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Pace Farm denies cruelty to chickens         
  • 22 minutes ago August 20, 2014 3:24PM
  Animals Australia - footage of a chicken farm

Animals Australia - footage of a chicken farmTHEY are the photos too shocking to put on the homepage.
But these pictures and footage allegedly taken inside a farm which supplies eggs to Australia’s largest producer, has sparked a second investigation into the battery cage facility.

The facility in regional NSW — a contractor to Pace Farm — had a complaint made against it last year and again this year.

WARNING: Graphic images below

The shocking footage shows hens being kept in appalling conditions and has been released exclusively to by Animals Australia.

The footage, which was given to the animal rights group anonymously, shows hens surrounded by massive piles of faeces and trapped beneath rows of packed caged hens.
     The hens stand on wire mesh, their waste drops below. Picture: Animals Australia height=488   The hens stand on wire mesh, their waste drops below. Picture: Animals Australia Source: Supplied
The video, which the animals rights group says was taken inside the facility this year, also shows birds being kept in overcrowded cages, some with feathers missing.

According to Animals Australia, those trapped below the cages are forced to find food among the huge piles of waste, often eating their own eggs or whatever scraps they can find in the piles of
waste which surround them.

Animals Australia has provided with a letter its lawyers have sent to the RSPCA regarding both complaints.

     The shocking price of your eggs height=488   This hen is seen foraging among piles of waste and animal droppings. Picture: Animals Australia Source: Supplied

The first complaint was investigated by RSPCA NSW and the Animal Welfare League NSW and the second is currently being investigated by RSPCA NSW.

According to Pace Farm, the farm at the centre of the allegations is Egg Corp Assured (ECA) under Australian Egg Corporation Ltd’s industry audit program.

This means that: “Consumers can look to ECA as a mark of a quality product produced under strict guidelines.”

A letter given to from lawyers acting for Pace Farm, said it was aware of the footage but questioned whether it was taken inside the facility.

Solicitor Stephen Gorry said the footage was simply a deliberate attempt by activists to discredit his client.

Mr Gorry said while the footage, which he says was obtained illegally, was no doubt shocking, the birds had probably been deliberately let out by activists.

“I think it is important to set the record straight in relation to the footage that I and my client can only assume is the same footage we have seen, he said in the letter.

“It is footage that we understand was illegally obtained by Animals Australia or parties associated with it, and which has been supplied in the last few months to many of our client’s major
customers, clearly in an attempt to damage the business and reputation of Pace Farm.”

Mr Gorry said many Pace Farm customers who have seen the footage have made their own inquiries and were happy with the answer they received.

“If the footage that you have seen is the same as that seen by us, then you will no doubt be shocked that birds appear to have escaped from their cages,” he said.

“It might sound trite, but cages are meant to keep birds in, and not let them escape.

“It is beyond doubt that activists, either from Animals Australia or some other presumably like minded organisation, have opened cages and allowed birds to escape, with a view to obtaining their preferred (hopefully shocking) footage.”

He added it was difficult to take the word of an organisation whose goal it was to destroy the business and reputation of his client.

Mr Gorry said his client’s contractor complied with all legislation and requirements in terms to bird numbers per cage, which stood at six but would be reduced to five by next year.

“Independent audits and customer audits take place regularly to ensure animal welfare and food safety standards are met,” he said.

But Animals Australia said the footage simply proved egg producers can’t be trusted when it came to ensuring animal welfare standards.

“The conditions inside are appalling and constitute multiple animal welfare breaches including overcrowding in cages,” Animals Australia spokeswoman Lisa Chalk told

     Animals Australia says six hens in one cage is evidence of overcrowding. Picture: Animals height=488   Animals Australia says six hens in one cage is evidence of overcrowding. Picture: Animals Australia Source: Supplied

“Birds in poor body condition were found abandoned in manure pits below the cages, and without access to food or water.”

Lyn White, Animal Australia’s Campaign Director, added the problem with factory farming was that it was tempting for businesses to put profit ahead of animal welfare.

“This facility has twice been exposed breaching regulations yet it carries the stamp of approval of the peak egg industry body.

“You cannot look at these poor birds crammed together and morally justify the lives they are forced to lead. It is tragic.”

Ms White said while caged eggs were obviously cheaper than free-range eggs, they are a heavy price for the animals and called for independent auditing to ensure better welfare standards.

