Monday, August 31, 2009

Boulder's Farming Debate

Hysterics win a round in farm debate
By Vincent Carroll
Posted: 08/29/2009 01:00:00 AM MDT

The Luddites won a round this week in Boulder County.

Yes, the science-challenged activists who fear genetically modified crops succeeded in keeping GM sugar beets from being grown by six farmers on open space land — at least for the time being.

If I seem to harp on this conflict, having laid out the farmers' case some weeks ago, it's because the overall stakes are so large. Fear-mongers have retarded the adoption of GM crops elsewhere, too, even when their advantages are clear.

GM crops are mostly prohibited in Europe, for example, because of popular fear of "Frankenstein foods." Then again, Europeans used to execute witches by the thousands, too, with roughly the same degree of supporting evidence. Some things never change.

The Boulder farmers were so shocked by the raw emotion of opponents that they eventually asked commissioners to postpone a decision. Naturally the commissioners obliged. You wouldn't expect three beleaguered officials to tell the hysterics to take a hike, would you?

Never mind that county staff recommended the commission approve the applications, or that genetically modified corn is already grown on open space there. For that matter, the county already slashes rates for leaseholders willing to switch to organic farming, open space director Ron Stewart told me recently. What's next: outright payments to accelerate the transition?

Read More

It’s been an interesting debate unfolding in Boulder, CO as of late. Land that is owned by the county and being farmed by local farmers is at the center of the discussion. There are some very vocal people leading a charge that will only allow organic food to be grown on the land. The typical, un-supported arguments have been being used by the pro-organic crowd. For me, it boils down to an elitist argument. Even with the lowest cost of food in the world, many families struggle to make ends meet and have enough food to eat. There is no doubt that organic food is more expensive. So if these vocal elitists have their way, it would make food more expensive and less available to working families. As a person that has been involved in growing food all of my life so that everyone has something to eat, it would be hard for me to accept that.

AR's Protest Wolf Hunting

Animal Rights Group Calling for Boycott of Idaho Potatoes

In just a few days one animal rights group is calling for a boycott of one of Idaho's biggest exports, potatoes.

The Connecticut based animal rights group is angry over Idaho's proposed wolf hunts that are supposed to start on Tuesday, September 1st.

The group called Friends of Animals is urging those in opposition of the hunts to boycott Idaho grown potatoes. The group is also criticizing Governor Butch Otter and his support of the wolf hunts.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is putting the warning out though that Tuesday's wolf hunt doesn't have a green light just yet.

A district judge in Montana still has to weigh in on environmental groups efforts to stop the hunt as part of their push to have Federal Endangered Species Act protections restored to the big predators that now number over 1,600 Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

A hearing is scheduled for Monday where a final decision will be made.

The wolf hunts are supposed to start Tuesday in Idaho and on September 15th in Montana.

Idaho Fish and Game officials are asking hunters to check their website at or call the toll free wolf hunt information hotline at 1-877-872-3190 for more the latest information on the court proceedings. Link

It’s usually evident that most animal rights activists don’t have the best interests of the animals in mind by the things that they protest. Take the wolf issue for example. Rather than be supportive of proper management, they only support the absolute protection of them. But when this population isn’t controlled by humans, Mother Nature will take over and thin the pack through starvation and disease. So in essence, they would rather see these wolves suffer and die over the course of several weeks than meet their end with the swiftness of an accurately placed bullet.

Filipinos Benefitting from Modern Food Production

Isabela farmers shift to hybrids for bigger yields
By Max Ballesteros (The Philippine Star)
Updated August 30, 2009 12:00 AM

ROXAS, Isabela , Philippines — Well aware of “success stories” in rice production in some parts of the country, more and more farmers here in the province are finally turning to hybrid rice varieties to get better yields.

Roxas Mayor Harry Soller, who is pushing for the adoption of scientific methods in food production, said some farmers in his hometown had tried the Mestizo 1 (M1) hybrid variety two years ago and liked the results. The shift is thus seen as an effort on their part to help achieve and sustain rice self-sufficiency in the province.

Production shortfalls have resulted in yearly rice importation to beef up supply of the staple cereal especially during the lean months. Only recently, the National Food Authority has signed contracts for the delivery of additional 75,000 metric tons costing about P2 billion — money which could otherwise be used to help modernize Philipiine agriculture and improve lives of many Filipinos.

Soller said traditional farmers in the area have begun embracing modern approaches in their rice farming operations and are now devoting more areas for hybrid rice production.

Sophelina Flores, local LGU coordinator under the ‘One Town - One Product” program, said since farmers have turned to hybrid, their harvests have reached 210 or more cavans per hectare which, about three times as much as that of ordinary rice varieties. Read More

I think it’s always interesting to listen to the view point of hungry nations on the debate over modern ag production. Almost always, they are looking for new technologies that they can implement because they do not want to be dependent on other countries for their food supply. Yet in this country, where the grocery shelves have been full for several generations, there are some that want to eliminate technology from food production, even if it means eliminating family farms and ranches along the way. The only way our country can continue to be a sovereign nation is to be able to feed ourselves. It’s the most basic of needs but it has been taken for granted.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Climate Change Panel Discussion

Higher electric bills seen from 'cap-and-trade'
By Kevin Woster, Journal staff

Cool it on global warming.

That was the call from business, coal industry and agricultural representatives Tuesday in Rapid City during a panel discussion on energy reform. They warned that electrical bills in western South Dakota and elsewhere will rise, and the economy could fall, if fears over climate change lead Congress to push through overly aggressive reform package.

And the heartland of America could be hardest hit, as states that rely on coal, oil and natural gas bear the brunt of fossil-fuel restrictions, Wyoming state Rep. Thomas Lubnau of Gillette said.
“It’s shifting dollars from the center of the United States to the West Coast and Northeast,” he said.

But an advocate for an energy reform package being pushed by President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress said climate change is real,and reform is needed soon. Matt McGovern of Sioux Falls, the state director for Repower America, said South Dakota could actually benefit in jobs and an economic surge through incentives in the reform package for the development of wind power and other alternative fuels.

“This is a great bill for South Dakota,” he said.

“That map is an aberration, and that’s why we don’t use it in our materials,” she said.

Black Hills Corp. officials contend that South Dakota electric consumers will feel a sharp rise in rates under the cap-and-trade proposal, just like consumers in Wyoming and states with great amounts of oil, coal and natural gas production.

Those effects could hit hard in the West River ranching community, where additional energy costs could disrupt an agriculture economy that has helped feed the world for generations, Vale rancher Troy Hadrick said.

“I’m really concerned that this climate change legislation has the potential to change all that, really has the potential to put us out of business,” he said. Read More

One of the things that I was doing this week, and one of the reasons you haven’t heard much from me this week, was sit on a panel to discuss climate change legislation and the potential impact on energy costs. I was there to represent agriculture’s interests on the panel and tried to emphasize to the audience that food production would be greatly impacted. Affordable energy is turned into affordable food on America’s farms and ranches. A representative from Al Gore’s group was also on the panel and one of his statements is quite telling of their attitude on this issue. He claimed that ALL scientists agree that we have global warming occurring so we can quit talking about that. They don’t even want to talk about that anymore, he will only say that we have to curb emissions regardless of the cost and regardless of the impact it will have.

SPCA Exec Forgets Dog In Hot Car

Va. SPCA exec's dog dies after 4 hours in hot car
(AP) – 1 day ago

RICHMOND, Va. — An executive for an anti-animal cruelty group says her 16-year-old blind and deaf dog died after she accidentally left him in her hot car for four hours.

Robin Starr, the CEO of the Richmond Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says she didn't realize "Louie" was in the car until noon. Starr's husband, Ed, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he put the dog in her car as she got ready for work Aug. 19. She often took the dog to work with her.

Robin Starr took the dog to two clinics, but he died of kidney failure.

The National Weather Service says the temperature had reached 91 degrees by noon that day.
The board of the SPCA says it still supports Starr, who has been CEO since 1997 and does not plan to resign. It was unclear whether she would be charged. Link

I only want to highlight this news story for one reason. I know we can all make mistakes and I certainly make more than my fair share of them, but I think the reaction from the animal rights community will be the interesting thing. Her employer has already said that they support her and will not fire her over this. I also doubt we will see anything else happen either. Would the rest of us get the same treatment from the SPCA if we did this same thing? If she is intellectually honest with herself, will she call for the same punishment for herself and her husband that she would for anyone else? Personally, I don’t think she should lose her job, she made a mistake and I doubt that she will do it again.

