Opinion/Editorial Archive

Industrial Agriculture to Blame in Bird Flu Outbreak

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Green Bay Press Gazette
by Michael Greger

Source: USDA

Avian influenza is sweeping the Midwest with outbreaks in 12 different states.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency in Wisconsin, enlisting the help of the National Guard to contain the disease. Last month, an outbreak struck a Jefferson County egg facility that confines some 200,000 chickens. Since then, 10 other farms have been infected.

Across the country, millions of birds have already died from the virus directly or been slated to be killed to prevent the flu from spreading. Highly pathogenic bird flu outbreaks like these, which were once a rare occurrence, now happen almost every year.

While the poultry and egg industries try to blame ducks and geese flying overhead (strange, since these animals have been doing so for thousands of years) the real culprits are the overcrowded, unsanitary and inhumane conditions in today’s industrial animal agriculture system. Read Full Article »

Democracy in the Grocery Aisle?

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Commentary by Will Fantle

Source: iStock

One of the more interesting takeaways from the state-based battle to enact GMO food ingredient labeling has been the deluge of money that Monsanto, their biotech allies, and Big Food corporate interests have been willing to spend to drown out your right-to-know about what you are putting in your mouth. Cornucopia’s research reveals that these supporters of ignorance have collectively showered more than $100 million on the four state referendums to date, in California, Washington, Colorado and Oregon.

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Citizens United, whatever constraints existed on corporate spending in elections have evaporated. Although state referendums are a different electoral animal, the willingness of corporate power to spend all that they need to prevail has been fully demonstrated. They have juiced the system and tilted electoral power in their direction. Read Full Article »

Stop Making Us Guinea Pigs

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

The New York Times
by Mark Bittman

Source: Montecruz Foto

The issues surrounding G.M.O.s — genetically modified organisms — have never been simple. They became more complicated last week when the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the widely used herbicide Roundup, probably causes cancer in humans. Two insecticides, malathion and diazinon, were also classified as “probable” carcinogens by the agency, a respected arm of the World Health Organization.

Roundup, made by Monsanto for both home and commercial use, is crucial in the production of genetically engineered corn and soybean crops, so it was notable that the verdict on its dangers came nearly simultaneously with an announcement by the Food and Drug Administration that new breeds of genetically engineered potato and apple are safe to eat. Which they probably are, as are the genetically engineered papayas we’ve been eating for some time. In fact, to date there’s little credible evidence that any food grown with genetic engineering techniques is dangerous to human health — unless, like much corn and soybeans, it’s turned into junk food. But, really, let’s be fair.

Fair, too, is a guess that few people are surprised that an herbicide in widespread use is probably toxic at high doses or with prolonged exposure, circumstances that may be common among farmers and farmworkers. Read Full Article »

Merchants of Doubt Exposes the Bull

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

No-Bull Food News
by Mike Callicrate

Source: LandLearn NSW

Not believing doesn’t make it untrue

In last week’s Atlantic article, Farmland Without Farmers, Wendell Berry describes how industrial agriculture has replaced men with machines, depriving the American landscape of its stewards and the culture they built. He discusses the value of living in a place for a long time and observing, in that place, what’s missing.

Over the last 35 years, as Wendell Berry describes, corporations have assumed near total control of agriculture while family farmers have lost their markets, their land, and their livelihoods. When family farmers are replaced with industrial corporate farms, animals, people, communities, and the environment all suffer. Why would any society allow the demise of their farmers and ranchers? They wouldn’t if they knew it was happening. In fact, any good citizen would raise hell at the thought of losing their food supply. So why aren’t more people speaking out about the concentration and consolidation of our agricultural and food system? Read Full Article »

When Enough Is Enough and We Stand for Our Rights

Friday, March 27th, 2015

A voice from Benton County, OR

by Harry MacCormack

Harry MacCormack

There is a disturbance on the Land, in our intestinal tracts, and in our cells and genes. It is not a new terror. It has been deteriorating life quality for over four generations. Wreaking havoc daily at subtle, mostly unseen levels, the devastation is more and more widespread. Putting a face to this overpowering activity leads to illusive, mostly hidden figures who only surface as giant international corporate names with which we’ve all become familiar.

In the 1950’s its slogan became “Better Living through Chemistry.” In the 1980’s it began a campaign to “Feed The World Through Genetic Engineering.” We as modern humans accepted what passed for science supporting this campaign, even though technologies based on that science were able to legitimatize the patenting of life processes, the turning into private-corporate property of our inherited Genetic Commons. Read Full Article »