AWI Quarterly

Trapper Ordered to Pay Damages for Killing Dogs

Bubba and Savannah were shot and killed after being caught in steel-jaw leghold traps. Kim Borgen


A token measure of justice was recently granted to Marcela Egea, the owner of two English mastiffs who fell victim to a pair of steel-jaw leghold traps in February of last year. As we reported in the spring 2005 AWI Quarterly, trapper Michael Kartman shot the dogs near Egea’s home in Belton, Mo. when he found them caught in the jaws of his traps. In March 2006, a judge in an Associate Court ordered Kartman to pay $2,400 in civil damages to Egea for the loss of her animals. In Missouri, dogs are considered "personal property," and only their fair market value is recoverable.

Despite only having to pay what most would agree to be a small price for the lives he took, Kartman has appealed the original decision to the higher Circuit Court, where he is entitled to have a complete retrial. The case has been referred to a new judge and the parties are awaiting a trial date. We are optimistic that the judge will be sympathetic to Egea’s case, and that she will have the opportunity to press for punitive damages.

Fitting The Farm To The Hog

Hog health, pork profits improve when Swedish farmers let pigs be pigs
By Greg Bowman

Highly "efficient" conventional hog operations depend on routine medications and mechanization to keep going. But some Swedish farmers, who have refocused their operations in the past five years around their hogs' quality of life, say that by doing better by their animals, they're also doing better for themselves.

These farmers are pioneers in adapting structures, handling practices and management to let pigs really be pigs. They are reducing their hogs' physical and psychological stress to make them more productive. New farrowing and piglet-handling techniques incorporating group nursing and deep-straw bedding have been especially successful in weaning high numbers of piglets per sow. These producers see humane treatment as an opportunity for profitable innovation, not as a call to arms to defend conventional practices.

"They're not just tinkering to make a conventional system of crates a little better ," says Marlene Halverson, a Ph.D. candidate in agricultural and applied economics at the University of Minnesota. Halverson knows many innovative Swedish hog farmers and specialists from her visits there. "The idea is to figure out what hogs would do if they were able to behave normally for their species, then approximate the stimuli of a natural setting wherever possible," she says.

 
Grower rooms in Swedish sow group systems commonly feature sophisticated ventilation, deep-straw bedding, a raised piglet creep area, and insulated but unheated barns. Tomas and Magnus Carlevad designed this nursery for their farm in southeastern Sweden.

Letting your hogs be your guide may seem like naive advice, but Halverson says that this perspective can explain some current dilemmas in conventional production. "There were reasons producers went to routinely using antibiotics, docking tails and crating sows as systems became more space- and capital-intensive," she says.

In recent decades, increasing the intensity of production has led to more confined housing, crowding, temperature and ventilation problems; more barren environments; and less attention to how individuals were grouped and fed. Hogs have responded to this stress with atypical behaviors such as tail- and vulva biting and fighting. The high investment and operation costs of restrictive housing has pushed farmers to seek greater economy of scale by raising more pigs. Each step in this direction has decreased their opportunity to use true husbandry and increased dependence on technologies developed off the farm, she observes.

To reach a high level of welfare for animals, we first need to know how they would be living if we weren't interfering with them, Halverson explains. "This means understanding how pigs as a species respond in general to their environment and each other, and also how each sow responds to a particular situation," she says.

The next steps are just as crucial. "To make this welfare for livestock a practical reality, farmers need a working knowledge of natural hog behaviors; profitable and aesthetically pleasing systems that they will want to work in and invest in; and solid markets that value the way hogs are raised."

Swedish farmers use about 2 tons of small-grain straw per sow per year. The long-stemmed, loose straw satisfies foraging instincts, keeps the herd warm and maintains good health by keeping the animals dry.



Laws Spur Innovations

Two Swedish laws in the late '80s forced a change in how all livestock are viewed there — not as just an agricultural product, but as species with different needs and behaviors. The first was put into force in 1986 at the request of farmers who wanted to make their products more attractive to Swedish consumers. The law banned subtherapeutic or prophylactic use of antibiotics in animal feeds. Unexpectedly, however, the law's effects caused profound changes in the nation's piglet production systems.

As was well-publicized in the U.S. farm media, one of the immediate effects of the feed antibiotics ban for many Swedish farmers was more scours at weaning, requiring more therapeutic antibiotic use for the young pigs.

By contrast, some Swedish farms had no scours at weaning, notes Bo Algers, a veterinary ethologist (specialist in animal behavior) and a research manager at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. These farms had healthful production environments that put less stress on pigs by keeping them clean, using lower stock densities, and bedding with straw to keep pigs warm and dry. This observation encouraged farmers whose herds had problems with scours at weaning to change the production environment for piglets rather than continue to administer antibiotic treatments. That move paved the way for designing freer systems of farrowing and lactation as well, Halverson reports.

At the same time, Swedish hog farmers were looking for simpler, lower-cost ways to produce high-quality pork. They wanted a competitive edge in anticipation of the nation's entry into the European Common Market. They started putting up multi-use hog buildings designed with more unobstructed space that cut costs by reducing labor, veterinary expenses and equipment needs.

These producers see humane treatment as an opportunity for profitable innovation, not as a call to arms to defend conventional practices.

These farmers had a head start when a second law affecting livestock production, Sweden's Farm Animal Protection Act, broke new ground in '88. The law mandated housing systems that provide a good environment for animals "so as to promote their health and allow natural behavior." It phased out farrowing crates and other restrictive facilities, helping the producers identify the most important natural hog characteristics were a number of researchers, including Algers and another ethologist, Per Jensen.

For three years starting in 1984, Jensen had studied the daily activities of Swedish Landrace sows released into a semi-natural setting. He doesn't suggest pigs need to be in the wild to be raised humanely. But the outdoor setting provides insight on the motivations behind sows' behaviors that scientists or farmers could never have understood by watching sows in confinement.

