Tag Archives: local farmers

Healthy Living Healthy Meat Real Food Toxin Alert!

In the Face of the Feed Crisis, Beef Expert Claims Ruminants Can Digest “Anything”

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Yesterday as I was driving home from taking my son to school, a report on NPR about the issues with the rising cost of feeding commercial cattle in today’s wavering economic market made my blood boil.

What I heard made me realize the issues we are having with GMOs in our food supply are compounding due to the fact that the industry which relies almost solely on corn, grain, and soy to feed cattle will stop at nothing to cut costs and convince the public at the same time that these methods and activities are not only safe but necessary to “feed the world”.

It also made me realize the  industrial food industry will also stop at nothing to reassure the public that their far-fetched and wholly unsafe practices are not only just fine but somehow “better for the environment”… including, telling lie upon ludicrous lie to get it done with false science and bad political maneuvering.

“Alternatives” to corn, soy, and grain

The discussion went into how droughts and wildfires, which have ravaged range lands this season, are forcing farmers to look for more “efficient ways” to feed their cattle. According to the report, beef scientist Tim DelCurto from Oregon State University has alternatives for ranchers and feedlot owners that provide lower cost feed now that corn and soy prices are skyrocketing. These include:

“Grass seed straw, distillers grains leftover from ethanol production, cannery waste and potato processing byproducts such as misshapen green beans, carrots and even French fries.”

DelCurto believes that ruminants can easily adapt to other feed and it doesn’t affect their health. He said, “I think one of the unique attributes of beef cattle, and sheep fit this too, unique attributes of ruminant animals is that they can digest virtually anything.”

This month, DelCurto will speak at several University of Idaho Extension classes where he will be sharing these “cost saving tips” with cattle ranchers.

It is this twisted way of thinking which has ushered in the predominance of antibiotic and hormone use in commercial cattle farming today, which has greatly contributed to inflammatory disease in both cattle and humans, including digestive, endocrine, and auto-immune disorders, antibiotic resistance, and super bug bacteria which can’t be managed by normal medical care.

It is beyond shameful that we are allowing our universities to be used to support big agriculture’s agendas, which for decades have had negative consequences for our food system, health, and environment.

Other news reports have been flooding the wires over the couple of weeks about the use of even more unsavory substances for feeding cattle as a way to counter the effects of rising feed costs:

“cookies, gummy worms, marshmallows, fruit loops, orange peels, even dried cranberries”

These substances are being used as alternatives to the starchy corn, soy, and grain feeds used by conventional farming facilities to put weight on cattle. All of these alternatives to soy, corn, and grain are highly processed and many are by-products of the commercial farming, food, and chemical industries…and many of these contain GMOs as well. Really? Cookies and gummy worms?

It should go without saying, but these “experts” and “scientists” have it all wrong.  It’s absolutely unthinkable that anyone calling themselves a caretaker of the environment or steward of the land would even suggest the preposterous notion of feeding cattle these kinds of substances is acceptable. Does it really seem reasonable that animals being slaughtered for meat should be fed these substances? And if they are allowed to consume them, what affect might that have on their health, and our health when we eat the meat from these animals?  Our ancestors would have never agreed to this practice.

These measures used by the food industry are not about taking care of the health and well-being of anything or anyone involved, they are about profits.

The GMO factor

Corn, soy, and grains are not healthy feed for cattle, which are ruminants and are intended to graze on green grass.  Even without the GM component, these feeds cause health problems for animals consuming them. Cattle who eat this kind of feed develop acidity in the digestive tract, and because cattle become vulnerable to disease and sickness, farmers administrate antibiotics.

A recent study showing the results of a life-time of feeding  rats a certain type of genetically engineered corn common in the U.S. food supply looks even more unfavorable. These findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology, and showed the development of massive tumors in the bodies of rats and also included liver and kidney damage, and premature death. There have been over 30 additional studies showing the presence of toxic or allergic reactions in animals consuming GE foods.

It may seem like if these issues were such a threat, you’d see people dying of premature death everywhere. But consider that rats don’t live very long, their life span is at most 3-4 years. Human life spans are much longer, the average being about 75. The fact is, many people are experiencing chronic health issues that have not been seen before on the scale that degenerative disease is occurring, but are being allowed to continue living through the intervention of drugs, surgeries, and other medical procedures. Genetic engineering is a relatively new development, but GMOs have been in our food supply now since 1996.  The long-term effects of consuming GE foods simply aren’t known yet.

Meanwhile, Monsanto and other seed companies are working night and day trying to get more GM crops approved. Mounting evidence is showing that GE crops are failing to live up to the hype that has been propagated about their “benefits”.

