News for October 19, 2010
The Rat takes the Cheese
Not Big Milk, mind you; not the giant agricultural cooperatives and corporate farms that make up a large part of Big Ethanol and harvest crops of greenbacks for the Democrat Party but with the small dairy farmer, the guy who gets up at 4 a.m. to hit the stables, milk his cows by hand, and work into the wee hours to maintain his farm. The current administration has been engaged in an all-out assault on the dairy industry.
First the Justice Department went after “raw milk” as a health matter. Raw milk is subject to minimal processing, without hormones, and no pasteurization. Some health conscious individuals prefer it, claiming that pasteurization makes the fats harder to digest, leading to an increase in obesity. They also do not like the hormones in milk from Big Dairy, fearing cancer and obesity as well. While there may be little scientific justification for these beliefs, in America the individual is entitled to believe and live as he chooses as long as no outside party is being injured. Small farms, banned from market sales of raw milk (even if appropriately labeled) were sometimes engaging in direct sales, shipping their product to the consumer or allowing the consumer to cross state lines to pick it up. EPA regulations banned the sale of raw milk, and the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund filed suit to overturn the ban. The FDA argued in court that Americans have no right to choose what they eat, and no right to decide what is good for your health.
[ READ MORE (Canada Free Press) ]
Criminalizing Nature’s Most Perfect Food: FDA's war on private food contracts
In his latest book, The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle over Food Rights, David Gumpert details several cases of malicious prosecution against the natural dairy industry, reporting the myths, exaggerations and deceptions by authorities charged with protecting the food supply.
What you won’t get from the book is a whitewash of the raw milk movement. Even advocates were caught exaggerating claims or ignoring evidence. Gumpert also includes tender, heart-wrenching stories in the words of mothers whose children became critically ill from drinking contaminated raw milk, or so they believe. Though the link was never scientifically made in those cases, it was in others, including a raw milk herd share. Gumpert bridges compassion for those mothers with compassion for dairy owners who are financially wiped out by the government’s strategic war on private food arrangements.
[ READ MORE (The People's Voice) ]
Standards for sales of raw milk one step closer
A set of standards that could apply to Wisconsin dairy farmers wanting to legally sell unpasteurized milk is one step closer.
The state’s “raw milk policy working group” held its eighth meeting in Madison last week. The 22-member task force spent seven hours sifting through its 70-page “working draft” of preliminary recommendations. Much of the time, the task progressed line by line and word by word.
[ READ MORE (Ag Weekly) ]
We are Facing the Greatest Threat to Humanity: Only Fundamental Change Can Save Us
We all know that the earth and all upon it face a growing crisis. Global climate change is rapidly advancing, melting glaciers, eroding soil, causing freak and increasingly wild storms, and displacing untold millions from rural communities to live in desperate poverty in peri-urban slums. Almost every human victim lives in the global South, in communities not responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. The atmosphere has already warmed up almost a full degree in the last several decades and a new Canadian study reports that we may be on course to add another 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100.
Half the tropical forests in the world – the lungs of our ecosystems – are gone; by 2030, at the current rate of harvest, only 10% will be left standing. Ninety percent of the big fish in the sea are gone, victim to wanton predatory fishing practices. Says a prominent scientist studying their demise “there is no blue frontier left.” Half the world’s wetlands – the kidneys of our ecosystems – were destroyed in the 20th century. Species extinction is taking place at a rate one thousand times greater than before humans existed. According to a Smithsonian scientist, we are headed toward a “biodiversity deficit” in which species and ecosystems will be destroyed at a rate faster than Nature can create new ones.
[ READ MORE (AlterNet) ]