Animal welfare group seeks action against livestock neglect

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SAN FRANCISCO – The Humane Farming Association (HFA) is asking the US Dept. of Agriculture to take action against livestock owners who don’t protect their animals from severe weather.

HFA filed a petition with the agency to cease payments to producers under USDA Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), which compensates livestock producers who incur losses from inclement weather. Producers can receive compensation in the amount of 75 percent of the animals’ market value up to $125,000 per year, HFA said.

A Freedom of Information Act request produced records showing that in the last three years, LIP issued payments of $134,140,346 to farmers and ranchers for animal deaths due primarily to weather-related issues. Total animal deaths included 202,445 livestock and 2,461,443 poultry, according to HFA.

“Instead of providing adequate shelter to vulnerable livestock, producers who do not assure protections from adverse weather are rewarded with a government check,” HFA National Director Bradley Miller said in a statement. “Compensating producers for dead livestock without ever requiring adequate shelter is actually a disincentive to farmers and ranchers to take the necessary steps to provide their animals with protections from inclement weather. Without this compensation, many producers would no doubt make an effort to provide for their animals. Instead, massive numbers of neglected livestock are dying painfully and needlessly and taxpayers are footing the bill.”

HFA launched the petition in conjunction with Tax Day 2017, to draw attention to this issue in addition to promoting two videos.

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By Kat 4/18/2017 8:30:09 AM
This is a frivolous petition. Adverse weather, even with adequate housing is extreme and even livestock in proper housing can be overcome. An extended heat wave can kill cattle because of buildup of heat in the body. If they want to be out of adequate shelter to graze they may overexert each day and then become overcome. Cattle cannot be in closed up barns because of pneumonia that is common. The actual USDA document has many stipulations before payment can occur. If a heat wave plus a power outage/generator malfunction were to occur in a chicken house animals would perish even though their housing is setup correctly. This is not an incentive to not give shelter. Crazy weather events happen and farmers are already takers in weather, markets, their entirely livelihood. This program should not be taken away.

By Michelle 4/17/2017 12:16:51 PM
Farmers should seek shelter for all livestock. They should not be incentivized! The current setup is an incentive. Wrong!!