"It's like a computer that has been given information it can't use. Indoors, we see tightly confined animals behaving in ways that are basically just error messages in response to negative parts of their environment," says Jensen. "Outside, I watched both pre-programmed and spontaneous behaviors without disruptions from physical obstructions and husbandry routines. These sows behaved just as wild ones do, varying only in degree or intensity of a given action."

Jensen' s most important findings were in the areas of:

Feeding. In the natural setting, sows spent up to 8 hours a day foraging, regardless of how much food they were fed. The discovery showed the difference between being nutritionally satisfied and behaviorally hungry, Jensen says. Farmers can use ad lib feeders to accommodate this strong food-search instinct. Some units require sows to manipulate controls to get small amounts of feed, greatly prolonging feeding time and sow satisfaction, says Jensen.

Grouping. In the semi-natural setting of Jensen's experiment, the pigs formed social groups. This finding influenced the production setting of new Swedish systems. Now, even conventional hog producers there use straw bedding and group rooms for pregnant sows, compared with the nearly universal bare-floor management and gestation crates of 20 years ago.

Keeping a set of sows moving through the production system together eliminates the stress of mixing groups. Swedish farmers have found various ways of successfully introducing new sows and gilts to established groups. In one group-nursing system, for example, groups are disrupted temporarily when sows are put into individual pens for two weeks around farrowing. Farmers say they can add a new sow with her litter smoothly during the nursery phase, when the group re-forms as sows leave their farrowing pens and are preoccupied with mothering.

Nesting. "The single, strongest instinct for a sow is to nest the day before farrowing," says Jensen. To do this she needs bedding materials and space. Roomy rectangular pens that allow sows to freely turn around to see their piglets have greatly decreased sow stress during and just after farrowing, and have contributed to increased piglet survival. Outdoor systems in the Midwest and South show similar results.

Weaning. In the semi-wild environment of Jensen' s experiment, sows finished weaning their piglets in about 17 weeks, a period far longer than is feasible for production. Jensen says a quicker, but still gradual, weaning at five to six weeks seems to work for sows, piglets and producers watching their bottom line. Sows given more time to lactate in the new Swedish group systems often come back into heat within a month of farrowing.

New Thoughts, Altered Barns

Since the late '80s, Swedish farmers have experimented with behavior- appropriate designs by simplifying over-equipped barns, using older wooden buildings and erecting new structures, some complete with electronic ventilation sensors and observation windows. Putting the natural-setting research findings into practice has meant lots of trial and error, with results shared freely between producers and their advisers. Discoveries at the farm level include:

Breeding cycles and piglets require careful attention when sows are kept in groups. Sows need to farrow within a week of each other to keep their piglets within a compatible age range. Penning sows ready to cycle next to boars helps to synchronize estrus naturally. Providing "retreat areas" in the sow gestation pens gives newly introduced sows or gilts protection while they find their social niche in the group. This decreases stress and increases breeding success.

All-in/all-out handling simplifies labor and management: It gives farmers a good window to remove manure and sanitize rooms between groups.

A quiet environment is critical for a sow to communicate with her litter. Researchers found that sow milk let-down lasts only 20 seconds, on average. Sows grunt to signal a nursing opportunity is imminent. Piglets that miss the call because there is too much mechanical noise or they don't recognize their mother don't get their share of milk and colostrum, and get off to a slow start.

Closed, insulated barns with deep straw packs maximize piglet survival but require high-volume air movement. The straw-manure mixture gives off heat and gases as it composts. Simply installing bigger fans caused too much noise for piglet-sow nursing communication. Farmers isolated fans and built quieter ventilation systems.

Peaceable interactions take planning and room. When a sow's "personal space" is free of perceived challenges from other sows, she has less reason to fight to defend her status. If housing allows sows to meet with at least 6.5 feet between them, a lower-ranking sow can show her submissiveness by turning her head to the side, avoiding the "provocation" of a direct meeting that might lead to a fight.

Creating and managing these environments demands a depth of knowledge of hog tendencies and behaviors. The emphasis in conventional systems on technology, volume and isolation of individual sows provide younger farmers few chances to learn about natural hog instincts, says Halverson. "Intensive confinement systems that stifle an animal's natural behaviors don't give the opportunity to know our animals well," she says. "We need to expand the human capital investment in hog management to foster true husbandry as the main value the farmer 'sells.'"

Sows given freedom of movement and time to bond with their litters show strong maternal instincts through weaning, which is best done gradually to diminish stress for sows and piglets. Farmer Gunnar Ljungstrom of west-central Sweden incorporated these features in the system he developed to allow natural hog behaviors.

Quality Time

In these Swedish barns, farmers have to get in and walk among their pigs at least once a day to develop mutual trust with the animals. "Bo Algers recommends the farmer spend at least 30 seconds each day with each sow housed with a group," says Halverson. "They expect the sows to run up and play, to nip at their legs and run away." Piglets that are lethargic or stay buried in the straw show they may be ailing and need some attention.

Modern domestic sows are the product of 200 years of selective breeding for external and physical characteristics. Yet even after repeated farrowings in confinement, sows still show the nest-building tendency just before giving birth. Pawing the floor and bar-biting don't look like visible nesting actions, but Per Jensen says the movements reflect what confined sows do when they can't fulfill their instincts to isolate themselves, locate a site and construct a nest.

"When we prevent a sow from nesting, we set up a stressful situation,"says Halverson. "When we put her in a crate with feed and water, we feel we've met all her needs — from our point of view. We don't see why she needs to move around to find food or to watch her piglets or to respond to their distress calls."

But in a natural environment, as farmers with outdoor herds know, adult pigs spend a great part of the day foraging and exploring their environment. Nest building in the wild has survival value. For such inbuilt motivations, the process can be as important as the product. "By providing just the ends, we do not satisfy a sow's need to go through the means. A few minutes to gobble up concentrate doesn't satisfy the urge to forage," says Halverson. "The more we do for the sow in the crate, the less she can do for herself and the more her insecurity, fear and stress levels rise."

