schools throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Read on for more inspiring stories about how the University of Florida’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter and other SALDF chapters across the country are making the world a better place for animals.