     This hen forages for scraps on a massive pile of chicken waste. height=488   This hen forages for scraps on a massive pile of chicken waste. Source: Supplied
However, Ms White added the only way to stop this happening again was for consumers to not buy caged eggs and for the product to be phased out all together.

“Animal protection groups are united in their call for the battery cage eggs to be phased out,” she said.

“Continuing to imprison millions of birds this way in Australia is indefensible — especially when other countries have recognised and acted on this cruelty.”

In a reply to, RSPCA NSW Chief Inspector David O'Shannessy confirmed the complaint about the contractor farm was currently under investigation.

“The current complaint is still an ongoing investigation and as such it would be inappropriate for me to provide the information that has been requested,” he said.

The previous complaint was jointly handled by the RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League NSW.

     The hens which were allegedly filmed inside the facility. height=488   The hens which were allegedly filmed inside the facility. Source: Supplied
Damien Thiele, an inspector for the Animal Welfare League NSW confirmed to that inspectors had visited the property following a previous complaint.

No animals were seized, but inspectors noted a number of problems, and two fines were issued.

“Our inspector was assisted by a regional RSPCA inspector and a number of issues were identified and directions were given to the manager of the facility,” he said.

“Our organisation issued two penalty notices.”

     These hens are kept in wire cages. height=488   These hens are kept in wire cages. Source: Supplied
He said the facility was very large. The stock is located in two sheds, with each shed containing 10,000 cages, holding approximately 60,000 chickens.

Inspectors revisited the facility in June last year and found it had complied with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations.

Pace Farm is the largest family owned and operated company providing eggs across Australia and “are proud to be the preferred ingredient for many national and international hotels, restaurants, food manufacturers and family kitchens” according to its website.

It also states: “Pace Farm Eggs are sourced from the most modern farms, from the healthiest hens and treated with the greatest care.”

     Hens stacked high in rows of cages. height=488   Hens stacked high in rows of cages. Source: Supplied

It also goes on to say the company has invested heavily in developing innovative, state of the art facilities to exceed worldwide standards in flock care, product quality, environmental impact and biosecurity.

And it adds its farms are regularly subject to independent audits to ensure their compliance with national and international accreditation schemes.

Mr Gorry said while there was no doubt free range eggs were growing in popularity, caged eggs remain popular with consumers.

“I would like to point out that consumers buy more caged eggs than any other egg in Australia, indeed that is the situation replicated all over the world. Certainly free range and cage free eggs are growing in popularity, with Pace Farm leading the way to meet customer demand,” he said.

But according to the RSPCA’s poultry policy, hens should not be kept in cages at all.

It says: “RSPCA Australia is opposed to the keeping of poultry (layer hens and breeders) in cages — be they conventional or enriched — because of the restrictions and adverse effects that these housing methods have on a bird’s movement, social interactions and behaviour.”

Instead the animal charity said it supported housing systems that protected the welfare of the individual bird and “in which the hens can perch, roost, dustbathe, forage for food, satisfy their
urge to lay their eggs in a nest and in which stocking density is appropriate to allow hens to stand properly, walk and stretch or flap their wings.”

     Some of the hens are pictured without feathers or with a lot missing. Picture: Animals Au height=488   Some of the hens are pictured without feathers or with a lot missing. Picture: Animals Australia Source: Supplied
Dingo Simon' builds sanctuary in fight to save species from extinction in wild

By Eric Tlozek  Updated about 10 hours agoMon 18 Aug 2014, 8:50pm

    Simon Stretton with a dingo height=227  Photo: Simon Stretton says he is trying to save dingoes from extinction. (ABC TV)   

A Queensland disability pensioner with a love of dingoes has begun a personal crusade to save the animals from extinction in the wild.

Simon Stretton is battling biosecurity regulations and opposition from farmers as he tries to create a reservoir of purebred dingo genes to preserve wild populations.

Mr Stretton, who calls himself "Dingo Simon", has started his own sanctuary at Durong in the state's South Burnett region.

"What I'm trying to do is save dingoes from extinction, basically, due to interbreeding from the wild dogs [and] also from the State Government's excessive use of 1080 baiting," he said.
The dingo is considered to be a pest in Queensland.

Mr Stretton said he had faced a range of restrictions and difficulties in keeping and breeding his 18 animals, which include different types of dingoes from around Australia. Fraser Island population of particular concern to 'Dingo Simon'Mr Stretton was particularly concerned about the Fraser Island dingo population.

