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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Professor, PETA: When no one is looking, Agriprocessors does ‘bad things’

By Lynda Waddington | 09.05.08 | 4:18 pm

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has released a third video from inside an Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant, showing what the organization believes are inhumane slaughtering techniques.

“The undercover video clearly showed that when they think nobody is looking, they do bad things in this plant,” said Dr. Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University who inspected the plant in 2006. At that time, she viewed slaughters that only required one cut and gave Agriprocessors her approval.

The graphic video, shot in August, shows workers making a secondary slaughter cut to a cow’s neck. Shochetim — the rabbis qualified to perform ritual slaughter — do not appear to be either supervising or performing the secondary cuts in the video.

PETA, which has filed a complaint with federal authorities, is demanding that the USDA install video cameras on the kill floor at Agriprocessors for live video-monitoring.

Officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture told the New York Times that they had examined the video and had seen workers at the plant make similar cuts. The violation, said the spokeswoman, were “not egregious” and that the plant was in compliance.

Agriprocessors, according to a USDA Food Safety Inspection Service
spokesman, has agreed to suspend the use of any secondary cuts until it
received approval from the government and the Orthodox Union, a kosher
certification authority.

The ritual slaughter, performed by specialized rabbis, is exempt from certain animal cruelty laws and involves one long cut across the throat. The animal then bleeds out. A second cut is allowed by Jewish law, but only in certain cases and either by one of the rabbis or under such a rabbi’s supervision.

PETA’s battle with Agriprocessors began in June 2003 with a complaint from a whistleblower and a letter from the organization to Agriprocessors. The group told management that they had reports from within the plant, detailing inhumane treatment of the animals during the ritual slaughter. At that time, PETA recommended that Agriprocessors hire Grandin as a consultant.

Two months later, constitutional attorney Nathan Lewin responded to PETA with his own letter. In his response letter, Lewin flatly denies any instance of inhumane treatment at the plant and pointedly states that the group viewed the recommendation of Grandin as blackmail.

PETA spent seven weeks undercover at Agriprocessors before releasing an extremely graphic video in the winter of 2004 that showed several botched slaughters. The video and subsequent public outcry prompted an investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The USDA completed its investigation in April of the following year. It took a full year after the investigation was complete before the department relinquished its findings — and only then through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by PETA. The USDA founded repeated violations of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act while the agency’s own inspectors watched.

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