More On Walsh

Quittin’ TIME
By AgWeb

If you’ve been by the magazine stand at your local supermarket or library, you’ll note that one of the nation’s major weekly magazines has as this week’s cover story a blistering attack on conventional agriculture. [And I see fellow AgWeb blogger Matt Bogard has beat me to the punch, but as most fighters know, a 1-2 combination is most effective].

The Aug. 21st issue of Time magazine is entitled “the Real Cost of Cheap Food.” What’s mostly notable about the piece is how predictable and derivative it truly is. There is not a single new fact or assertion in the article that hasn’t long been trotted out by the various anti- activists. You know the ones: Anti-large farms, anti-antibiotic use, anti-carnivores, anti-change. In reading through the article, I kept waiting for something really provocative to appear, but in truth, it read like a college newspaper article. By that I mean that the author didn’t really sift his facts or consider whether the source of them was pushing their own agenda. He just threw them all in the article, because (in ironic comparison to the article itself, which says that too much cheap food leads to obesity) stuffing all those criticisms in one story makes for a very fattening diatribe. Read More

I believe that one of the most frustrating part of all of these negative articles being printed about agriculture is that they are nothing but opinion pieces yet they are trying to portray it as a factual, researched piece. And this isn’t even up for debate because Walsh interviewed several people actually involved in food production and yet chose not to tell both sides of the story. This blatant attempt to NOT tell both sides of the story probably speaks towards Walsh’s integrity as a whole and his respect for journalism.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kristof Says Farmers Have No Soul

August 23, 2009
Op-Ed Columnist
Food for the Soul

On a summer visit back to the farm here where I grew up, I think I figured out the central problem with modern industrial agriculture. It’s not just that it produces unhealthy food, mishandles waste and overuses antibiotics in ways that harm us all.

More fundamentally, it has no soul.

The family farm traditionally was the most soulful place imaginable, and that was the case with our own farm on the edge of the Willamette Valley. I can’t say we were efficient: for a time we thought about calling ourselves “Wandering Livestock Ranch,” after our Angus cattle escaped in one direction and our Duroc hogs in another. Read More

Every Kristof article about agriculture and food production always starts off with him trying to establish some type of credibility because he grew up on a farm several decades ago. Kristof thinks all farms should look like the one he grew up on. He doesn’t think anything else other than what he knows is a “real family farm”. Now he has gone a step further in trying to insult many farmers and ranchers by claiming that they don’t have a soul. He doesn’t really explain at what point one loses their soul however. He talks to a friend that has a 225 cow dairy and apparently he is OK, but what about the guy down the road with 300 head or how about 700 head? At what point does Kristof think farmers and ranchers quit caring about what they do?

Walsh Refuses Accurate Info About Beef Production

TIME Publishes Biased View of Beef Industry
An attempt by the NCBA to educate TIME magazine reporter seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
By: Compiled by staff
Published: Aug 24, 2009

The cover story of the Aug. 31 edition of TIME is entitled "The Real Cost of Cheap Food." In the article reporter Bryan Walsh painted modern beef production with an unflattering brush of a wide range of claims. He included common myths of over-reliance on corn and antibiotics, poor farm animal living conditions, and how meat is leading to obesity.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association was contacted by Walsh last week asking what the cost of raising a 1200 pound steer from birth to slaughter in a conventional production method. NCBA Executive Director of Communications Daren Williams was concerned, knowing that Walsh had written a piece last September that was very biased and slanted against the food industry and beef industry. In that article Walsh accused livestock production of causing global warming and that eating meat increased the risk of heart disease as well as several other blanket statements that could not and are not substantiated by science.

"I had some immediate concerns obviously whether or not Bryan Walsh was interested in writing a fair and balanced piece on modern food production," Williams said. "At that time I put him in touch with and insisted really that he speak with a number of experts and actual producers." Read More

Bryan Walsh’s article in TIME magazine was a ridiculous compilation of nearly every inaccurate stereotype about modern agriculture. The lack of effort to write an article in which both sides were presented and the reader allowed to decide was glaring to say the least. Even with the ability to talk to people in the industry and see for himself how things work, he chose the lazy way out. If farmers and ranchers put as much effort into their work as Walsh did, we’d all be hungry and naked right now.

Ag Necessary For Peace

Taking the Afghan Fight to the Farm
Published: August 25, 2009

SEDALIA, MISSOURI — A mission to defeat the Taliban was under way this month amid the funnel cakes, corn dogs and a giant purple robot strolling the midway at the state fair in Sedalia, Missouri.

Mohammad Hussein Safi, an Afghan agriculture official, toured the commodities exhibition building, stockyards and greenhouses to learn techniques for improving grain yields and animal husbandry back in his home province of Nangarhar.

Rebuilding Afghanistan’s shattered agrarian economy is fundamental to President Barack Obama’s strategy of stabilizing the country and turning around an increasingly deadly war that claimed a record 76 U.S. and allied casualties last month. In areas where security and agriculture have improved, opium-poppy cultivation has fallen. If that can be achieved nationwide, the Taliban insurgency would lose a major source of revenue, and Mr. Obama could reassure a Congress dubious of investing more in aid where past programs have failed.

“We can’t succeed in Afghanistan if the Afghan people aren’t successful in agriculture,” says Otto J. Gonzalez, a farming adviser to Richard C. Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Read More

Agriculture is the basis on which all societies and cultures succeed or fail. Without a successful agricultural base on which to build, your country will be hungry. At that point, nothing else really matters. In order to bring peace back into the country of Afghanistan, their fields will need to grow food rather than drugs. Afghanistan realizes that after all they have been through. I wish some people in this country could realize that as well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Crazy Week

It seems that everything is coming down on this one week. Between our regional Central States Fair that I have duties at, ultrasounding more of our cows, and a regional energy meeting that I ahve been asked to speak at, the blog is going to suffer.

Today I am going to be sitting on a panel representing ag's interests in climate change and energy legislation. It is sure to be fun and I am excited that they agreed to include ag on the panel. Originally that wasn't going to happen. The panel is also going to include someone from Al Gore's group Repower America. It will certainly be interesting. To see more about the meeting today click here.

So in the meantime, be patient with the blog and I will hopefully catch up later today or tomorrow.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Food Inc. Does Shoddy Work

8/20/2009 11:52:00 AM
Documentary film 'Food, Inc.' shows only one side of story

What would you think of a newspaper story that presented only one side of an issue?

You'd call it shoddy journalism.

That's exactly the impression left by the new documentary film "Food, Inc." In it, the director and producers present a portion of the picture of production agriculture, in the process building a case in favor of locally produced, organic food.

However, huge parts of the story were left out.

For example:

n The film several times shows Humane Society of the United States video of "downer" cows that was secretly taken at a California slaughter plant. However, it makes no mention that the USDA inspector general has found that the agency's budget was inadequate to inspect properly the cattle at the plant. They also forgot to mention that the plant is no longer in business.

n Film footage of feedlots leads viewers to believe that all cattle spend their entire lives there instead of spending a short time on feed before going to slaughter.

n A portion of the film focuses on farmers who save soybean and corn seed. Farmers who buy patented seeds cannot save their the seed. Seed dealers tell them that, and over the past several years it has been discussed at length in the farm community. That this should be presented as a surprise to anyone is disingenuous, to say the least. Read More

Food Inc. continues to make it’s tour around the country, misinforming viewers about agriculture. Basically it comes down to the integrity and honesty of the main principles of the movie. They know they made a movie that that only shows one side of the issue, and used sensationalism and innuendo to characterize current production models. Yet they tried to pass this off as a documentary. Their agenda is obvious to many, they should just be honest with themselves and the public.

Stereotyping Agriculture

Friday, Aug. 21, 2009
Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food
By Bryan Walsh
Correction Appended: Aug. 20, 2009

Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won't bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That's the state of your bacon — circa 2009. Read More

In the first paragraph alone, the reporter (using that term loosely) manages to fit in nearly every stereotype that isn’t accurate about modern agriculture. This is more like hearsay than reporting. No matter what type of production system is used, there will be advantages and drawbacks. To read this, you would think there is a perfect model that can be easily followed. If a reporter wants to be taken seriously, they should fairly and accurately report both sides of an issue and let the reader decide for themselves what their opinion will be.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Rice Variety is Flood Resistant

Scientists develop high-yield deep water rice
By ERIC TALMADGE (AP) – 12 hours ago

TOKYO — A team of Japanese scientists has discovered genes that enable rice to survive high water, providing hope for better rice production in lowland areas that are affected by flooding.
The team, primarily from the University of Nagoya, reported their findings in Thursday's issue of Nature, the science magazine.

