Cattle used as archery targets
Two young men—Traton Tyler Vanderpool, 19, and Jared Wade Barlass, 20—were charged with eight counts of cruelty to animals. In August 2011, the pair shot nine cattle with compound bows and arrows, killing six animals. After numerous tips to police implicating them, the pair turned themselves in to authorities and pled guilty. They have been sentenced to a one-year boot camp-style correctional program, followed by either 60 days in jail or 240 hours of community service. Four years of supervised probation will follow. Both will be fined $100 for the offenses and must pay full restitution to the owners of the injured and slain cattle. The shootings were said to be motivated by boredom.
Closed-circuit TV in slaughterhouses
Teys Australia, a group partially owned by Cargill, has installed closed-circuit TV (CCTV) systems in six of their slaughterhouses. The goal is two-fold: reassure customers that they are committed to routing out abuses in their employees, and to forestall activist attempts to break illicitly-gained “undercover footage.” The practice has been insisted upon by five major supermarket chains in the United Kingdom. Storied animal behaviorist Temple Grandin has long suggested to the meat industry installing CCTV systems in slaughterhouses as an easy guard against animal activists who seek to malign the industry.
Rancher accused of brand altering
Following a two-year investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, a respected Canadian cattleman has been accused of altering cattle brands and selling illegally appropriated cattle. The investigation against Harold Schneider, 57, began when a rancher boarding his animals with Schneider suspected his animals were gone. All told, Schneider is accused of selling 138 head of cattle without the knowledge of their owner. Prior to the investigation, Schneider was inducted into the Alberta Angus Association Hall of Fame. Today, he faces charges of brand altering and 14 counts of theft and fraud.
Idaho wolf measure withdrawn
Idaho State Senator and fourth-generation sheep rancher Jeff Siddoway gave up his fight to give Idaho ranchers more tools in the wolf issue. Siddoway had proposed a bill that would have allowed anyone whose livestock or pets were harassed or killed by wolves to shoot the wolves from planes, use night-vision scopes on rifles, and use live bait. The latter detail aroused the attention of the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who spun the detail as an assault on domestic cats and dogs since those species were included as acceptable live-bait animals. Siddoway called the scare-mongering “baseless fears.” Siddoway has not said if he will try to submit a new bill in the future on the topic.
Brazil requests BSE upgrade
Brazil last year submitted a request to the Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases at the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to have its BSE risk classification moved from “controlled risk” to “insignificant/negligible.” OIE has approved this request. The upgrade will likely open new export markets—particularly the European Union—to Brazilian beef. Prior to this move, many countries restricted imports of Brazilian beef because of concerns over BSE. Once the full upgrade is complete following a 60-day question period, Brazil will be part of a select group of 15 other countries boasting the best ranking of BSE risk classification. As of 2007, OIE has classified the U.S. as being a “controlled risk” country for BSE.
Cargill’s investment pays off
Cargill’s recent $6.1 million investment—the latest expenditure of more than $50 million spent on efficiency projects over the past five years—is paying off for its Plainview, TX, beef plant. The most recent infusion of money has seen vast increases in capacity, efficiency and the plant’s environmental friendliness. The Plainview plant is generating 30 percent of its own fuel needs through a biogas recovery system which collects methane gas from wastewater treatment ponds. A Cargill press release says the updated plant and its increased efficiency will position the plant to better serve the needs of current and future consumers, as well as keep it a good neighbor to its surrounding community.