European Union Rules: Pigs Are People, Too. or something? compiled from the web GERMAN pig farmers are buying their animals toys and giving them "quality time" in order to meet the requirements of a new directive from the country’s agriculture ministry. The rules, introduced last week, are part of a series of EU guidelines for pig farmers which the German government has decided to phase in by the end of 2003, beginning with the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig Holstein. Dr Karl-Heinz Placke, who is responsible for animal welfare in Schleswig Holstein, said that, according to the rules, "all pigs should get at least 20 seconds of the farmer’s time each day - 10 seconds in the morning and 10 seconds in the evening". "For larger pig farms with up to 1,500 pigs it will obviously be necessary for the farmers to either take on more staff, or get family members involved in this duty," he said. "The pigs should be kept happy with two or three toys to stop them from fighting each other, namely toys that have wooden grips or straw dummies. "Every pig must have daylight, and in winter extra lighting should be provided to stop the pigs becoming depressed. "The drains in a stall must be kept out of the way and the floor must be given a soft covering with a rubber mat or straw. Air conditioning must be installed in the pig pens. "A special hospital area should also be set up for sick pigs to recover in peace." The German agriculture authorities say that spot checks are being carried out to make sure that farmers are following the rules, which are effective immediately for all new farms. Many larger pig breeders are unhappy about the amount of care they are now forced to give to their animals. Breeders in North Rhine-Westphalia received their guidelines from Baerbel Hoehn, the regional agriculture minister, at the end of last year. The region’s agriculture ministry spokesman, Leo Boften, said: "These rules will bring large and small pig farms into line with each other, and within two years make sure there is equal competition between European countries. "The rules are a result of political pressure from a European public which no longer finds the idea of mass production methods for pig farming acceptable."
Gunter Volker, a pig farmer from Rheda-Wiedenbrueck in North Rhine-Westphalia, said: "I, like many other small farmers, readily welcome the new laws because they force pig stalls to be more hygienic, and the pigs will be much more comfortable. "It is very important for a pig’s mental state to be kept busy. Boredom amounts to cruelty. "I know other farmers who are unhappy. Those with large farms are against the move because they believe it will cost them more money. "The new law requires that each animal be given a certain amount of space. This means that more stalls may have to be built." Michael Starp from the German Union of Farmers said he accepted that EU regulations for the protection of animals are vital, "but we are worried that Germany has taken the measures too far and will be too strict on our farmers. "It will cost more to farm pigs, which in turn will reflect on the price of meat products. "Therefore people will start to buy their products from abroad, from countries such as Austria, which does not have the same regulations on keeping animals." Maximilian Herbegg, who has more than 1,000 animals at Alsberg in Hessen, and every year sells 4,000 young pigs, said that the rules would be impossible to enforce. He said: "How can you prove that the farmer has not checked an animal, and how can even we be sure, in my case, with more than 1,000 animals and all the young ones that all have to be seen for 10 seconds in the morning and 10 seconds in the evening. "It’s an impossible job. They don’t all line up to be counted."
CHUCKIE POWER by James Johannessen
I’m sure by now everyone is very tired of hearing how good or bad Jon Gruden will be for the future of the Bucs. Gruden Goods Most fans don’t really care how the deal came together or why 1986-87 University of Tennessee, Graduate Assistant the Glazers kept everyone in the dark about their plans. Does 1988 Southeast Missouri State, Passing Game Coordinator anyone out there care about how many chains were jerked to 1989 University of Pacific, Wide Receivers Coach put ink on this deal? The average guy is probably happy to 1990 San Francisco 49ers, Offensive Assistant hear the Bucs have a coach. Nevermind how many people suffered needlessly. 1991 University of Pittsburgh, Wide Receivers Coach What the organization lacks in class, they chose to make 1992-94 Green Bay Packers, Wide Receivers Coach up for with cash and draft choices. Will that smack them in the 1995-97 Philadelphia Eagles, Offensive Coordinator face as the defense gets older and older? It is noteworthy to 1998-2001 Oakland Raiders, Head Coach mention the Patroits when discussing aging teams like the Bucs. The Pats did the impossible this year with a no name defense and a QB that was unknown before the playoffs. What it says for the Buccanners speaks volumes. Fans can expect Rich McKay to work wonders with the mystery that is salary caps if he stays. Fans cross your fingers. Rich is a company man and those of us who have followed his career know he loves Tampa and his work. Who wouldn’t? Well there is cling and clang. There’s always a downside to every great job. The brothers Glazer left a lot of money on the table. Who cares? You will, next season when the price of a ticket hits the blimp flying overhead and a cool Bud costs more than a dinner at Marino’s. What the heck, it’s only money, right? Did the Glazers overpay? No. There is almost no price you can put on a great coach. So the Bucs did not overpay for Gruden in giving up two first round picks, two second round picks and $8 million. It’s a lot, but if anyone is worth it, Gruden is. Gruden is a better choice for the Bucs than Bill Parcells. Gruden is a long-term answer. He should be the coach of this team for the next 10 years. Parcells, as great as he is, would have been a quick fix who might have left the organization in shambles in three or four years. Gruden is a better choice for the Bucs than Mariucci. In order to get Gruden, the Bucs didn’t have to give him the general manager title. One of the reasons the head coaching job was so attractive initially,was due to the Buc’s organization being one of the league’s best. People like G.M. Rich McKay, personal director Tim Ruskell, and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffen all contribute to the success of the organization. It will be interesting to see what the players do with "Chuckie" on the sidelines. Gruden is as animated as the visor throwing guy. Passion runs deep with Jon and be glad it does. Greatness could be just a season away. Again.
Gruden’s Pro Head Coaching Career Year Team 1998 Raiders 1999 Raiders 2000 Raiders 2001 Raiders TOTALS
W 8 8 12 10 38
L 8 8 4 6 26
T Pct. 0 .500 0 .500 0 .750 0 .625 0 .594
1-1 1-1 2-2
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