Informed scientists such as Dr. Donald Huber have spoken and written about the dire consequences of chemical-based monoculture crops which degenerate soil integrity. His research shows that GE crops cause even more harm to the soil than conventional farming. GE farming uses the application of broad-spectrum herbicides on the genetically engineered mono-crops, resulting in herbicide-resistant super-weeds.  These plants are just about impossible to destroy. Ronnie Cummins from The Organic Consumer’s Association stated: “Scientists estimate that herbicide-resistant crops planted around the globe will triple the amount of toxic broad-spectrum herbicides used in agriculture”.

It should be easy to see the failure of this chemical system in the destruction of vital soil for supporting life, the lack of diversity in continued monoculture crops, the loss of heirloom and indigenous seeds that have been traditionally saved and planted in successive seasons, and the massive debt piled upon tens of thousands of farmers who use these programs to grow their crops and support their families (and who are beholden to Monsanto and other seed companies due to strict contracts they sign).

The fact is, many countries such as Haiti and others have been bullied by Monsanto and other seed companies into using their seeds for farming. In 2010, Haiti rejected the seeds and burned them. In 2011, GM maize was ploughed under in Hungary, according to Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar. It also happened in Zambia as well. All of these countries have food shortages, but also have serious doubts about the safety of GM seeds.

What’s the alternative?

Joel Salatin, grassfed beef farmer in Swope, VA has explained the virtues of grassfeeding ruminant animals, and pasture-raising other livestock such as pigs. Instead of mass-scale factory farming that pollutes the environment, soil, water, and harms human and animal health, he advocates for smaller-scale farming that utilizes nature to support the ecosystem of the farm. Salatin’s 100 acre organic spread thrives on the symbiotic relationship between the grazing cattle and roaming chickens to provide nourishment to the land and themselves. This type of farming can and does quite well without hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and GMOs.

Stanley Fishman of Tender Grassfed Meat has an excellent post describing how properly managed grassfed farms can produce healthy meat for people to eat.  Not only can the farms thrive, they can help with water supply issues which are becoming an increasing excuse for chemical and seed companies to engineer toxic alternatives to traditional farming.

“The world’s water supply can be greatly increased by increasing the number of grazing animals, and having them follow proper grazing practices. Not only will this greatly increase the water supply, but it will result in the creation of great amounts of new soil suitable for growing crops, and increase the size and richness of grasslands, allowing even more herds to graze. And the grassfed meat made available by following this path will provide the food that is far more nutrient-dense and nourishing than a plant-only diet.”

There are also other farmers who are finding ways to keep their stock on range lands and grazing, while preserving the ecology, as nature intended. In southeast Oregon, ranchers are embracing the natural landscapes and allowing their cattle to roam on desert areas, eating high-desert grasses.

In Simon Fairlie’s book, Meat: A Benign Extravagence, he devotes a considerable amount of discussion about small-scale, holistic meat farming and how we can continue to feed the growing populations of the world. This book so succinctly and profoundly lays out the methods and mechanisms by which we should undertake humane and smaller-scale meat production, George Monbiot, environmental activist and vegan, regarded this book as a life-changing read and discarded his support for veganism after reading it.

What can you do?

Supporting our local, grassfed meat farmers which contribute positively to the ecosystem and local economies instead of GMO and commercial farming is imperative. If we don’t abandon these toxic, modern systems of food production, we will wipe out our fertile soil and ability to produce food for the future.

  • Be aware of the fact that 90 percent or more of foods you buy at the store probably contain GMOs. Read labels and avoid these products as best you can. Avoid buying grocery store meats from unhealthy animals, which are full of antibiotics, hormones, and residue from pesticides, GMOs, and other toxic chemicals.
  • Get involved in local efforts in your home state to institute labeling on GMO foods.
  • Educate others by spreading the word!

More information:

Health benefits, grassfed meat, Eat Wild

The grassfed beef challenge: Busting myths about meat - read about the great health benefits of grassfed meats and why the myths about meat being harmful to eat are untrue

Grassfed Cattle, Not Junkfed Cattle

10 reasons to avoid GMOs

Learn how GMOs affect our health

Support the California Right to Know campaign and get involved in your state and local area to label GMOs and boycott GMO foods

4 ways to avoid GMOs in the foods you buy

Photo credit: TheInternational.org

 

Activism Healthy Living Real Food Toxin Alert!

Right to Know Rally & Rebuttal to ID Senator Mike Crapo re: Labeling GMO Foods

www.mypicshares.com
On Wednesday, July 18th in downtown Boise, ID, in front of Senator Mike Crapo’s office, citizens gathered for a rally organized by GMO-Free Idaho to protest the fact that our senators are not hearing our concerns about  mandatory labeling for GMO foods in our state. The photos in this post are all from the rally. I was part of this group and I felt like we made an impact on the awareness of people in our area.

