I wish that Governor Granholm (not the worst governor of Michigan ever, Google 'Mason') was reader of my blog because what I'm posting here today (courtesy of Marcus) should truly be of interest to her after she played around with cutting MSU extension last year. This is the 2009 publication about the impact of 4-H on the state of Michigan. This is absolutely worth the read.
For my welfare bit of the day, this article discusses the lack of a good way to evaluate the improvements in animal welfare on farms in the EU and emphasizes the need to develop better methods of evaluating farm animal welfare on large production facilities. You need to know why people are having trouble assessing welfare improvement among animals? It's because we've passed legislature so fast without the scientific background that needs to follow it in order to ensure that legislators and activists really know what they're talking about. Auditors of animal welfare are not able to distinguish what they're looking to see because the laws have been thrust upon us (both here in the US and in the rest of the world) before we've even been able to determine what the best protocol or the 'happier' animal really looks like. Again, science in this area is found to be lacking, and without scientific research to back up claims of improved animal welfare, the efforts of groups like HSUS and PETA truly don't accomplish what they're advertising to the public. But then again, with a final goal of eliminating animal products from the market, they sure are making great progress towards that, aren't they?
Also please read the Ohio Country Journal write-up on the HSUS deal back in June. Now all we have to do is hope that the care standards board doesn't turn out to be the same problem. :)