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EBAA's Undercover Video of Central Valley Egg Farms Featured on Local TV News; More on Taxbreak Suit
by karen dawn
Thursday Feb 2nd, 2006 3:12 PM
DawnWatch: Terrific coverage of battery cages -- 2/1/06
A note on my previous related alert (http://www.indybay.org/news/2006/02/1799895.php): I wrote that many countries had banned battery cages. Unfortunately, I have learned that the European Union, to which I was largely referring, has banned the standard "barren battery cages" but will allow "furnished battery cages" which are a negligible improvement. Only Germany, Austria and Switzerland have banned battery cages outright. Animal advocacy groups continue to chip away at their use, persuading Wholefoods, Wild Oats, Trader Joes and also numerous college campuses to abandon eggs produced in them. The latest move, against government subsidies, continues down that road. Perhaps their efforts will move the US, or California, one of the largest world's largest economies (and one that banned the production and sale of foie gras as of 2012) towards joining those countries that have outlawed battery cages.

Last night, Wednesday February 1, Dan Noyes, a reporter in San Francisco, covered the issue on the evening news (http://www.indybay.org/news/2006/02/1799723.php). It was presented as a follow-up to a terrific story he did last November, on Trader Joe's decision to stop selling battery cage eggs under its name brand. The story tells us that HSUS's next target is Ben & Jerry's. According to the report the company "already uses cage-free eggs in their ice cream sold in Europe, but they use battery cage eggs in this country."

The also story covered the new lawsuit in California:
"It says the State Board of Equalization and Controller Steve Westly 'have wasted and illegally used public funds' by giving tax breaks to farmers for the purchase of battery cages.

Jon Lovvorn, Humane Society of the United States Lawyer says in the story: "The cruelty code specifically requires anyone confining an animal to give it an adequate exercise area. We don't think battery cages provide that. So, the BOE expenditure of funds to subsidize those cages violates state law and that's the basis for our lawsuit."

The story was accompanied with lots of disgusting footage of battery caged hens, some dying or dead in their cages. Noyes's voiceover said, "As many as 10 hens are crammed into a single cage. They can't walk or even spread their wings. Their beaks have to be clipped so they won't cannibalize each other. The lack of activity sometimes leads to paralysis or to bones so brittle, they break."

The public cannot be concerned about an issue it knows nothing about. Most people oppose animal cruelty but are oblivious to the extent that it is institutionalized in our food systems. If all reporters took the same interest as Dan Noyes, the plight of animals in America would change. In fact, the footage he broadcasted throughout San Francisco during the foie gras debates surely had an impact on their outcome, and the ban of foie gras in California. Noyes has said in the past that positive feedback on stories makes it easier for him to do follow-ups, and to cover similar issues, so please thank him and the ABC I-team for the coverage. They take comments at
http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=i_team&id=3308976

The Thursday, February 2, San Francisco Chronicle has also covered the lawsuit in an article headed, "Humane Society sues state over sales tax breaks for poultry industry." (Pg B2.) You'll find it on line at http://tinyurl.com/axwtw and can send a supportive letter to the editor at letters [at] sfchronicle.com

And the Sacramento Bee story, "Hen cages tax break fought" (Pg D3) is on line at http://www.sacbee.com/content/business/story/14143157p-14971636c.html
Letters to the editor, from those in the Sacramento area, should be sent to opinion [at] sacbee.com

Both papers recommend a 200 word limit and request your name, address and telephone number so that they can verify that you sent the letter.


(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. If you forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts, please do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this tag line.)