Currently, 14 European countries have banned GMO foods, and did so over a decade ago without any government assistance.  It makes you think that with enough consumer education and grass-roots efforts, we could create enough resistance that food companies would have to discontinue their toxic practices.

Read why the majority of Americans want labeling for GM foods.

There is growing doubt in world communities about the safety and usage of GMO seeds and pesticides as is evidenced by various examples of communities rejecting GMO seeds such as Haiti who burned them, French, Spanish, and Indian citizens destroyed GMO fields and burned Bt cotton, Uganda and other locations which have rejected seed altogether.  There are also increasing numbers of allies in the real food community who question it.

www.mypicshares.com

In addition to various countries who have banned the usage of GMO substances in the food supply, other countries are requiring labeling, as India has recently done.

Jeffery Smith of The Institute for Responsible Technology has spent a great deal of time and effort educating and spreading the word. There is a Seeds of Doubt Conference happening on October 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA, where he and other notable and respected speakers and professionals in attendance.

Here is Senator Mike Crapo’s response to our protest in downtown Boise yesterday:

“I understand the concerns expressed by many who oppose genetically engineering food products and seek mandatory labeling for foods containing GE ingredients. However, I am also aware of the many benefits provided by GE crops, including increased yields and nutrition and reduced pesticides and herbicides used in the environment. The only vote in the United States Senate to date requiring mandatory labeling for these food products, an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill, was defeated by a vote of 73-26.

The United States has one of the safest and most abundant food supplies in the world.  Consumer safety and a robust agricultural sector need not be mutually exclusive.  GE food products are a relatively new development in commercial food production, and I agree that it is important that we continue to study and monitor this new technology that has already demonstrated positive benefits.”

The truth is, I’ve sent letters to both of these senators and others in the past, and the answers given here are no different than anything I’ve heard them say to me in “personal” reply. Clearly they don’t have anything intelligent to respond back, because the same responses continually get recycled over and over again.

Here is my rebuttal to Senator Mike Crapo’s statement:

Increased yields

Increased yields are not happening with GMO foods. From the Natural News site, Eco-farming outperforms GMOs at increasing crop yields and growing more food, based on a new report showing that sustainable farming can double food production in 10 years.

From the article, eco-farming  ”allows the People to freely grow and harvest their own food, and take advantage of what nature freely offers them in order to do so. Within the GMO paradigm, however, farmers are controlled by companies like Monsanto that sell them self-destructing “Frankenseeds.” These seeds require heavy pesticide applications in order to grow, and represent an unsustainable system that has devastated the livelihoods of thousands of farmers while failing to deliver on its promises.”

The Institute for Responsible Technology has also published referenced information on this fallacy. From the report:

“Field tests of Bt corn showed that they took longer to reach maturity and produced up to 12% lower yields than non-GM counterparts. In spite of these and other studies, the biotech industry continues to claim that GMOs are the answer to higher yields. Two reports have conclusively contradicted these claims.”

Read the Rodale Institute’s document on why GMO farming is simply a band-aid approach to fix long-term issues with short term solutions. There is also an in-depth discussion to the importance of a food system that can regenerate itself, and how the key to successful farming is healthy soil – which GMO farming destroys.

Better nutrition

Mr. Crapo claims there are increased nutritional benefits. The “benefits” of GM foods have also not been proven. In fact, quite the opposite has occurred.  Nutrition is supposed to fortify and support health. There are many connections to disease and health issues from eating GM foods: allergies, liver disease, infertility, digestive issues and cancer just to name a few. To my knowledge, there has never been any valid studies done to show that GM foods contain increased nutrition.

Superweeds

www.mypicshares.com

Mr. Crapo claims there are reduced pesticides and herbicides with GMOs.  There has been a widespread emergence of superweeds previously not in existence which are heavily resistant to most herbicides. This becomes a widespread problem for farmers and other citizens. These are invasive and difficult to remove. Then, stronger and more toxic herbicides must be used to do the same job that less toxic products were once able to control.

The cycle continues as more and more virulent superweeds are created. This is similar to the overuse of antibiotics in farming environments which cause resistant bacteria.  These plants are replacing non-resistant weeds as well as are spreading resistant genes to other plants through cross-pollination.

The safety of our food system and food recalls

To say that the U.S. food supply is one of the safest in the world is to completely turn a blind eye to all the issues that are continually coming forth in media and health outlet reports. Food recalls are a normal occurrence now, and if you look on any given day you will find a large recall that has recently occurred. There are very few publicly-traded companies who have not had a product appear on recall lists.  Despite the many regulations and laws in place to “protect” consumers, our food supply continues to be riddled with pathogenic bacteria & undesirable substances which are making people sick and killing them.

