From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Jan/Feb 1994:

World meat production is up from
177.2 million tons in 1990 to 184.2 tons in
1993, says the Intergovernmental Group on
Meat, an industry task force. Cattle produc-
tion slid from 54.3 million tons to 52.8, but
pork is up from 69.7 million tons to 73.8, and
poultry is up from 39.9 million tons to 44.2.
Total production in developed nations fell
from 104.2 million tons to 100.6, due mostly
to declines in the former USSR, but produc-
tion in developing nations jumped from 73
million tons to 83.6 million––an expenditure
of soil and water resources many of them can-
not afford to make.

British vegetarian author and ani-
mal rights advocate Rebecca Hall offered
four men $15,000 if they could last a week in
the same conditions as battery-caged
hens––but they quit December 6 after just 18
hours in an unheated eight-foot-square, six-
foot-high cage with no sanitation, nothing to
sit on, and no amusements.
Maryland draft regulations on the
care of downed, diseased, and debilitated
livestock allow slaughterhouses to hold such
animals for up to 48 hours before slaughter,
and exempt poultry. Comments on the draft
regulations, portions of which the Farm
Animal Reform Movement termed “vague”
and “unacceptable,” were due December 15.
Environment Quebec has autho-
rized farmers in the Temiscouata region,
near Riviere du Loup, to triple their pig
production since 1991. The authorizations
have been attacked by Dr. Robert Maguire,
director of public health for the lower St.
Lawrence River basin, and the Union
Quebecoise Pour la Conservation de la
Nature, who cite the destruction of the
Yamaska and Assomption rivers during the
1970s by effluent from pig farms. Pierre
Paradis, now Quebec environment minister,
documented the damage to the Yamaska in
1974 under a federal job creation grant, and
was first elected to the Quebec National
Assembly in 1980 after several towns in his
district were without drinking water for most
of a year due to the pollution. ANIMAL
PEOPLE editor Merritt Clifton covered the
Yamaska crisis for various media from 1978
through the completion of 14 new sewage
treatment plants and three new water filtration
plants that were built during the next six years
to deal with it. “The new plants helped,” he
recalls, “as did new laws governing when and
how farmers could store and spread manure,
but what helped most was the economic col-
lapse of the pig industry after a decade of
overexpansion pushed by the Quebec govern-
ment. There were half a million pigs in con-
finement barns along the Yamaska in 1980,
and maybe half that many four years later.”
On December 20, Russia received
the last of 12,000 tons of U.S. pork, bought
with $25 million in USDA subsidies in a pre-
election deal arranged by former U.S. presi-
dent George Bush, over the opposition of his
trade advisors, to win support from midwest-
ern hog and feed grain farmers.
In the absence of USDA safety
rules governing the release of genetically
engineered arthropods, University of Florida
biological pest control specialist Marjorie Hoy
in mid-November convened a gathering of
about 30 ecologists, entomologists, and mol-
ecular biologists to draft nonbinding scientific
guidelines. The conference was backed by the
USDA National Biological Control Institute.
Due to a recent rapid rise in the
number of tubercular cattle from Mexico
arriving at U.S. slaughterhouses, the USDA
on December 6 proposed extending a require-
ment that Mexican steers be facebranded to
cover all Mexican cattle. Virtually every U.S.
animal protection group joined to protest the
facebranding of dairy cattle in 1986, under a
federal herd buyout plan that was supposed to
boost milk prices by cutting the supply, but
Farm Animal Reform Movement president
Alex Hershaft told ANIMAL PEOPLE that
such an effort probably wouldn’t be repeated.
“We won in 1986,” he said, “because the
dairy cows had never been branded and the
farmers themselves didn’t want to do it. The
beef ranchers have been branding cattle all
along and to them a brand is a brand: they
don’t see the difference in pain between a
brand on the face and a brand on the flank or
the rump. There is no support in the industry
for a campaign,” he concluded, “but that
does not mean we won’t make some noise.”
In 1986 the USDA eventually agreed that the
dairy cattle could be freezebranded, a less
painful procedure than firebranding.
The United Nations Food and
Agricultural Organization lists 600 extinct
livestock breeds and 390 more in danger,
including 46 in the U.S. and 22 in Spain. The
breed at most risk right now is the Andalusian
spotted pig, of which just 30 females remain.
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