Monday, October 11, 2010

Wisconsin Ag Connection

I don't know what to make of the people working at Wisconsin Ag Connection, although I'm not sure anyone actually works "there." Wisconsin Ag Connection turns out to be a template produced by an outfit called would not normally have paid much attention to them, but an article they posted on their website, and that apparently showed up on [every-state] Ag Connection, had to do with the disturbing case of the North Carolina contract research lab, Professional Laboratory and Research Services, or just PLRS as it is more frequently referred to.

And coincidentally, I had just read a story posted by another Ag group called calling readers' attention to a report from yet another Ag group called the Center for Food Integrity. The article posted by FarmFutures starts out like this:
Farm Groups Face Uphill Battle in Animal Welfare
New research shows consumers believe HSUS, PETA over farm groups.
Mike Wilson
Published: Oct 6, 2010

New research from the Center for Food Integrity shows most consumers as twice as likely to believe the Humane Society of the United States and People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals over farm organizations when it comes to humane treatment of farm animals.

The research was released this morning at the CFI's Food Summit, held in Chicago.
Apparently, Ag groups like are part of the reason the industry's credibility is so very low. From their website:
News & Information - Unlike many other Web sites, our own editors generate the daily news content found on this site each day. When you see it on, you usually do not see it anywhere else.
Interesting. And complete bull manure. Here's the start of the article that caught my eye:
Virginian-Pilot Story Misleads Readers on Animal Care
USAgNet - 10/11/2010

Contrary to a report in last week's Virginian-Pilot newspaper, a comprehensive inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture of NC-based Professional Laboratory and Research Services has found no evidence of animal neglect or abuse. The USDA finding follows People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' September release of a contrived video that inaccurately depicts the conditions at PLRS, in a malicious attempt to force the small business to close its doors.

Two USDA veterinarians visited PLRS on September 13 and 14 and conducted a thorough medical review of every animal at the facility. Their inspection revealed no evidence of abuse or neglect. In addition, USDA performed a routine inspection of the facility on July 7--during the time PETA's operative was working there--and found no evidence that would corroborate the group's baseless claims.

There are two major problems here. First, the story from USAgNet is almost a complete falsehood, and secondly, it's not from USAgNet's "own editors," it's a cut and paste job from a PLRS press release.

The Wisconsin Ag Connection (think industry front group USAgNet) swallowed PLRS's claims without question. Obviously, anyone hurting animals for profit -- like vivisectors and dairymen and ranchers -- must be on the side of truth, and anyone criticizing them, or having the audacity to actually go and find out for themselves, like those pesky PeTA radicals, certainly can't be believed, even if they get hours of videotape.

But there is no reason to take PeTA's word on this. Apparently, the truth seekers at Wisconsin Ag Connection (think industry front group USAgNet) couldn't be bothered to actually read the USDA's inspection report that PLRS claims gave them such high marks. Here are some of the details from the USDA documenting the "no evidence of abuse or neglect":
At the time of the inspection a large number of dogs were noted to have health problems such as periodontal disease, pododermatitis [an inflammatory (red, hot, painful) disease of the feet], otitis externa [an inflammatory (red, hot, painful) disease of the outer ear], and conjunctivitis [an inflammation or infection of the tissue lining the eyelids.]

In the cases of periodontal disease, the inspectors noted dental tartar accumulation, plaque accumulation at the gingival margins, receding gingival margins, sometimes exposed roots, and sometimes loosened teeth....

In the cases of the pododermatitis the inspectors observed that the feet were moist, erythematous [redness of the skin, often a sign of inflammation or infection], had dark staining of the fur, and sometimes swelling/interdigital cysts.

Many of the animals with pododermatitis also had lick granulomas [a raised, usually ulcerated area] located on their carpal/tarsal joints.

[And on and on... ]

You can read the report here.

And in spite of this overwhelming evidence of extreme neglect, Wisconsin Ag Connection (think industry front group USAgNet) reported to all their readers that "a comprehensive inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture of NC-based Professional Laboratory and Research Services has found no evidence of animal neglect or abuse;" that PeTA had made it all up.

No wonder the public believes animal advocates over farmers and other animal abusers.

Want to bet how many Wisconsin Ag Connection (think industry front group USAgNet)'s readers actually took the time to look at the claims made by their "own editors"?

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