News of Note

i Mar 14th by

Ag industry, lawmakers try to limit secret videos
Angered by repeated releases of secretly filmed videos claiming to show the mistreatment of farm animals, Iowa’s agriculture industry is pushing legislation that would make it illegal for animal rights activists to produce and distribute such images.  Agriculture committees in the Iowa House and Senate have approved a bill that would prohibit such recordings and punish people who take agriculture jobs only to gain access to animals to record their treatment.

Another week, another attempt to shield factory farms from public scrutiny
In what appears to be a growing movement, industrial farmers have convinced Iowa state lawmakers to move an anti-whistle-blower bill through the state legislature. This bill, unlike the rather clumsy and probably unconstitutional Florida bill aimed at photographing farms, focuses on undercover attempts to film inside industrial livestock facilities.

Chickens are capable of feeling empathy, scientists believe
Domestic chickens display signs of empathy, the ability to ”feel another’s pain” that is at the heart of compassion, a study has found.  The discovery has important implications for the welfare of farm and laboratory animals, say researchers.
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New study shows sheep capable of complex thought
Sheep have a bad rap for conforming to the crowd. However, a new study by a Cambridge University neurobiologist has found that they are actually capable of “executive decision-making,” can recognize faces of people and other sheep–even from photographs, and have excellent memories.

The Creature Connection
We love animals, yet we euthanize five million abandoned cats and dogs each year. We lavish some $48 billion annually on our pets and another $2 billion on animal protection and conservation causes; but that index of affection pales like so much well-cooked pork against the $300 billion we spend on meat and hunting, and the tens of billions devoted to removing or eradicating animals we consider pests.

Smithfield releases its own videos of hog farms
Smithfield Foods Inc. announced Monday that it was releasing seven videos offering an inside look at the pork company’s hog farms.  The release of the videos came less than three months after the Humane Society of the United States publicized an undercover video taken at a Murphy-Brown farm in Waverly. It showed workers prodding sows and tossing baby pigs. The video also reignited criticism of Smithfield’s use of 2-by-7-foot “gestation crates,” which house pregnant sows.

Science Times – Animals