Animal rights advocate Peter Singer says shifting our diet away from meat could relieve human, as well as animal suffering. Speaking at UT-Dallas last week, he showed how factory farming and our inability to effectively fight world hunger are entwined.
As Congress has been gripped by the dramedy of the Ted Cruz and Koch Brothers-inspired government shutdown/debt ceiling frenzy, people in California and a few other states have been quietly falling ill, the victims of a food-borne illness that has solutions, if federal lawmakers can ever clear the agenda to act on them.
The FDA’s call to the livestock industry to voluntarily limit its routine use of antibiotics is tantamount to taking no action, say critics of the FDA’s plan, announced Wednesday.
The agency “is pretending to act while barely acting at all,” said Avinash Kar, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, who was among several public health advocates who scoffed at the idea that pharmaceutical and livestock companies would change their ways in response to government advice that carries no penalties.
CAFO pulls back the curtain on industrial agriculture.
CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories (Earth Aware, 2010) takes no shortcuts as it squires us on an uncomfortable walk through the ways of modern meat production. It’s a grimy, grisly world and while much is immediately apparent, it’s important to stay for the entire tour so you can appreciate all the connections, redundancies and stupidity in the system.
This isn’t easy. There are pictures — and text — that are pure horror show; glimpses of the slaughterhouse where you can almost smell the stench. But stay on the walk, so you’ll understand. That’s important, because in the end, this is not about a more efficient system that’s brutal but necessary to feed the world, but about a super-controlled corporate game that’s out of control.
‘Tis the season of farmers’ markets. Last week I moseyed on down to the Southampton (NY) farmers market and picked up some tasty, locally produced cheese that melted in my mouth with a delicious tang. But that local dairy farmer and others like him could become an endangered species if we continue on our current carbon-spewing energy path. Cows don’t produce much in very hot weather and scientists say that “heat stress and other factors could cause a decline in milk production of up to 20 percent or higher” in the Northeast under a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario. That’s a big deal: dairy is the largest agricultural sector in the region, producing some $3.6 billion dollars annually.
By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
There are lots of reasons to cut your meat consumption. Producing beef is the more resource intensive and energy costly than almost any other type of food production (save maybe extracting gourmet delicacies like caviar) and has a big carbon imprint, contributing to greenhouse gases at many stages.
There are also health reasons to trim the volume of animal products from your diet because meats contribute to high cholesterol, hardening of the arteries and so on.