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Humane Society of the United States gets ‘D’ grade

CharityWatch has downgraded the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to a “D” grade in its Summer 2018 rating guide. The “pit bull of watchdogs” according to The New York Times, CharityWatch found that nearly half—48 percent—of HSUS’s budget is spent on overhead.

In March, the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance pulled its accreditation of HSUS. The previous month, Charity Navigator also downgraded HSUS to 2 stars out of 4. Previously, Charity Navigator had issued a “Donor Advisory” after HSUS paid nearly $11 million to settle a fraud and bribery lawsuit. The downgrades come on the heels of the resignation of HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle in February after credible allegations that he and another executive continually sexually harassed staff. Shockingly, the organization’s board of directors initially voted to keep Pacelle and prematurely close the sexual harassment investigation.

It’s important to note that the Humane Society of the United States is not affiliated with local humane societies with similar names. Despite its graphic fundraising appeals featuring cats and dogs, HSUS runs zero pet shelters. Along with wasting donor money on overhead, tax returns show that HSUS has placed about $50 million in donations with offshore Caribbean accounts instead of using that money to help animals.

“Unfortunately there are millions of donors that are giving to HSUS and have no idea they are so poorly rated and spend so little on programs that actually help animals,” commented Will Coggin, managing director the Center for Consumer Freedom. “If you want to help needy pets, give to your local shelter.”

Tags: Charity, Animal Welfare, Livestock News

Elanco, Heifer International bring food security to 160K families

Elanco Animal Health and Heifer International are marking a 10-year milestone in their mission to break the cycle of hunger. Since 2008, Elanco and its employees have joined forces to give nearly $5 million to Heifer International’s efforts to achieve food security across the globe.

Through eight projects, Elanco and Heifer International have created more access to meat, milk, and eggs through placing 35,600 animals, including cows, swine, poultry, goats, sheep, and chickens in Zambia, Cambodia, India, China, Ecuador, and Bangladesh. In addition to animals, the partnership has provided more than 10,000 hours of training to help farmers improve animal care practices, improve family nutrition, strengthen communities, and better protect natural resources. The result: more than 160,000 families in emerging regions are more food secure.

“Increasing the availability and quality of nutrition – particularly protein – is essential, especially in areas with the greatest need,” said Pierre Ferrari, Heifer International CEO. “World Hunger Day gives us a chance to pause and reflect on the progress we’ve made with Elanco to date, but we must drive toward new opportunities to continue empowering people toward food security.”

The Elanco and Heifer International relationship aligns with Elanco’s vision of the power food has to enrich lives and Elanco’s commitment to shared value.

“We’ve seen the difference giving livestock makes in the lives of families,” said Jeff Simmons, president Elanco. “Access to innovation and training for farmers in emerging countries makes real, sustainable change. One farmer, one animal at a time, we have transformed communities’ nutrition and health, while reducing poverty and restoring human dignity.”

The impact of the work Elanco and Heifer International have done together goes far beyond just providing food to families in need. The Elanco-supported projects focus on building sustainable, lasting progress toward food security, often empowering women and other underserved populations.

In Zambia, for example, the Elanco and Heifer International project has shown the gift of livestock improves food security, adds protein and diversity to the diet, increases income and reduces the potential of poverty for participating families. The project introduced goats, cattle, and dairy cows into a livestock-scarce region of the country.

The project participants realized:

  • a 200 to 800 percent increase in income from animal products.
  • a 20 percent increase in the variety of foods in the diet, which helps improve nutrient adequacy.
  • a 12 percent increase in diet diversity for nearby households, even without receiving livestock.
  • 85 percent of families investing in children’s education vs a baseline of 10 percent.
  • original households receiving animals increased their resiliency and were 88 percent less likely than control households to fall into asset poverty.
  • among those who received dairy cows, a six liter per week increase in milk consumption.

Over five years of the project, the families involved in the program who are food secure year-round rose from zero to 83 percent.

Elanco also works with Heifer International and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on the East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) program, which is boosting milk yields and incomes of small-scale farmers in Africa to help lift families and communities out of food insecurity and poverty.

EADD trains the 136,000 participating families on dairy husbandry, business practices and operation, and marketing of dairy products, while also creating the needed infrastructure to market more milk. In its first five years, Heifer and its partners developed 27 milk collection hubs, strengthened 10 existing hubs and formed 68 farmer business associations to manage the plants.

