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News from Around the Farm World - April 17, 2013
Farm owner: Animal death conditions exaggerated

SUMMITTVILLE, Ind. (AP) — The co-owner of a central Indiana farm where investigators found up to 150 dead animals says the plight of the farm’s surviving animals has been exaggerated.

Carrie Ault co-owns the Madison County farm where the dead animals were found stacked inside a barn last week along with surviving animals so malnourished investigators described them as “walking skeletons.” She told The Herald Bulletin the condition of the surviving animals has been “blown way out of proportion,” and that the media is “over-exaggerating” the situation.

Local Animal Protection League president Maleah Stringer said the situation has not been exaggerated at all. She said the surviving animals were “literally living and sleeping on piles of rotting bodies” and had no food or water. Prosecutors are weighing possible charges in the case.

Native farmer challenges Michigan’s exotic hog ban

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — An American Indian farmer is suing state regulators, accusing them of violating her rights under a 19th century treaty by banning exotic hogs that are believed to be escaping from hunting preserves and damaging the environment, her attorney said Friday.

Brenda Turunen of Baraga is the fifth hog producer to file a lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) over its 2010 designation of certain breeds as invasive species, making it illegal to possess them.

A member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in the western Upper Peninsula, Turunen says an 1842 treaty guaranteed Indians the right to live off the land through means such as hunting and farming in exchange for ceding land to the federal government.
“Whether Brenda chooses to market squash, peas, cattle, hairy hogs or raw milk, she has a federally protected right to do so,” said her attorney, Joseph O’Leary.

Turunen has raised crops and livestock for 23 years near the tribal reservation. The suit says she and her husband developed a hairy swine breed called the “Hogan Hog” that is ideally suited for harsh Upper Peninsula winters. It has some physical characteristics of the banned swine, although Turunen insists none of her animals have escaped and become feral.

Turunen said the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has interfered with her shipment of Hogan Hogs to out-of-state markets and harassed her veterinarian. She is asking the federal court to rule that the state has no authority over her operation. The DNR declined comment.

Sheriff: Teens confess to shooting Kentucky cattle
PINEVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A southeastern Kentucky sheriff said two teenagers charged with shooting several cows told him they committed the acts because they were bored.

Bell County Sheriff Bruce Bennett told WYMT-TV the juveniles confessed to shooting 24 cows over a three-day period last month. The livestock belonged to four local farmers. He said the boys confessed during questioning and described how they rode out into the farm pastures on an all-terrain vehicle.

He said the teens face two felony charges and several misdemeanors. “When I asked point blank, why would you do such a horrendous act, these are big gentle animals, harmed nobody, and they said we just didn’t have anything else to do that day,” said Bennett.

Tips from the community led to the arrests after the farmers put up a $1,500 reward for information.

Officials say Iowa wind turbine’s blade snapped off
ADAIR, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in western Iowa are investigating how a wind turbine blade that’s the size of a football field snapped off.

A technician for the Eclipse Wind Farm in Adair discovered the blade in a field April 5. Siemens Energy, the turbine manufacturer, is investigating the accident. Iowa Wind Energy Assoc. President Kathleen Law said it’s rare for a blade to get loose, and she’s never heard of this happening in Iowa.

Television station KCCI reported Siemens Energy is working to replace the blade. Most of the blade that fell has been removed from the field.pril 9.