You would think consumers, politicians, health officials, food producers, and others would make connections between industrial farming practices and the filth found in factory and commercial farming environments. Instead, the logic is that more regulations, fees, and laws need to be imposed. This gives license to big agriculture players who are more than able to get around the confines of the law and afford fines associated with breaking the law, but the government doesn’t shut them down. Instead, they simply continue with unsafe production and “farming” practices. Many of these products have GM ingredients.

If you look at food recall lists, you won’t find truly sustainable, small-scale farmers’ and food growers’ products on them, nor even hear reports about them in the news. Although smaller and sustainable farmers tend to use use healthier practices and safe farming methods that work in harmony with nature, these individuals have been the target of government raids and shut downs, and are being rendered unable to continue producing the safe, healthy food that U.S. citizens are now demanding due to the visibility of insidious problems in the commercial food sector.

The health dangers of glyphosate and pathogenic bacteria found in GMO seeds

Glyphosate, the active ingredient used in Monsato’s flagship product RoundUp, has been found in human urine samples of city dwellers. Doesn’t this say something about just how widespread this substance has become?

The toxicity of glyphosate has been widely documented.

Here are just a few more of those documentations:

Dr. Donald Huber, professor emeritus at Purdue University, has written and spoken out about the introduction of pathogenic bacteria into our soil from foreign DNA  inserted into seeds in the laboratory, and why it adversely affects not only the soil, but those consuming it, and describes how it takes up residency in our digestive tracts.

Watch Dr. Huber’s interview with Dr. Mercola:

I could give many more examples of issues with GMOs,  but it is particularly noteworthy to mention that recently, genetic engineers discovered and spoke up about the health hazards of consuming these substances.

One of the report’s authors, Dr. Michael Antoniou of King’s College London School of Medicine in the UK, uses genetic engineering for medical applications but strongly cautions against its use in the development of crops for human food and animal feed:

“GM crops are promoted on the basis of ambitious claims – that they are safe to eat, environmentally beneficial, increase yields, reduce reliance on pesticides, and can help solve world hunger.”

“I felt what was needed was a collation of the evidence that addresses the technology from a scientific point of view.

“Research studies show that genetically modified crops have harmful effects on laboratory animals in feeding trials and on the environment during cultivation. They have increased the use of pesticides and have failed to increase yields. Our report concludes that there are safer and more effective alternatives to meeting the world’s food needs.”

Testing and the “safety” of GMOs

Mr. Crapo indicated that it is “important that we continue to study and monitor this new technology that has already demonstrated positive benefits.” Sure, let’s study it and prove the “positive benefits”, as long as Monsanto is paying to have those studies done (which is all that has ever been done to date), we’ll always receive the result that GMOs are safe to use.

Too bad that outcome has a strong industry bias.

He says, “we should continue to study and monitor this new technology”.  The FDA has not made requirements for mandatory safety testing of GM crops, and does not even assess the safety of GM crops but only “deregulates” them, based only on assurances from biotech companies like Monsanto that they are “substantially equivalent” to their non-GM counterparts.

There is no amount of “un-biased” or third-party scientific testing or research that will ever prove to me that GMOs are a safe and effective way to produce food.  Not now. Not after all the  overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Here is Senator Risch’s statement (another Idaho senator):

“There are federal laws already in place to make certain our food is safe. There was no need to add this amendment, and in fact, it was rejected in bipartisan fashion with 73 “no” votes when it came up for consideration.”

Here is my rebuttal to Senator Risch’s statement:

Yes, the measure failed 26-73 votes. Here’s how the voting record came out.

Too bad many of those senators receive payments from Monsanto and other seed companies. Here is a list of those receiving financial support from Monsanto.

After looking at this data, it should be pretty clear that these politicians have reasons for their voting record.

The bottom line is: there is clear evidence that GMOs are a threat to our health, environment, and future.

Big companies and government do not have our health or best interests in mind, and are motivated by profits.

This is  a citizen’s call to action!

  • Learn all you can about how GMOs affect us. At least 80 percent of processed foods contain them, and even some foods on the shelves that appear to be “whole foods”.
  • Tell everyone you know by making this post go viral. Let your congressmen and women and local communities know you won’t stand for not knowing what’s in your food supply!

More information: 

GMO-Free Idaho

Organic Consumers’ Association – Millions Against Monsanto

Busting myths about GMOs (genetically-modified foods)

4 ways to avoid GMOs in the foods you buy

Mom-turned activist launches national movement to boycott GMO foods

The Institute for Responsible Technology

1 in 4 meat packages tainted with pathogenic bacteria

Industrial meat & pink slime = more recalls, drug resistance

Photo credit, GMO-Free Idaho