The genes, called SNORKEL genes, help rice grow longer stems to deal with higher water levels. Deep-water rice generally produces lower-yield rice plants. But the researchers report they have succeeded in introducing the genes to rice varieties that are higher-yield.

According to the report, as water levels rise, accumulation of the plant hormone ethylene activates the SNORKEL genes, making stem growth more rapid. When the researchers introduced the genes into rice that does not normally survive in deep water, they were able to rescue the plants from drowning.

Motoyuki Ashikari, who headed the project, said his team is hoping to use the gene on long grain rice widely used in Southeast Asia to help stabilize production in flood-prone areas where rice with the flood-resistant gene is low in production — about one-third to one-quarter that of regular rice. Read More

There are some people in our society that are trying to make an issue of genetically modifying plants. It’s something that humans have been doing for thousands of years. Recently, technology has allowed us to do it faster and better than ever before. This has resulted in incredible advancements in crop farming. Rice is a staple crop on much of this planet. Unfortunately, crop failure due to flooding has been an issue but that is hopefully about to change. Scientists have identified a gene that allows the plant to survive flood conditions and still produce a high yielding crop. Thanks to modern food production techniques, more people will have more rice available to them.

Comparing Pig Farmers to Michael Vick??

August 19, 2009, 1:29 pm
Michael Vick’s Apology
By Gail Collins AND Ross Douthat

Matt Rourke/The Associated Press People protested outside the Philadelphia Eagles N.F.L. practice facility on August 15. Two days before, Michael Vick had signed a contract with the Eagles after serving 18 months in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting ring.

Gail Collins: Ross, since this is our last week of conversing I wanted to show my appreciation by not making you talk about health care again. So — how about Michael Vick, the dog-abusing football player who was just signed by the Philadelphia Eagles?

A lot of fans are angry that he’s being given this chance, because they either A.) feel Vick hasn’t proven his remorse or B.) just believe that what he did — underwriting a dog-fighting ring in Virginia — is unforgiveable.

(Before we go on, here’s a shout-out to whoever made up the T-shirts saying: “Vick’s an Eagle, hide your beagle.”)

We seem willing to overlook grisly deaths and extreme suffering when the being in question isn’t particularly adorable.

I have seen many, many athletes, politicians and movie stars apologize for bad behavior and when it comes to believability, I’d say Vick is definitely up there in the top 10 percent. When celebrities apologize, you have to watch out for depersonalization ( “then, the gun went off and shot her”) and attempts to blame the whole thing on the angry public ( “if anyone is offended by what I said, then I regret that”). But on “60 Minutes,” Vick took responsibility for his behavior and expressed his shame for what he had done so effectively that I wondered if he had hired an apology coach. And he’s making anti-dog-fight speeches for the Humane Society of the United States.

What he did was horrible. The dogs weren’t only put in a ring to fight; the ones that failed were brutally killed. I’m not clear how much of this he did himself, but he knew what was going on, bet on the games and observed a lot of the sadism. The whole dog-fight spectacle is meant to brutalize the people who watch it, just as it did Vick, who said he began going to fights like that when he was 8.

However, all animals feel pain. But we seem willing to overlook grisly deaths and extreme suffering when the being in question isn’t particularly adorable. If we agree that it’s immoral — and illegal — for a dog to be made to suffer unnecessarily, shouldn’t that rule be applied across the board?

I was struck when Daniel Rubin, a columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer asked Peter Singer, the bioethicist and author of “Animal Liberation” about the Vick case. Singer said he thought people might have “rushed to judgment because he did something awful to dogs.” He pointed out that pigs suffer in the conditions where they’re being kept as they’re raised and then killed for food. But nobody cares much even though “there’s every reason to believe that pigs are as sensitive and intelligent as dogs.”

So here’s my bottom line:

Although professional athletes are not universally the smartest or best-educated guys in the universe, they have great sway over kids and should be held to a high standard. So the ones who beat up their wives or get drunk and run people over ought to get the same kind of mass repudiation the animal-abuser got.

We should channel some of our concern for dogs and cats toward factory farms that keep masses of animals in a state of permanent discomfort until they’re slaughtered.

But you do not have to invite a pig to sleep at the foot of your bed. Read More

This New York Times reporter is comparing hog farmers to the dogfighter, Michael Vick. How insulting! Hog farmers work hard everyday to make sure that their animals are well taken care of, that they have a balanced diet, clean water and protection from inclement weather. Vick intentionally hurt dogs for nothing more than entertainment. The pigs that are raised by our family farmers are respectfully harvested and then utilized as a food source that nourishes the body with important nutrients. It’s quite apparent that the reporter hasn’t even been on a hog farm. If so, the story would be written quite differently.

Promoting The Beef Industry

Veterinarian urges transparency on animal welfare
By Drovers news source Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kansas State University veterinarian Dan Thomson believes that the U.S. beef industry is doing a lot of things right when it comes to animal welfare - but that there´s plenty more work to do when it comes to perceptions and realities about animal welfare.

"There isn´t anyone in this room who is not concerned about animal welfare," said Thomson, speaking to attendees at the 2009 K-State Beef Conference Aug. 13. He said that while most producers work in an ethical and humane manner, the industry has not done a good job of educating the non-farm public of standard management practices or of reminding citizens that beef producers are food producers.

Speaking on the topic "Animal Welfare - It´s Your Business," Thomson, who is an associate professor in clinical sciences in K-State´s College of Veterinary Medicine, said that concerns about the subject first arose surrounding the use of animals for research purposes.

That concern has now spilled over to livestock production for food purposes. Read More

Many of the things that Dr. Thomson mentions are things that you have heard me say for the last several years. It’s essential that all of us in the livestock industry take an active role in promoting animal agriculture. It should be perfectly clear to everyone that there is an effort in this country to put all farmers and ranchers that raise livestock out of business. If you aren’t prepared to do something about it, then be prepared to accept it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hi Blogger

I'm not a spam blog, just a fifth generation rancher from South Dakota telling the story of agriculture. The next time you bite into a juicy steak, remember that it was a rancher like me that raised that animal and worked hard to provide food for your table. Thanks.


Vegan Children's Book

Children’s vegan book stirs controversy
By Aisha Sultan
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A new children book by Ruby Roth has been praised by Jane Goodall, PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk and other best-selling authors. But Roth’s call to action in “That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things” has stirred some controversy, as well. It claims to offers children a look at the emotional lives of animals, their experience on factory farms, and the effect that eating animals has on the environment and endangered species.

The author addresses some of the most frequently raised issues about the book in a prepared release:

Q. Publisher’s Weekly said that the descriptions and images may be “a little overwhelming” for children. How have kids reacted at readings so far?

A. I have never experienced a child who was overwhelmed or freaked out by the book. I’ve found, in fact, the opposite. Children show incredible interest and insight. They ask questions and relate the information to their own lives-their pets, their gardens, their vegetarian relative. One 4th grader told me that factory farms reminded her of what her class was learning about slavery! Read More

As with most vegans who force their ideas on young children, they are more concerned about their own personal agenda than they are about the health of the child. Listen to what they are telling children, don’t eat a balanced diet and ignore accepted nutritional guidelines. And this to a group of children that are growing and developing and could suffer the consequences of a bad diet for the rest of their lives. Here’s what most parents are trying to teach their kids, eat a balanced diet that includes meat and dairy products and get regular exercise.

AVMA Responds to PEW Report

AVMA says Pew Commission report is flawed, unscientific
Response addresses commission's recommendations, advertisements

An AVMA report says recommendations by a prominent critic of industrial animal agriculture are unscientific and can actually threaten human health.

The document, available at, questions the validity of the content and review process for a report published in 2008 by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production ( on the sustainability of the nation's food animal production systems. The AVMA contends the report is not consistent with the well-documented, science-based reports that the Association has come to expect from the Pew Commission.

The AVMA response is being widely distributed, and members of Congress are among those who will receive copies.

The AVMA document, "The American Veterinary Medical Association Response to the Report of the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production," was a product of members of eight volunteer leadership councils and committees and three staff divisions. The Pew Commission report, "Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America," was a two-year project of the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. David R. Smith, a professor and the extension dairy and beef veterinarian for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said it is important for the AVMA to provide veterinarians' perspective on the Pew Commission's conclusions. He said authors of the Pew report have been trying to raise awareness about their recommendations, particularly among members of Congress involved in antimicrobial use legislation.

