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Dozens of animal welfare activists arrested after large protest at Petaluma chicken farm

Robert Digitale and Susan Minichiello, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

One of the largest animal welfare demonstrations ever held at a Sonoma County farm ended Tuesday with the peaceful arrests of 40 activists on suspicion of trespassing at an egg production facility northwest of Petaluma.

An estimated 500 demonstrators rallied for more than three hours across the street from a farm on Liberty Road north of Rainsville Road. Along with egg production barns, the property houses the offices of Sunrise Farms, one of the North Bay’s largest egg producers.

Before sheriff’s deputies arrived, dozens of activists walked onto the farm and took away about 10 chickens that were sick or dying, according to organizers of the Berkeley-based group Direct Action Everywhere.

That group, also known as DXE, and affiliated organizations gathered over the past week in Berkeley for what they called their “Animal Liberation Conference.” The event, which organizers said drew 1,200 registered participants from around the U.S. and other countries, included on its website an unspecified event for Tuesday listed simply as “Action #4.”

Organizers claim the egg farm is an example of a systemic pattern of criminal animal abuse in California that isn’t being addressed by either the justice system or by state and local animal welfare agencies.


Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Sustainable LivingTags

New slaughterhouse owner envisions different approach


Fourth-generation rancher David Evans remembers the “tidal wave of demand” for pasture-raised meats that followed Michael Pollan’s 2006 book on the U.S. food system.

“We got inundated,” he recalled of the publication of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.”

Evans has spent years building a regional system to serve the small but growing number of Bay Area residents who want an alternative to conventional meat production. As the owner of San Francisco-based Marin Sun Farms, he takes an approach that differs markedly from the mainstream meat industry, which typically relies on antibiotics, cattle feedlots and poultry warehouses.

via New slaughterhouse owner envisions different approach | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Sustainable LivingTags ,

Missouri files suit to block California’s egg standards

Stephanie Strom, NEW YORK TIMES

Hens in California are living the good life. Many can now lay their eggs in oversize enclosures roomy enough to stand up, lie down — even extend their wings fully without touching another bird.

Hens in most other states don’t have it so good. Their conditions, as the head of California’s egg trade group explained, are “like you sitting in an airplane seat in the economy section all your life.”

So if you’re a hen, you want to live in California. Short of that, you want California-size leg room. And that’s precisely what lawmakers in California are demanding of out-of-state farmers who sell eggs in California — setting off a feud over interstate commerce that has spilled over into the farmyard at large.

The Missouri attorney general has filed a lawsuit to block the California egg rules, and at least three other states are considering doing the same. The beef and pork lobbies are also lining up against the California rules in an effort to prevent any new restrictions on raising livestock.


New rules require egg layers to have more capacious cages. Credit Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

via Wishing They All Could Be California Hens –

Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Sustainable LivingTags ,

California egg law under attack by egg-exporting Missouri


Missouri’s attorney general has asked a federal court to strike down a California law regulating the living conditions of chickens, setting up a cross-country battle that pits new animal protections against the economic interests of Midwestern farmers.

The lawsuit by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster takes aim at a California law set to take effect in 2015 that prohibits eggs from being sold there if they come from hens raised in cages that don’t comply with California’s new size and space requirements.

Koster said Tuesday that the California law infringes on the interstate commerce protections of the US Constitution by effectively imposing new requirements on out-of-state farmers.

via California egg law under attack by egg-exporting Missouri (+video) –