From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1994:
The central event at the American Humane Association annual confer-
ence, Sept. 28-Oct. 1, is to be an already controversial “Livestock forum,” at which
four university livestock experts, often critical of industry norms, are to outline for
humane officers “which current farming practices are acceptable, which can be chal-
lenged, and how” under existing laws, and “which desperately need to be changed.”
Claiming the speakers are too close to the livestock industry, representatives of the
Humane Farming Association, Humane Society of the U.S., and Fund for Animals
have offered themselves as speakers instead. Responded Adele Douglass of AHA,
who set up the forum, “This session is not to talk about ideals; it’s to inform people
about what’s being done now, why it’s being done that way, and what kind of farm-
related cases a humane officer can hope to prosecute successfully under today’s laws.”
Amid reports that the Justice Department might appoint an independent
counsel to probe allegations that Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy has received unto-
ward favors from Tyson Foods, the biggest poultry producer in the U.S., and has in
turn issued sanitation rulings favorable to the poultry industry, Tyson on July 27 hired
former Justice Department lawyer Reid Weingarten to defend him. Weingarten recent-
ly successfully defended Commerce Secretary Ron Brown against allegations that he
took $700,000 to influence President Clinton’s decision to lift the U.S. trade embargo
against Vietnam. The FBI is repordly probing a charge by former USDA deputy for
inspections Wilson Horne that an Espy aide obliged him to erase a draft of stiffer reg-
ulations for the poultry industry from his computer. Espy denies any wrongdoing.
British Airways on August 17 announced that it will no longer transport
sheep to Saudi Arabia for slaughter.
Nominations for the Bill Rosenberg Award, a plaque and $250 savings
bond presented by the Farm Animal Reform Movement to an outstanding farm animal
advocate under age 18, are due September 16. Get details from POB 22213,
Alexandria, VA 22304, or call Riki, 703-823-8951.
University of California at Davis researcher Ben Norman has proposed
grazing 10 cattle on 90 acres at the Kesterson Reservoir in Merced County, where
grass is absorbing toxic selenium from the soil, to see if they stay healthy. The reser-
voir was poisoned by selenium in 1984 when officials used farm runoff to fill it. The
water had leached naturally occurring selenium from the soil in concentrated amounts.
The selenium killed thousands of birds, causing the Department of the Interior to
declare the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge a hazardous waste site a year later.
Responding to declining ocean catches, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and
Tunesia have announced fish-farming projects. The Tunesian experiment, which
involves ranching bass and skate, is partially funded by investors from Norway and
Saudi Arabia. China meanwhile announced plans to expand existing fish farms.