He believes the State Government's management measures, which include culling problem animals, were putting the dingoes at risk of inbreeding.  "They're a top predator, a keystone species, they hold whole ecosystems together and when they are no longer able to live in the wild in their own way of life, then you start to see the extinction cascade."  Deborah Rose, University of New South Wales researcher 

"The numbers are down that low that we've unfortunately got sibling breeding," Mr Stretton said.

"Brothers and sisters are breeding with each other and we've got a downward spiral towards extinction.

"I'd like to stop this now."

Mr Stretton has bred pups from a dingo he believes was illegally removed from the island, and hopes to one day reintroduce the animals to Fraser.

"Every now and then you have to bring in new bloodlines," Mr Stretton said. 

"I would be overwhelmed if it was allowed that one of the dingoes from my sanctuary here would be allowed to be taken over to Fraser Island under a specified breeding program, to improve the bloodstock on the island."

However, the State Government does not support the plan.

"In-breeding has not been identified as a risk to the Fraser Island dingo population, and like all native species on the island, the dingo population is being left to manage itself," the Department of Environment and Heritage said in a statement.

"The external review of the Fraser Island Dingo Management Strategy in 2012 did not support the introduction of new dingo genetics to Fraser Island, and the department has seen no evidence that Mr Stretton's dingoes are bred from a rescued Fraser Island dingo."Decline in dingoes 'catastrophic' for native animals and plantsUniversity of New South Wales researcher Deborah Rose, who has written about the role of dingoes in preserving and restoring ecosystems, had visited Mr Stretton's sanctuary. 

"To have a population reservoir like what Simon is doing means that there are dingoes who have the capacity to live the way dingoes are meant to live," Professor Rose said.

She said dingoes were threatened by both interbreeding and wild dog control measures, and warned their decline would be catastrophic for other native animals and plants. 

"What's really worrying is the functional cascade - we call it  'functional extinction' - where an animal is no longer able to do the ecological work that evolution put it in place to do.
"That's where dingoes really are at risk.

"They're a top predator, a keystone species, they hold whole ecosystems together and when they are no longer able to live in the wild in their own way of life, then you start to see the extinction cascade."

Mr Stretton recently breached his permit conditions when one of his female dingoes had a litter of pups and he now had to build new enclosures and desex some of his animals.

He was trying to raise $10,000 to pay for the building work, and said it would help him secure the species and the sanctuary for the long-term.

"The genetics we have here are extremely valuable and to get community support would be awesome," Mr Stretton said.
  Animal cruelty jail term reduced 

By  THE EXAMINER Aug. 18, 2014, 8:40 p.m.

FORMER North-West Tasmanian farmer convicted of 140 animal welfare related offences has had his prison sentence reduced on appeal.Roderic Neil Mitchell, 33, was given one of the state’s longest sentences for animal cruelty when Launceston Magistrate Reg Marron ordered he serve 15 months prison with a nine-month non-parole period last year.

The offences related to Mitchell’s Redpa dairy farm during 2007 and 2009.

The inexperienced farmer, who hails from Bendigo, was unable to care for his almost 200 cows, with animal welfare officers finding them malnourished and neglected.

The Launceston Magistrates Court heard evidence that at one point his cows were dying at a rate of one a day.

The appeal, in what has been an extraordinarily drawn out case, against the convictions and sentence was heard by Chief Justice Alan Blow in Hobart’s Supreme Court.

Yesterday Chief Justice Blow dismissed Mitchell’s appeal against the verdict but found his sentence was ‘‘manifestly excessive’’.

However, he said prison was the only appropriate sentence ‘‘because of the number of animals that suffered, the extent and duration of their suffering, and the duration of the applicant’s offending’’.

‘‘Many of these charges related to cows that were neglected and not properly fed for a very long time, with the result that they went down, were unable to get up again, and either died or had to be destroyed,’’ he said.

‘‘Many animals suffered terribly over periods of weeks and months.’’

He resentenced Mitchell to one year’s jail with a non-parole period of six months.
Russia bans kangaroo meat due to unacceptable levels of E.coli 

ABC Rural  By Virginia Tapp
 Updated about 3 hours ago
Mon 18 Aug 2014, 2:16pm

    A red kangaroo sits next to a paddock fenceline. height=227 Photo: Kangaroo harvesters say the latest ban will impact jobs, and the ability to control kangaroo populations in outback Queensland.  (ABC News: Giulio Saggin, file photo)     

Russia has once again banned imports of kangaroo meat due to unacceptable levels of E.coli bacteria

The kangaroo meat trade to Russia was initially suspended back in 2008, and then reopened in November 2012.

