colorado ballot issue: slaughter age for poultry and other livestock

colorado has an interest ballot issue for the next election. it is supposedly designed to “protect animals for unnecessary suffering and exploitation”. specifically, it involves revisions to statutes 18-9-201 (amending sections (2), (2.9), and (5), and adds section (3.5)) and revisions to 18-2-202 (adding section 1.9).

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statute 18-9-201: definitions

section 2 revisions include deleting the word ‘dumb’ and replacing it with ‘non-human’. makes sense to me. i never understood the use of the word ‘dumb’ in the first place since there are some pretty ‘dumb’ humans out there.

(2) “animal” means any living dumb non-human creature, including, but not limited to, a dog, a cat, a horse, livestock, a certified police working dog, a police working horse, and a service animal as those terms are defined, respectively, in subsections (2.3), (2.9), (2.4), and (4.7) of this section.

section 2.9 involves the addition of fish as a type of livestock. since fish are commercially farmed, i have no problem with that either.

(2.9) “livestock” means bovine, camelids, caprine, equine, ovine, porcine, fish and poultry.

section 3.5 is added to give the lifespan of livestock animals. i have a problem with the determinations of some of these lifespans. for example, it is highly unlikely that a broiler chicken could live for eight years. it would have died of a heart attack long before that or the excess weight will result in serious leg issues. they are not meant to live more than 8-10 weeks. they are a genetic hybrid cross and will likely never be able to reproduce. the males will be too big to mount the females to mate and the hens are unlikely to produce many eggs anyway. the same can be said for commercial meat turkeys. this information on lifespan estimates is important in relation to additions to section 18-9-202 which will be discussed later.

(3.5) “natural lifespan” for the following species shall be explicitly defined here based on statistical estimates: a cow lives to 20 years, a chicken lives to 8 years, a turkey lives to 10 years, a duck lives to 6 years, a pig lives to 15 years, a sheep lives to 15 years, a rabbit lives to 6 years.

section 5 deals with sex with animals and i won’t even discuss that.

(5) “sexual act with an animal” means an act between a person and an animal involving either direct physical contact between the genitals of one and the mouth, anus, or genitals of the other. sexual act with an animal also includes any intrusion or penetration, however slight, with an object or part of a person’s body into an animal’s anus or genitals. a sexual act with an animal may be proven without allegation or proof of penetration. nothing in this subsection (5) shall be construed to prohibit any person from dispensing care to an animal in the interest of improving that animal’s health accepted animal husbandry practices.

statute 18-9-201.5: scope of part 2

they remove ‘accepted animal husbandry practices .. for livestock’ as an exception to the new cruelty to animal laws.

(1) nothing in this part 2 shall affect accepted animal husbandry practices utilized by any person in the care of companion or livestock animals or in the extermination of undesirable pests as defined in beplayapp网页 7 and 10, and 43 of title 35, c.r.s.

statute 18-9-202: cruelty to animals – aggravated cruelty to animals

the newly added section dictates that people can only slaughter food animals after they have lived one-quarter of their natural lifespan. that would mean, based on the lifespans given in 18-9-201 section 3.5, chickens cannot be slaughter until they are at least two years old. that is a pretty tough chicken, regardless of the breed. similarly, turkeys would need to be at least 2.5 years old and ducks would need to be at least 1.5 years old (trying plucking that duck!). if you like pork, it would have to come from a pig that is at least 3.75 years old. same for sheep – they would have to be 3.75 years old, so no more lamb for sale. for beef, the cow would need to be five years old (that is a tough steak!). it is interesting that they added fish to the definition of livestock, but don’t give a natural lifespan that species.

(1.9) any person who slaughters livestock in accordance with accepted agricultural animal husbandry practices does not violate the provisions of subsection (1) of this section so long as the animal has lived one quarter of their natural lifespan based on species, breed, and type of animal and the animal is slaughtered in such a way that the animal does not needlessly suffer.

the next law is to be called wilbur’s law. i guess that is from wilbur in the charlotte’s web story.

