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2017 Animal Rights National Conference

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For Immediate Release
For further information contact:
Hannah Thompson-Weeman
Vice President of Communications
(703) 562-5160
hthompson@animalagalliance.org

Alliance releases report from 2017 Animal Rights National Conference

Speakers focus on methods to pressure restaurant, retail and foodservice companies

August 16, 2017 – The Animal Agriculture Alliance released a report today detailing observations from the Animal Rights National Conference, held August 3-6 in Alexandria, Va. The event was hosted by the Farm Animal Rights Movement and sponsored by Compassion Over Killing, Mercy for Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and The Humane League, along with other animal rights activist groups. According to conference organizers, nearly 2,000 individuals were present at the event, described as “dedicated to the vision that animals have the right to be free from all forms of human exploitation.”

“The speakers at this year’s Animal Rights National Conference made their goals clear – ending all forms of animal agriculture, regardless of how well animals are cared for,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “Their persistent focus on pressure campaigns targeting restaurant, retail and foodservice brands is of great concern to the Alliance and our members. We encourage anyone with a vested interest in producing, processing or selling meat, poultry, eggs and dairy, to read this year’s report and hear how determined these groups are to eliminate food choices and make our society vegan.”

Activists in attendance were encouraged to be as extreme as necessary to advance their goals. “Breaking the law can often be a good thing to do,” said Zach Groff, Animal Liberation Collective. Groff spoke about the ‘nature of confrontational activism’ such as “protests, open rescues from farms without permission, vigils…” According to Groff, “this is a type of activism that can often upset people, it can rile people up.”

A major focus of this year’s conference was on pressuring restaurant, retail and foodservice brands to adopt certain policies, with the end goal of forcing them to stop selling animal products. In one session on “Engaging Institutions,” a speaker from The Humane League said the group had “basically harassed” one national sandwich chain with a campaign. When an audience member commented about ‘humane’ policies not being as good as complete liberation, Krista Hiddema, Mercy for Animals (Canada), hinted at no animal products being sold as the end goal, stating “we’re never going away.” Hiddema also stated that “we [the animal rights movement] are winning against the largest organizations in the world,” and “they are terrified of us.”

Other speakers shared Hiddema’s confidence in the movement’s success, with Jon Camp, The Humane League, stating “they [food companies] don’t make policies due to altruism, they do it because of the pressure.” David Coman-Hidy, also with The Humane League, told attendees to research companies before launching a campaign, asking “what can we use to make them look like hypocrites?” Coman-Hidy emphasized “we are not here to negotiate,” and activists “are essentially a pain in the neck for companies.” He suggested that attendees should attempt to damage companies’ brand reputations, stating “I recommend putting blood drips on their logo.”

Consistent with previous years, another key message from conference speakers was for attendees to focus efforts on eliminating farms of all types and sizes, not only the large-scale, modern operations (declared to be “factory farms”) that have historically been targeted. “Please, stop saying “factory farming” – it’s done its job,” said Hope Bohanec, projects manager, United Poultry Concerns as she emphasized that farms of all sizes are equally cruel. Bohanec continued to accuse the food industry of “humane washing” and trying to “dupe the public.” Bonahec touched on recent movements to go ‘cage-free,’ stating that all animal agriculture is bad, regardless of what labels say.

One speaker was ridiculed by the audience for his ‘Reducetarian’ approach, which encourages people to reduce, but not necessarily eliminate, meat consumption. An audience member stated that veganism is a lifestyle, not a diet, and that “’reducetarianism’ is the animal rights version of greenwashing”  (trying to make an organization seem more environmentally responsible than it actually is).

Several speakers and panels also discussed animal agriculture’s impact on the environment, a talking point the Alliance has seen animal rights activist groups relying on more heavily in recent years. Jeffrey Cohan, Jewish Veg, stated that “we know animal agriculture is the leading cause of pollution on our planet.” Lisa Kemmerer, author, Sister Species and Eating Earth, said “eating hamburgers is like driving a bulldozer over the rainforest” and “being an environmentalist  who is not vegan is nonsense on stilts.”

Also speaking at the conference were: Nick Cooney (founder of The Humane League) and Vandhana Bala, Mercy for Animals; Ingrid Newkirk, PETA; Erica Meier, Compassion Over Killing; Steven Wise, Nonhuman Rights Project; Anita Krajnc, Toronto Pig Save; Bruce Friedrich, Good Food Institute; and Paul Shapiro, Josh Balk and Kristie Middleton, all with the Humane Society of the United States.

The 2017 Animal Rights National Conference Report, which includes personal accounts of speaker presentations and general observations, is available to Alliance members in the Resource Library on the Alliance website. The Alliance also has reports from previous animal rights conferences accessible to members on the Alliance website.

Media wishing to obtain copies of the full report, or for all other inquiries, please contact Hannah Thompson-Weeman, vice president of communications, at hthompson@animalagalliance.org.

Why Plant Cover Crops?

