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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Report: U.S. restaurant chains continue controversial ag practices

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Thursday, June 6, 2024   

For 15 years, U.S. restaurant chains have pledged to stop using gestation crates for pregnant pigs but a new report from an animal welfare group showed many are still dragging their feet.

Devon Dear, institutional outreach manager for the group Animal Equality, said too many restaurants still source their pork from suppliers who lock pregnant pigs in cages so small they cannot turn around. Eleven states, not including New Mexico, have already made the practice illegal, for good reason, Dear emphasized.

"Pigs are under lots of stress in crates," Dear explained. "More stress means more antibiotics; more and more antibiotics means higher chances of antibiotic resistance, and stressed animals are less healthy."

Hog production is not a major contributor to New Mexico's ag statistics, but the state does have its fair share of fast food restaurants. Dear pointed out some big chains have moved away from crates including McDonald's, Wendy's and Chipotle. The report lists Denny's, Chick-fil-A, Dunkin and KFC among 13 companies it contends have not been aggressive enough in reducing their use of crates.

The report comes as Congress is debating an update to the Farm Bill. As proposed, Animal Equality's analysis shows it would have negative effects for animals across the board. She hopes the report will put the inhumane treatment of pregnant pigs in the spotlight.

"One thing we do want to emphasize is that these corporate commitments predate any version of this Farm Bill," Dear noted. "Many are back from 2009, 2012, so irrespective of what happens with the Farm Bill, consumers expect companies to do better for animals."

U.S. pork production is highest in Iowa, while New Mexico is better known for crops such as chili peppers, corn, pecans and onions.


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