Daily Archives: February 25, 2009

USDA bets the farm on animal ID

This is an excerpt from a story by by William Pentland and David E. Gumpert on the NAISSTINKS.com site:

CAFO = Confined Animal Feeding Operation - Coming soon to everybodys backyard?

CAFO = Confined Animal Feeding Operation - Coming soon to everybody's backyard? Let's hope not!

“In winter 2006, faced with a mandatory program that required him to attach electronic tracking tags on his animals, Michigan farmer Brad Clark sold his cattle herd, and nearly forty years as a cowboy-style rancher came crashing to a halt. Now he’s a full-time electrician.

“Cows lose tags like crazy,” said Clark. “They get caught in tree limbs. You get an 1,800-pound bull that doesn’t want to be tagged, it’s an ordeal.”

In March, when Michigan became the first state to make parts of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) mandatory, requiring farmers to attach radio frequency identification ear tags on cattle and dairy cows, Clark was already among the casualties. Continue reading

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Swallow peanuts but choke on raw milk

Here’s an excerpt from a Feb 22, 2009 story by Tim Rowland, from the Herald-Mail.com website:

Peanut butter

Peanut butter

“It’s rich to hear state health departments and the federal Food and Drug Administration shake a warning finger at the Maryland General Assembly over the dangers of raw milk.

It is equally quaint to hear the farm bureaus raise the same complaints, considering that many of their dairy-farmer members grew up drinking the stuff.

The message is that any milk that hasn’t been cooked beyond recognition under the watchful eye of government regulators is unfit for human consumption – and as regulators guard the front door with shotguns to prevent a dairy breaking and entering, tons of bacterially poisoned peanut butter are slipping in through the back, which should be proof enough that it’s the producer, not the product, that makes the difference.

Fans of raw milk in Maryland have to purchase it on the black market or drive to Pennsylvania, where it’s legal, according to a story by Meredith Cohn in The (Baltimore) Sun. They believe it to be more nutritious, a claim that the government disputes. Common sense, however, would suggest that cooking anything diminishes its food value. Continue reading

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GMO plants and cloned animals — the corporate future of farming in America?

Thanks for Linn Cohen-Cole for the material in this post. To start off, here’s an excerpt from an editorial column from the New York Times by Verlyn Klinkenborg titled:

Closing the Barn Door After the Cows Have Gotten Out

Cloned pigs.

Cloned pigs.

“Last week, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the way for the eventual sale of meat and dairy products from cloned animals, saying, in effect, that consumers face no health risks from them.

The next day, the Department of Agriculture asked farmers to keep their cloned animals off the market until consumers have time to get over their anticloning prejudice. That is one prejudice I plan to hold on to. I will not be eating cloned meat.

The reason has nothing to do with my personal health or safety. I think the clearest way to understand the problem with cloning is to consider a broader question: Who benefits from it? Proponents will say that the consumer does, because we will get higher quality, more consistent foods from cloned animals. But the real beneficiaries are the nations large meatpacking companies the kind that would like it best if chickens grew in the shape of nuggets. Anyone who really cares about food its different tastes, textures and delights is more interested in diversity than uniformity. Continue reading

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