Dr. Smith is one of the AVMA volunteer leaders who read the Pew report, evaluated the commission's recommendations, and crafted the AVMA's response. The Pew report is directly related to his work with cattle producers on issues of food safety, responsible use of antimicrobials, animal well-being, and the public health impacts of cattle management.

Dr. Smith said the Pew report lacks insight into animal health issues, why antimicrobials are used in food-producing animals, and the regulation of those antimicrobials. He hopes the AVMA report provides people with a critical look at the Pew Commission's recommendations and "whether acting on those recommendations would make the world a better place."

"Largely, our conclusions were that the Pew report was a superficial look at animal agriculture, and the recommendations lacked deep understanding of the issues involved," Dr. Smith said.

Read More

The PEW Commission’s report was basically written before they had their first meeting. It was very predictable what was going to be in there. Many of the panelists had already stated their viewpoints and it was doubtful they would be changed. Written mostly on emotion and with a lack of scientific understanding, the AVMA has chimed in to offer their expert opinion. Many of the suggestions offered by the PEW Commission have the potential to endanger the livestock and our food supply. If they had been serious about crafting a report with any type of credibility, they would have filled the panel with people familiar with taking care of livestock.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

4-H Members Honor Their Pledge

4H members donate portion of livestock sales
Aug 17 2009 10:09AM
Associated Press

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) Several members of a 4-H club in western Montana are donating a percentage of their livestock sales to a 9-year-old girl who is fighting cancer.

Sydney Cutler, a member of the Flint Creek Valley 4-H Club, was diagnosed with a tumor in early May and has since undergone surgery to remove the growth.

Cutler will begin a series of chemotherapy treatments in September.

Members of 4-H and FFA sold 126 animals and brought in more than $135,600 at the Tri-County Fair last week.

Most of the teenagers who sold animals at the fair last week plan to use a portion of the money to pay for college, while several 4-H members from Philipsburg donated 10 percent of their sales to Cutler. Link

One of the things that 4-H teaches you is the importance of service to your community. In the 4-H pledge every member pledges to give their hands to larger service and these young adults have done just that. By donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their livestock and months of hard work, they have become a shining example of what 4-H and rural America is all about.

Food & Animal Issues Center Gets Donation

A New Partner in Animal Rights Battle
Farm Bureau's Center for Food and Animal Issues gets big donation from Farm Credit Services of Mid-America.
By: Compiled by staff
Published: Aug 17, 2009

Ohio Farm Bureau Federation's newly created Center for Food and Animal Issues received a significant boost recently thanks to a $100,000 donation approved by the Board of Directors for Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, a $15.5 billion agriculture lending cooperative serving over 85,500 farmers and rural residents.

The center was created in May to bring together diverse interests including farmers, consumers, zoos, hunters, researchers and pet owners to make sure all voices are heard as decisions about animals are considered. The center will develop programs and partnerships that promote dialog among all stakeholders who benefit from animals in their lives.

"It seems logical that as an agricultural lender, we would get behind the Farm Bureau's initiative. Many of our board members are livestock farmers themselves and wholeheartedly support the objectives of the Center, feeling that changes or advancements in animal well-being guidelines should be based on expert analysis, economic feasibility and sound information," says Donnie Winters, president and chief executive officer for FCS. Read More

One of the trends that I have been noticing lately is that several industries that depend on animal agriculture are starting to more actively support it. Either through donations like the one that Farm Credit Services of Mid-America recently made or by helping us tell our story in other ways. These partnerships are very important in order for all of us to be successful in ensuring and protecting our domestic food supply.

Cost Estimates for Climate Bill

Climate bill would bloat federal agencies
Billions seen in new costs
By Amanda DeBard
Originally published 04:45 a.m., August 17, 2009, updated 01:29 p.m., August 17, 2009

The House-passed climate change bill, if enacted, would expand the federal government so much that it would take billions of dollars and thousands of new employees to implement.

Now-obscure federal agencies such as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would have to become mini-behemoths in order to handle their expanded responsibilities. Congress would have to appropriate billions of dollars for more bureaucrats, much of which is not reflected in the House bill.

"The problem is that there's a mismatch between the government's capacity and its mission," said Darrell M. West, vice president and director of governance studies at the left-leaning Brookings Institution.

One provision would almost overnight create the nation's largest commodity market in which polluters would buy and sell rights to emit carbon dioxide. These rights - called allowances - are at the heart of the measure, which seeks to slash the amount of greenhouse gases by forcing polluters to curb their emissions or pay for the right to pollute.

"It could be a $2 trillion market within five years," said Bart Chilton, commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the government's expansion would cost $8 billion over a 10-year period. For the bill to operate effectively, nearly 1,500 regulations and mandates would have to be approved for at least 21 federal agencies. The rule-making process alone would take years. Read More

Here is the only guarantee anyone can make about the climate change legislation, it is going to cost all of us a lot of money. There are no guarantees that we have global warming or that this legislation would help stop it if there was. With the CBO claiming that it would cost the government around $8 billion just implement the program and the billions, if not trillions, that consumers will spend, is it the best idea? Is it worth bankrupting our country over? If, as a country, we are going to spend trillions of dollars, I want to see more assurances on our return on investment.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ag Organizations Tell Importance of Antibiotics

Animal ag groups write White House on importance of antibiotics

A coalition of 20 organizations related to animal agriculture sent a letter today to Melody Barnes, assistant to President Barack Obama for domestic policy, regarding the on-farm use of low-level antibiotics in livestock and poultry. The letter outlined the actions taken by our groups, both individually and collectively, to ensure these important, safe, effective Food & Drug Administration (FDA)-approved products are used judiciously, minimizing risk to human health.

The letter said, "The bottom line for on-farm antibiotic use is this: Farmers and ranchers strive daily to provide best possible management of their animals through superior genetics, nutrition, veterinary care, housing and handling. Optimal animal health and welfare leads to production of safe, affordable and abundant food, critical to U.S. food security. Maintaining the health of U.S. herds and flocks requires farmers and ranchers to have all approved safe and effective technologies, including animal health products, available to us."

The letter went on to say that despite the allegations surrounding these uses, "no conclusive scientific studies have been offered demonstrating the use of antibiotics on farms contributes significantly to an increase in human resistance. In fact, a growing body of evidence shows just the opposite, namely the responsible, professional use of these products reduces pathogens in and on foods, enhancing animal welfare while not contributing to resistance."

The letter was addressed to Barnes, but it also was transmitted to the offices of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), House Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg and FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Dr. Joshua Sharfstein. Link

NASA Needs Cows in Space

NASA Developing BioFuel, Food Production Using Cellulose
Michael Barkoviak - August 14, 2009 8:22 AM
NASA continues research into cellulose, seeing a number of uses for it in space

NASA is researching cellulose, hoping astronauts on long missions will be able to grow their own plants for food, converting any inedible plant parts into biofuels, food, or chemicals that can be used in space.

"Turning waste into resources is our purpose," NASA Ames researcher Chad Paavola said in a statement. "We're working on a process that converts cellulose into sugar. Cellulose is a common substance found in all plants, including wheat straw, corn stalks, and woody material. Its sugar can be converted into other resources, such as food, fuels or chemicals.

"Specifically, cellulose is a raw material in high abundance, but gaining access to the sugar in cellulose continues to be difficult. Researchers have had a difficult time breaking down polymers -- the structure sugar in cellulose is arranged in -- but the use of enzyme complexes identified as cellulosomes can convert cellulose into proper sugar.

Cellulosomes are enzyme or bacteria complexes that don't operate inside the cell -- and are absolutely vital in breaking down cellulose. In the lab, NASA researchers created enzyme complexes mimicking natural cellulosomes, and worked from there.

"By placing the microbes' DNA sequences, or genetic blueprints, for these component parts into a common laboratory bacterium, the scientists were able to create a protein structure to act as a scaffold to attach enzymes with different functions, allowing the enzymes to work together more efficiently," according to the NASA press release.

On Earth, cellulose can be obtained by cotton and wood pulp, but it's unknown how it would be gathered in space. Cellulosic ethanol is said to reduce greenhouse gases - and can be obtained from almost every type of natural, free-growing plant or tree -- which makes it a viable resource here on Earth. As research into cellulose continues for methods that can be used on Earth, its role in space could be just as important. Read More

On Earth, we have a fantastic system for converting this plant waste into a usable form, it’s called a cow. Really, it’s any ruminant for that matter. They can take these inedible plant parts and turn them into protein. What NASA is calling “waste”, is how we feed our cows and utilize land that isn’t suitable for farming. It’s an amazing process when you think about it and it’s one of the reasons that livestock production is such an integral part of feeding people.

