The Animal Agriculture Alliance—a group that defends virtually every factory farming practice out there—issued a press release this past week praising Dodge for its Super Bowl commercial featuring Paul Harvey’s “God Made a Farmer” speech.
The AAA waxed poetic, calling Harvey’s speech the “crowning glory” of the commercial and extolled the late broadcaster as “legendary.”
One wonders if the Alliance recalls that Paul Harvey was a great advocate; an advocate for ending some of the most abusive practices in animal agriculture—practices the Alliance rigorously defends. Read more
The Government Accountability Project’s Food Integrity Campaign (FIC) has been working in full force since last year in preparation for the anti-whistleblower Ag Gag bills expected (unfortunately) to be introduced in the new legislative session. Bills in Wyoming, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Arkansas and Indiana have all been filed or introduced so far in 2013.
For an overview of the 2012 Ag Gag saga, refer to FIC’s info page.
FIC collaborates with many coalition groups who oppose the legislation, which typically criminalize the individuals who expose wrongdoing rather than the perpetrators of it! Wyoming’s bill – which was introduced mere weeks after undercover video footage revealed inhumane handling of pigs at a Tyson Foods supplier in the state – threatens agriculture whistleblowers with jail time and a fine if they use a recording device on the facility’s premises. Read more
The Vancouver Sun’s headline this week read almost like it was from The Onion: “Body slamming piglets to death humane, pork experts say.”
But it wasn’t a joke. Unfortunately, the article was about the pork industry’s response to the latest animal cruelty investigation, an exposé which documented severe and routine abuse on a pig factory farm. Caught on tape were standard pork industry practices such as slamming live pigs against concrete, locking pigs in tiny cages for months on end, cutting parts of their bodies off without painkiller and more. Read more
It’s no surprise when pro-industrial agricultural organizations fight to keep the status quo. Yet, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) capitulated in July to trade organizations like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and their political representatives, retracting an endorsement of Meatless Mondays, a controversy began. The Meatless Mondays debate however isn’t the only example of how big animal agriculture is on the defense. In recent months similar controversies involving the National Pork Producers Council and the Animal Agricultural Alliance, while less publicized, seem to illustrate that big animal ag is losing their footing and plan to fight big time for their position.
The latest report by the Food & Environment Reporting Network takes a look at how the American Farm Bureau Federation leads the charge against efforts to limit industrial-scale food production and has become the single most powerful farm lobby in the nation, accounting for 45 percent of all agriculture-related lobbying dollars over the last decade. Read more
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking its biggest step yet to rein in the indiscriminate use of antibiotics that help food animals grow bigger, faster. The agency said Wednesday it is asking veterinary drug makers to voluntarily phase out medically important drugs from being available over the counter in the hope that the shift will help combat growing antimicrobial resistance.
Under FDA’s proposal, these antimicrobials will still be allowed in animal agriculture but, if veterinary drug companies agree to change the labels, farmers will be allowed to use the drugs only to prevent, control, or treat diseases and under the supervision of a veterinarian and not for promoting growth or improving feed efficiency.
The agency said it was taking the voluntary action to “preserve the effectiveness of medically important antimicrobials for treating disease in humans.” Read more
Americans eat more meat per capita than nearly any other nation in the world, and it shows. Whether you’re a vegetarian or meat-eater, it seems all of us agree that it would be better for public health, the planet, and animals if the Standard American Diet (SAD) incorporated more plants and fewer animals.
Fortunately, that’s what’s starting to happen, as Meatless Mondays are catching on all across the country. From school districts to hospital cafeterias to restaurant chains, more Americans are experiencing the benefits of meat-free fare. And now a great video from the Humane Society of the United States explaining the why, who, and how of Meatless Monday has been nominated for a DoGooder award! You can vote for the Meatless Monday video the “Large Organization” category here. Watch the video: Read more
The name Paul Willis is pretty much synonymous with sustainable pork production. In the mid-1990s, Willis teamed up with Bill Niman to develop the Niman Ranch Pork Program and bring flavorful, antibiotic-free pork to market. If you aren’t familiar with it, the program is actually quite different from the way most hogs are raised and sold in this country in that it sources from family farms, raising hogs on pasture or in deep-bedded systems. I was fortunate enough to meet up with Paul for a pleasant conversation at the lovely 18 Reasons space in San Francisco’s Mission District to learn more about his farm, the Niman Ranch Pork Program and his recent trip to Capitol Hill. Read more
I’m a vegetarian. But my husband’s not. And, go figure, my kids aren’t either. Which is exactly why I care about the meat I buy. Yes, I buy meat. I’d rather not, but if it’s coming into the house–and into my kids’ bodies–then I need to know exactly what I’m buying. And I not only want to know how it’s affecting my family’s health, I also care deeply about how it’s affecting our family’s environmental footprint (including climate change).
Enter Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) new Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health. In it, EWG took a close look at how a variety of protein foods rank when their total, “cradle-to-grave” greenhouse gas emissions are calculated. Then we factored in the non-climate environmental impacts (like water pollution) and health effects of meat and confirmed that, indeed, not all meat is created equal. Read more
How many times have you checked a food package to see where it was produced, wondering about all the energy it took to get from the farm to your fork? Once an issue that few people pondered, the “eat local” movement has inspired conscientious consumers all over the country to contemplate how we can each do better by the planet at meal-time. The issue’s gone so mainstream that even TIME magazine published a cover story a few years ago entitled, “Forget Organic—Eat Local.”
Well, according to a recent Harvard Business Review article, we would be wiser to reconsider the amount of meat products on our grocery list rather than merely looking for how many miles our food may have traveled.
How much more concerned should we be? A lot. Read more