New Rules Add Welfare Protections for Organically Raised Farm Animals
Things may be looking up for animals raised on organic farms in the U.S., reports Lynne Curry in the journal Civil Eats.
The Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) won last-minute approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and could make it onto the Federal Register to become law within the week. The OLPP enacts comprehensive animal welfare standards covering living conditions (particularly for poultry), healthcare, slaughter, and transport.
The proposed rules are the product of decades-long conversations involving the Organic Trade Association (OTA), animal welfare and consumer groups and they’re based on formal recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), the 15-member public advisory group to the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s National Organic Program comprised of organic producers, environmentalists, and consumer advocates, among others, Curry writes.
The rules aren’t as extensive as some advocates had hoped for, but they are a significant step. “We didn’t get all that we wanted. It was adequate given the state of animal welfare in the organic program,” says Dena Jones, the farm animal program director at the American Welfare Institute. “You can’t go from 0 to 100 miles an hour in five feet.”
FUTURE OF AG LOOKS CONVENTIONAL TO THESE GUYS
On Wednesday, January 11, President-elect Trump sat down with Bayer CEO Werner Baumann and Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant at Trump Tower and had a “productive meeting” on “the future of the agriculture industry” and the pending merger between the two companies.
No doubt including plans for the new mega-company to control the world’s seeds, sell chemical agriculture everywhere, and stamp out brush fires like organic farming.
INTRUDERS IN THE DUST
Monsanto’s propaganda machine churns out a steady stream of lies and misinformation. One of its most dishonest—but unfortunately, effective—talking points is that the world will go hungry if we stop growing GMO crops, which (oh-by-the-way) can’t be grown without massive amounts of poisonous chemicals.
Fact is, here in the U.S. alone, 13.1 million children under 18 don’t have consistent access to enough food, according to the U.S. (USDA). That number will soar, right along with soaring temperatures, if we don’t stop degrading and poisoning our soil and water, some scientists warn.
A recent article on Mercola.com cites research by bio-ethicisit George Dvorsky. Dvorsky warns that modern industrial agriculture puts us at risk of a 1930s Great Depression-style dust bowl:
Researchers Michael Glotter, Ph.D. and Joshua Elliot, Ph.D., from the University of Chicago, ran computer simulations to predict the effects of a Dust Bowl-like drought on today’s maize, soy and wheat crops.
“We expected to find the system much more resilient because 30 percent of production is now irrigated in the United States, and because we’ve abandoned corn production in more severely drought-stricken places such as Oklahoma and west Texas,” noted Elliott in a press release. “But we found the opposite: The system was just as sensitive to drought and heat as it was in the 1930s,” Dvorsky writes.
Our best way out of this mess? Shift to regenerative practices that stop depleting our soil and fresh water supplies, and start sequestering atmospheric carbon in the soil. Countries that commit to making this transition—for example, France, Germany and Morocco— will be better prepared to deal with global warming. Those that don’t will be left in the dust.
IS ROUNDUP THE NEW DDT?
Roundup is everywhere. It’s so ubiquitous that some scientists refer to it as the new DDT, says Organic Consumers Association head Ronnie Cummins in his latest blog.
DDT, despite mounting scientific evidence against its use, stayed on the market for decades. Like Roundup, DDT was proclaimed “perfectly safe” by chemical companies and government regulators. Until it wasn’t.
In the early 1960s, government regulators finally banned most uses of DDT—but only after millions of people had already developed diseases like cancer, infertility, liver and nervous system damage. And 40 years after it was taken off the market, we haven’t yet been able to completely eradicate it from the environment.
Have we learned nothing?
Following on the declaration of a respected scientific panel of the World Health Organization in 2016 that Roundup (active ingredient glyphosate) likely causes cancer, compounded by numerous studies linking Monsanto’s top-selling herbicide to hormone disruption, birth defects, kidney damage, and other diseases, the question we should be asking today is not whether we need more proof that the Biotech Bully of St. Louis is deliberately poisoning us for profit, aided and abetted by indentured scientists, media hacks, and politicians—but rather how do we drive Monsanto’s Roundup and Roundup-tainted foods off the market?
Is glyphosate in your organically-fed body?
Health Research Institute (HRI) is offering glyphosate testing to consumers. For $99, HRI’s lab will test your urine sample for glyphosate and AMPA, a metabolite of glyphosate. (Your liver is in charge of breaking down glyphosate into its metabolite—but as a recent study suggests, making your liver break down glyphosate and process its metabolites may be damaging your liver).
How would you test positive for glyphosate if you’re not eating GMO foods?
Because glyphosate may be in your drinking water. Or on your local park, or golf course, or your kids’ school playground, if those area are sprayed with Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. And get this—glyphosate isn’t just sprayed on GMO crops. It’s also used to dry out other crops, like oats, to make harvesting easier. So just because you’re eating “non-GMO” doesn’t mean you’re eating “glyphosate-free.”
To find out if glyphosate is lurking in your body, order the test from HRI. They’ll send you a sample collection kit, along with instruction on how to collect your urine and return it for testing. Request a glyphosate test kit online or call 641-552-6258.