The most recent ban was put in place in May this year, but Fiona Corke from the Australian Society for Kangaroos says this information was never made public.

"No politician has come forward and said anything, the kangaroo industry hasn't come forward and said anything, and we think the public has a right to know.
"Kangaroo meat is marketed to them as being a healthy superfood, yet we have a country that doesn't want to buy it any more because they've found excessive amounts of bacterial contamination."

The managing director of Macro Meats, which was the sole supplier of kangaroo meat to Russia, says the company is working to reopen the kangaroo meat trade.

Ray Borda says Russia was using the wrong testing standards for kangaroo meat.

"Every shipment is tested before it leaves and we found nothing wrong with it whatsoever, but on further investigation we found out they were using the wrong testing protocols.

"We've had an EU audit in the meantime which we passed with flying colours, so the Russians are considering taking our meat again."

Mr Borda says political tensions with Russia impacted the trade long before the MH17 disaster.

"I don't believe personally that there was an issue at all. It's just been caught up with other issues in Russia. In March you had the hormone claims, and then all of a sudden they had issues with the kangaroo meat.

"Clearly the Russians are making a statement."

The Federal Minister for Trade Andrew Robb has been contacted for comment.

A spokesman from the Federal Department of Agriculture says the department provided a report on the incident to Russia in late June 2014, and is now awaiting a response from the Russian authorities.

The suspension of the kangaroo meat trade to Russia will also cause major headaches for Australian farmers and kangaroo harvesters.

Kangaroo export markets generate demand for the meat, creating incentive for harvesters, who then help landholders control the vast kangaroo population in outback Australia.

Western Queensland kangaroo harvester Graham Mackney says harvesters were not formally notified of the ban.

"We all found out by word of mouth."

He says another ban due to high levels of E.coli looks bad for the industry.

"If it was E.coli again we really have to start looking at where and why this problem keeps happening and put prevention measures in place."
RSPCA warns against 'ag-gag' laws that would make it illegal for animal rights activists to secretly film on farms 

Landline  By Peter McCutcheon  Posted about an hour agoSat 16 Aug 2014, 8:55am

    NSW RSPCA CEO Steve Coleman height=227 Photo: NSW RSPCA CEO Steve Coleman says a push for tough ag-gag laws could have unintended consequences.
The RSPCA says a legal crackdown against animal activists could backfire.

South Australia is introducing legislation that would make it illegal for animal rights activists to secretly film on farms, unless a court ruled the images were in the public interest.

So-called 'ag-gag laws' have already been introduced in some parts of the United States.

The chief executive of the New South Wales RSPCA, Steve Coleman, has told Landline the laws could create the impression that "the industry has something to hide".

"Our belief is that's not the case, but I think there's a lot more discussion that needs to occur."
"Every industry including those that maintain and manage extensive animal operations should be transparent."  NSW RSPCA CEO Steve Coleman

Industry groups such as Australian Pork Limited are pushing for the tougher laws, arguing that many producers have been traumatised by farm raids and secret filming.

Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has recently said he would do everything in his power to advance moves by the states to ensure illegal trespass activity was outlawed.

But Mr Coleman says such moves could have unintended consequences.

"The divide between city dwellers and those that live the country ... is getting wider and wider," he said.

"One of the challenges around that is that we believe... every industry including those that maintain and manage extensive animal operations should be transparent."

While rejecting tougher legal sanctions, the RSPCA is nevertheless critical of animal rights groups giving footage of alleged welfare breaches to the media before reporting the incidents to authorities.

"Our concern is always that by the time we receive these sorts of pieces of information... there's some time between when this activity occurred and when its actually reported, " Mr Coleman said.

"Our experience is that it (non-reporting of welfare breaches) is increasing perhaps in the last couple of years - some of it can be put down to new technology.

"Any person that is concerned about the treatment of any animal should bring that before one of the regulators including the RSPCA."

The association admits that covert filming has led to successful prosecutions. However, it also dismisses claims made by animal rights groups of common and systemic welfare breaches in animal intensive industries.

"Our view is that by and large these sorts of incidents are in the minority," Mr Coleman said.

"Of all the investigation that we undertake about 1 per cent end up before the courts.

"Farmers have a right to undertake legal business operations - that's only right."

