Posts Tagged ‘Industrial Agriculture’
Dec. 14, 2010 By Ron Najafi TheScientist
Here’s what we need to do to create new antibiotics and extend the life of those that already exist
People are proposing various solutions, such as offering financial incentives to the pharmaceutical industry to spur the development of vitally needed antibiotics. But along with creating new drugs, we can get more life from our existing antibiotics and maintain their utility. As the head of a company focused on the development of compounds to treat and prevent a wide range of infections without causing bacterial resistance, this is an issue I find both fascinating and vitally important. In my opinion, there are five ways we can extend the functional life of our antibiotic arsenal.
1. Do the obvious
In a recent New York Times article, Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Extending the Cure project on antibiotic resistance at the policy organization Resources for the Future, suggested that the government should focus on conserving the effectiveness of existing antibiotics by preventing their unnecessary use in people and farm animals, and by requiring better infection control measures in hospitals.
These are crucial steps, which should be taken immediately. First, we must stop and assess the use of antibiotics as additives to the feed of our farm animals, and specifically prevent the unnecessary use of antibiotics in animals that are not sick. The U.S. Congress has already urged farmers to stop the overuse of antibiotics in animals because it is creating new, drug-resistant strains of bacteria that can spread to humans. A recent CBS news report spotlighted microbiologist Stuart Levy at Tufts University, the individual who identified tetracycline resistance in chickens more than 30 years ago. In his research, nearly all of the E. coli in the intestinal tracts of the chickens become tetracycline-resistant after one week of treatment.
Family Farmers Face Unfair Competition from “Organic” Factory Farms
The Cornucopia Institute, Sept 26, 2010
CORNUCOPIA, WI – An independent report has been released that focuses on widespread abuses in organic egg production, primarily by large industrial agribusinesses. The study profiles the exemplary management practices employed by many family-scale organic farmers engaged in egg production, while spotlighting abuses at so-called factory farms, some confining hundreds of thousands of chickens in industrial facilities, and representing these eggs to consumers as “organic.”
The report will be formally presented to the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the October meeting of the National Organic Standards Board in Madison, Wisconsin.
Jul 26, 2010 by Richard Heinberg
(Author’s note: This is the Introduction to an inspirational / financial-advice / environmental / diet / dating / self-help / survivalist / humor book that I started to write—and quickly decided should never be finished. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken it even this far. You be the judge.)
What can you do to optimize your chances in the case of hyperinflation, a deflationary economic Depression, an oil crisis, a famine, or a series of horrendous environmental disasters? If you don’t already know, you’d better wise up fast—because some or all of these exciting opportunities are on their way to a neighborhood near you! In fact, one or two may already be tapping you on the shoulder and asking to make your acquaintance.
Pointy-headed intellectuals have been warning us about this stuff for years. Decades. Who cares? Who’s had the time for depressing, worrisome, gloomy, hard-to-understand statistics and graphs? There’s been work to do, money to be made, kids to put through college, new episodes of American Idol to watch.
Until now. We have finally arrived at the fabulous convergence of two Earth-shattering developments: First, real environmental and economic catastrophes are starting to happen and are tugging on our Comfy Cushion of Consumer Complacency, requiring us to actually Do Something. Second, someone (guess who?) has figured out how to frame these mega-scary events in such inviting, entertaining, and potentially profitable terms that the irresistible win/win euphoria of it all can make you almost completely forget just how abysmally awful our situation actually is.
Welcome to my book, YOU can Be a BILLIONAIRE Without Even Trying! In it, you will learn why the U.S. economy is now the butt of jokes in Chad; why the stuff that makes your car go is about to become as rare and valuable as . . . as . . . as something actually rare and valuable; why the global food system is making more and more people watch their waistlines (as they shrivel); and why Mother Nature seems to be puzzlingly mean-tempered lately—almost as if we had done something to annoy her.
By Robin Willoughby
Last week, in Rome, a little-known agricultural symposium took place – the World Seed Conference. The conference is held under the auspices of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Although the conference does not receive much press, it is perhaps the most important conference to farmers in the developing world. Two themes were clearly depicted among the talks from UN figures, government officials, and industry representatives: technology enhanced seeds, and intellectual property rights on genetic resources in poorer countries.
The event turned out to be more or less a meeting among agricultural big wigs to figure out the best way to take advantage of small farmers in poor regions of the world. The biotech industry, along with big agri, are trying to tighten their grip on the world by extending their monopoly rights towards plants created by natural reproduction that cannot be easily manipulated by technology. The outcome of the conference may have a very negative effect on small-scale farmers in developing countries.
Rather than focusing on a collaborative approach to get the best genuine biodiversity and protecting the rights of farmers, much of the discussion over the week came from the industry leaders trying to exploit economically poor, environmentally rich countries. There were, however, a few examples throughout the week that focused on an alternative agricultural approach to sustainable biodiversity, but unfortunately many laws and regulations have already been put in place that only ensures profit to big agri and the biotech industry with little gain for the small farmer.
read more (scroll half-way down the page)
Chris Hedges TruthDig
“Our most potent political weapon is food. If we take back our agriculture, if we buy and raise produce locally, we can begin to break the grip of corporations that control a food system as fragile, unsafe and destined for collapse as our financial system. If we continue to allow corporations to determine what we eat, as well as how food is harvested and distributed, then we will become captive to rising prices and shortages and increasingly dependent on cheap, mass-produced food filled with sugar and fat. Food, along with energy, will be the most pressing issue of our age. And if we do not build alternative food networks soon, the social and political ramifications of shortages and hunger will be devastating……..”
Obama’s considering appointing a former Monsanto vice president, Mike Taylor, to head the Food Safety Working Group at the FDA.
As Jill Richardson writes at LaVidaLocavore at the link above, Taylor thinks the FDA wastes too much time on food safety inspections at meat packing plants. Further, he believes that one of their main problems is that they have to slow down their line speed too much.
Everyone who’s read anything about the horrendous working conditions at US meatpacking plants knows that incomplete kills before slaughter and worker injuries increase dramatically when line speeds increase.
As also noted at the Ethicurean, Taylor is the reason milk from rBGH/rBST cows doesn’t have to be labeled. Bovine growth hormone is perfectly safe, after all. Except for cows, or humans who drink its breakdown products in milk.
So yes, Mike Taylor is the person we have to thank for putting pus from mastitis-infected cows into the milk supply, and exposing milk-drinking Americans by the millions to greater cancer risks.
This guy is heading up a food safety working group.
I’m just swimming in the changeiness.