PETA Not Buying Vick's Remorse

PETA remains skeptical of Vick, considers protests at games
By Tom Pedulla, USA TODAY

Dan Shannon, a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), questioned the sincerity of Michael Vick's expressed remorse hours after the quarterback was introduced Friday as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.

"Not quite comfortable is how we feel about it," said Shannon. "It's possible he's on the right path and only time will tell. But we, as an organization, haven't seen sufficient evidence of that."
Vick took an eight-hour course offered by PETA, Developing Empathy for Animals, on Sept. 18, 2007.

According to Shannon, PETA's discomfort stemmed from months of discussions with Vick about broadcasting public service announcements aimed at helping to eliminate dogfighting. He said PETA suspected that the former NFL star was more interested in repairing his image than the cause itself and ended the talks in late January.

"It's hard to say what's really going on inside the guy," Shannon said. "Our worry was that he was doing it as a public relations move to try to regain his public image. Read More

The ironic thing about PETA being upset at Michael Vick is that they have killed tens of thousands of pets that they were responsible for. There is absolutely no excuse for what Vick did but he has paid his debt and will hopefully become a more constructive member of our society. The same can’t be said about PETA. The most unfortunate part of this whole situation is that the HSUS is using Vick to legitimize their organization. PETA should consider questioning HSUS's motives as well.

Friday, August 14, 2009

#Oink For Our American Pig Farmers

This Sunday,starting at 9 am Eastern time, the social networking site Twitter is going have more the feel of the barnyard rather than cyber space. The reason is that America's farmers and ranchers are getting together to educate consumer about pork production. Along with that, we will be dispelling the myths about the H1N1 virus and it's relationship to pork production.

You might remember that we did this a few weeks ago with #moo to highlight the struggles of the dairy industry. We had moo trending extremely high form many hours. It also gave many of us a chance to talk about agriculture and the beef industry in general. These are the types of opportunities that we must take advantage of in agriculture. I will guarantee you that many folks will have a much greater understanding about pork production after Sunday's event.

Please join us. If you don't have a twitter account already, just visit and you will be up and running in no time. If you have any trouble, just send me a note and I can walk you through it. Just remember, when you send out a tweet this weekend to include #oink in it.

No Link Between Meat & Breast Cancer

Studies do not support unhealthful relation between animal foods and breast cancer

Breast cancer is the 7th leading cause of mortality in the United States and results in approximately 41,000 deaths each year. Although genetic factors are important, there is considerable evidence that breast cancer risk is related to modifiable lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, body weight, alcohol intake, and dietary choices. The September 2009 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports the results of 3 human studies designed to better delineate the relation between animal foods and breast cancer risk.

"These studies highlight two very important points," said American Society for Nutrition Spokesperson Shelley McGuire, PhD. "First we all need to remember that there are really no such things as 'bad' foods. Second, observational studies that show associations between diet and health need to be considered with a proverbial grain of salt. These studies clearly provide additional and strong evidence that consumption of meat and dairy products by women does not, by itself, increase breast cancer risk. Further, moderate and mindful consumption of these foods can be very important in attaining optimal nutrition for most women who often do not consume sufficient iron and calcium."

In the first study, which was a controlled dietary intervention trial conducted in the United States, 35 obese postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes received conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplements or a control supplement (safflower oil) each for 36 wk; adiposity was assessed. In another study, researchers examined the association between CLA intake from natural sources and breast cancer incidence in a large cohort of initially cancer-free Swedish women for 17.4 y. The third study assessed whether the consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy products was associated with breast cancer risk in a very large group of healthy European women followed for 8.8 y.

These studies provide no evidence that animal-food consumption increases (or decreases) risk of breast cancer, although CLA supplementation may decrease adiposity (a major risk factor for this disease). In an editorial, Linos and Willett remind us that these studies did not assess the relation between animal-food intake during early life and later breast cancer, a likely important piece of the puzzle. Nonetheless, they conclude, "These data are sufficient to exclude any major effect of consuming these foods during midlife or later on risk of breast cancer." Perhaps we finally have the answer to this long-standing question. Link to Article

Here is another study that shows no link between eating meat and getting cancer. Breast cancer affects many families and it’s unfortunate that animal rights and vegan organizations take advantage of those tragedies to exploit their agenda. But sound science has shown once again that eating a balanced diet which includes meat and dairy products along with a regular exercise program will still be your best bet.

Climate Change Bill Would Affect Everyone

Food Firms Fret Over Potential Impact of Climate Bill
Coalition, Including Agricultural Giants, Plans to Draw Attention to Concerns That Legislation Could Lead to Higher Food Prices

Some of the nation's biggest food and agriculture companies are planning to release a flurry of studies in coming weeks that scrutinize the potential impact of climate-change legislation, warning that it could lead to higher food prices.

A group of agriculture giants including Cargill Inc., along with meat company Tyson Foods Inc. and food maker General Mills Inc., is concerned the companies might bear a disproportionate share of the costs of such legislation, according to a memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The group also is worried that a House bill passed in July doesn't provide sufficient incentives for food and agricultural companies to receive and generate carbon credits to offset their carbon emissions.

The meat industry is anxious that the legislation might put restrictions on the ability of livestock operations to generate carbon credits that could offset their greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock and food companies emit greenhouse gases in a number of ways, including using trucks to transport food and slaughterhouses that run on natural gas.

But the big food and agriculture companies feel they came up short. In a letter sent last month to Sens. Barbara Boxer, the California Democrat, and Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the coalition said the House bill "will increase food and feed prices and reduce the international competitiveness of our businesses."

The letter said Congress "must take extreme care to avoid adverse impacts on food security, prices, safety, and accessibility to necessary consumer products." The letter also criticized the House bill for failing to provide transitional assistance to "low-income households struggling with rising food prices." Read More

The concern over the impact of climate change legislation continues to grow. More companies and people are starting to see how much this could cost every single one of us. And what is the benefit? They are trying to force a solution, that might not work, on a problem that might not exist. I would encourage people to ask their Senators if the goal of this legislation is to stop the climate from changing and will it be considered a failure if it doesn’t. You might also remind them that the climate has been changing since the beginning of time.

Locavores to Blame for Tomato Blight?

You Say Tomato, I Say Agricultural Disaster
Tarrytown, N.Y.

IF the hardship of growing vegetables and fruits in the Northeast has made anything clear, it’s that the list of what can go wrong in the field is a very long one.

We wait all year for warmer weather and longer days. Once we get them, it seems new problems for farmers rise to the surface every week: overnight temperatures plunging close to freezing, early disease, aphid attacks. Another day, another problem.

The latest trouble is the explosion of late blight, a plant disease that attacks potatoes and tomatoes. Late blight appears innocent enough at first — a few brown spots here, some lesions there — but it spreads fast. Although the fungus isn’t harmful to humans, it has devastating effects on tomatoes and potatoes grown outdoors. Plants that appear relatively healthy one day, with abundant fruit and vibrant stems, can turn toxic within a few days. (See the Irish potato famine, caused by a strain of the fungus.)

According to plant pathologists, this killer round of blight began with a widespread infiltration of the disease in tomato starter plants. Large retailers like Home Depot, Kmart, Lowe’s and Wal-Mart bought starter plants from industrial breeding operations in the South and distributed them throughout the Northeast. (Fungal spores, which can travel up to 40 miles, may also have been dispersed in transit.) Once those infected starter plants arrived at the stores, they were purchased and planted, transferring their pathogens like tiny Trojan horses into backyard and community gardens. Perhaps this is why the Northeast was hit so viciously: instead of being spread through large farms, the blight sneaked through lots of little gardens, enabling it to escape the attention of the people who track plant diseases.

