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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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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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