industrial agriculture

Industrial Agriculture on Ecocentric Blog

Industrial livestock operations (aka factory farms) threaten human health, damage the environment, degrade rural communities and compromise animal welfare. This series explores the issue... in all its manure-spewing, pestilent repugnance.

Comprehending the Scale of Factory Farming

The latest calculations from Compassion in World Farming suggest that we farm around 70 billion animals worldwide every year - nearly 10 animals for every single person on the planet. Around 70% of these animals (that's nearly 50 billionare factory farmed, which is bad news for the farm animals, as well as people and planet.

Americans: Declare Your Independence from Supermarkets!

Ask a child where their food comes from and they will probably tell you "the grocery store." For most people, adults and children alike, the grocery store is the sole point of access to food. Little thought is put into its life beyond the shelves.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: If This Doesn't Convince You, Nothing Will

Let's start at the beginning - what is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)? Sugar as we know it traditionally came from sugar cane and later from sugar beets. HFCS was developed from corn in the late 1950s, refined for industrial production in the 1970s, and introduced into many processed foods from 1975-1985 - a big dietary and nutritional change that went largely unnoticed over the past 35 years.

Genetically Modified Organisms: If This Doesn’t Convince You, Nothing Will

To start at the beginning, what are Genetically Modified Organisms? GMOs have had their DNA altered in a way that doesn’t happen naturally. Individual genes are transferred from one organism to another to obtain a desired trait or characteristic, including transferring between non-related species (such as placing jellyfish genes in pig embryos to create glowing pigs). The process is referred to as "modern biotechnology," "gene technology," "recombinant DNA technology" or "genetic engineering."

Pesticides: If This Doesn’t Convince You, Nothing Will

I recently read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson and was shocked. Published in 1962, it attacked the use of pesticides and read like a story that might have been written today about the detrimental effects of ____ (fill in the blank), a product that hasn’t been properly tested, but is being sold anyway.

Not So Fast, Purveyors of Junk Science: Factory Farms Are Not Green

Demystifying the Environmental Sustainability of Food Production, a paper by Jude Capper, Roger Cady and Dale Bauman, demonstrates either a lamentable misunderstanding of the impacts of livestock production practices, or a willful effort to misrepresent the facts. Or perhaps a little of both.

Let Them Drink Milk! States Losing Drinking Water to Tortured Cows

A conflict in New Mexico is shaping up as a pitched battle between industrial dairy's desire to avoid regulation and the public's right to clean, safe drinking water. According to the state environment department, at least two-thirds of the groundwater underneath or adjacent to New Mexico's dairy CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) has been poisoned by nitrates.

New Toxic Pesticides to Replace Older Ozone Depleting Pesticides

Nothing says summer like strawberries, but before you bite into your next, read this. Methyl Bromide, a soil fumigant often used on strawberry crops, was phased out in the US by 2005 because it was depleting the ozone layer. The phase out was based on the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Clean Air Act. And what did they replace it with? Another toxic pesticide.

A New Shade of Greenwash

Never an industry to miss the chance to make a quick buck or million, Big Ag has long since jumped on the greenwagon. Lately though, a new shade of greenwash has emerged from the smarmy depths of industrial agricultural marketing departments...

From Bush Legs to Bad Business Practices - It’s Been a Busy Week for Poultry

It’s been quite a week for US poultry. On Monday, 25 US Senators ranging across the ideological spectrum from Al Franken to Orrin Hatch, united to urge President Obama to use his meeting this Thursday with President Medvedev to negotiate an end to Russia’s ban on imports of US chicken. On Tuesday the USDA issued proposed rules to clarify the meaning of "unfair business practices" under the almost 90-year-old federal Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act with the goal of reliving some of the abuses found in the poultry and livestock industries.

Industrial Eggs, Industrial-Size Messes

Nobody likes a massive outbreak of foodborne illness. On the upside, when 1,500 consumers are sickened by Salmonella and industrial processors are forced to recall more than half a billion eggs, people start to pay a bit more attention to how these things are being produced.

Mind Your Beeswax: Calling Attention to CCD (A Film Review)

"Vanishing of the Bees" follows the story of American beekeepers who are rapidly losing their bees to the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). The investigation reveals that the culprit may be tied to our industrial farming practices.

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