(4) the short title of this section is “punky’s wilbur’s law”.

the low would take effect on april 1, 2023. i wouldn’t want to purchase any meat produced in colorado after that date! but i guess that is what the animal rights people want – to shut down meat production in the state. so much for animal welfare considerations though.

section 4. effective date: this act takes effect april 1 st 2023, and applies to offenses committed on or after said date.

comparing egg quality across production systems

a paper was included in the latest issue of poultry science (december 2020) that i thought might be of interest to our readers. it looked that the quality and cost of commercially available specialty eggs and compared them with conventionally-produced eggs, that is, produced with hens in cages.

they compared brand name eggs labeled as certified organic, enriched diet, cage-free, free-range, pasture-raised, or soy-free.  for the purpose of the study, egg quality was defined as “those characteristics of an egg that affect consumer acceptance and preference.” this included an evaluation of the shell for cleanliness, strength, texture, and shape; an evaluation of the relative viscosity of the albumen; and an evaluation of the shape and firmness of the yolk. they also measured lipid oxidation. egg fat is contained in the yolk and as eggs age the ph of the yolk material changes. this change can result in an increase in free fatty acid content and an increase in the level of the breakdown products that will result in changes in yolk flavor and can cause off-odors. this is usually measured by peroxide value (pv). in addition, the yolk membrane integrity is important for the egg breaking industry (making liquid eggs) since yolk contamination will reduce the foaming volume of egg whites.

to assure that the eggs collected for the study were the same age, they selected only egg cartons that were 15 days before the sell-by date. in the u.s., the sell-by date cannot exceed 30 days after the eggs are packed. this is not necessarily the day the eggs were laid, but simply the date that the eggs were graded and placed in the carton. this could have affected the results. with convention production, eggs are typically graded and packaged within hours of being laid. many specialty eggs are produced on contract farms with regular pickup dates so it may be 1-3 days after the eggs are laid before they are collected, graded, and packaged.

in this study, egg brands of various conventional and specialty designations were shown to produce high-quality products. brand f which was labeled as free-range and pasture-raised had the stickiest yolk among all the brands tested indicating it would not be a good candidate for egg breaking since it would result in a high level of yolk contamination of egg whites. the eggs, however, had a dark yolk meeting the consumer preference for this type of egg. however, despite a cost 4 times that of the conventional egg, the yolk and albumen content, and the yolk stickiness, does not meet the quality standards demonstrated by the other brands examined.

the conventionally-produced white eggs had the greatest increase in percent fatty acids, which could result in the production of off-flavors from hydrolytic rancidity. this may be an indicator that the eggs were handled or stored improperly at some point during the supply chain.

two of the brands analyzed were certified organic with enriched nutrient content. one of these brands had pv values above the allowed threshold indicating that they were considered unsuitable for human consumption.

this study showed that good quality eggs can be produced by all the production systems compared, but proper handling and storage of the eggs, regardless of the production system, is important to maintain that quality through the supply chain.

the article can be found online at survey of egg quality in commercially available table eggs – sciencedirect

human salmonellosis cases related to backyard poultry

every year we have outbreaks of human salmonellosis related to backyard poultry. according to the latest numbers from the cdc (november 18, 2020), there have been 16 multi-state outbreaks of salmonella illness this year linked with poultry in backyard flocks. this year we have had the highest number of cases ever!

as of november 18, 2020, a total of 1,659 people infected with one of the outbreak strains of salmonella have been reported from all 50 states.

    • 326 people (34% of those with information available) have been hospitalized.
    • one death in oklahoma has been reported.
    • 24% of ill people are children younger than 5 years of age.

you can see how your state is doing at

stay healthy around your backyard flock by washing your hands, keeping your birds outdoors, and supervising young children around your flock.

agriculture declared a critical industry by homeland security

with the current covid-19 situation the us department of homeland security has confirmed food and agriculture as a critical infrastructure. with people becoming more and more distant from food production, it is important to remember that we are dependent on farmers for our food. i saw one post on facebook that said there was no need for farmers since they get their food from krogers and not a farmer. where do they think krogers gets the food they sell?

the homeland security memorandum identified 16 critical industries. with regards to agriculture, they included:

    • farm workers to include those employed in animal food, feed, and ingredient production, packaging, and distribution; manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of veterinary drugs; truck delivery and transport; farm and fishery labor needed to produce our food supply domestically
    • farm workers and support service workers to include those who field crops; commodity inspection; fuel ethanol facilities; storage facilities; and other agricultural inputs
    • animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed, and bedding, etc.; transportation of live animals, animal medical materials; transportation of deceased animals for disposal; raising of animals for food; animal production operations; slaughter and packing plants and associated regulatory and government workforce

of course, those that manufacture our final food products and those that transport the products to the retail outlets are also critical.

so – thank a farmer, thank a food manufacturer, and thank a truck driver

chickens and covid-19

people are justifiably concerned about the recent outbreaks of human covid-19, but there is a lot of misinformation circulating on the internet. one is with regards to chickens. despite what some news outlets have reported, covid-19 did not originate in chickens and you cannot get covid-19 from chickens. there is some speculation that it originated in bats – another mammal.