It’s important to note, too, that this year there have been many more hosts than in the past as more and more Americans have taken to gardening. Credit the recession or Michelle Obama or both, but there’s been an increased awareness of the benefits of growing your own food. According to the National Gardening Association, 43 million households planned a backyard garden or put a stake in a share of a community garden in 2009, up from 36 million in 2008. That’s quite a few home gardeners who — given the popularity of the humble tomato — probably planted a starter or two this summer. Read More

With the tomato blight in the Northeast garnering so much attention, it’s interesting to look at the cause. It seems that having so many amateur gardeners trying to grow plants that they have limited knowledge of really contributed to the problem. So in the first summer after the White House encouraged everyone to plant a garden, we have a devastating disease outbreak. While I doubt the locavore movement will be accepting blame any time soon, the fact of the matter is that a lot of produce was destroyed this summer in the Northeast and they will be relying on other areas of the country, including our modern food production systems, to make up the difference.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More Evidence of HSUS/Terrorism Ties

My post yesterday concerning several animal rights groups being linked to eco terrorism drew quite a bit of attention from both sides of the debate. A representative from the HSUS contacted me to suggest that they had been completely cleared in this matter and told me I should update my blog. They also tried to tell me that the source of this information had “backed off” on this claim. The HSUS has a letter from FEMA as their proof that they had been cleared, but my question and the question of some others is why is FEMA involved? That doesn’t really make much sense to me that FEMA would be involved in a domestic terrorism investigation. So is the letter legitimate? I don’t know, but one thing is for sure, no one is backing down from this report. featured more information on this topic this morning which continue to suggest that HSUS has some very direct ties to eco-terrorism supporters.

HSUS Responds to DHS Ecoterrorists Report
New Jersey Outdoor Alliance

Belmar, NJ – -( I have been contacted by Mr. Michael Markarian, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, HSUS regarding yesterday’s alert “DHS Reveals NJ Based Groups Provide Cover for Ecoterrorists.”

Mr. Markarian forwarded a letter from FEMA in which the acting Deputy Administer states,
“HSUS and the Fund for Animals are inappropriately described as having “known or possible links to ecoterrorism,” and as “known or suspected of having financial ties to individuals and groups associated with ecoterrorism.”

The link to the letter follows. In fairness to HSUS, I encourage each of you to read the letter.

The NJOA is committed to forwarding accurate information to our members. We are flattered that our E Action Alerts are monitored by animal extremist groups; it is proof of their concerns about the weightiness of our conservation message.

Since our E Action Alerts have a pipeline to Mr. Markarian I would respectfully ask him to explain to NJOA members the working relationship between the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance and HSUS.

Evidence of a “link” or “tie” between NJARA and HSUS is articulated by the Director of NJARA in a letter included below.

The Anti Defamation League (the nation’s premiere civil rights organization) has reported that the Director, Angi Metler, has acted in the capacity of a press spokesperson to communicate ecoterrorism acts by groups such as ALF and others. Such a position obviously condones ecoterrorism. Mr. Markarian, wouldn’t a relationship between NJARA and HSUS be a “tie to individuals and groups associated with ecoterrorism or a “link” to ecoterrorism?”

Furthermore, NJARA acted as a broker to fund the freeing of six extremists from jail – they were convicted of a campaign to terrorize a New Jersey based company along with its employees and shareholders. Coincidently, it was the office of US Attorney Christopher Christie, currently a NJ gubernatorial candidate who convicted the hoodlums.

Upon the judgment Mr. Christie stated, “This is a trial victory of national importance…The verdict reveals these individuals for what they really were: thugs who went far beyond protected speech and lawful protest to engage in and incite intimidation, harassment and violence.”

Here is a link to one of many websites showing NJARA acted as fiduciary to free the convicts known by the acronym S.H.A.C.

Mr. Markarian, below is an email from Ms. Metler of the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance to various animal extremists and groups looking to eliminate conservation (fishing, hunting and trapping) in New Jersey. This particular email was to derail the prospect of Sundy Bow Hunting in NJ. You’ll note that Ms. Metler refers to the relationship between NJARA, HSUS and PETA.
_____________________________________________________________________Letter from Director, Angi Metler, NJARA:

Dear All,
“We’ve been given great advice (thanks, Sue Russell) to get as many contacts from different interest groups, (trail groups, Sierra, Christian, HSUS, etc.) and go public with the press and legislature as soon as possible to combat this…” [Sunday Bow Hunting]…“NJARA is sending letters to every legislator in Trenton opposing this, sending press releases, reaching out to HSUS and PETA and will continue to write alerts…”“In the meantime, we need more group names would oppose this. We have the names and numbers of all the groups HSUS used the last time, but we need more…”

“Furthermore, we are also working on the possibility of opening up a chapter of the League of Humane Voters in NJ to work in conjunction with the paid lobbyist and have a meeting set for this coming Sunday to explore this…”

“If you are a representative of a group, please send your own press release out on this issue and please also send out letters to all of the legislators. NJARA can fax these for you once written…”Thanks in advance for all your help and assistance. Thanks to everyone who has already forwarded our alerts.

If anyone needs to reach me today, please call my cell phone at -/-/–

Angi [Metler]

The membership of the NJOA, and concerned hunter everywhere, looks forward to your response.


Anthony P. Mauro, Sr.
New Jersey Outdoor Alliance: “We’ve got your back!”

To read the entire article click here.

PETA Values Pigs More Than Soldiers

Demonstrators target the use of pigs to provide 'live tissue' training for Marines and sailors learning how to treat battlefield casualties.
By Tony Perry
6:20 PM PDT, August 12, 2009
Reporting from Camp Pendleton

Two dozen animal rights activists -- accompanied by four dogs -- demonstrated outside Camp Pendleton on Wednesday to protest the use of pigs in "live tissue" training for Marines and sailors learning how to treat battlefield casualties.

Organized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the protesters called on the Marine Corps to use dummies, computerized simulations and other training methods rather than the pigs.

"It's been proven that it can be done," said PETA official Jena Hunt. "Camp Pendleton just needs to take that further step into the modern world."

For an hour, activists waved banners and chanted slogans at the main gate to the base. There were no arrests or confrontations.

"For me, animal rights equals human rights," said Nasim Aghdam, 29, a construction company office manager from San Diego. "Just because they can't talk doesn't mean we should take advantage of them."

"We're against war in general, but using animals for this is even worse," said Cori Hume, 17, who was attending the protest with friend Chelsea Nelson, 18. Both are recent graduates of High Tech High School in San Diego.

Part of the training involves working on pigs. The animals are heavily sedated before being sliced with scalpels. Marines and sailors then try to save their lives with tourniquets, airway clearing and other techniques. Read More

I talked about this very issue several months ago. My point then and still today is that if sacrificing a few pigs results in the saving of a soldier’s life, then it’s worth it. The protesters try to say that there are alternatives that are just as good, but army medics disagree. I would tend to believe the people that have been in combat and put into the situation of having to save the life of an 18 year old soldier rather than a PETA protester. Our soldiers are the reason these protesters were able to do what they did. It’s in PETA’s best interest to give them the best possible care.

Passing the Farm On

As farmers age, plans match aspirants with pros
August 11, 2009 by The Associated Press / SHARON COHEN (AP National Writer)

RICHLAND, Iowa (AP) — He quit his job and drove his wife and their four young daughters across country, a 21st-century pioneer lured to these faraway farm fields by the promise of a life-changing deal with an older stranger.

Isaac Phillips always wanted to be a farmer. But when he revealed his plans to some friends and colleagues at the Utah jail where he supervised inmate work crews, they said: a) don't give up a steady job, b) you're making a big mistake, and even c) you're crazy.

Phillips knew the business he was plunging into was risky, that there were no guarantees for him in the Iowa hills. And yet, the family moved more than 1,000 miles.

"I thought I may never get a chance like this in my life," Phillips says, two years into his new rise-with-the rooster career. "I knew there was no way I could do this on my own."

How did this thirtysomething Garth-Brooks look-alike, who had the drive but not the dollars, get started farming in Iowa?

He had an instant mentor here: John Adam, who planted his boots in this rich black earth as a 19-year-old newlywed and over the next five decades, helped raise four children, harvested corn and beans, bred sows and collected a wall of plaques and honors — and seed caps.

Now, the two men — the rosy-cheeked apprentice and the silver-haired, windburned teacher — are working together on Adam's farm. One day, if all goes well, Phillips hopes to call part of this land his own.

This is farm matchmaking, a down payment on the future of rural America. Read More

Programs like these are going to continue growing in popularity as the average age of our farmers and ranchers continues to climb. Many times they want their business to continue but don’t have anyone to pass it on to. It’s definitely not an easy process to pass on a farm, but when a good match is found, it will be much more rewarding than a farm sale.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Animal Rights Groups Tied To Terrorists

This is a summary, written by the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, of a recent report released by the Department of Homeland Security about the ties of certain animal rights and environmental organizations to domestic terrorists.

