Thursday, October 3


Opposition to the fast-food/factory-farm complex can be just a NIMBY attitude. But other signs point to a larger phenomenon. When Green Bay, so associated with meat packing that their football team is named after the industry, starts trending vegetarian, something's up. And though Enron fatcats will probably always want butchered food, young people are more adventurous, such as those in an Olympia, Washington, school who are loading up on vegetables, fruits and soy milk at lunchtime after learning about organic food and tending a school garden. America's youth is also more aware of ethical issues, and more kids are refusing to dissect animals in class. As these kids are growing up and entering college, they continue to challenge assumptions there too. More power to them.


Good to see that Meat Facts' feces-oriented critique is catching on. A Canadian environmental group has released a damning report entitled "It's Hitting the Fan: the Unchecked Growth of Factory Farms," which demands a moratorium on new factory farms in Canada until the industry submits to serious regulation. (You mean like we have here? *chortle*) The report points out that "Canadian livestock produced 164 billion kilograms of manure in 2001, enough to fill Toronto's SkyDome stadium twice a week."
Wow, that's vivid. Meanwhile, a little further south, still more people are raising their voices against animal slaughter operations, at least the ones in their backyards. Of Terry Long's proposed 6,000-chickens-a-day slaughterhouse in Pittsburgh, neighbors say, "the only thing that would have been more outrageous is if he had suggested putting a nuclear storage facility there." Yeah, well, toxic waste is as toxic waste does...


It's not just McDonald's, of course, but the whole fast-food/factory-farming system that's slowly being flushed down the commode of history. As reported in the London Telegraph, the fast food industry is already destroying the family farm, and any farmers who buy into this decadent system are, to put it gently, chumps. Meanwhile, some families have managed to make a deal with the devil, whoring their hog farms out to corporations so they can "maintain the lifestyle" and pretend they have a family farm, rather than one division of a large factory farm. But don't these people depend on the farm to survive? Yeah, right. The standard joke is, if my wife worked a second job, I could farm another 200 acres." In other words, it's a hobby - one that's not a joke to the farmed animals that get slaughtered.


McDonald's continues to dig its own grave, reneging on a promise to stop buying chicken that's pumped full of all kinds of antibiotics. Many of the chain's rivals, such as KFC, Subway and Hardee's, have shifted their purchasing to chickens that are only pumped full of some kinds of antibiotics (the kinds deemed least relevant to human medical treatment). But McDonalds stands firm - so far - in a strategy that can only be called incomprehensible. The fast-food giant is obviously desperate to reform its image as purveyor of complete crap, yet it waits to be prodded, and beaten, on this, while more healthful fast-food franchises continue to eat away at its future market share. The only explanation I can see: Eating too much beef causes dementia.


Well, it may not be mushrooming into a ConAgra-size scandal yet, but last week's Cargill recall is similarly mushrooming - it's now 2.8 million pounds of beef that's contaminated - in other words, more completely infested with fecal matter than regular beef. Boy, that War on E.coli is working great! Stay tuned...


Here's one more reason the tide might be turning against hunters: Because so many of them are outright morons. This guy sat in a deer stand 15 feet off the ground in a tree and shot a boy's pet dog, because he allegedly "thought it was a wild dog and was concerned for his own safety". Uh huh. What, the dog was jumping 15 feet into the air at him? Climbing the tree? I mean, invincible hogs are one thing, but tree-climbing dogs are unheard of. More likely it was a lethal combination of machismo and Michelob.

Monday, September 30


As various hunting seasons approach, here's some food for thought: Hunting license applications have fallen by 22% in Wisconsin this year, a major blow to a profitable industry. The Department of Natural Resources got so desperate as to take out hundreds of billboard ads reminding people of their duty to get out there and kill! CWD is the stated cause for the decline - but hunting licenses have also dropped 22% in Delaware over the past couple decades. What is this, a trend? Is it because hunters are tired of dealing with people who point out how unsporting it is to use guns against defenseless animals? Or are the hunters recognizing this themselves? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggests that shifting values are inevitably moving in the direction of animal protection and away from such nonsensical "sport" as animal slaughter.


Here's an interesting Cargill recall of 200 tons of ground beef that hit the news late Friday afternoon (isn't that always the way?). Somehow there was a whole nother outbreak of E.coli that nobody mentioned back at the beginning of September and now that there's been a recent one, they're taking the attitude of OK, enough's enough. This one could also mushroom into a ConAgra-size scandal, but considering how quickly the public's forgotten about that one (other than the 50-odd people lying in hospital beds after eating tainted hamburgers last week) I wouldn't put money on it.

Sunday, September 29


Conagra is trying to dissociate its brand name from the disgusting practice of meat production, and as the story of this summer's corruption-scented recall continues, I'm going to help out by not using "Conagra" in my headlines anymore. "Con" will do just fine. This week's installment: Tainted meat was found not once, not twice, but dozens of times at ConAgra's Greeley facility over the course of the past few months. Most of the violations, the Denver Post reports, "were for allowing feces, the carrier of potentially lethal E.coli bacteria, to contaminate beef carcasses," and guess what - the violations just kept coming, even AFTER the recall! Unbelievable.


Oh, man - the stories are popping up fast and furious, and I've once again built up a backlog, with little time to give them all the presentation they deserve. I gotta just slap a few out there before I get buried. So here's four quickies from Soy helps beat breast cancer | Almonds help beat coronary heart disease | Fruits & vegetables help beat osteoporosis | and Seafood? It causes infertility.