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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Restaurant chains called into question for meat-production sources

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Tuesday, June 4, 2024   

Today is National Animal Rights Day, and some of the more popular restaurant chains in North Dakota are under fire for how the meats they use are produced, including the local environmental impacts.

Fast-food chains, like Subway and Taco Bell, are listed in a new report from the group Animal Equality, which says these restaurants are lagging behind others in ending the use of gestational crates for pregnant pigs. The authors say these animals are raised in extremely close confinement, with bars pressed against their skin.

Devon Dear, institutional outreach manager with Animal Equality, said it also ties into broader health issues linked with factory farms.

"When you have this many animals in one place, you're getting really high concentrations of feces, and you're having all of the environmental impacts of this. I mean, pigs produce a ton of waste, and this has to be disposed of properly to not make nearby communities sick," she said.

The report says certain chains, such as McDonald's and Wendy's, have made progress toward healthier supply-chain practices. However, more than a dozen others highlighted in the findings have not. Eleven states have banned the use of gestational crates, but North Dakota isn't among them. Some of the restaurant chains couldn't be reached for comment.

As for other environmental impacts, Dear said the stress placed on these animals creates a ripple effect that goes beyond their well-being.

"And more stress means more antibiotics. More and more antibiotics means, you know, higher chances of antibiotic-resistant germs coming into the environment," Dear continued.

The organization also cites public opinion data from World Animal Protection. In its survey, 80% of U.S. consumers said they were concerned about the treatment of factory-farmed pigs.


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