DHS Reveals NJ Based Groups Provide Cover for Ecoterrorists

New Jersey Outdoor Alliance

Belmar, NJ – -( NJOA E Action Alert members continue to ask that we keep them apprised of the animal extremism in New Jersey, since the movement targets fishing, hunting, trapping and conservation practices.

Yesterday I was forwarded an unclassified “For Official Use Only,” document. It is apparently from The Department of Homeland Security alleging national groups (that also have operations in NJ), and a local New Jersey group, are providing cover for “ecoterrorists.” I have read similar reporting from two premiere civil rights organizations; Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center.

Contents from the document follow:

The term ecological terrorists, or ecoterrorists, refers to those individuals who independently and/or in concert with others engage in acts of violence and employ tactics commonly associated with terrorism to further their sociopolitical agenda aimed at animal and/or environmental protection.

From a security standpoint, the activities of the ecoterrorist movement are significant for several reasons and should be of interest to domestic security and law enforcement officials. First, Ecoterrorists have perpetrated more illegal acts commonly associated with terrorism on U.S. soil than any other known group, including al-Qaeda and radical Islamic militants.
In addition, various groups that constitute the ecoterrorist movement [Animal Liberation Front aka "ALF"] are also believed to interact, to one degree or another, with mainstream environmental and animal-rights organizations and/or individuals. Although none of the mainstream organizations officially endorses or participates in the illegal and violent activities championed by ecomilitants, some prominent members of mainstream groups are known to sympathize with the ecoterrorist movement.

Mainstream organizations with known or possible links to ecoterrorism include the following:

• Greens
• People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
• The Sierra Club
• National Wildlife Federation
• Audubon Society
• Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
• Friends of the Earth
• Greenpeace
• Earth First!
• Coalition to Save the Preserve (CSP)
• Environmental Task Force
• The Frogs
• In Defense of Animals
• New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance
• Fund for Animals

Read More

Down Load the entire report here: DHS: Eco Terrorism in US 2008

The Department of Homeland Security is taking the threat of domestic terrorism from these eco-terrorists very seriously. Some of the mainstream animal rights groups that very softly denounce this type of activity have now been exposed as having links to the terrorists. Groups like HSUS, PETA and The Sierra Club have all caught the attention of the Department of Homeland Security. These groups may talk a good game, but it’s their actions that truly show their intentions of total animal liberation.

Pig Organ Transplantation Closer to Reality

Cloned Pigs Could Be Used for Human Transplants

By Kim Tong-hyung
Staff Reporter
The Korea Times

Scientists participating in a government-backed biotechnology project said they had produced genetically engineered pig clones with organs designed for human transplants.

The Rural Development Administration, which financed the project, said that Tuesday's announcement represents a step forward in the efforts to make xeno-transplantation, or the use of animal organs to replace human ones, a reality.

A research team led by Chung Nam University's Jin Dong-il and local bio-tech firm Mgen said that their cloned piglet, born on May 11, has been genetically altered to have the fas ligand (FasL) protein, which plays an important role in regulating the human immune system.

Government officials claimed that organs from FasL-expressing pigs could have a lesser risk of rejection when transplanted into humans.

Chin's cloned pig follows a similar achievement by the National Institution of Animal Science, which in April revealed the birth of a "GAL-knockout'' pig that has the enzyme alpha 1, 3-galactose, or "alpha gal,'' which when transplanted into humans triggers immune rejection, genetically removed. Read More

Think about how many lives will be saved when we finally have the ability to utilize the organs of pigs in humans. Thousands of people are on the transplant list waiting for a chance at a new life. The unfortunate part of the current system is that a tragedy has to occur for another family in order for those organs to become available. I’m sure that there will be some animal rights activists that would rather see their human counterparts die than utilize the pig but hopefully those of us that put more value on human life will be willing to stand up to them.

HSUS Feeling Snubbed

Animal groups in court over Helmsley fortune
By KAREN MATTHEWS (AP) – 16 hours ago

NEW YORK — Animal-welfare groups are accusing the trustees of hotel queen Leona Helmsley's multibillion-dollar estate of ignoring her wishes that the lion's share of the money should go to the dogs.

Instead, the animal advocates said Tuesday, the trustees have shown "disdain" for Helmsley's pet cause by donating only $100,000 to dog welfare.

Three animal-welfare groups filed a petition in Manhattan Surrogate's Court on Monday arguing that Helmsley, who died in 2007, specified in her will that her estate should be used to help dogs, and the trustees disregarded those wishes.

The groups — the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Maddie's Fund — want the court to throw out a judge's February decision that gave the trustees for the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust sole authority to determine which charities would benefit from her estate.

A "mission statement" in Helmsley's will directed that the money be spent on the care of dogs and other charitable interests designated by the trustees. But it also gave the trustees discretion in spending the money.

Wayne Pacelle, chief executive officer of the Humane Society, said dog welfare was "the only charitable interest specifically designated in the trust instrument. ... But what we've seen is an utter disdain for the cause of animal welfare and a complete writing off of the animal welfare concern." Read More

Even if Leona left her money specifically to care for dogs, that should put the Humane Society of the United States out of the running. They don’t operate a single dog shelter, nor do they care for any dogs. This is just a money grab by Wayne Pacelle and company. Even if they got the money, I doubt that’s what it would be used for. They have a track record of taking money in the name of a certain cause and then hoarding it for other uses. You might remember the millions of dollars they raised after Hurricane Katrina to rescue pets but then spent just a fraction of it doing so. These people can’t be trusted with any amount of money. Give the money to the local pet shelters that are actually making a difference.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Indiana Farmers To Give Away One Million Meals

Indiana Pork Kicks Off Million Meals Program to Fight Hunger
Andy Eubank

The Indiana Pork Producers kicked off the Indiana State Fair Friday morning with their annual ham breakfast, and addresses by Governor Daniels, Lt. Governor Becky Skillman, and Congressman Mike Pence. And the President of Indiana Pork, Randy Curless drew loud applause when he announced a brand new initiative called the Million Meals Program.

Curless told HAT the ideas started to flow within his board in response to news reports this year of people searching for their next meal. “And as farmers tend to do, we tried to think of ways we could help. So we started hashing ideas of what we could do to help and started out with donating some pork to a local food bank. And from that, the ball has come around to where we are now proposing, and going to make happen, a million protein meals to the food banks of Indiana, each year.”

Although Indiana Pork is the initial driving force behind Million Meals, they are working to secure support from all aspects of Indiana agriculture. Curless explained, “To be successful we’re going to need the whole team to carry that ball. We’re looking for Indiana agriculture and the team players of all the commodities to help us with that. But it is going to take off this month when we make our first deliveries. So we are off and running and the whole organization is set in place to make all this happen.”

Curless says be on the lookout for information about how you can help the program grow. “Ya, certainly, once we get all the bugs out of it. It did take a lot of hard work to get everything organized to this point, and once we started getting some food flowing through the chain, then we’re going to push a little harder to bring in donations.” Read More

Rural America is practically famous for figuring out how to help out our neighbors when they are in need. Extending this generosity to helping put food on their table isn’t much of a stretch. Isn’t it interesting that while there are groups like HSUS and other animal rights groups are trying to put family farmers out of business, those same farmers have been trying to figure out how to give away a million free meals to the hungry. Wouldn’t it be great if these animal rights groups would match that?

PETA Terrorizing Children

PETA's Bloody 'Unhappy Meals' Making Parents Angry
Tuesday , August 11, 2009
Fox News

"Unhappy Meals" featuring a knife-wielding Ronald McDonald and bloody rubber chickens are upsetting parents who say the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are unfairly targeting their kids at McDonald's restaurants across the country.

PETA's "McCruelty Campaign" has ruffled the feathers of moms and dads in Albany who say they don't want their kids exposed to any throat-slitting chickens or pictures of slaughtered poultry.

"I don't want my son to be around something like this. This is not fair for a child," Stephaine Gipson told FOX23 News in Albany.

"I think it's unhappy that they target children," said parent Michelle Natale.

But the animal rights activists say kids are jaded enough by television and video games to handle the carnographic images, and intend to continue their campaign pressuring McDonald's to use more humane means of killing chickens.