VERY LOW DOSES OF GLYPHOSATE DAMAGE RATS’ LIVERS
A new study just published in Scientific Reports, an online, open access journal from the publishers of Nature, shows that the glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in rats at very low doses.
The new peer-reviewed study led by Dr. Michael Antoniou at King’s College London using cutting edge profiling methods describes the molecular composition of the livers of female rats administered with an extremely low dose of Roundup weed-killer over a two-year period. The dose of glyphosate from the Roundup administered was thousands of times below what is permitted by regulators worldwide. The study revealed that these animals suffered from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
This study is unique in that it is the first to show a causative link between consumption of Roundup at a real-world environmental dose and a serious disease condition.
Dr. Antoniou stated recently, “The findings of our study are very worrying as they demonstrate for the first time a causative link between an environmentally relevant level of Roundup consumption over the long-term and a serious disease – namely non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Our results also suggest that regulators should reconsider the safety evaluation of glyphosate-based herbicides.
Regulators worldwide accept toxicity studies in rats as indicators of human health risks. Therefore, the results of this latest study may have serious consequences for human health.
NAFLD currently affects 25 percent of the US population. Risk factors include being overweight or obese, having diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides in the blood. Rapid weight loss and poor eating habits also may lead to NAFLD. However, some people develop NAFLD even if they do not have any risk factors. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, spider-like blood vessels, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), itching, fluid build-up and swelling of the legs (edema) and abdomen (ascites), and mental confusion. NAFLD can progress to the more serious condition non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which was supposed to finish its 15-year review of glyphosate more than a year ago, and rule on whether to reregister it or ban it, is still twiddling its thumbs.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration won’t test foods for glyphosate residue. Meanwhile, in the EU, where the European Commission has also failed to act, citizens are taking matters into their own hands—by launching a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) inviting the Commission “to propose to Member States a ban on glyphosate, to reform the pesticide approval procedure, and to set EU-wide mandatory reduction targets for pesticide use.”
TAPEWORM FOUND IN ALASKAN WILD-CAUGHT SALMON
A Japanese tapeworm has infected salmon caught off the North Alaskan coast, a new study published by the Center for Disease Control revealed.
The tapeworm, known as Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense, has caused thousands of infections in the Asia Pacific since 2008, according to the Washington Post. But now, researchers determined people who eat raw salmon caught in North America may be at risk of contracting the tapeworm infections.
An increased popularity of eating raw fish and “global importation” has caused the reemergence of the tapeworm, the study found.
The study concluded, “Salmon from the American and Asian Pacific coasts and elsewhere pose potential dangers for persons who eat these fish raw.”
Researchers studied 64 wild pacific salmons and found the tapeworm in a single pink salmon that was caught near Hope, Alaska.
The main intent of the study, researchers wrote, was “to alert parasitologists and medical doctors about the potential danger of human infection with this long tapeworm resulting from consumption of infected salmon imported (on ice) from the Pacific coast of North America and elsewhere.”
ENVIRONMENTALISTS BEING TARGETED IN LATIN AMERICA
As you know, supporting organic agriculture and food production is environmental activism. That could mean death if you’re in Latin America.
Isidro Baldenegro Lopez, an award-winning Indigenous environmental activist who fought against deforestation in Mexico, was assassinated last weekend, Proceso reports.
Baldenegro, the 2005 recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize for North America, was found dead outside a relative’s house in Chihuahua. Witnesses claim the murder suspects are linked with known assassins of other Indigenous environmental activists in the region.
Baldenegro will be buried in Coloradas de la Virgen, the land belonging to his native Tarahumara community, which he and his family defended for decades.
In March 2003, he was arrested for 15 months for organizing protests against unregulated logging in the Sierra Madre Mountains. Two decades prior, his father was shot and killed in front of him shortly after, leading to mass protests against logging corporations.
Baldenegro’s story echoes those of countless other Indigenous environmental activists across Latin America who have been killed for defending their native lands, like Berta Caceres and Walter Mendez Barrios.
Murdered in March last year, Caceres was a Honduran Indigenous activist who was killed amid a campaign she led to stop the construction of a hydroelectric dam that threatened to harm lands belonging to her native Lenca people. She was also a recipient of the Goldman Prize.
While Caceres’ death attracted international attention, just days later Walter Mendez Barrios, a Guatemalan environmental activist, was also murdered. He was the leader of the Association of Forest Communities of Peten, which sought to protect Indigenous lands against deforestation led by foreign corporations.
Investigative journalism group Global Witness reports that Latin America had the highest murder rate of environmental activists in 2015, compared to other regions.
While Baldenegro was officially recognized for his work defending his native lands in Mexico, he was widely championed as a hero of Indigenous land rights across the world.
“Baldenegro’s courageous efforts have made him a national and international hero,” the Goldman Prize site writes of the deceased Tarahumara leader.
“He brought world attention to the beautiful, ecologically crucial old-growth forests of the Sierra Madre as well as the survival of the Tarahumara.”
Baldenegro was just 50 years old.