About 40 percent of Swedish hog farmers now use behaviorally sound systems of piglet production. These are based on barrier-free farrowing pens,either conventional metal built-ins close to a group grower room or sturdy plywood rectangles temporarily set along the perimeter of the farrowing room itself. Pens range in size from the legally required 5.5 square yards up to a more sow-friendly 9 square yards.

The push for new systems comes from farmers determined to find low-cost, productive ways to deliver the high-quality meat Swedish consumers demand.

Piglets stay in the pen for the first week to 10 days, long enough to form strong bonds with their mother. Then the sows rejoin the group with their litters. While group-management systems have failed in some countries, Halverson says they work well in Sweden because of:

Abundant use of clean straw
about 2 tons per sow per year. Whole, unopened bales help satisfy the sows' and piglets' desire to forage and manipulate their environment. Swedish farmers prefer large round bales, because they give pigs the most physical challenge and because long stems stay looser in the straw pack, allowing more aerobic composting. Group-system buildings have doors large enough for skid-steer loaders to remove the manure between groups.

An individual feeding station for each sow in gestation rooms that protects individuals from the negative aspects of group-feeding dynamics. By locking the stations for half an hour at feeding, the farmer prevents dominant, fast-eating sows from rousting lower-ranked sows from their positions and eating their food.

Swedish hog farmers who have mastered behavior-based systems report multiple rewards. The farmers are happier about the day-to-day interaction with their animals. Their figures show lower long-term investment in structures, veterinary expenses and overall labor costs, with better sow reproductive health and productivity. Inger Johansson and her husband Torgil read about Jensen's and Algers' research and started a group-nursing system in 1986. "We wish we had built this system 25 years ago," she says. "If we ever had to choose between changing back to the old conventional production or pack our bags, we would pack our bags first."

Farmers who thrive with these systems are those who appreciate individual behaviors within the herd and who develop an eye for recognizing illness, discontent, fear and agitation. This takes daily, direct contact in the pen — a kind of management that is impossible without a workable sow-to-farmer ratio.

Halverson says a number of forces are changing Sweden's livestock system, not only animal-welfare advocates. The primary push comes from hog farmers determined to find low-cost, productive systems that deliver the high-quality meat Swedish consumers demand. She's not surprised that these systems work for the pigs, too. "I think that if we as a society make provisions for animals to be animals well, we will find, as they have in Sweden, that we have a better chance that farmers will be able to be farmers well."

________


Editor's Note: Halverson is working with farmers and university researchers
to develop demonstrations modeled after Swedish systems. Contact: Marlene Halverson. 231 Classroom Office Building, 1994 Buford Ave.. University of Minnesota, St. Paul MN 55108-6040, (6/2) 625-1222, fax (612) 625-6245.


Reproduced with permission of the publisher. The New Farm, Sept/Oct. 1993 p. 35-39

HOGS JUST MIGHT BE THE IDEAL GRAZERS

HOGS JUST MIGHT BE
THE IDEAL GRAZERS
 
Pastures and pens beat
crates and confinement
Photos by T. L. Getting; Text by Craig Cramer

NEW HAMPTON, Iowa. Tom Frantzen's hogs must consider themselves pretty lucky. Frantzen, president of Practical Farmers of Iowa, has developed an innovative system that makes the most of his hogs' natural abilities, keeping them happy, healthy and productive.

But Frantzen isn't running a nature preserve. With just 320 acres, he needs to squeeze as much profit as possible from his 100-sow farrow-to-finish operation.

 

 That's why he:

  • Runs gestating gilts and sows on intensively managed pasture to cut feed costs by half or more, and double per-acre net compared with growing corn.
  • Parcels out strips of annual crops such as corn, milo and field peas with portable fencing so lactating sows and their litters can hog them down, eliminating harvest costs.
  • Farrows sows and gilts in A-frame pasture huts to reduce capital costs and labor.
  • Tore out his farrowing crates and switched back to pen farrowing while maintaining litter size and boosting weaning weights and making it a pleasure again to work inside during winter.

"All this may sound pretty labor-intensive," says Frantzen. "But it's easier than running comparable confinement facilities. Confinement may reduce labor for some. But it's more than made up for by the increase in maintenance. Plus I'd much rather bed pens or move portable fences than fix scraper systems."

Grazing Gilts

Frantzen first experimented with grazing hogs in '90 on a 3-acre site that was inconvenient to crop. The previous a spring, he had drilled oats with a "shotgun" mix of perennial forages (including red and ladino clovers, alfalfa, brome, timothy and orchard-grass. "I used so many different species because I wanted a lot of biodiversity and durability ," he notes.

In spring' 90, Frantzen built a three-strand perimeter fence using high-tensile wire about 6, 12 and 18 inches high, and floating H corner braces. "I've never had any problems keeping the hogs in. They train to the fence very quickly ," he observes. "The key is to use a good, low-impedance charger."

Frantzen subdivided the grazing cell into three paddocks with fiberglass posts and two strands of Premier Maxishock wire 8 and 16 inches high. (Premier , P.O. Box 89N, Washington IA 52352, (800) 282-6631, (319) 653-6631.) Single-wire subdivisions hold well-trained sows just fine, says Frantzen.

"I made just about every first-year management mistake a beginning grazier can make," recalls Frantzen. First, he didn't move bred gilts onto the pasture until June 1. "That's too late. The forage was already past its prime, and stayed ahead of the hogs all year."

The 20 gilts provided a stocking density (the weight of the grazing animals relative to paddock size) that was too low at just 7,000 pounds per acre. And Frantzen moved them once a week on a rigid calendar schedule. The gilts selectively grazed the legumes and left overmature grasses. They still weaned seven pigs per litter farrowing in the A-frame huts in a separate pasture in September slightly below average for Frantzen's gilts.