"I think children and adults deserve to be told the truth — and that's that behind Ronald McDonald's smile is cruelty to animals," said PETA spokeswoman Lindsay Rajt. Read More

When you have a group like PETA that isn’t based on principles of decency, morals or values, then it probably doesn’t bother them to attack toddlers with their propaganda. To suggest that all kids are subjected to violence on TV and video games as a defense on their tactics is beyond unbelievable. That isn’t up to them to decide. If your group has to use a bloody chicken costume on toddlers in order to gain support, there is a strong chance that you have fallen out of the mainstream.

More Support of GM Crops

Corn, genetically modified crops better than traditional varieties, farm experts say
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Scientists have confirmed the advantages of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn and genetically modified (GM) crops over traditional strains in a seminar held at the Linden Suites in Ortigas Center as part of the Pan-Asia Farmers Exchange 2009 from August 4 to 6.

Dr. Violeta Villegas, an expert in plant pathology, said Bt corn has been genetically modified to resist the Asiatic corn borer, a pest that has ravaged corn plantations in the past.

Apart from the improved quality of harvest, she added that Bt corn reduces the use of pesticides, which also slashes the production cost of farmers.

“One farmer lost his cow because it fed on corn newly treated with pesticide,” she said.

Villegas said that assessments made by agencies and experts in the United States, Canada, Japan, Europe, South America and Asia have shown that Bt corn is “as safe as conventional corn for humans, animals and the environment.” Read More

We continue to see more and more scientists and food policy experts talk about the need to utilize this technology in order to meet food demand. Doubling our food production isn’t going to happen by accident and it certainly won’t happen by using 19th century production techniques. So far no one has come forward and volunteered to stop eating, so that means we have to grow more food.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Avery's Response to Anti-Meat Article

Sunday, August 9, 2009
Giving up Meat to Save the Planet
GreeenIsm piece by Guest: Dennis T. Avery

One of the persistent, shallow global food myths is that the world could feed more people if we gave up eating meat. Ezra Klein wrote another misguided column about this - “The Meat of the Problem” - in the Washington Post of July 29. Klein cites as his authority a naive “study” by the kids at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Klein asserts, “It is more energy efficient to grow grain and feed it to people than it is to grow grain and turn it into feed that we give to calves until they become adults that we then slaughter to feed to people.”

No, Mr. Klein, it isn’t. Either your kids haven’t done their homework, or they deliberately set out to promote vegetarian diets.

Point One: Our biggest source of livestock feed is . . . (drum-roll) . . . grass! Humans can’t get nourishment from it, but huge tracts of the earth’s land are too dry, too steep or too rocky for grain. We let cows and calves harvest sparse crops of grass from massive tracts of the American Great Plains, Canadian Prairie Provinces, the Australian Outback, New Zealand, the sandy steppes of Hungary, and huge tracts of Khazakstan—to name but a few grasslands.

Point Two: If these grassy areas aren’t grazed by animals, the dry grass will ultimately be struck by lightning, ignite, and release fiery clouds of CO2! Read More

The article that Ezra Klein wrote has received a lot of attention from both sides of the argument. Since people like Klein are so uneducated about beef production, they don’t realize that all cattle spend the vast majority of their lives eating grass. Dennis Avery does a great job of trying to educate consumers on the subject. Ruminant animals give us the ability to use a natural resource that humans can’t utilize. We would literally starve to death with our stomach full of grass. Ruminant animals on the other hand can take this resource and convert it into a protein source that is readily available to our digestive system. The argument that eating meat is destroying our planet is being made by those that don’t fully understand the beef industry.

Fretting Over Food is Fashionable

Fretting over sources of our food fashionable
Sunday, August 9, 2009 3:15 AM

Farmers' markets are popping up everywhere, locavore has entered the dictionary, and a movie about high-fructose corn syrup and cow manure is getting box-office buzz.

Another page might be turning in America's complicated relationship with food.

In less-wacky countries, I imagine, people just eat food. Here, we eat it, worship it and fear it, often all at the same time.

Hence, it's possible to go to the Drexel Theatre and watch Food Inc., a documentary about the horrors of Big Food, while consuming some of Big Food's tastiest products from the concession stand.

The movie, by the way, is being promoted by Chipotle, the fast-food company that was once partially owned by McDonald's, which gets hammered by the filmmakers for all the usual reasons. Oh, and Wal-Mart gets some praise, believe it or not.

So, yes, we're still in a sorting-out period in this trend toward less-industrialized food. Nevertheless, you can bet that something is going on, because I'm alert to it -- and I make it a policy to lag years behind trends. Read More

Just like Star Wars isn’t a documentary about our space program, Food Inc. isn’t a documentary about food production in this country. I’m not sure when some people began to think that Hollywood was a fair and accurate source of information, especially when it comes to agriculture, but they shouldn’t. The author of this article is dead on in one respect though, and that is the fact that it seems fashionable to panic about our food and talk bad about those who grow it. 80 years worth of consumer demands have brought us to this point in our food production abilities. They wanted food to be cheaper, abundant and more convenient and that’s exactly what we gave them. Food is no less healthy than it was before, there’s just more choices and not all of them should be considered a food staple. Good food choices, along with other things that affect your health are a personal responsibility that should be taken seriously.

UK Official: GM Food Could Help

Hilary Benn: GM could help Britain's food production
Hilary Benn, the environment minister, has suggested that genetically modified (GM) farming could help to increase Britain's crop production as he sets out plans to make the country more self-sufficient in food.

By James Kirkup
Political Correspondent
Published: 9:43AM BST 10 Aug 2009

And he has called for a more sensible approach to food safety as part of a wider drive to cut waste and make Britain less dependent on imported food.

The minister will on Monday set out plans to make Britain more self-sufficient in food, encouraging consumers to eat seasonally-grown British vegetables instead of out-of-season imports. Households will also be urged to grow their own vegetables at home.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Mr Benn suggested that genetically modified (GM) food could be part of the solution to increase production.

He said farmers would decide what to grow but it was important to investigate new techniques in order to discover the "facts" about them.

"If GM can make a contribution then we have a choice as a society and as a world about whether to make use of that technology, and an increasing number of countries are growing GM products," Mr Benn said. Read More

For many years our friends in Europe have been leading the charge for using less technology and shunning modern food production. But now the tide may be turning just a bit. The problem with all of this is that they have been unable to feed themselves for quite some time now. Since their production levels have dropped, they have relied on other countries to grow their food for them. Not being self sufficient in food production is a very scary place for a country to be. Contrary to popular belief, there is something worse than an empty gas tank in your car, it’s an empty stomach.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Attacking Family Farmers

Meat, climate change, and industry tripe
Posted 8:50 AM on 5 Aug 2009by Tom Philpott

Washington Post food-politics columnist Ezra Klein has taken a stand: people should eat less meat, because of its vast greenhouse gas footprint. To make his case, Ezra cited the FAO’s landmark “Livestock’s Long Shadow” report, which found that global meat production is responsible for 18 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.

To be honest, when I read Ezra’s column, I thought, “yeah, and?” Of course we should eat less meat. But how far will individual choice take us? Shouldn’t we focus on forcing the meat industry to pay up for its massive externalities, including its contribution to climate change? Yet this eat-less-meat plea ended up generating more controversy than I thought possible.

In a letter to the editor published Monday, J. Patrick Boyle, president of the American Meat institute, fired back, declaring Klein’s take on meat “inaccurate and not scientifically based.” How so? According to Boyle:

The Environmental Protection Agency concluded that in 2007, only 2.8 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions came from animal agriculture.

He concludes: “The animal protein sector in the United States is environmentally and socially responsible, and we strive to provide the safest, most abundant and most wholesome product to consumers domestically and worldwide.”

Oh, really? Read More

The author of this article thinks that since the US is such a large producer of GHG emissions that livestock’s small percentage contribution is still a huge problem. Apparently he doesn’t understand the meaning of percent. A small percent means you are a small contributor. If he was as adamant about reducing GHG emissions then he would be going after the largest sources. And it’s almost comical how he tries to include as many other industries as he can in livestock’s column. But the main thing that’s important to notice is how his first inclination is to attack the people in our industry rather than talk about the issue. He devotes a significant portion of the column trying to demonize Mr. Boyle simply because he was citing US EPA data that undermines the authors attempts to put family farmers out of business. Reasonable people having reasonable discussions don’t need to do that. Does our industry produce GHG’s? Yes, just like every other profession and person on this planet. But the author, most importantly, fails to mention how much we have lowered those emissions over the last century and yet continually increased our outputs. While eliminating agriculture may reduce GHG emissions, it would also mean none of us would be around to notice if it makes a difference.