Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Obama Signs Law legalizing Horse Slaughter in The U.S. By Stacey , Nov. 29, 2011..

Obama signs law legalizing horse slaughter in the US

November 29, 2011

Last week while you weren’t looking Congress and the president did something the vast majority of Americans oppose. The president signed an omnibus-spending bill approved by Congress that makes it legal to slaughter horses in the United States once again. Polls show more than 70 percent of Americans oppose horse slaughter and few if any eat horse meat. Given the fact we are divided politically by a gap the size of the Grand Canyon, recognize that a 70 percent majority is an unheard of amount of backing.
But wait, it gets worse. The reintroduction of horse slaughter plants in the United States comes with a hefty price tag, much of which goes to line the pockets of people in other countries who own these dens of incalculable abuse. The way it works is that ever since 2005, there has been a section of the Agriculture appropriations bill that de-funds (to wit, bars the expenditure of taxpayers’ dollars on) a program for the USDA to inspect foreign-owned horse plants. Now that the de-funding law has been deleted, supporters of the grisly, completely inhumane process of horse slaughter will go back to lobbying Congress for millions of dollars annually to run the inspection program. Without inspection, it is illegal to transport horsemeat across state lines. Once they succeed, horse slaughter will resume here.
Let’s forget for the moment that candidate Barack Obama in 2008 pledged to keep the ban on horse slaughter permanent (another promise to voters reneged?) Let’s forget, too, that American horses are not bred or raised for consumption. Let’s forget that the few countries where horsemeat is consumed (France, Belgium and Japan among them) are ignoring the outright cruelty to horses that raises the hackles of right-thinking Americans. The simple question is: do we want our tax dollars spent to inspect horses who were slaughtered in incredibly cruel fashion (a bolt through the forehead that doesn’t kill them immediately) so foreign owners of slaughter plants can profit? In the midst of a recession when other crucial programs such as Medicare and education are suffering deep cuts, the answer is a resounding, “no.”
Supporters of horse slaughter say the reintroduction of slaughter plants in the U.S. will create jobs. An article in the Desert Independent in Blythe, Calif., this month noted, “Horse slaughter plants operating until 2007…never created a total of more than 178 jobs.” The kind of jobs they do create are of dubious economic value to the individuals who take them and to the communities where slaughter plants are located.
The Independent quotes Paula Bacon, former mayor of Kaufman, Texas, where a horse slaughter facility operated for years as saying, “Horse slaughter means very few, very low wage jobs, meaning workers and their families overtaxed local resources like the hospitals and government services. This so called business brought in virtually no tax revenues and local governments incurred substantial enforcement costs in trying to regulate these facilities. The standard of living dropped during the time horse slaughter facilities operated. Having a horse slaughter facility drove away good businesses.”
Studies have shown that when slaughter plants are opened in rural areas, violent crime quickly rises. Think about it. Horses are sometimes cut into pieces while still alive and screaming. What kind of person would accept the minimum wage to engage in this horrific behavior? The question answers itself.
Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., sponsored the de-funding amendment in the House version of the Agriculture Appropriations bill. He said he regrets voting for the overall bill (which did not include the de-funding language) but felt compelled to do so, to keep the government operating. He said the only alternative is to assure passage of a permanent ban on horse slaughter, which he and other compassionate members of Congress are working to do. Let’s wish them success.

Overturn Obama’s Legalization of Horse Slaughter for Human Consumption
Slaughter/Consumption of Horses – Un-American!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

UPDATE FROM CAPITAL HILL: Congress May Allow Governement Funding for Horse Slaughter.. Nov. 16, 2011 By:ASPCA.org

November 16, 2011

Update from Capitol Hill: Congress May Allow Government Funding for Horse Slaughterhouses