In '91, Frantzen further subdivided his three paddocks so he had nine altogether, and moved 38 gilts onto the pasture May 1. "That got the stocking density in the paddocks up to about 40,000 pounds per acre, and I based pasture rotation on forage condition not the calendar." He cut back to 24 gilts when he moved a new group onto the pasture as forage growth slowed in midsummer. Grazing was more uniform and forage regrowth surged compared with the first year. Gilts were on pasture a total of 150 days, and weaned above- average litters of about 8.5 pigs each.

Not satisfied, Frantzen rearranged his interior fencing last spring, increasing the number of paddocks to 16. And instead of radiating from the central shelter, he arranged a system of lanes to each paddock. Before, with the longer paddocks, gilts trampled and overgrazed forage close to the shelter, and undergrazed forage at the far end of the paddocks.

Severe winter weather had hurt the forage stand, so Frantzen reduced his stocking rate to 30 gilts. But with smaller paddocks, the stocking density increased to 62,000 pounds per acre. Gilts now graze each paddock for about two days. "The forage regrows so fast the gilts just can't keep up with it and I've had to hay some paddocks," says Frantzen, who clips paddocks when gilts leave overmature grass.

Frantzen feeds a supplement of l.75 pounds of ground shell corn and a commercial mineral mix while the gilts are on pasture. Legume pastures are usually high in calcium, so it's important to supplement phosphorus. Be sure to use a source other than dicalcium-phosphate, suggests Mark Honeyman, an animal scientist at Iowa State University. Frantzen sampled forage to make sure his mineral mix properly balanced those nutrients with pasture sources.

"I save about 20 cents per head per day on feed, which translates into a gross of about $300 per acre," says Frantzen. "With so little input, the net is easily twice that of corn and that doesn't include the herd-health benefits or what I save by not having to spread manure."

'Hogging Down' Crops

"After three years, I'm starting to think hogs might be the ideal grazing animal," says Frantzen. Granted, they aren't ruminants and can't make good use of low-quality forage. But with a single stomach, they're also more adaptable to radical ration changes, Frantzen notes. "If the pasture is too wet, I can just pull them off and increase their feed to 4 pounds of corn and not have to worry about getting their system off-track or ruining the pasture.

"I've learned that the key to grazing hogs is to use at least a dozen paddocks and keep stocking density high," he adds. As his sward improves and he hones his management, Frantzen predicts the 3-acre grazing cell will carry 40 gilts at a stocking density of 83,000 pounds per acre.

This year, Frantzen added a second 2.5-acre grazing cell on some of his poorest pasture ground that's mostly dandelions and quackgrass. With no renovation, it's carrying 32 of the third-litter sows that grazed his original cell last year. "It's remarkable how hard they graze. They remember what to do," he observes.

Gilts have selectively grazed the legumes in the original cell, so now brome is the dominant species. To maintain a better balance of grass and legumes, Frantzen plans to alternate grazing cattle and hogs in the two cells each year.

In one drought-damaged paddock in the original cell, Frantzen experimented in '91 with annual forages. In early April, he used a garden seeder to plant four different forages in 6-inch rows in randomized blocks. The forages included berseem and crimson clovers, Tyfon forage turnip, and an annual hog-pasture blend called "Laugh and Grow Fat," which consists of ryegrass, rape, sudan and field peas. (Albert Lea Seed House, P.O. Box 127, Albert Lea MN 56007, (800) 352-5247, (507) 373-3161.)

He turned in gilts to graze this "salad bar" June 1, and they regrazed the annuals at roughly 30-day intervals. "The clovers made an excellent stand, but were killed by the first grazing," he reports. The mix fared best especially the rape, which regrew quickly and provided forage well into fall.

That year, Frantzen also let 18 other lactating sows and pigs hog down crops. In April, he planted about 1.5 acres in alternating four-row strips of 85-day corn and a mix of milo and Canada field peas. The sows farrowed on 3 acres of oats, peas, turnips and rape. In mid-August, when the corn was well-dented and the farrowing pasture grazed down, Frantzen used temporary fence to strip graze the corn, milo and peas. He moved the fence forward eight rows at a time, giving the stock about a quarter-acre of fresh feed.

"When I gave them a new strip, they weren't interested in dry feed for four or five days. When they started eating grain again, I moved the fence and gave them a new strip," Frantzen says. "There was no harvest waste and no harvest expense." This year he's trying the same practice using a drilled mix of oats, triticale, rape and Canada field peas for early-season forage, and planting giant hybrid fodder corn (also available from Albert Lea Seed House) to be hogged down in late summer.

Last fall, after the sows and pigs finished off the corn, milo and peas, Frantzen drilled 20 pounds of rye in the field. In early May, he turned in 16 gilts to graze until late June, when he moved them onto an oats/field-pea pasture. ("The rye did very well. I only wish I'd mixed in some vetch or mammoth clover," he says.

Pasture Farrowing Pays Off

Frantzen's father started pasture farrowing when he bought the farm (during the Depression, and capital was scarce. That's still a good reason to pasture farrow, says Frantzen. The housing investment is far below that of confinement. Each year, Frantzen has a local lumber company build two new A-frame farrowing huts from pressure-treated wood for $200 each. "I could find cheaper huts, but these won't fall apart or blow away in a storm," he says. He expects them to last 15 years, but some of his A- frames are more than 30 years old and still going strong.

Low capital costs aren't the only reason to pasture farrow, he continues. "Like the hogs, I'd rather be outside in the fresh air and sunshine. I don't want to mess with the flies, smell and cleanup chores in a confinement facility all summer."

Frantzen also contends that there's less labor with pasture farrowing. "It works out great with spring fieldwork. I only have to do chores in the morning. The hogs can take care of themselves in the evening." When he needs to move A-frames, he simply picks them up with a front-mounted fork and drives the tractor right over the interior fences (an 8-inch-high strand of Maxishock on fiberglass posts). The outdoor system performs as well as indoor farrowing, too. "My weaned-pig average for sows is about 8 to 8.5 farrowing inside or out."

