Saturday, June 20, 2009

Farm animal round-up

(Hmm... no pun intended.)

A trio of farming-related stories caught my eye this morning, thanks to Doug Powell at Kansas State:

In California, a bill pending in Sacramento would require out-of-state egg producers to comply with the same standards recently imposed upon local producers by the new Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act. The law doesn't take effect til 2015, but it's already causing great concern among egg farmers, some of whom are apparently rumored to be trying to produce hens with shorter wingspans in order to thwart the pending mandatory increase in cage sizes.

PETA reports that restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday announced it will give preference to suppliers who use or switch to a more humane slaughter method called "controlled-atmosphere killing" for birds, gestation crates for sows as well as producers who supply cage-free eggs.

And finally... what do you get when you cross a global economic downturn with die-hard eating habits? Well, apparently you get the mini-cow. These animals reportedly are about half the size of a regular breed of cow, and some can eat about a third as much while producing two-thirds as much milk. They are increasingly common among farmers in Canada. In the U.S., they are apparently increasingly common as pets, particularly among women. Go figure.

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