“World Hunger Day creates the opportunity to discuss how we end hunger in our lifetime. We have to transition from food relief to food security, and Heifer is a great example of how,” Simmons said. “Creating sustained food security must be built on the mindset of investment, not simply donations and grants. When we collaborate across sectors and employ the right training and systems, we can create long-term development and value that can be sustained and replicated for other farms and communities.”

Elanco continues to identify opportunities to help farmers improve sustainable food production and advance food security and nutrition. Aquaculture will play a key role in the future, as fish are expected to be among the fastest growing animal protein sources. But with limited natural stocks, farmed fish can be a long-term, sustainable solution.

In recognition of World Hunger Day, Simmons will personally match contributions made to Heifer International between now and June 8. His total goal of $10,000 can break the cycle of hunger for 100 Cambodian families by providing the fish fingerlings, supplies and training to help them establish aquaculture. Follow him @JeffSimmons2050 for more and donate here.

Today, roughly a third of Cambodians live on less than $1.25 a day and experience one of the highest rates of malnutrition in Asia. Fish is their primary source of protein. Providing fish and improving aquaculture practices brings the old saying to life: teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.

Tags: Philanthropy, Agriculture News, Livestock News

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World Ag Expo responds to Tulare Mayor’s anti-ag rant

Organizers of the world’s largest agricultural exposition based in Tulare, California, are not pleased the Mayor’s anti-agricultural comments he made recently on Facebook.

“The staff and volunteers of the International Agri-Center and World Ag Expo strongly disagree with the recent comments about agriculture by Tulare Mayor Carlton Jones. We are staunch supporters of agriculture in Tulare, and around the world. As an educational non-profit focused on agriculture, our doors are open to all who would like to learn more about agriculture and the ways farmers work with the land to safely produce crops that make Tulare County the second largest ag county in the United States,” said World Ag Expo in a statement.”

Tulare Mayor Carlton Jones is taking the heat after this Facebook post below was shared with 81,000 followers on the My Job Depends on Ag page last weekend:

“You’re having a conversation with some in your head. Ag depends on the people. Ag strips the natural resources and contaminates our groundwater and air. Ag causes asthma and valley fever, cancer and kills bees. You can’t educate me. You’re trained. You can share with me what you’ve been trained to think. We can debate the difference between what you think and what I think.”

Jones contends his comments were taken out of context.

It was upsetting to the folks at World Ag Expo, but organizers said they aren’t planning on leaving the county.

“The International Agri-Center and World Ag Expo were born in Tulare as an amazing collaboration between volunteers from the Chamber, the ag community and local businesses. World Ag Expo is a successful fifty-one year old event that celebrates agriculture and is an incubator for new technology and supports advancements in agricultural practices. We are proud to be in Tulare, plan to stay in Tulare, and will continue to host the World Ag Expo every February here in Tulare to showcase the amazing contributions our farmers make to our community, nation, and the entire world.”

Tags: Agriculture News, Farm News, Environment

Delaware Ag issues warning about uptick of buttercups

With the increase in wet weather this spring, the Delaware Department of Agriculture has issued a warning to producers to not let their livestock fill up on buttercups. The bright yellow flower may look pretty across pastures, but it can be toxic to livestock and horses that ingest it.

According to the Kentucky Equine Research, buttercup contain ranunculin, a glycoside that forms the toxic blistering agent protoanemonin when the plant is chewed. The oil can irritate the lining of the horse’s mouth and digestive tract.  Owners may see blisters on the horse’s lips, swelling of facial tissue, excessive salivation, mild colic, and diarrhea with blood. In severe cases, buttercup ingestion can lead to skin twitching, paralysis, convulsions, and death.

Cattle will generally avoid eating buttercups, according to the University of Tennessee. But if grass is in short supply, they will turn to the weeds. If consumed, it can cause oral and gastrointestinal irritation in cattle and other livestock.

The North Carolina Extension says herbicides registered for use on grass pastures that contain 2,4-D will effectively control buttercup. However, legumes such as clovers interseeded with grass pastures can be severely injured or killed by the herbicides. For optimum results, apply a herbicide in the early spring (February – April) before flowers are observed, when buttercup plants are still small and actively growing.

Tags: Livestock News, Equine, Weeds, Poison Control
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