ESSAY OF THE WEEK
Think “factory farm” and most of us envision millions of chickens and pigs crammed into dismally small spaces, or cattle on feedlots.
But there’s another kind of factory farm—fish farms. And they’re just as toxic to human health and the environment as their land-based counterparts.
More than half of all fish consumed in the U.S. now comes from industrial factory-scale fish farms—two of the most popular fish items on restaurant menus are factory farm salmon and shrimp.
Factory-farm salmon and fish threaten wild salmon and other marine species by spreading disease (and now GMO-related risks). They also contaminate coastal waters and the ocean with toxic chemicals and fish feed.
As for your health? Natural health experts say avoid factory-farm fish and larger fish (who have had more time to absorb toxins). Instead, consume only wild Alaskan salmon, or smaller fish species, such as anchovies, sardines and herring. For more information on what fish to consume and to avoid click here.
Read Ronnie’s latest: ‘Boycott Factory Farm Foods: But Don’t Forget the Fish’
How to buy seafood
Think genetically modified salmon is a bad idea?
Wait ‘til you hear what kind of GMO animals Recombinetics, Inc., the “Monsanto of the genetically modified animal industry,” wants to unleash on the market.
Among other things, Recombinetics wants to genetically engineer pigs specifically to withstand a miserable life in factory farms.
Not only that, but the St. Paul, Minn.-based biotech company wants to keep the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) from having anything to do with regulating GMO pigs, or any other GMO animals that could end up in the U.S. food supply.
Recombinetics president & CEO Tammy Lee Stanock recently published an opinion piece that argued for ending FDA oversight of genetically modified animals in favor of “putting the USDA exclusively in charge of regulating all food animals.”
The advantage for Recombinetics is obvious. The FDA uses its regulations for animal drugs to review the safety of genetically modified food animals, such as GMO salmon. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has no process whatsoever for evaluating the safety of animals created through novel technologies, including the gene editing technology used by Recombinetics.
If the company’s plan succeeds, this would be the most drastic deregulation of biotechnology to date—and gene editing is just too risky to deregulate.
TAKE ACTION: Tell the USDA: GMO animals need to be thoroughly safety tested by the FDA!
On a Roll
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—more like the U.S. Corporation Protection Agency—has been on a roll lately when it comes to rolling back regulations intended to protect people and the environment.
Next up? The EPA is threatening to kill the Agricultural Worker Protection Standards (WPS), EPA regulations intended to protect farmworkers from pesticide poisoning.
At least 20,000 farmworkers are victims of pesticide poisoning each year. Pesticide exposure also leads to higher rates of birth defects in children of farmworkers compared to the general population. (More facts on pesticide dangers and farmworkers here.)
We’d prefer that food be grown without pesticides. Until that happens, your best bet to avoid them as a consumer is to choose organic and regenerative products.
In the meantime, let’s protect the people who work on the farms that still use pesticides.
TAKE ACTION: Tell the EPA to protect farmworkers from pesticides!
Fact Sheet: “Who Grew Your Food?”
Nebraska and surrounding states have some of the richest soil in the world. Yet throughout the state, Nebraskans have little access to locally produced food.
RegeNErate Nebraska wants to change that. How? By reclaiming local control of the food system, and removing it from the grip of corporate agribusiness.
“Many people have been left behind as industrial agriculture has replaced cooperation with competition, separating us from our connection to the soil and to each other,” said RegeNErate Nebraska founder and local farmer Graham Christensen. “RegeNErate Nebraska is a community of Nebraskans who are bucking the system, in favor of the solution which lies in the soil. Regeneration is about going back to the way farming was.”
The group, partly inspired by opposition to Costco’s plan to build the largest poultry factory farm in the U.S., in Fremont, Nebraska, aims to grow a community of consumers, local farmers, tribal members and other groups who will collaborate on how to localize control over how food is produced and distributed in Nebraska.
“The solution lies in the soil,” said Christensen. “Everything comes from the soil—all that feeds us, nourishes us, provides us with strength and community. It’s who we are. Nebraskans know that soil is soul.”
RegeNErate Nebraska held a series of workshops March 24 – March 27 focused on building regenerative alternatives to the state’s dominant industrial ag system.
The events brought together local and national leaders and members of the community to discuss the benefits of transitioning from a conventional, degenerative agriculture system to a regenerative organic model that increases access to locally produced, nutrient-dense food, restores soil health, promotes biodiversity, treats animals humanely, revitalizes local economies and prioritizes farmworker fairness.
Read ‘RegeNErate Nebraska Workshops Inspire Farmers, Consumers to Go Regenerative’
Watch presentations from the RegeNErate Nebraska workshops
Sign up for the Regeneration International newsletter
Make a tax-deductible donation to Regeneration International
SUPPORT OCA & OCF
Obesity and chronic illness. Water pollution. Antibiotic-resistance public health crisis. Air pollution. Small farmer bankruptcies. Dangerous working conditions. Rainforest destruction. Soil degradation. Loss of biodiversity and wildlife habitat. Increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Animal abuse. Deteriorating local economies and communities.
Name a problem in need of a solution, and we’ll show you how it’s connected to industrial factory farms.
We can approach each of these problems in isolation as if they aren’t all interconnected. We can settle for little crumbs of incremental change here and there.
Or we can look at the big picture. We can single out the common culprit at the center of all these health and environmental disasters.
And we can do something.
Study after study says the planet is nearly maxed out. If we don’t clean up our act, soon, we’re looking at massive crises on a global scale.
