Earth Notes
2:38 am
Thu August 10, 2006

Campaign launched against farm animal initiative

Phoenix, AZ – The measure would make it illegal to confine a pig
during pregnancy or any calf raised for veal for the
majority of the day in any manner that precludes it
from lying down, fully extending limbs or turning
around freely. Farmers would have until 2013 to comply.
Foes, financed largely by pork producers, have come up
with a very simple radio commercial.

(Hogwash? What is hogwash? Hogwash is absurdity,
balderdash, baloney, bull, bunk, drivel, gibberish,
hooey and horsefeathers, loony, poppycock,
ridiculousness, rot, rubbish, trash, twaddle, and
Proposition 204. That's right, Proposition 204 is
hogwash.)

None of that addresses the issues in the campaign -- or
even tells Arizonans why they should actually vote
against the measure. But Jim Klinker, lobbyist for the
Arizona Farm Bureau Federation, said that was done on
purpose.

(There's 19 ballot propositions, Howie, as you well
know. One, the message has to be kept simple. I don't
think we're doing any name calling. What we're trying
to get across with our message is that the argument
used by the national animal rights groups is hogwash.)

Klinker claims science is on his side. He cites a
report by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
That report does say pigs in stalls are no more
stressed, and injury rates for sows housed in gestation
stalls is lower than those housed in groups. But it
does not specifically address the issue of the size of
the stalls and whether, as the initiative would
require, animals should be allowed enough space to turn
around. The only real effect of Prop 204 would be on
pig farmers, as there is no real veal industry in
Arizona. In fact, only one Arizona company, located in
Snowflake, uses gestation pens: PFFJ. That stands for
Pigs for Farmer John. But anti-204 campaign spokesman
Ian Caulkins rebuffed requests by Arizona Public Radio
to actually go there to see the animals and the crates.

(You're not the first person that's requested a tour up
there. And it's not just media outlets. It is members
of the public. It is elected officials, civic leaders.
I mean, a lot of people would like to go through there.
And the bottom line is we just don't do tours. It comes
down to the safety of the animals.)

Caulkins said there is a fear that outsiders would
bring in diseases. But he rejected an offer to go
through the same sanitizing procedures as do workers in
the plant. Caulkins acknowledged that outsiders have
been allowed in -- including people his consulting firm
hired to shoot a video inside the facility. He said
reporters who want to see conditions will have to rely
on that campaign-produced video. The hogwash
commercials could be the first shot in what promises to
be a very expensive campaign being financed largely by
out of state interests. Major funding for the
initiative is coming from the Humane Society of the
United States and Farm Sanctuary, a group that bills
itself as the nation's leading farm animal protection
organization. Opposition is getting the lions share of
its money from the National Pork Producers Council and
the Arizona Pork Council. It also has donations from
groups in Alabama, Iowa and California. Caulkins said
the presence of all that out-of-state money should not
be surprising.

(It sets a dangerous precedent that someone based on
emotions and feeling about what they think about how
industry should operate can come in and go to the
ballot. It's all about setting a dangerous precedent.)

Cheryl Naumann, director of the Arizona Humane Society,
said her group's media spots will begin running in a
couple of weeks. She declined to disclose what will be
the thrust of the campaign. But her campaign web site
already has pictures of pigs and calves in pens, photos
obtained from Farm Sanctuary. In Phoenix, for Arizona
Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.