covid-19 is a coronavirus. yes, chickens get coronavirus – but not all coronaviruses are the same.

the diagram below should give you an idea of what a coronavirus looks like. the projections on the outside of the envelope will determine which species the coronaviruses can attach to. covid-19 is specific to mammals, not birds. right now it is mainly human cases that are being detected, although one dog has tested positive.

diagram of the covid-19 coronavirus source:

coronaviruses are not new. many livestock and poultry diseases are caused by a coronavirus. for chickens, infectious bronchitis (ib) is caused by a coronavirus. ib is not transferred from birds to humans.

so – do not be afraid of your chickens. good biosecurity is important to keep disease of any kind from your flock. and always wash your hands with soap and water to make sure that you do not get sick with salmonella, a bacteria carried in the intestines of many animals, including chickens (and humans).

plant-based ‘chicken’?

kfc canada tested a plant-based ‘chicken’. they sold the product at a single kfc and an a&w restaurant in canada. they sold out in that one day. they offered a ‘chicken’ sandwich alone or along with a plant-based fried popcorn chicken bucket. both were developed under greenleaf’s lightlife brand.

last august kfc conducted a one-day test of similar products from alt-protein supplier beyond meat at an atlanta-area restaurant. the products they introduced sold out in five hours.

what are in these plant-based forms of ‘chicken’? water, soy, sunflower oil, and salt. there is also a natural flavoring made of a mixture of paprika, ginger, nutmeg, mace, and cardamom. i’m sure there is more to it than that, but that is what i found online.

there are claims that it is healthier and better for the environment, but i haven’t seen any evidence to that effect.

with poultry companies investing millions of dollars into fake chicken, i wonder where the industry will go.

epa seeks nominations for the farm, ranch, and rural communities federal advisory committee

u.s. environmental protection agency (epa) administrator andrew wheeler is announcing a solicitation for 20-30 nominees to serve on the farm, ranch, and rural communities committee (frrcc). established in 2008, the frrcc provides independent policy advice, information, and recommendations to epa’s administrator on a range of environmental issues and policies that are of importance to agriculture and rural communities. applications must be received by epa by december 31, 2019.

full details are available on the committee’s website at:


in the newsroom:

what is in ‘fake’ meat?

consumers have fickle tastes. they are always changing their minds about what they consider healthy. a lot of this is due to conflicting research results covered in the news. carbs are good one day and then bad the next. one day eggs are not good for you the next they are an important part of a healthy diet, providing low cost, good quality protein as well as vitamin d (eggs are one of the few foods naturally containing vitamin d) and lutein (which is good at preventing macular degeneration). high-protein diets are now becoming popular.

to supply this growing market for protein, ‘fake’ meat is becoming popular. meat lovers like the sensory properties of meat, but don’t like that they come from dead animals. the result is plant-based proteins.  but what is in these plant-based burgers on the market today? the burgers are made of soy, peameal, nuts, and leghemoglobin. but what is leghemoglobin? leghemoglobin is also known as legoglobin) is from nitrogen-fixing root nodules of leguminous plants. it is important in carrying nitrogen in such plants, but the compound interacts in a similar fashion with naturally occurring oxygen and nitrogen.

is that what you would include meat? some states are considering legislation that will prevent producers from using the name meat for meatless products or milk for dairy-less products. interesting ideas. what are your opinions?

are eggs good or bad for you?

you may have read about some recently publicized research that says eggs are linked to a higher risk of heart disease and death. the article from the journal of the american medical association is titled “association of dietary cholesterol or egg consumption with incidence of cardiovascular disease and death.” despite numerous published, peer-reviewed beplayapp网页 , the authors concluded “among us adults, higher consumption of dietary cholesterol or eggs was significantly associated with higher risk of incidence of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in a dose-response manner. these results should be considered  in the development of dietary guidelines and updates.” the research was reported on by usanews.


while the research may cause some egg eaters to be considered, it must be remembered that there are many limitations to the research, as was reported on by other news agencies such as usatoday and time.

the data used in the research was from six studies in the lifetime risk pooling project. this project followed 29,000+ people for about 17.5 years. during that period of time, there were a total of 5,400 incidences of cardiovascular disease, which could have been fatal or nonfatal. what the study showed was an association and not a cause and effect relationship. it is impossible to account for changes to people’s diets over that long of a time period.

there are also factors that they may not have taken into consideration. many other foods may accompany eggs in a traditional american breakfast. these include bacon, sausage and hams which can have lots of sodium, and the saturated fat or oils with trans fats used to fry the eggs and the hash browns.

lifestyle, not egg consumption, has often been shown to be related to increased incidences of heart disease.