Guest blog post from Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations.
In a heartbreaking development, we learned this week that Congress is abandoning an important piece of existing legislation that relates to horse slaughter. Since 2005, Congress has prevented the commercial slaughter of horses in the United States by blocking the use of federal money for horse meat inspections. This language was routinely included in the annual Agriculture Appropriations bill after the original amendment to defund horse slaughter inspections enjoyed bipartisan support and passed by large margins (269-158 in the House and 69-28 in the Senate). The 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which is currently being considered by Congress, does not include this provision.
This is distressing on two counts. First, at a time when Congress is cutting funds for education and other vital programs, it is outrageous that taxpayers would be asked to add $5 million to the budget for something as senseless as horse slaughter. Second, since Americans don’t eat horse meat, this action will only benefit foreign markets in Asia and Europe, where horse meat is considered a delicacy.
The members of the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade have worked hard contacting their legislators on this issue with calls, emails and letters of support. Congress is clearly ignoring the will of the American people if it allows our tax dollars to be used for this gratuitous cruelty.
Though this setback is unfortunate, it signals the need for us to redouble our efforts for a complete ban on horse slaughter. While the funding amendment protected America from the horrors of horse slaughter plants operating on our home soil (where, despite past USDA oversight, gross abuse and rampant cruelty were routine), it didn’t necessarily prevent horse slaughter—in fact, thousands of horses continue to be sent over our borders for this purpose every year. However, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011 would not only ban horse slaughter in this country, but also ban the export of our horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. I encourage everyone who cares about horses to contact their federal legislators to press for passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. You can do so by visiting www.aspca.org/AHSPA.
Those in favor of horse slaughter are celebrating Congress’s decision, and there’s already talk of opening horse slaughterhouses in the Northwest. Given the controversial nature of this issue, it may be tough to find investors unwise enough to take such a leap knowing that we’ll be working to defund horse slaughter again immediately.
It is now more important than ever that Congress hears from horse advocates who know how essential it is that we protect these majestic animals. To learn more about the issue of horse slaughter, please visit ASPCA.org.

Monday, November 07, 2011

California Hay Prices May Not Have Peaked..

California Hay Prices May Not Have Peaked

There's still room for upward hay-price movement despite the fact that dairy hay prices have gone through the roof in California this year, says Norman Beach, vice-president of the San Joaquin Valley Hay Growers Association in Tracy, CA.

Supreme- and premium-quality alfalfa hays in the state are currently bringing $315-325/ton delivered to dairies, reports Beach, whose alfalfa hay marketing cooperative represents 50,000 membership acres.

"At this point in the year, you can generally expect hay prices to continue rising. We're at the end of the growing season and everything that was going to be put up has been put up. There's no hay left to be made. And hay inventories everywhere are very, very low," Beach says.

Milk prices will also help determine just how high the price of hay might climb this winter. "The industry is waiting to see what milk prices will do. If they go down, even if there's only one bale of hay left, it really won't matter. If people can't pay for it, they can't pay for it."

Even so, Beach doubts that alfalfa prices will reach the $400/ton mark as some market analysts have been predicting. "I just can't see dairymen paying that kind of money for hay. There's other stuff they can feed in their rations at a cheaper cost."

It's still too early to get a hard and fast read on whether the current high price levels will attract more state acreage to alfalfa next year, he says. "We're still a month or so off from having any kind of preliminary numbers. What I have noticed is that there seem to be a lot more irrigation borders (a sign that a field will be planted to alfalfa) going up this fall than I thought there would be given the price of competing crops."

Dan Putnam wouldn't be surprised to see state alfalfa plantings bump up "modestly but not dramatically" in the year ahead.

"We won't likely see anything like a 10-15% increase," says Putnam, University of California Extension forage specialist. From 920,000 to 940,000 California acres were planted to alfalfa during the 2010-2011 season, compared to historically high levels of 1.1 million acres, he notes.

"Although it's too early to say for sure, we could definitely see a rise on the order of 2-5% in 2012. We've never seen alfalfa prices this high before, even in 2008. Although grower costs are high, hay farmers see possibilities for making a decent return this coming year."

But a lot of crops are competing for the same acreage, Putnam says. "If stand establishment, harvesting and water costs for alfalfa are high, crops like corn, cotton and wheat could look more attractive to growers. Also, growers may not be willing to get going with a four-year-long alfalfa project if alternative annual crop prices remain very attractive."

Growers also will keep watch on the 2012 U.S. Farm Bill debate in the months ahead as they mull over whether to plant alfalfa or other crops, Putnam adds. "Large changes in the provisions for grains and ethanol may have an effect on hay plantings. We could be in for some very interesting times."

To contact Beach, call 209-610-9568 or email haynorm@sbcglobal.net. Putnam can be reached at 530-752-8982 or dhputnam@ucdavis.edu.

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