The full interview with Steve Coleman will be broadcast on ABC TV's Landline this Sunday at noon.
Other (non-export) News / What sort of bastard kills 150 wombats?
« Last post by WA Export News on August 15, 2014, 07:53:08 PM »
Wombats buried by logging in Glenbog State Forest in possibly deliberate marsupial massacre         
  • 3 hours ago August 15, 2014 4:51PM
       Ray Wynan is doing plenty of whinin’ about the way these cute little furry guys were trea height=366   Ray Wynan is doing plenty of whinin’ about the way these cute little furry guys were treated by loggers. We’re with you, Ray. Pic: The Glenbog Blog Source: NewsComAu
THIS is a story of wombaticide, and the shocking allegations behind a marsupial massacre. It’s also a story about animals of the two-legged variety.

Earlier this week, it emerged that a logging operation in the Glenbog State Forest in southern New South Wales may have buried up to 150 bare-nosed wombats. This gross act of wombaticide occurred despite two dedicated locals marking wombat burrows so that loggers could avoid them.

     The Wynans marked wombat burrows on GPS. This shows just how wombatty the Glenbog Forest height=366   The Wynans marked wombat burrows on GPS. This shows just how wombatty the Glenbog Forest is. Pic: The Glenbog Blog Source: NewsComAu

Ray Wynan is a tradie who lives in the small town of Nimmitabel. He and his wife Marie are members of the Wombat Protection Society. They know the Glenbog Forest well, and marked burrows in the area which was to be logged with both high-visibility paint and fluoro marking tape so that loggers could avoid them.

Fat lot of bare-nosed good that did.

Not only did loggers fell the huge trees that uprooted the vegetation around burrows, thereby filling them with choking dirt that would have suffocated and killed the wombats, they even built a logging road right over the top of one burrow which had been GPS marked. Seriously, a road over a wombat burrow. Nice work, guys. Really top stuff.

     Womflat. height=366   Pic: The Glenbog Blog Source: NewsComAu
Now originally, it appeared this may all have been an oversight on the part of the loggers. But there is now the strong suggestion that some of the destruction was deliberate.

“When Ray and Marie went into the forest to dig out burrows, they found marking tape removed and stuffed under logs,” claims Evan Quartermain from Humane Society International.

“It was almost in retaliation, like it had been intentionally done.”

Mr Quartermain says the loggers may have considered that the Wynans were making life too much of a “hassle” for the loggers, so they basically just said “stuff it”.
     Apparently this one was too hard to see too. height=366   Apparently this one was too hard to see too. Pic: The Glenbog Blog Source: NewsComAu contacted Liz Fowler, of the Forestry Corporation of NSW which manages the Glenbog Forrest but does not run the logging operation.

“We have read those allegations,” Ms Fowler responded. “Obviously those are serious allegations and we continue to investigate the suggestion that there was any deliberate action. It’s certainly not something we’re going to take lightly.”

According to Ms Fowler, there are around 2000 environmental rules which any forestry crew must follow before logging an area. These include things like avoiding streams and rocky outcrops and ceasing haulage activity around dawn and dusk, when animals like wombats are most active.
     We ain’t kiddin’ ya, it was a bad day for echidnas too. height=366   It was a bad day for echidnas too. Pic: The Glenbog Blog Source: NewsComAu

The irony of this particular case is that the Forestry Corporation had actually consulted with concerned parties like the Wynans about marked burrows beforehand. Humane Society International even ran this as a positive story in its latest newsletter, which comes out today. That story has now reached its use-by date a lot quicker than anyone imagined.

But the much more tragic fact is that up to 150 wombats may have also reached their used-by dates long before they should have.

As HSI’s Evan Quartermain notes, wombat burrows only have one exit and entrance. There’s simply no way out when a burrow entrance is buried.

Wombat lover Marie Wynan made that point with much darker humour this week, saying that, unfortunately, wombats don’t have chainsaws to dig themselves out from underneath huge mounds of dirt and debris.
     If only wombats could operate backhoes, eh? Yes, that’s snow in the forest, by the way. W height=366   Yes, that’s snow in the forest, by the way. Wombats thrive in cold climates. Pic: The Glenbog Blog Source: NewsComAu

One good piece of news is that Forestry Corporation yesterday agreed to instruct loggers to avoid one particular section of the Glenbog State Forest section which has an especially high density of wombat burrows.

