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SARL Members and Alumni News

California to see ballot initiative for cage free pigs and chickens

The Sacramento Bee | Posted on June 28, 2018

he ballot measure builds on the passage of Proposition 2 — a 2008 initiative that prohibited California farmers from housing pregnant pigs, calves raised for veal and egg-laying hens in cages or crates that don't allow them to turn around freely. The new initiative offers greater specificity by setting explicit standards for animal confinement. By 2022, egg-laying hens would need to be placed in cage-free housing. Breeding pigs and calves raised for veal would also be required to have at least 24 and 43 square feet of floor space, respectively. The Humane Society of the United States is the primary backer of the initiative. 

Why Breed-specific Legislation Is not the Answer

AVMA | Posted on June 28, 2018

Breed-specific legislation (BSL) targets specific breeds of dogs that are wrongly thought to all be dangerous – most frequently "pit bull types" – and places stricter regulations on these dogs or even makes ownership of them illegal. Several cities, towns and states across the United States and Canada have adopted breed-specific measures in an attempt to prevent dog bites in their communities. However, while BSL may look good on the surface, it is not a reliable or effective solution for dog bite prevention. Breed-specific laws can be difficult to enforce, especially when a dog's breed can't easily be determined or if it is of mixed breed. Breed-specific legislation is discriminatory against responsible owners and their dogs. Breed bans do not address the social issue of irresponsible pet ownership. It is not possible to calculate a bite rate for a breed or to compare rates between breeds because the data reported is often unreliable. Animal control and legislative approaches to protecting a community from dangerous dogs should not be based on breed, but instead on promoting responsible pet ownership and developing methods to rapidly identify and respond to owners whose dogs present an actual risk.

Washington spreads money for clean manure projects

Capital Press | Posted on June 26, 2018

Five projects to purify manure at Washington dairies have received public funding, including one that involves engineer Peter Janicki, who told state lawmakers last year that removing all contaminants from livestock waste was possible and could even be profitable.

Iowa nitrogen pollution in the water is getting worse, despite hundreds of millions of dollars in spending, study shows

Des Moines Register | Posted on June 25, 2018

Nitrogen pollution flowing out of Iowa to the Gulf of Mexico has grown by close to 50 percent over nearly two decades, a new report shows, despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent to stem nutrients entering the state's waterways.A University of Iowa study shows the state's contribution to the Gulf dead zone spiked 47 percent to 618 million pounds in 2016, based on five-year running annual averages."Just based on water quality data, I think we can say we’ve not made much progress over the past 20 years in terms of nitrogen," said Chris Jones, a research engineer at the UI's IIHR–Hydroscience & Engineering.Environmentalists say the study raises new questions about the effectiveness of Iowa's approach to improving water quality and its reliance on voluntary ag compliance."We've been pouring state and federal money into cutting nutrient pollution for decades, and this highlights the fact that the voluntary approach is not working," said Jennifer Terry, executive director of the Iowa Environmental Council.

Kentucky's pension reform law struck down by judge as unconstitutional

Louisville Courier Journal | Posted on June 21, 2018

 Franklin Circuit Court judge struck down Kentucky’s pension reform law on Wednesday, saying the rapid manner in which it was passed was unconstitutional. Judge Phillip Shepherd said the process, which took six hours after the pension language was substituted into an unrelated sewer bill on March 29, violated safeguards to ensure "legislators and the public" can know the content of bills under consideration. Democrats and advocates for teachers and public employees hailed the decision.

Overhaul of ethics rules approved in Arkansas Senate vote

Arkansas On Line | Posted on June 21, 2018

The Arkansas Senate approved an overhaul of its rules to create a committee on ethics, prohibit senators from certain activities involving conflicts of interest and require more disclosure of other conflicts and their personal finances. With Sen. Alan Clark, R-Lonsdale, as the only audible dissenter, Senate President Pro Tempore Jonathan Dismang, R-Searcy, ruled that two-thirds of the body voted by voice to approve changes to its code of ethics.

Ag Pesticide Applicator Certification Now Available To Ky. High School Students

WKMS | Posted on June 21, 2018

The Kentucky Department of Education and Department of Agriculture is partnering to give high school students the chance to become certified agricultural pesticide applicators. The partnership plans to offer pesticide applicator certifications in agriculture, forest, ornamental and lawn care, golf course turf care, interior plantscape care and sports turf care.

New Michigan Zoning Order Aims to Fight Bovine TB

Dairy Herd Management | Posted on June 21, 2018

For almost 25 years, we have been working to eradicate bovine tuberculosis (TB) from Michigan’s northeastern Lower Peninsula (LP). While bovine TB remains a worldwide issue, the U.S. has seen very little bovine TB since the late 1970s, apart from Michigan’s northeastern LP. It has infected more than 60 cattle herds in this area, where the disease has a natural reservoir in free-ranging white-tailed deer. Unfortunately, the disease still exists, despite much work by agency staff, farmers, hunters, and others. In fact, in 2016 and 2017, Michigan exceeded the number of infected cattle herds permitted by our agreement with the USDA. This caused the USDA to call into question the effectiveness of Michigan’s TB Program and propose downgrading our status. A downgrade in status would decimate the cattle industry in the northeastern LP, impacting the entire state, and costing the industry and taxpayers millions of dollars. If Michigan is fortunate, we may escape a downgrade this time; however, USDA may take more drastic steps in the future. With that said, MDARD, with the support of the DNR, recently approved a new zoning order, updating Michigan’s cattle regulations. These updates create new wildlife biosecurity strategies that farmers will have to implement to minimize the risk of bovine TB affecting their herds.

Missouri officials approve feedlot expansion, legal fight expected

Meat + Poultry | Posted on June 21, 2018

The Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources recently issued a permit for Valley Oaks Steak Co. to increase the number of cattle it can maintain to 6,999 in its Missouri animal feedlot operation. Currently, the facility outside of Lone Jack, Missouri, has a limit of 999 head of cattle.   Missouri DNR granted a Class IB NPDES permit to Valley Oaks Steak at the Lone Jack facility, which makes it subject to concentrated animal feeding operations regulations and permit requirements. The government agency also said that their staff reviewed the application for completeness and compliance with the Missouri Clean Water Law and the Missouri Clean Water Commission regulations. Valley Oaks expects the expansion to create more than 50 jobs.  According to its permit request, Valley Oak Steaks plans to blend the feedlot's manure with wood chips and stored in a warehouse to be processed into fertilizer.

N.C. hog nuisance bill moves to governor’s desk

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 20, 2018

A controversial measure that would make it more difficult to sue hog producers for allegedly being a nuisance and dragging down neighbors’ property rights has been finalized by the state’s lawmakers, according to media reports. Versions of the bill, Farm Act Senate Bill 711, were approved by the state’s Senate and House earlier this week. On Thursday the Senate approved the House’s proposed changes. The final version of the bill moves to the desk of Gov. Roy Cooper, who could sign it, veto it, or allow it to become state law without his signature. The second of what could be a host of nuisance suits is being heard in federal court now. In April, a jury awarded $50 million to 10 neighbors of a large hog farmer raising the animals for the Murphy-Brown unit of Smithfield; the residents had sued the processor, rather than the farmer himself. The award was later reduced in compliance with an existing North Carolina law that caps damages.