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USDA regulates itselfUDSA Criticizes Its Own Regulation of the Animal Welfare Act
The Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued an audit of the agency’s performance in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act, the federal statute that sets minimum standards for the care and treatment of some animals used in medical research and other venues. The report noted that the agency charges violators of the Act such small fines that companies consider the penalties a normal cost of doing business. The report also noted that some institutional animal care and use committees are failing to review research protocols adequately and that some facilities are under-reporting their use of animals.

Audit Report: APHIS Animal Care Program Inspection and Enforcement Activities, Report No. 33002-3-SF, September 2005.

Meat Consumption Skyrocketing in Developing Countries
The greatest rise in factory farms is occurring near the urban centers of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. These “concentrated animal feeding operations,” account for more than 40 percent of world meat production, up from 30 percent in 1990. From the early 1970s to the mid-1990s, meat consumption in developing countries grew by 70 million tons, nearly triple the rise in industrial countries.

Nierenberg D. Happier meals: rethinking the global meat industry. Worldwatch Paper 171. Washington: Worldwatch Institute; 2005.

fat cowMeat Isn’t Fatty Enough?
Scientists with the Agricultural Research Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with the University of Georgia, have found a way to make meat even fattier. They’re adding thiazolidinediones, a class of diabetes drugs, to livestock feed. Although most of their work has so far focused on pigs, the researchers are hoping to improve “marbling” in cows as well.

Premarin Downturn Forces Plant Closure
Sales of Premarin, the hormone replacement therapy made from pregnant horses’ urine, are so poor that Wyeth, the manufacturer, is phasing out production at its Rouses Point, New York, plant. The drug’s use plummeted after the National Institutes of Health released a report in 2002 associating a related drug with breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

Wyeth news release, October 11, 2005.

Words of Wisdom from The Tonight Show
“To counter bird flu fears, KFC is developing a marketing plan to assure consumers that eating their chicken is safe. You will not get the bird flu from eating Kentucky Fried Chicken. You might get heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity, but not the bird flu.”

Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show,” Nov. 10, 2005.

animal crateDrug Companies to Move Animal Research to Africa
Like Western manufacturing companies that seek cheap labor and lax regulations in developing countries, the pharmaceutical industry is moving some of its animal testing to African laboratories to dodge European animal welfare regulations. Emmanuel Wango, the director of the Institute of Primate Research in Kenya was quoted in the British Telegraph saying that his country has a “much more comfortable way of working.”

cheerleaderUniversity Touts Tuna Industry Line
Despite widespread and growing concern over the hazards of mercury-contaminated fish, the University of Maryland’s newly formed Center for Food, Nutrition, and Agricultural Policy has launched a new campaign to promote consumption. Funding for its new website,, was provided through an “educational grant” from the U.S. Tuna Foundation.

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