The farrowing pasture's perimeter fencing is nearly identical to the one in Frantzen's grazing cell, only he runs the lowest wire just a couple inches off the ground to keep in little pigs. An underground water system from Kentucky Graziers Supply adds flexibility when arranging huts and interior fencing, says Frantzen. (KGS, 1929 S. Main St., Paris KY 40361, (800) 729-0592. See "Put Water In Every Paddock," The New Farm, Feb. '92.) The sod is mostly quackgrass and brome, which stands up to the heavy traffic. This spring, Frantzen planted 1,000 hybrid cottonwoods in four shelterbelts 185 feet apart in the pasture, to provide shade and slow winds.

Frantzen usually moves the first group of sows onto the pasture in early May, and continues farrowing on pasture until October. He makes sure there's never more than seven days difference in farrowing dates among sows in a single enclosure.

It's important to have the right genetics for pasture farrowing, says Frantzen. He's settled on the old four-way cross of Hampshire, Duroc, Yorkshire and Spotted Poland. "They have to have some color or they just can't take the sun," he says. Frantzen adds a Lactobacillus-based probiotic to his starter-, grower- and farrowing rations. But he feels the real key to keeping hogs healthy is to reduce stress. My outdoor system is hardest on 75- to 100-pound pigs in late fall and early winter when there are wide temperature fluctuations," he notes.

Pens Make Farrowing Fun

Soon after he took over the farm in '74, Frantzen built the Cargill units where he still finishes hogs. "Investment tax credits and good farm prices fueled my modernization fever," he recalls. In '78, he removed farrowing pens from the old dairy barn that still serves as a farrowing house. "I put in raised crates with plastic flooring, elevated walkways, a scraper system, outdoor liquid-manure pit, high-tech ventilation, heating pads and as many modern conveniences as I could get my hands on," he recalls.

"It was trouble right from the start. Pneumonia and other health problems plagued his herd. I went to crates because that's what we were supposed to do. But after the first litter, I said, 'My God, what have I done?"'

While Frantzen weaned roughly the "same number of pigs in crates as on pasture, the pigs were barely large enough to wean in 30 days. I hated just being in the farrowing house. I couldn't look my sows in the eyes, and I didn't talk to them for 15 years. Confinement is psychologically bad for both the animals and the operator." Last winter, Frantzen decided to make things right again. His scraper system broke down in November, and he dreaded the expense and chore of fixing it. Even though his crates were in pretty good shape, the flooring and undersupports were nearly worn-out. "So I went in with a torch, sledge- hammer and skid loader and tore everything out," he recalls.

" In place of the 14 crates and scraper system, Frantzen built 16 pens using wood from a basswood tree (Tilia americana) felled from his father-in-law's grove and milled locally. "Old-timers say basswood makes great pens because it's light but strong."

Frantzen built eight 10-foot gates that run along the central alley, and eight 7-foot divider gates that run from the alley to the sidewalls. "Wings" made from 4-foot sections of three-fourths-inch plywood are fastened with hinges to the dividers to form triangular creep areas at the rear of the pen. A plywood creep roof holds two 100-watt light bulbs mounted in aluminum shades. (See photo above)

Frantzen removes the dividers so sows can farrow together in group pens. "That's a lot less stressful for them, especially compared with using crates where they have to farrow where they dung." After a sow farrows, he sets up the divider to separate the sow and litter in their own pen. "I shut the piglets in the creep area early so they know where to go to get warm." That, plus the long, narrow pens and guardrails mounted on the sides, reduces crushing loss.

When the pigs are about 10 days old, Frantzen removes dividers to re-form group pens. "That helps reduce feeding chores," he observes. "I bed the pens every other day, using straw from the oats I rotate with corn and beans. It's not much work, because the pigs always dung in the same corner.

"The best thing about going back to pens is that my attitude is better. I don't dread working inside like I used to," he adds. The hogs seem to like it too. "My weaning average jumped to nine pigs per litter on the first farrowing, and the pigs are growing faster, too. Now they're bigger at 3 weeks than they used to be after a month. "Crates didn't meet my needs or the animals'. But these pens do."
__________

Editor's Note: We still get requests for the A-frame farrowing shed plans we offered in our Jan. '87 issue. For a copy of the plans and the article " Profitable Pigs On Pasture, " which describes how Colin Wilson manages pasture farrowing on his family's farm in Paullina, Iowa, send a SASE to: Pasture Farrowing, The New Farm, 222 Main St., Emmaus PA 18098. For more on Tom Frantzen's practices, see "Strips Boost Yields, Save Soil, " Feb. '91 an " Liquid Manure Magic, " Jan. '92.


Reproduced with permission of the publisher. The New Farm, Sept/Oct. 1992 p. 19-23.

Kidnap and Violence Echoes the Plight of Orangutans

By Dave Currey, Environmental Investigation Agency

"We've been badly beaten and now we're with the police" was the opening line from Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) investigator Faith Doherty's call from the town of Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan on the Indonesian part of Borneo. This was the start of a three-day kidnap drama that involved logging company-hired thugs, corrupt senior police, helpful and supportive detectives, orangutans, diplomats and the destruction of one of the world's most famous and important National Parks Tanjung Puting.

EIA and Telapak Indonesia launched a campaign to stop the illegal logging in Tanjung Puting National Park last August. This swamp forest is home to wild and rehabilitated orangutans and has been made famous by the work of Biruté Galdikas. In the EIA/Telapak campaign report "The Final Cut" the names of companies and illegal sawmills were made public. At the top of the list came Tanjung Lingga, a company that EIA and Telapak had infiltrated undercover as businessmen in June 1999. This company is owned by a local timber baron, member of the Indonesian Parliament, Abdul Rasyid.

The campaign gained momentum with pressure building from the international community, disillusioned by Indonesia's forestry sector. Our campaign message: "If you can't stop illegal logging in Tanjung Puting, then Indonesia's forests have no future." A newly elected Government was sworn in at the end of October 1999, and the EIA/Telapak campaign was presented to some members of the Parliament.

