Monthly Archives: February 2014

Dutch curb subclinical antibiotics for livestock; now what about the U.S.?

The problem of widespread and indiscriminate use of small doses of antibiotics in animal feed is widely regarded as leading to the development of antibiotic resistant disease strains such as MSRA. Nicholas Kristof has has written about this in the New York Times years ago (here and here). And the problem has been widely discussed in the alternative media as well. What’s new in this story by Jane Black is a report on how the Dutch government is actually doing something to improve the situation. And if they can do it why couldn’t we?

From Jane Black, on Prevention.com

Photograph by Stuart Freedman (via Prevention)

“It’s the stench, a pungent mix of ammonia and wet earth, that gives it away. This neat row of brick buildings in the Dutch village of Bergeijk is a massive chicken farm. Inside the six barns are 175,000 birds, hidden from the neighbors’ view and without any access to the outdoors or even natural light. To see them, visitors must slip into sterile blue jumpsuits and plastic booties, a low-tech but effective type of biosecurity that stops people from sneaking in any dangerous bacteria—or taking anything out. Continue reading

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Why Michael Schmidt’s Appeal Matters

Ontario farmer and raw milk advocate, Michael Schmidt, with one of his supporters, following a court case in 2011.

We don’t see a lot of this out there, but here’s an apparently independent blogger, who doesn’t appear to be a cowshare member, or all that closely connected or impacted by the case, expressing concern for the fundamental issues at stake in the Michael Schmidt raw milk saga, which so far has mostly been about how Michael has been prosecuted in the absence of any damage, and how his case has gotten an inordinate amount of regulatory attention, given what else is happening in the world these days. From Sofa King Next Level:

“Michael Schmidt is an Ontario farmer who was targeted in 2006 by the Province of Ontario (through the Grey-Bruce Health Unit and the Ministry of Natural Resources) for making unpasteurized milk available to his small buying group of customers who owned shares in his milking herd. We are talking less than 150 customers over a number of years, and less than 30 cows. When the judgement for this case came down in 2010, Michael Schmidt was found not guilty and acquitted of all charges. This should have been the end of the story. Continue reading

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Scientist was threatened by company because of pesticide research findings

For all we know, this sort of thing goes on all the time. But it’s not often stories like this break out into the media:

From Jason Louv, on Ultraculture.org:

“Tyrone Hayes, a scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, was hired by agribusiness giant Syngenta to study the herbicide atrazine, which is used on half the corn crops in the US, as well as Christmas tree farms and golf courses. What Hayes found was exactly what Syngenta didn’t want to hear: in studying atrazine’s effects on frogs, he discovered that the pesticide has a disruptive effect on the endocrine system.

Ready for this? According to Hayes, it apparently interferes with male development, causes males to switch gender to female and develop ovaries and eggs, drops testosterone production, “chemically castrates” male frogs and later leads to development of homosexual behavior as the gender-altered frogs begin to prefer same-sex mating. Continue reading

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Michael Schmidt legal news roundup

Lawyer Derek From and farmer Michael Schmidt hold a news conference on the steps of Osgoode Hall in Toronto February 5th. The results of the appeal are not expected to be announced soon.

Farmer and activist Michael Schmidt has more than one legal controversy on the go. A couple of weeks ago Michael was in the news for taking Ontario raw milk case to Ontario’s highest court.  Continue reading

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Judge’s ruling drove Dan Brown out of farming — now he’s appealing the case

From David E. Gumpert, on the Complete Patient blog:

Former Maine Farmer Dan Brown, interviewed by television reporter. Photo via The Complete Patient blog.

“Lawyers for Maine farmer Dan Brown say a judge who issued an injunction last April barring him from selling raw milk “completely overlooked” that he would have had to spend $62,500 to comply with regulations to obtain a state permit for his one-cow dairy.

As a result, “The injunction has put Mr. Brown’s farm out of business,” according to a brief filed on behalf of Brown by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund to appeal the decision by Superior Court Judge Ann Murray.  In addition, Brown was assessed $1,132 in fines and court costs.  Continue reading

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Fukushima radiation — it’s here now

From Richard Chomko, via FB:

Likely thanks to the Fukushima disaster, background radiation levels have about quadrupled here in Vaughan. Geiger counter readings fluctuated, spiking up to .42 micro sieverts per hour. Here the meter shows .16. Pre-Fukushima levels were reported to be about .04. This was on Jan. 11, 2014.

The author reports that this was on a day it was snowing fairly heavily. Suspicion is that precipitation brings the radioactive particles down out of the atmosphere.

 

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GMOs in Australia; Raw milk in Ontario

From the Centre for Social Poetry:

West Australian farmer Steve Marsh, who is suing his long-time friend Michael Baxter, claiming the latter’s GM crops contaminated his organic farm. Picture: Marie Nirme Source: The Australian. Click image to go to the story in the Australian in which this photo appeared.

“Two court proceedings of global significance are currently underway. The first is in Perth, Western Australia; the second in Ontario, Canada. Both cases have relevance not just for the future of food, but of social life as a whole.

Steve Marsh is an organic farmer from Kojonup, Western Australia. He grew up using ‘conventional’ farming methods, and continued to do so when he took over the farm from his father. After experiencing a number of health issues, however, as well as observing reduced powers in some sheep dips and commercial fertilisers, he decided to trial, in 2004, organic farming, particularly grains. The yields were slightly lower, he said, but the quality was better. He also met a real consumer need for organic produce, and so was able to remain financially viable. Ultimately, he said he was happy to be providing a good quality, natural product to consumers.[1] Continue reading

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