Loggers in the Glenbog Forest and nearby state forests are not normally held to account if their activity inadvertently kills wombats as “collateral damage”, because bare-nosed wombats are not threatened, unlike their hairy-nosed cousins. contacted the contractor conducting logging operations in the Glenbog State Forest but we were unable to reach him.
 WA transport sector defends animal welfare practices when trucking cattleThe livestock transport industry in Western Australia says drivers do all they can to avoid livestock escaping from moving vehicles.

Chelsea Wells of Quairading took a photo of a black cow trying to leap from a moving truck as she was driving on Tuesday.

"Saw this cow hanging from the trailer on the way to Perth from Quairading," Chelsea wrote on a social media post. 

    A cow tries to escape from a loving truck height=227 Photo: A cow tries to escape from a moving livestock trailer near Quairading, in Western Australia. (Chelsea Wells)   
"Yelled out to the truck driver and he pulled over, not sure what he would do though because it was a huge cow."
The photo attracted more than 1,500 comments on the WA Country Hour facebook page, many concerned about the welfare of the animal.

CEO of Mitchell's Livestock John Mitchell works for the larger buyers at the Muchea saleyards, 60 kilometres north of Perth, and shifts more than 500,000 head of cattle each year.

He says incidents like this are extremely rare.

"It's not something that happens of a regular basis. 

"You wouldn't expect to need to take evasive action every time you follow a cattle trailer because that is pretty unlikely.

"There are cross bars in most trailers that probably stop the back of the animal, the back legs of the animal, coming out."

Mr Mitchell says drivers across WA have a good affinity with animals and care greatly for the safety of stock onboard.

"We plan loads accordingly if there are risky animals.

"There's always room for improvement.

"When something happens you've got to modify your behaviour to learn from that and this is probably a case of that."

Mr Mitchell says the vehicle pictured was not from his fleet.

WA Country Hour  By Olivia Garnet

Updated yesterday at 5:36pm Wed 13 Aug 2014, 5:36pm

More than 100 sheep killed in Calwell truck rollover 

Wed 13 Aug 2014, 5:54pm

    Individual sheep had to be released by hand from the truck which rolled on the highway laden with stock. height=227  Photo: Individual sheep had to be released by hand from the truck which rolled on the highway laden with stock. (ABC News)     

More than 100 sheep have been killed in a truck rollover in Canberra's south.

The truck, containing nearly 400 sheep, rolled on the Monaro Highway near Johnson Drive in Calwell just before midday (AEST).

The driver was not injured in the accident.

An ACT Government vet attended the scene to treat injured sheep.

A number of the animals had to be individually released from the crashed truck.

A portable stock yard was set up to help contain the sheep before a replacement truck arrived to remove them from nearby grassland.

The damaged truck has been righted and the cause of the accident was being investigated.

The northbound carriageway of the Monaro Highway, which was closed for much of the afternoon, has now reopened.
 Judge refuses to toss case against law banning animal cruelty probes     
Written by The Associated Pres     
Tuesday, 12 August 2014 05:59   

  A federal judge has refused to toss out the country’s first lawsuit challenging an “ag-gag” law that criminalizes undercover investigations of slaughterhouses and factory farms.

U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled that animal rights activists can continue their lawsuit seeking to overturn Utah’s law. They say the law is designed to silence them and prevent exposure of inhuman or unsafe practices.

“We are going to put this law to the test. We believe it will be knocked down,” said Matthew Strugar, an attorney for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Thursday’s ruling shows similar laws in six other states are also vulnerable to challenge, he said.

State attorneys say the activists are out to destroy the livestock industry. They argue the law protects property rights and makes workers safer by barring unskilled undercover operatives from potentially hazardous places, and “legitimate” whistleblowers can still speak out.

Utah’s attorneys urged the judge to dismiss the case Thursday, arguing that the plaintiffs filed it “for the sole purpose of challenging the statute,” not because it hampered their activities, said Assistant Attorney General Daniel Widdison.

One of the Utah plaintiffs, however, is the only person in the country to be charged under such a law. Amy Meyer was charged last year after she filmed a front-end loader dumping a sick cow outside a suburban Salt Lake City slaughterhouse. The charge was later dismissed because she was standing on a public street when she made the recording.

Shelby ruled that it nevertheless “underscored” a reasonable fear of prosecution, giving Meyer legal standing in the case.

“My case demonstrates these ‘ag-gag’ laws can be used to intimidate law-abiding people,” she said after the hearing.

