While industrial livestock production involves a remarkably wide array of bad practices, a few manage to extend beyond mere imprudence into the realm of Total Insanity. For instance, the reckless abuse of antibiotics for growth promotion. Or the construction of uncovered multimillion-gallon cesspools for storing livestock manure in residential areas. Or, of course, feeding arsenic to animals raised for food.
Today, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future published a study in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives that provided further evidence of the risks associated with the use of arsenicals in animal agriculture. Just in case anyone still needed convincing (Ahem! FDA, Pfizer and industrial chicken magnates). The study, which involved analysis of chicken breast samples purchased at grocery stores in 10 cities across the US, revealed that chickens likely raised with arsenic-based drugs yield meat that has higher levels of inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen that has also been associated with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cognitive deficits and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Read more
If you’re reading this, chances are you care about the earth and try to make decisions that minimize your environmental footprint. You probably turn off the lights when you leave the house; you probably recycle; perhaps you’ve installed a low-flow showerhead, use public transportation, ride a bicycle for local errands, carry a reusable water bottle and frequent the farmers’ market to buy local, organic foods… but have you thought about how much of your food you end up tossing in the trash?
In the US, we waste roughly 40 percent of all the food we produce. This is totally insane – and it’s an environmental nightmare. Read more
Anyone who has struggled to protect a community from the damage caused by an industrial livestock operation can attest that the task is exceptionally difficult, requiring courage, fortitude, and substantial investment of time, money, energy and effort. It’s an uphill battle, a lopsided fight in which all odds are stacked in favor of industrial livestock proponents who enjoy the tremendous financial backing of agribusiness, political support from legislators bought by industry campaign contributions, lax oversight from industry-friendly regulatory agencies and in some cases, public support from individuals swayed by false promises of economic development. Read more
Never one to pass up an opportunity to spread a little doom and gloom, I felt compelled to emerge from blog-writing hibernation to bring you the latest bummer food news. Today, Consumer Reports released “Arsenic in Your Food,” a report describing its recent investigation of arsenic levels in rice. The results are unsettling. According to the report, analysis of 65 rice and rice products (including infant cereals, hot cereals, ready-to-eat cereals, rice cakes, rice crackers, rice pasta, rice flour and rice drinks) revealed that samples of almost every product contained measurable levels of total arsenic, including organic and inorganic forms. Read more
Having spent several years working to raise awareness about the problems created by factory farms, I’ve fielded a whole lot of questions about industrial livestock production–so many, in fact, that I’ve often considered publishing a pocketsize list of factory farm FAQs. You know, a little something to inspire lighthearted cocktail party conversation or to use as an icebreaker during first dates. Instant commercial success, guaranteed. Anyway, at the top of the list would be the question, “where are these factory farms?” Read more