The international donors to Indonesia are represented in the Consultative Group on Indonesia, bringing forestry issues to the fore. A seminar was organised by the Indonesian Co-ordinating Ministry of Finance and sponsored by the World Bank. The EIA/Telapak campaign video was to be presented by Ruwi, Telapak's Executive Director. Faith and Ruwi were in Tanjung Puting to update the information before the seminar.

Lured to the offices of logging company Tanjung Lingga, Faith and Ruwi were viciously beaten. "They wanted to kill Ruwi" explained Faith. Ruwi was punched to the ground and kicked in the head while Faith's finger was wrenched from its socket and finger ligaments and a tendon broken in a struggle with company officials. A gun was used to threaten them both. Police were called and Faith and Ruwi were taken to hospital, allowed a phone call, and then taken to the detectives' office for statements. They were to stay there under the protection of the detectives for the next two days.

The next morning, a more senior policeman, clearly in cahoots with the logging company, prevented their departure on a scheduled plane. The company unsuccessfully attempted to separate Ruwi from Faith and a hired mob of 50-80 men prevented their departure from the office. Intense action was going on behind the scenes. Telapak sought support in Jakarta through high-level government and military officials, and EIA kept in touch with UK Government officials and the White House. The press was asked to keep quiet during the siege because of fear of endangering Faith and Ruwi.

On Saturday January 22nd, following intense pressure from Jakarta and the personal intervention of the British Ambassador, both Ruwi and Faith were flown to the South Kalimantan city of Banjarmasin in a plane chartered by EIA and Telapak. They were warned that Tanjung Lingga thugs were on their way to Banjarmasin so another plane was chartered to fly them to Jakarta. A last minute attempt by Tanjung Lingga to "buy off" this plane to prevent their departure, failed.

The campaign presentation to the Government of Indonesia and international donors took place on January 26th. The problem of illegal logging under the control of timber barons has been emphasised by this incident. The area is out of control and until the central government can reinstate law and order there can be no hope for the forests, the people and the remarkable creatures so dependent on them.

The Government of Indonesia has promised to deal with illegal logging, but so far the logging continues in Tanjung Puting. The Park headquarters have been destroyed and rangers have evacuated the Park. The latest report is that the Head and Deputy Head of the Park have resigned.

It is difficult for this democratically elected government at a time of economic crisis and civil unrest, but it is vital that they act courageously to defeat the powerful interests destroying Indonesia's priceless forest heritage. This case in Tanjung Puting is complex and politically difficult, but it is clear what must be done. Efforts to investigate this timber baron's fiefdom have so far failed following coercion. But the Government has to follow up while the world is watching.

Tanjung Puting National Park must be saved from the illegal loggers. Please urge His Excellency, the Ambassador of Indonesia, to do everything in his power to stop the destruction.

His address is:

2020 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

For more information on the campaign contact EIA,
1330 New Hampshire Avenue
Apt 507
Washington D.C. 20036
Telephone: (202) 452 8661 or visit EIA's website.

The Three R's: Replacement, Reduction and Refinement

A Conference in Bologna

At the third annual meeting of the World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences that took place in Bologna, Italy from August 29 to September 2, 1999, Christine Stevens founder and president of the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) was honored with the 1999 Henry Spira Award To Improve The Lot Of Laboratory Animals In Academic Institutions And Commercial Laboratories. AWI worked with the British Universities Federation of Animal Welfare led by Major C.W. Hume to bring about publication of "The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique," by Russell and Burch.

Throughout the conference, the theme of this book that started the whole movement to replace, reduce, or refine experiments on animals, was cited. Co-author, W.M.S. Russell of the University of Reading, UK, spoke to the assembled conference urging the entire body to energetic action. "The tie I am wearing is a gift from my friend Klaus Cussler, of the Paul Ehrlich Institute. It has about 100 tortoises on it, all moving slowly in the same direction. But one of them is saying, "GET A MOVE ON!" So that is my message to this Congress — let's get a move on and see how much we can do together to achieve the 3 R's revolution by the time we next meet in Boston in 2002."

Hugh Richardson of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre praised Russell and Burch's "Seminal book" and reported that "by the middle of the 1980s the Council of Europe had adopted a convention based on the three R's and that the EEC had passed a major new Directive….Directive 86/609 is binding on all the member states of the European Union which have now adopted their own legislation to meet or surpass the minimum standards it lays down. Representatives of the Member States meet regularly with the Commission to discuss ways of improving the application of the Directive in promoting the 3 R's throughout the European Union." For example, in February the European Commission approved three in vitro replacements for laboratory animals in toxicity tests: one to test corrosives, another to test photo toxicity, and the third a topical toxicity test. Toxicity tests are the most urgently needed for replacement of animals because they are generally extremely stressful and painful.

Valerie Stanley of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, known for her pioneering victories for animals in court cases, accepted the award for Mrs. Stevens and read her statement to the conference, as printed here:

"I am happy to accept this award on behalf of Christine Stevens. She has asked me to read her remarks:

"I wish to express my gratitude to this 3rd World Congress. I have long admired the work of European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) for its dedication, energy and commitment to find and implement tests that supplant the cruel methods of testing on animals that have been used for so many years.

"With all the resources the United States has, all of its wealth not only in terms of money, but in intelligence and innovation, in terms of finding and implementing non-animal tests, the United States cannot even begin to compare with the genuine strides and accomplishments of ECVAM and its allies such as the Multicenter Evaluation of In-Vitro Cytotoxicity (MEIC).

"In this regard, ECVAM and the American Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) are more than worlds apart geographically. In the United States, we seem more interested in stating that we are dedicated to finding non-animal methods than in actually producing and validating them. If pharmaceutical and household product manufacturers in the United States are really serious in pressing forward with the necessary research, why haven't we made breakthroughs that equal MEICs?"

