Update—May 29, 2015: Great news! Governor McCrory vetoed H.B. 405, the dangerous ag-gag bill that would have silenced whistleblowers and kept North Carolina residents in the dark about horrific animal abuse on industrial farms. If you live in North Carolina, please visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center now to thank the Governor for opposing this bill and to urge your state legislators to let the veto stand.
North Carolina is home to nearly 800 million chickens, 30 million turkeys and 10 million pigs, making it one of the leading producers of poultry and pork in this country. No matter where you live, North Carolina animal products are going to your state.
That’s why it’s everyone’s problem that North Carolina is dangerously close to passing an ag-gag law that would prevent investigations on factory farms and keep animal abuse and food safety concerns out of public sight.
The bill, H.B. 405, is with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and he has only days left to veto it before it becomes law.
Whether or not you live in North Carolina, you can help! If you believe those who blow the whistle on animal abuse and protect our food supply are heroes, not criminals, please take these actions today to help ensure this bill does not become law:
North Carolina residents:
Call Governor McCrory at (919) 814-2000 and leave a message with the receptionist stating that you are a North Carolina resident and are asking Governor McCrory to veto H.B. 405, the ag-gag bill. If you are calling after normal business hours, please call (919) 814-2050 and press 2 to leave a voicemail.
Email Governor McCrory using this online form to urge him to veto H.B. 405. Please only email the Governor if you are a North Carolina resident.
Share this post and the card below with your friends and social media networks, asking everyone to take action today!
Not in North Carolina? Your voice is critical, too! Because your dollars support North Carolina businesses, you can still help by letting Governor McCrory know that you’ll lose trust in North Carolina businesses if ag-gag becomes law.
It’s been a long winter and we’re ready to dig into summer foods. For those who eat meat, eggs or dairy, avoiding the worst factory-farmed products can be tricky. We have some easy tips to help you make informed choices for a welfare-conscious summer spread.
What to Look For Look for packages that include certification stamps from Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane or Global Animal Partnership 5 Step Program (steps 2 and above).
These independent certifications offer consumers assurance of higher welfare practices on farms through publicly available standards and regular, on-farm audits to ensure these standards are met. These programs all prohibit cage confinement, subtherapeutic antibiotics and hormone use. Minimum quantity and quality of space is also defined for animals (either indoor enriched, outdoor access or pasture access).
You can find more information about these three certifications and brush up on what’s behind other claims on packages by downloading our label guide. Take it with you to the supermarket or share it with friends to make the most informed decisions when it comes to meat, eggs and dairy.
What to Avoid Don’t be fooled! While looking for more humane animal products this season, steer clear of these undefined, unregulated or misleading claims:
Humanely Raised: An unregulated and subjective term without standards
Natural: Does not impact animal welfare in any way
Cage Free: Meaningless on poultry meat since those birds are not raised in cages
Free Range: Meaningless since there is no legal definition for use on eggs, pork, beef or dairy
Hormone Free: Not approved by the USDA since all animals produce hormones naturally
No Hormones Added: Meaningless on pork or poultry products since hormone use is not allowed on chickens, turkeys or pigs
Antibiotic Free: Meaningless because antibiotic residue testing technology can’t verify an animal ever received antibiotics
On May 12, FRONTLINE aired “The Trouble with Chicken,” an investigation into an outbreak of salmonella Heidelberg at one of the nation’s largest poultry processors. With chicken consumption at an all-time high and more severe illnesses stemming from this product than any other meat, the hour-long PBS documentary questioned why our food safety system is not doing more to prevent these dangerous infections.
The most effective way out of this vicious cycle is to go to the source of the problem: sickening environments and sick animals. In a HuffPost Live conversation with Frontline Correspondent David Hoffman, the ASPCA’s Senior Manager of Farm Animal Welfare, Daisy Freund, stated, “when you’re talking about food safety, we have to go back to the farms and talk about how these animals are living.”
Chickens today are raised in crowded, barren, windowless sheds where disease can run rampant, and are bred to grow four times faster than they did sixty years ago. As long as chickens are raised in such unhealthy factory farm environments, they will continue to suffer and pose serious risks to consumers from foodborne illnesses.
The FRONTLINE documentary shows that federal agencies tasked with protecting the public are hampered by a culture that defers to industry and takes a reactive approach to addressing these issues. That is why the ASPCA is calling on advocates who care about animal welfare and consumer safety to demand better from the chicken industry through our Truth About Chicken campaign.
Last Tuesday the ASPCA’s farm animal welfare campaign testified to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), the committee that advises the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on its Organic rules.
The ASPCA asked the Board to examine the problem of fast, unhealthy growth among USDA Organic birds raised for meat (“broiler” chickens and turkeys). Like conventionally raised birds, most organic birds are bred for unsustainable growth that causes massive suffering (including difficulty standing and walking). You can read more on our Truth About Chicken website, which shines a spotlight on these horrendous and largely hidden problems.
The USDA looks to the NOSB for suggestions on how to improve to its rules, so it is critical that the NOSB encourages the USDA to restrict the use of fast-growing, unhealthy birds.
In the coming months, we will need your help in urging the NOSB to act. If you join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, we will let you know as soon as those opportunities arise. In the meantime, please spread the word about the need for better standards for USDA Organic animals!
Yesterday Tyson Foods, Inc. announced that it will phase out the practice of feeding antibiotics to the broiler chickens it produces when those antibiotics are also used for human medicine. Tyson joins other companies including Perdue, McDonald's, and Chick-fil-A that have recently made similar statements.
While it is great that companies are responding to consumer concerns about the very real public health issue of drug resistance, removing antibiotics without improving living conditions on farms is like taking off a bandage and leaving an open wound exposed.
Chicken companies have relied on antibiotics to counteract the disease that runs rampant in today’s crowded, filthy industrial farms. Bred to grow four times as fast as chickens grew 60 years ago, today’s chickens have weak immune systems, suffer from high rates of lameness and often spend most of their lives lying in their own waste. Removing antibiotics without addressing these animal welfare issues leaves animals vulnerable to disease and could increase consumers’ exposure to foodborne bacteria.
That is why the ASPCA has joined the Center for Food Safety to call on the chicken industry to fulfill its responsibility to consumers and animals by providing more space, better sanitation and lower stress for birds in tandem with this reduction of antibiotics. Consumers are demanding not just safer products but higher animal welfare on industrial farms, and the two are inextricably linked. If you want to demand more humanely raised chicken where you shop, fill out our supermarket request card today!