Food scientists don’t get the best rap in the sustainable food world. And that’s understandable, since most spend their days working to improve the mouth feel of Velveeta and perfect the flavorpacks in Tropicana.
But not all food scientists are the same. Take Joshua Klein, of Hampton Creek Foods, for instance. He’s the head of biochemistry research and development for a start-up working furiously to replace eggs in many of our most popular foods with more humane and more affordable plant-based proteins. And he might make some people think a little differently about the role scientists can play in fixing what’s wrong with our food. Read more
I live in Washington State, but for 20 years have relied on wild Alaska salmon to earn a living. Many of my friends earn their livings catching the sockeye salmon of Alaska’s Bristol Bay. The silver-sided fish fill our boats and feed the world. Yesterday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final watershed assessment for Bristol Bay, outlining the potential impacts of large-scale mining on the most productive and economically important sockeye salmon fishery in the world. Read more
Last month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 317 people in 20 states had confirmed cases of Salmonella caused by chicken traced to a California processor. This should be (yet another) wake-up call that it’s time to make serious changes to the way U.S. chickens are housed, raised, and processed in the factory farming system. But there is an even deeper issue at the heart of this problem: The fact that chickens are deliberately bred for excessive growth. Read more
If you want to improve the treatment of millions of animals in our food supply chain, chickens are the low hanging fruit. With 99 percent of the 291 million egg-laying chickens in the U.S. living in cramped cages, there is a lot of room for progress in the industry. Read more
On April 29, 2008, the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (PCIFAP) released the findings of a two-and-a half-year examination of the food animal industry to the nation. Their conclusion: The current system of raising animals posed unacceptable risks to public health and the environment. Five years later, an in-depth analysis by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) determined that instead of getting better, the problem has actually gotten worse since the commission released its seminal report, Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America. Read more
Few contemporary artists have been the subject of quite so many rumors as Banksy. Depending on what you believe, the anonymous, larger-than-life British graffiti artist is not one man, but a collective of people. He participates in social media–or not. His identity has been revealed several time–or not. Oh and he’s might actually be a she.* Read more
Rolling across North Carolina, Indiana, Illinois, Washington, California, and today, eastern Michigan, I’ve seen first-hand the impacts of industrial dairy, poultry, and hog factories on rural communities. I admire the people who fight back against the invasion of factory farms. I seek them out, trying to see the land from their eyes. But no matter how many times I experience it, I still find unpalatable a business model that’s based on marginalizing animal welfare and polluting your neighbors’ air, land, water and quality of life in the name of profit and cheap food. Read more
When might it be punishable to report a criminal activity? When it takes place inside a poultry warehouse, slaughterhouse, or on a cattle feedlot. That’s the upshot of a new wave of so-called “ag-gag” bills passed in state legislatures around the nation, the latest of which, AB 343, was introduced in California last month.
“Ag gag” laws have been put forth by the meat industry to criminalize the reporting of animal cruelty by anyone — journalists, activists, or whistleblowers. They are intended to prohibit the release of videotapes or photographs that document what happens inside factory farms and meat processing facilities, often with the threat of jail time. The real goal of these laws is to “chill” a person’s resolve to make public any illegal behavior such as beating or torturing captive animals, often using the police to seize their materials. Read more
“You’d have to have rocks in your head to build a new sow barn with gestating sow stalls.” That’s how the Western Producer, an agribusiness trade publication, began a recent editorial.
Yet it seems that some in the world of pork production, and their hired PR frontmen, may indeed have rocks in their heads. How else can you explain the behavior of companies like Tyson Foods that continue to defend locking pigs in two-foot-wide metal gestation crates where the 500-pound animals can’t even turn around for essentially their entire lives? Read more