But the U.S. is seriously behind the more enlightened research community in Europe. Our commitment to Henry Spira's great legacy in furthering elimination of unnecessary animal testing must not falter.

Ivory of the Sea?

 

Many conservationists argued that the downlisting of certain populations of African elephants to allow an "experimental" sale of ivory would set a dangerous precedent that CITES Parties would use to open up trade in other listed species. This blueprint has been followed in Cuba's proposal to downlist Hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) from Appendix I to Appendix II to sell its stockpiled turtle shell to Japan in a one-time sale and to allow further annual sales of up to 500 sea turtles a year.

Allowing trade in sea turtle shells is as grievous an error as allowing trade in ivory. This is especially true when one acknowledges that sea turtles are shared wildlife with great ecotourism value for a number of nations. Although the proposal calls for downlisting the "Caribbean population of Hawksbill Turtles… inhabiting Cuban waters," there is clearly no definitive Cuban population of a migratory marine species such as turtles. For example, the species' distribution includes the waters of the Seychelles, a nation that burned two and a half tonnes of confiscated sea turtle shell in 1998 in a clear message of defiance toward those who would profit by killing these animals and selling their parts.

The IUCN considers Hawksbills to be "critically endangered."  Anne Meylan of the Florida Marine Research Institute and Marydele Donnelly of the IUCN / SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group, wrote in an article in Chelonian Conservation and Biology that "Of all the species of marine turtles, the hawksbill has endured the longest and most sustained history of exploitation," and that "individual populations from around the world will continue to disappear under the current regime of exploitation…" CITES Parties would send a very clear and exceedingly dangerous message to the world if they mistakenly open up trade in parts of "critically endangered" wildlife such as hawksbills

 

A Deadly Experiment Gone Wrong

"Thereafter, under experimental quotas for raw ivory not exceeding 25.3 tonnes (Botswana), 13.8 tonnes (Namibia) and 20 tonnes (Zimbabwe), raw ivory may be exported to Japan…"

— Annotation accompanying the 1997 downlisting of three African elephant populations

An "experiment" is generally defined as "any action or process undertaken to discover something not yet known." When the CITES Parties voted to open an "experimental" ivory trade from Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe in 1997, the outcome was easily deduced. Before all African elephants were placed on CITES Appendix I and international commercial ivory trade was prohibited, the continent's elephants were decimated, from approximately 1.3 million to about 600,000. With the 1989 ban, populations stabilized, poaching dropped dramatically, and ivory smuggling routes and the global market all but dried up. After this remarkable success, CITES Parties turned back the clock on elephant conservation and took a giant risk with the protection of these majestic creatures.

However, there is an opportunity at COP 11 for Parties to make amends for their grievous error by voting for Kenya's and India's proposal to put all elephants back on Appendix I. As Dr. Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of the United Nations

Environment Programme, told the Associated Press (AP), "If there was a total ban, it (poaching) would be easier to control."

In 1997, AWI and other organizations warned that reopening the ivory trade, even on limited basis, would cause barbaric elephant poaching to escalate. At a press conference in Washington, D.C., Nehemiah Rotich, Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), warned that the elephant poaching "holocaust is coming back again" and that he hasn't seen poaching of this magnitude in the last 10 years. A January 2000 KWS press release grimly notes: "In 1999, KWS seized over 2,000 kg of ivory from illegal dealers, this was four times the average for the previous 6 years." In a letter to European Union nations urging support for the uplisting proposal, Director Rotich added: "Elephant poaching for ivory has also increased five fold in our elephant stronghold, the Tsavo National Park where thirty percent of our elephants occur." New images of massacred elephants, brutally cut down by poachers' bullets and their faces sawed off for the coveted ivory, bring back horrific images from decades past.

But Kenya is not alone in bearing the painful burdens of the renewed ivory trade. In October 1999, a consultative meeting among African elephant range states (including the Asian elephant range state of India) was held in Amboseli, Kenya. The meeting's Proceedings note that most Parties reported "insignificant" elephant poaching in their countries when elephants were on Appendix I and that "there has been a notable increase in illegal hunting" since the 1997 downlisting. Congo, for instance, reported an "incredible upsurge in illegal killing of elephants," and Cameroon reported "seizures of large quantities [of ivory] confiscated from diplomats." In India, 222 poached elephant carcasses were discovered between 1997 and the 1999 consultative meeting. A majority of African elephant range states attending the consultative meeting supports the effort to put all elephants back on Appendix I.

Zimbabwe, which (with Namibia and Botswana) now proposes to expand its ivory exports further, has witnessed increased elephant poaching since the ban was relaxed.  Panafrican News Agency reported on December 8, 1999 that "Zimbabwean wildlife officials" suspected that poachers from Zambia "had killed more than 80 elephants in the country's game parks in 1999 alone."

So what happens to the ivory from these poached elephants? It's a worldwide free for all. In February 2000, Portuguese officials uncovered "around 375 pounds of ivory, including 24 elephant tusks and seven statues" allegedly smuggled from Angola (AP). On September 18, 1999 two tons of ivory was seized in Dubai Airport, "one of the largest ivory seizures since the ban on trade in ivory was implemented," according to KWS. The accompanying table, "REPORTED IVORY SEIZURES SINCE JUNE 1997" shows how this illegal activity has grown again. KWS Director Rotich contends that the traditional ivory smuggling routes have been reopened.

Without a market, all this ivory is worthless. Japan, a major lobbying force behind the evisceration of the ivory ban, is an enormous ivory market. Despite the overwhelming evidence of elephant poaching and ivory smuggling, Japan's CITES position on elephants leading to COP 11 is that the "experimental trade of ivory in 1999 did not create any problem."

