The Humane Society of the United States has been invigorated by the Proposition 2 victory in California this past November. Now HSUS will turn its attention to the 111th U.S. Congress.

HSUS President Wayne Pacelle told Brownfield Network that his organization will work for legislation that addresses animal confinement and “downer” animals. The fact that Prop 2 phases out the use of veal crates, gestation stalls and chicken battery cages, it’s all still fresh in people’s minds and HSUS is anxious to get its legislative agenda to Washington, D.C. Pacelle believes that with the new Administration and Congress, the time is right for “responsible reforms.”

At issue for the pork industry related to downer animals are fatigued pigs. The National Pork Producers Council emphasizes that it has consistently has fought against bills that would keep fatigued pigs out of the food supply, noting that such animals recover with adequate rest (30 minutes) and do not present a food-safety problem.

NPPC officials further point out that related to animal housing, they embrace the American Veterinary Medical Association’s guidelines. Those include the use of sow housing that “minimizes aggression and competition between sows; protects sows from detrimental effects associated with environmental extremes, particularly temperature extremes; reduces exposure to hazards that result in injuries; provides every animal with daily access to appropriate food and water; and facilitates observation by caretakers of individual sow appetites, respiratory rates, urination and defecation and reproductive status.” Confinement operations meet those criteria, NPPC points out.

“We really do hope, and I say it sincerely, that we can work with the agricultural community, to advance reforms that will benefit it, as well as benefiting animals and the interests that the Humane Society of United States Advances” Pacelle told Brownfield.

While HSUS is working on several issues outside of animal agriculture, such as cock fighting and dog fighting, farm-animal confinement is a priority. Pacelle also considers downer animal issues another piece of unfinished business from the Bush Administration.

Source: Brownfield Network