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Why Plant Cover Crops?
By Katie Nichols, Auburn University January 15, 2016

AUBURN, Alabama–Farmers are the ultimate stewards of the land. For years, farmers have been looking for ways to improve soil quality, increase productivity and build erosion control. Cover crops are widely used to benefit the upcoming crop as well as improving the soil.
Alabama Cooperative Extension Specialist Dr. Dennis Delaney said cover crops are important for maintaining soil fertility and quality.
“Cover crops do several things,” Delaney said. “They help scavenge soil nutrients lost through leaching and are able to slowly release nutrients to the following cash crop throughout the growing season.”
Selecting the right cover crops can improve yields, soil and water conservation and quality, and producer profitability. Cover crops can protect the soil, feed soil ecosystems, increase soil organic matter, and supply nutrients to subsequent crops.
Benefits of Cover Crops
Legumes are nitrogen-fixing, meaning the nitrogen produced through the plant becomes available to following crops as plant residue breaks down. Unused nutrients from the previous crop are taken up by the cover crop and slowly released during the next growing season.
Pest pressures are often subdued by the growth of cover crops. Thick plant residues on the soil surface suppress weed growth, while other crops produce chemicals that inhibit the growth of weed seedlings. Others are known to deter nematodes and diseases by repelling, confusing or starving them.
In addition to nutrient placement, soil fertility and pest suppressants, cover crops can also make an economic difference in a farming operation. Properly managed cover crops can reduce production costs and risks. Nitrogen production and effective nutrient use can reduce costs of pesticides and application. Reduction of erosion and soil compaction means less land preparation and tillage expense, and by suppressing pests, cover crops can reduce costs of pesticides and application.
Choosing the Right Cover Crops
Many cover crops perform well in Alabama cropping systems. In order to choose the crop best suited for your system, consider the time frame between cash crops and what the crop needs to provide.
Delaney said first and foremost it is important to determine which cash crop will follow the cover crop.
“Work backwards from the cash crop you plan to plant,” he said. “Choose a cover that can be terminated in time to plant a cash crop; and be sure to plant a crop that minimizes the risk of sharing soil diseases.”

For Nitrogen: Plant a legume cover crop. Some cereals, especially rye, are good at scavenging unused nitrogen from a previous crop. Buckwheat, mustards, radish and rye can scavenge unused phosphorous and potassium from deep in the soil and move it closer to the surface.

Weed Control: Covers that produce a lot of biomass can help. Rye, black oat, sorghum-sudangrass, sunn hemp, iron clay cowpea, radish and buckwheat can smother weed seedlings. Some of these produce chemicals that can affect crop germination and growth.

Break up Soil Compaction: Crops with deep taproots, like tillage radish or canola, can break through a compacted layer.

Nematode Suppression/Beneficial Insects: Certain varieties of some cover crops, like lupin, sunn hemp, velvet bean, sorghum-sudangrass, black oats and some brassicas, repel and starve pest nematodes and keep them in check. Others, like hairy vetch, lupin, sunflower and buckwheat, attract beneficial insects that pollinate crops and eat pests.

Many cover crops can provide quality forage and grazing early and still recover to benefit soil systems. Careful management is needed to ensure payback from planting a cover crop. Good quality seed should be planted at the recommended rate and depth. Planting dates are also critical for good stands and growth.

For more information on cover crops visit the Alabama Crops webpage or www.aces.edu for publications with more detailed information.

Buckwheat as cover crop image by USDA NRCS South Dakota.

 

Source:  https://news.aces.edu/blog/2016/01/15/why-plant-cover-crops/

Evonik starts Mepron production in Alabama

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Evonik announced Oct. 26 it has started Mepron production at its site in Mobile, Ala., putting the plant into service after 15 months, according to plan.

Mepron is a formulation of the amino acid methionine specially developed for dairy cows by Evonik’s Animal Nutrition Business Line.

“With this investment, we strengthen our position in North America as a leading company to offer innovative solutions to the market. This investment opens up new growth opportunities for the Animal Nutrition business and for Evonik in North America,” said Dr. Ralph Sven Kaufmann, member of the executive board and chief operating officer of Evonik.

“The U.S. is our most important sales market for Mepron,” Dr. Emmanuel Auer, head of the Evonik Animal Nutrition Business, said. “So, it was important for us to serve our customers out of our new own production facility.”

The U.S. has the world’s largest stock of high-yielding dairy cows and produces about 12.5% of the world’s milk.

High-yielding dairy cows have particularly high methionine requirements. In conventional animal feeding, such requirements are covered by protein-containing feeds. In contrast, the use of Mepron in dairy cow rations allows the amount of crude protein in feeds to be reduced, with no loss of output. This, in turn, reduces feed costs, eases metabolism in the animals and reduces nitrogen excretion.

“In this way, we’re contributing to more sustainable milk production, from which all sides benefit,” Auer said.

Methionine counts among what are known as essential amino acids, which higher organisms must ingest with their food. Without adequate methionine dairy cows cannot optimally metabolize the protein in their feeds. In contrast to the situation for pigs and poultry, however, methionine must be specially “packaged” for ruminants so that it reaches the small intestine of the cow, where it can be absorbed. Without such a protective coating it would be degraded by microorganisms already in the first stomach.

Evonik’s Nutrition & Care Segment produces and markets four essential amino acids for advanced animal nutrition: MetAMINO, Biolys, ThreAMINO and TrypAMINO. Mepron, a protected DL-methionine for high-yielding dairy cows, and CreAMINO, a high-grade creatine source, complete the product portfolio.

The Animal Nutrition business line translates over 60 years of experience in manufacturing essential amino acids for animal nutrition into solutions that meet the evolving needs of its customers in over one hundred countries.

Original Source:
https://feedstuffs.com/story-evonik-starts-mepron-production-alabama-45-133486