AUdio - An advocacy group critical of the Humane Society of the United States claims HSUS has laid off 55 staffers to cope with a $20 million shortfall. The Center for Consumer Freedom says the problems show the public is turning against the organization. HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle, without confirming details of the cutback, acknowledged in an email to Agri-Pulse that HSUS is restructuring to focus on strategic priorities and eliminating several dozen positions.
Federal wildlife managers have begun building an enclosure across several acres of the National Key Deer Refuge in Big Pine Key. If the number of deer battling an outbreak of New World screwworm climbs too high, they will begin fencing healthy deer to save the herd
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Alaska’s Board of Agriculture and Conservation has issued another request for proposals to lease or purchase the long struggling Mt. McKinley Meat and Sausage plant in Palmer after several failed efforts and a looming closure in summer 2017. The meat plant is the only USDA-approved slaughter and processing facility in Southcentral Alaska, which the state has operated since 1986 as an asset of its Agricultural Revolving Loan Fund. State officials said preference will be given to bidders who plan to continue slaughter and processing operations at the property.
The monthly average price of corn received by U.S. producers has been less than $4 per bushel for 27 consecutive months and prices below $4 are expected to persist well into 2017, writes University of Illinois professor emeritus Darrel Good. Expected larger South American corn supplies on the world market next year would contribute to keeping U.S. corn prices down. Brazil production is expected to rebound from last year’s drought and Argentina is expected to expand corn area due to reduced export taxes. Meanwhile, U.S. farmers are just finishing harvesting a large corn crop.
A court decision on Oct. 24 was a win for species threatened by climate change. The case centered on National Marine Fisheries Service findings that estimate a Pacific bearded seal subspecies will lose so much sea ice habitat, they will become endangered by 2095. In 2012, the seals had been federally listed as threatened based on climate change predictions, but a lawsuit brought by oil and gas companies, indigenous tribes and the state of Alaska challenged the classification.
Wildlife Services has long rankled wildlife advocates; in 2014, the federal agency killed 2.7 million animals — golden eagles, barn owls, black-tailed prairie dogs, mountain lions and wolves as well as invasive species. The agency researches but rarely uses nonlethal alternatives, and reform has been stalled in part because half of its budget, under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is funded by contracts with state and county municipalities, ranchers and businesses.
After 30 years of monitoring the strategies and tactics of animal rights activist organizations, it takes quite a bit to surprise us here at the Alliance.
Sales of antimicrobials among food-animal producers in the United States have been on the rise, but the chicken industry is showing signs of helping to buck the trend, a Food and Drug Administration official said here at the National Chicken Council’s annual meeting. Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said data show that sales of antimicrobials among food-animal producers rose 22 percent from 2009 to 2014, including a 4 percent bump from 2013 to 2014.
A 61-year-old scientist has pleaded guilty to a federal charge nearly three years after he was accused of stealing proprietary seeds developed in the U.S. and giving them to a delegation visiting from China. Wengui Yan, of Stuttgart, Ark., pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., to one count of making false statements to the FBI, the Justice Department said in a release. Yan was a geneticist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the Dale Bumpers National Research Center in Stuttgart, when he was originally charged in December 2013.