There is a tremendous opportunity for illegal ivory smuggling into Japan and sale on the Japanese market, even with the new amendments to Japan's laws regarding domestic management of ivory. Once it gets into Japan and is carved into signature stamps called hankos it is almost impossible to ascertain whether the ivory is from the legal shipment authorized by CITES or from an illegally smuggled consignment. As Kenya's and India's proposal notes, "although certification seals are available for attachment to carvings 'recognised as having been produced from legally obtained tusks,' and there is a penalty for affixing a seal to a carving other than the one for which it was issued, it is neither mandatory for such seals to be affixed nor illegal to sell a carving without a seal. Thus, though the certification system can be used to identify a legal carving by a dealer wishing to do so, it would appear to be of little or no use in preventing the sale of illegally-acquired ivory on the Japanese retail market."

Since 1997, elephant poaching has increased substantially across Africa and illegal ivory seizures have occurred with greater frequency across the globe.  The ivory experiment has failed - again. We must restore the rational reverence for elephants embodied in the Appendix I listing of all African and Asian elephants and the complete ban on the global trade in elephant ivory.

KWS Director Rotich tells of an ecotourism group whose vehicle was held up for some time while a small herd of elephants crossed before them. When one wildlife watcher asked the guide why they were waiting so long the guide responded, because the elephants have the Right of Way. And so it should be.  

Chart on Reported Ivory Seizures Since June 1997

In Monstrous 20,000 Cow-Factory Farms

By Chris Bedford

American's small family dairy farms face extinction. The farm gate price of milk has dropped to below 1978 levels, as a result of market manipulation by large dairy cooperatives which function like giant agribusiness corporations.

As a consequence, many family dairy farmers may be forced into bankruptcy this year. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts farm employment losses will exceed 175,000 in the next five years. And this estimate was released before the current crisis. The impacts from this potential loss for rural communities, the environment and animal welfare are devastating.

The same industrialization of food production that has transformed poultry and hog raising is rapidly transforming dairy production. In dairy factory operations, farmers become factory workers, environmentally destructive amounts of manure are produced, animals are confined for most their lives and output is pushed through processes that can damage human and animal health. Milk production is artificially stimulated through injections of a recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) also known as Bovine Somatotropin (BST). BST use can painfully injure lactating cows by draining calcium from bones and tissues, causing ulcers along their backbone and disfiguring swelling of leg joints (see page 6 of AWI Quarterly, Vol.48 No.2). BST has also been implicated in human health problems by causing increased production of another bovine hormone called IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor 1). IGF-1 has been proven to increase risk for uterine and breast cancer and heart disease in women. Both BST and IGF-1 are not destroyed by the 15-second pasteurization process used on most commercial milk. FDA approval of Monsanto's version of BST, known by the trade name of Posilac, was based on pasteurization tests of 30 minutes or more, not 15 seconds.

Traditionally, milk has been produced by small, family dairy farms milking 30-100 cows at any one time. Although many of these small farmers experimented in the mid-1990s with (BST) they abandoned the product after seeing what it did to their cows.

"It just wore my neighbors' cows out," said dairy farmer, George Donnon of Rising Sun, Maryland who never used Posilac. "It increased production some during the first lactation. But it didn't work after that. And it caused some serious physical problems for the animals." The dairy factory operations are the principal consumers of Posilac/BST. Heifers are given the drug during their first lactation — forcing them to produce milk for two years or more — increasing per cow output by approximately 15%. After this first artificially extended lactation, the cows are so worn out that they have to be sold for meat. Small family dairy farmers typically keep their cows for five or six lactations.

"Use of BST divides the large operations from the small family farmer," said Eddie Boyer, a dairy farmer from New Oxford, Pennsylvania. "A family farmer cares about his cows. He calls them to the milking parlor by name. He wants to extend their productive lives as long as he can." Ironically, BST use and the expansion of dairy factory operations is behind much of the current crisis facing small family dairy farms. The construction of giant BST-dependent dairy factories, milking 20,000 cows or more, in the desert areas of California, Arizona and Idaho has produced large amounts of cheese at artificially low prices. These new dairy factories create environmental problems/disasters wherever they operate — often spilling millions of gallons of manure into scarce and vulnerable arid land water supplies. Since dairy factories externalize so much of the real environmental impacts, production costs are lower than on family farms. Cheese produced by these dairy factory operations is unloading large dairy cooperatives like Dairy Farmers of America and Land O'Lakes on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Cheese traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange sets the price of all milk sold in the United States through a series of Milk Marketing Orders issued by the federal government. By dumping subsidized, dairy factory produced cheese in Chicago, large dairy cooperatives can drive down the farmgate price of milk — reaping huge windfall profits while impoverishing the small farmers who are members of the coops. In 1978, when farmgate milk prices were higher than they are now, consumers paid a $1.20 for a gallon of fresh milk. Today that same gallon of milk costs almost $3.

"Someone is making money producing milk," said Fred LeClair, a dairy farmer from Watertown, New York. "It's just not us. Right now, I lose about $6 for every hundred pounds of milk I produce (11.6 gallons = 100 lbs). I don't know any business that can operate long at these kinds of prices."

Some believe the current low prices are an effort by large cooperatives to "rationalize" milk production, make it more "efficient", by driving small producers out-of-business. Large dairy factory operations are protected through special premiums paid by processors and by low-interest loans unavailable to small dairy farmers. "It is time to draw a line between small farmers like myself and large corporate operations," said George Donnon. "Our interests are different. I want to maintain our way of life without having to get bigger. If I get a higher price for my milk, I will milk fewer cows, not more. And that's good for me and the environment, and the cows."

Human Population 6,000,000,000 and Growing

 

The world has reached a population of six billion, meaning the number of the globe's inhabitants has doubled in less than 40 years.

It took all of human history for the planetary population to reach one billion in 1804, but then little more than 150 years to reach three billion in 1960. Now there's twice the number.

While the world adds another 3,500 humans every 20 minutes it loses an entire plant or animal species in that same time — or about 27,000 species a year.

Despite a gradual slowing in the overall growth rate, world population is still increasing by 78 million a year-the equivalent of adding a city almost the size of San Francisco every three days.

The number of people on the planet Earth is now...

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