Widdison said the state expected some part of the case to progress. The two sides will turn next to claims that the law violates animal activists’ freedom of speech. No new hearings were immediately set.

Shelby dismissed claims from members of the media who said the law violated their First Amendment right to report on the results of activists’ investigations. The judge said the journalists aren’t likely to be prosecuted for disseminating the results of the investigations.

Utah’s statue makes it a misdemeanor to enter a farm under false pretenses and take video or sound recordings. It was passed in 2012, part of a wave of similar measures that were considered in half of all U.S. states. Idaho’s law is also being challenged in court.

The animal welfare groups say the measures criminalize investigations like a 2007 Humane Society probe in California that led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history.

“That couldn’t have happened without the kind of undercover investigation that the Utah law criminalizes,” said Matthew Liebman, a lawyer for the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Shelby, the judge in the case, garnered national media attention late last year when he struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban.
  Leading primatologists demand Kenya government take action against cruelty meted on captured primates   

  Written by Henry Neondo   
Two leading primatologists have challenged the Kenyan government to take a stand and dissociate itself from the cruelties of the wild-caught trade by introducing a ban on the capture and use of wild primates for research.

World famous primatologist, Dr Jane Goodall, DBE Founder - the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace and distinguished field biologist and conservationist Ian Redmond OBE, have joined the UK animal protection organization the BUAV, to raise concerns about the sad plight of wild-caught baboons used in research at the Institute of Primate Research in Kenya.

An investigation carried out by the BUAV in Kenya uncovered the capture and captivity of wild baboons held at the Institute of Primate Research in Nairobi under conditions which seriously compromised their welfare and breached international guidelines - including those of the European Directive (1) and the International Primatological Society (2) - before being subjected to disturbing experiments by visiting researchers from the USA and Europe.

Some of the baboons were housed on their own in small barren metal cages with no enrichment. Legislation in Kenya relating to animal experiments is outdated and hopelessly inadequate.

‘I have watched the video that shows, in graphic detail, the conditions endured by some of the baboons at the Institute of Primate  Research in Nairobi. I was shocked and deeply distressed to see these intelligent primates - we have been studying them at Gombe  National Park since 1966 - being kept in the conditions depicted in your film.  These cages are very far removed from the conditions dictated by today’s animal welfare guidelines. In most countries these conditions would not be tolerated and those responsible would be forced to clean up their act,” said Jane Goodall.

During an 18 month investigation, ordered by the Director of the National Institutes of Health in the USA, a team of experts found that NOT ONE EXPERIMENT being carried out on the Institute’s chimpanzees was beneficial to human health.

The Director ordered almost all of the more than 300 chimpanzees to be retired to sanctuaries.[size=0pt] Chimpanzees are far closer to humans than baboons, so that a similar investigation might well reveal similar results.

Any caring and compassionate person will feel as angry and sad as I do after viewing the video. In my professional opinion the facility – at least as depicted in the video – should be closed down.’

‘Wildlife tourism is one of the mainstays of the Kenyan economy, and many Kenyans dedicate their life to protecting wild animals.  They - and the millions of tourists with happy memories of watching the fascinating behaviour of baboon family life - will be shocked to hear that these intelligent social animals are being abused in a biomedical laboratory in Kenya. Baboons and other primates have a role to play in Africa's ecosystems (which benefit us all) and have no place in out-dated research methods like this in the 21st century.  I urge the Kenya Government to end such invasive experiments before outraged tourists vote with their feet,’ stated Field biologist and conservationist, Ian Redmond OBE.

Experiments carried out on wild baboons at the Institute Primate Research was often highly invasive, caused immense suffering and was even fatal. It included invasive brain surgery; following the force-feeding of khat extract, a herbal stimulant, to examine its effects on sperm production and quality; stitching the wombs of female baboons shut so that their menstrual blood accumulates over many weeks into a large abdominal mass in an attempt to trigger painful endometriosis; infecting baboons with malarial parasites (in some experiments, infection was allowed to run its full course until all the baboons died).

In December 2013, Newcastle University announced that it would end its involvement in controversial research on wild-caught baboons at the Institute of Primate Research, after the BUAV investigation uncovered researchers bypassing UK law (which banned the use of wild-caught primates in research in 1995) to travel to Kenya. This was also found to be a breach of guidance by UK funding bodies which require UK researchers to maintain UK welfare standards when carrying out experiments abroad.
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