Writer and campaigner Pat Thomas recently attended the Oxford Real Farming Conference, a prestigious event whose primary audience is farmers.
One of the speakers was the well-known environmental journalist, George Monbiot.
Monbiot was there to argue in favor of replacing farmers with “fermentation farmers, bioengineers, protein engineers, metabolic engineers, cell biologists, computer scientists, IT workers, food scientists and designers, nutritionists, and other similar professions.”
In other words, out with the farm, and in with the lab.
The farmers in the audience weren’t amused. In fact, it was a “wonder” that Monbiot “wasn’t chased down the street by an angry mob with pitchforks,” Thomas writes.
Monbiot may sincerely—or may not, depending on his true motives (which Thomas questions in her article)—believe that the key to solving the climate crisis is to end animal agriculture. This despite the fact that many scientists argue just the opposite—animals are key to a healthy, carbon-sequestering ecosystem.
But oh, George . . . getting behind the techno-food movement? Lab-grown food, and food created “out of thin air,” are unlikely solutions for “saving the planet.” And they’re definitely not the solution to improving human health.
Read: ‘Save the Planet—by Destroying Farming?’
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Ben & Jerry’s will no longer state on its packaging that the milk and cream used in its ice cream comes from “happy cows.”
That’s (a little) good news for consumers who have been misled for years into thinking that all of the milk and cream in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream comes from dairy farms where cows contentedly frolic outdoors. It doesn’t. In fact, Ben & Jerry's uses milk from conventional, industrial factory farm-style farms.
Ben & Jerry’s ice cream packaging will continue to use the brand’s cartoon image of a cow—depicted outdoors, on a green pasture, under a big blue sky. According to the lawyers representing Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, the cows “did not look happy to begin with.”
We’ll let you be the judge of whether or not Ben & Jerry’s cartoon cows look “happy.” But to be clear—no matter how much fun the media is having with this happy cow narrative—Ben & Jerry’s deceptive marketing tactics are serious business.
A little history: OCA sued Ben & Jerry’s in July 2018 for the deceptive labeling, marketing and sale of its ice cream. We alleged that, contrary to Ben & Jerry’s representations of humane sourcing and environmental responsibility, the ingredients are sourced from typical factory farms and some of the products contain traces of glyphosate, an environmentally harmful biocide and the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup® weedkiller.
In January 2019, the District of Columbia Superior Court rejected Ben & Jerry’s motion to dismiss OCA’s lawsuit, brought under the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act (CPPA).
In October 2019, a class action lawsuit alleging similar claims was filed in the U.S. District Court in Vermont.
Then, in a motion to dismiss the Vermont lawsuit, filed earlier this week, Ben & Jerry’s revealed publicly that it is removing the “happy cows” statement from its packaging.
That’s a pretty good indication that the ice cream maker can’t back up its “happy cows” claims. But, as we allege in our lawsuit, the company—long accused of making “sustainability” claims while contributing to Vermont’s massive water pollution problem—can’t back up a lot of other claims, either.
Why does it matter? We explained that back when we first sued the brand. And we’re committed to seeing this lawsuit through to a satisfactory end.
Read OCA’s press release
Read Vermont Public Radio’s coverage: ‘How Now Unhappy Cow? Ben & Jerry’s Drops Claims of Contented Bovines
Read Food Navigator’s coverage: ‘Ben & Jerry’s Hits Back at Lawsuit. We Never Said *All* of Our Milk Came from Happy Cows’
SIGN THE PETITION: Tell Ben & Jerry’s: Roundup Ready Ice Cream Isn’t Socially Responsible. Go Organic!
Make a tax-deductible contribution to our End Factory Farms campaign
You probably don’t give antibiotics much thought—until you need them. But what happens if you need them, and they don’t work?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi cause more than 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. On average, someone in the U.S. gets an antibiotic-resistant infection every 11 seconds. And every 15 minutes someone dies.
One of the big reasons infections have grown resistant to antibiotics? Industrial factory farms—which use nearly 12 million pounds of medically important antibiotics every year to stave off diseases caused by filthy, crowded conditions, and (though they don’t like to admit it), to make animals grow faster.
Interviews conducted by CBS 60 Minutes reveal just how far the industrial pork industry, dominated by a handful of multinational corporations, will go to keep researchers and safety inspectors from learning the full extent to which the industry is jeopardizing public health—all while pretending to protect farmers.
The segment also revealed how every package of pork brought into a consumer’s kitchen contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Dr. Lance Price, a microbiologist at George Washington University and a leading expert in drug-resistant bacteria, told 60 Minutes:
“. . . these bacteria, we consume them with the meat. Those bacteria then get into our system and they cause infections. Then, the infections, because they're already resistant to antibiotics, the doctors don't have any antibiotics to treat those infections.”
Sure, you may be able to cook the pathogens out of the pork, Price said. But:
“The problem is that when you bring that package into your house you're bringing a package, a raw package of meat. When you open that up, you have now just potentially released bacteria pathogens, potentially drug-resistant pathogens, into your kitchen.”
Dont want antibiotic-resistant bugs in your meat or kitchen? Stick with organic pasture-raised pork from farmers who produce meat responsibly.
Read and watch: ‘Is Overuse of Antibiotics on Farms Worsening the Spread of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria?’
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Healthy Farm Animals Shouldn’t Get Antibiotics that Sick People Need
Two new reports related to pesticide use in the U.S. caught our eye this week.
The first is an analysis released by the Center for Biological Diversity reveals how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—which really ought to be renamed the U.S. Chemical Industry Protection Agency—is on a roll when it comes to greenlighting new, and potentially dangerous, chemicals.
According to the analysis, from 2017-2018, the EPA approved 69 new pesticide products containing an ingredient the EPA recognizes as a “known” or “likely” carcinogen.
The other study, out of the University of Iowa College of Public Health, suggests that people who have high levels of exposure to pyrethroid insecticides are three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than people with low or no exposure. Pyrethroid insecticides are used on some vegetables and fruits, including strawberries.
University of Iowa researchers said their study included adults who never worked in agriculture, which means that the findings have “relevance for the general public.”
If only our government regulatory agencies found this, and other studies like it, “relevant.”
Read: ‘New Report Details How EPA Is Promoting ‘Worst of the Worst’ Pesticides
Read: ‘UI Study Finds Potential Link Between Cardiovascular Death and Some Types of Pesticides’
A growing body of evidence linking healthy soil, healthy humans and a healthy ecosystem can only lead to one conclusion: Dirt matters. According to a recent article in Force of Nature:
The complexity of the soil microbiome, and the way it affects the health of all other creatures in the ecosystem and the food chain, is simply stunning.
The authors of the article argue that though “the health of most of the planet’s soil is currently in dire straits,” there’s an obvious solution:
Only by changing our agricultural system, by reverting to a system in which all organisms in an ecosystem—a diversity of plants, animals, insects, and microorganisms—are recognized as crucial to the survival of the ecosystem, can we ensure that our soil, crops, animals, and even our digestive health, will thrive.
We’ve partnered with Kiss the Ground to offer a 7-week training program to empower activists, students, farmers, business owners and concerned citizens to spread awareness about the potential of regenerative agriculture to rebuild soil, replenish water cycles, reverse global warming and improve human health worldwide.
The first training program starts Wednesday, January 22. Are you in?
SIGN UP here and get a 20-percent discount with the code: REGEN2020
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