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Chicken Scratch: Farm Animals in the News

Friday, March 14, 2014 - 10:15am
Pigs hanging out on grass

Chicken Scratch is an ASPCA Blog feature that highlights interesting news about farm animals and farm animal welfare.

  • We’re thrilled that Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times referred to the ASPCA’s Truth About Chicken campaign in his latest column on the profit-focused practices of the chicken industry. (Spoiler: They’re “a catastrophe for animals.”)
  • The American Veterinary Medical Association is also discussing the health consequences of farm animals’ unprecedented weights, which include widespread lameness, chronic hunger and physical exhaustion.
  • New research shows that pigs housebreak themselves, put their toys away after using them and recognize themselves in mirrors. More proof that the unstimulating, confined environments of factory farms are a form of cruelty to these intelligent animals.
  • Canada’s National Farm Animal Care Council has introduced a new Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs that effectively bans the use of gestation crates [PDF] that confine mother pigs so tightly they can’t even turn around. We hope the U.S. is taking notes!
  • The state of Kentucky just got friendlier to some farm animals. Last week, it became the eighth state to outlaw notoriously cruel veal crates, which prevent calves from turning around or stretching their limbs. Unfortunately, the new rules passed by the Kentucky Livestock Care Standards Commission did not include a ban on tail-docking, the painful practice of cutting off dairy cows’ tails (often without anesthesia), and the state still allows the use of battery cages and gestation crates. The commission has a lot more work to do for farm animals.
  • Farm Animal Squee!! We challenge anyone to watch this video about Penny, a rescued fluffy Silky chicken, and her best friend Roo, a two-legged Chihuahua, without melting!

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