Unfortunately, the scientists and policymakers and multi-national corporations aren’t going to take the lead.
That leaves us. And we need to use all the tools in the toolbox.
Right now, as an organization, we’re taking on factory farms in the courts—and winning.
We’re spreading the message far and wide—and repeatedly—that factory farms have to go.
We pushing for a new kind of Farm Bill, one that supports the right kind of farmers producing the right kind of food.
We’re working on the ground, in the U.S. and beyond, to promote and facilitate a global transition away from degenerative factory farming (which as we all know, isn’t really farming) to an alternative model that addresses every single one of the issues listed above.
It’s not an easy battle going up against the Tysons and Cargills, Monsantos and DowDuponts, the deceptive brands like Ben & Jerrys and its factory farm ice cream.
But it’s the most important battle of our lives. Ane we’re way past the point where we can just settle for crumbs.
Support Citizens Regeneration Lobby (CRL), OCA’s sister lobbying organization Donations to CRL, a 501(c) (4) nonprofit, are not tax-deductible.
Make a tax-deductible donation to support OCA’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit work
Make a tax-deductible donation to OCA’s Millions Against Monsanto campaign
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Must-See TEDx Talk
Everything changed for Dr. Tyrone Hayes when in 1998, the largest chemical company in the world asked him to use his expertise to try and understand if its top-selling product interfered with the hormones of frogs.
The company: Syngenta. The product: weedkiller atrazine.
Hayes, an American biologist and professor of Integrative Biology at University of California, Berkeley, discussed in his nearly 16-minute TEDxBerkeley talk the results of exposing African clawed frogs in his lab to atrazine. He presented an image up on the big screen of frog testes, showing a considerable difference between the controlled and exposed groups, and said:
“The controlled testes, if you look under the microscope, is full of sperm soldiers ready to go. The atrazine-treated testes, the testicular tubules are filled with cellular debris.”
Hayes explained how after exposure to atrazine, frogs that were genetic males became completely functioning reproductive females. In another frog species, he showed the gonads with “eggs that are bursting through the surface of the male’s testes.”
Read ‚Atrazine’s Dark Secrets Reemerge in Must-See TEDx Talk‘
Watch the video
If your backup plan is to join Elon Musk on Mars, then read no further.
But if you (or your kids or grandkids) plan to stick around on Planet Earth, take note: The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reports that land degradation has reached the “critical” stage—and 3.2 billion people could find themselves affected, either by mass migration or wars.
Who’s to blame for the mess we’re in? Industrial agriculture tops the list, according to this IPBES press release:
Rapid expansion and unsustainable management of croplands and grazing lands is the most extensive global direct driver of land degradation, causing significant loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services – food security, water purification, the provision of energy and other contributions of nature essential to people.
Prof. Robert Scholes, co-chair of the study said:
“With negative impacts on the well-being of at least 3.2 billion people, the degradation of the Earth’s land surface through human activities is pushing the planet towards a sixth mass species extinction. Avoiding, reducing and reversing this problem, and restoring degraded land, is an urgent priority to protect the biodiversity and ecosystem services vital to all life on Earth and to ensure human well-being.”
As OCA’s Ronnie Cummins recently wrote, the majority of migrants leave their land for greener pastures—in the literal sense—because the land in their own communities and countries has become too degraded to produce food or sustain livelihoods.
We know how to fix this.
John D. Liu, ecosystem restoration researcher, educator and filmmaker, said in an interview:
“What I’ve noticed is that degraded landscapes are coming from human ignorance and greed. If you change that scenario to one of consciousness and generosity, you get a completely different outcome. And that is where we have to go, where we need to go. We are required to understand this. We have to act now as a species on a planetary scale. This has to become common knowledge for every human being on the planet.”
What can you do? Reduce your consumption. And when you do buy—especially food—choose organic and/or regenerative.
You can also engage by learning more about the Regeneration Movement and getting involved in a Regeneration Alliance.
Read ‘Worsening Worldwide Land Degradation Now ‘Critical’, Undermining Well-Being of 3.2 Billion People‘
Read ‘Land Degradation Threatens Human Wellbeing, Major Report Warns’
Watch this video on land restoration
Sign up for the Regeneration International newsletter
Make a tax-deductible donation to Regeneration International
We now know one of the best ways to improve gut health is to consume fermented foods on a regular basis.
The probiotics in fermented foods like turnips, cucumbers and eggplant help balance the mucus in your digestive tract, protect against disease and chelate toxins, and remove heavy metals from your system.
You can usually find a good selection of fermented vegetables and other foods at your natural health store. But you can also make your own. It’s not that hard to do. Plus, you’ll get more for your money! According to Dr. Mercola:
“Fermented foods not only give you a wider variety of beneficial bacteria, they also give you far more of them, so it’s a much more cost-effective alternative. Here’s a case in point: It’s unusual to find a probiotic supplement containing more than 10 billion colony-forming units. But when my team actually tested fermented vegetables produced by probiotic starter cultures, they had 10 trillion colony-forming units of bacteria. Literally, one serving of vegetables was equal to an entire bottle of a high potency probiotic! So clearly, you’re far better off using fermented foods.”
Mercola.com makes fermenting your own vegetables easy. Mercola’s enhanced formula produces healthy bacteria that promote gut health, beneficial enzymes that make digestion easier on the stomach, and even increase bioavailability of vitamins, like vitamin K2, in your vegetables.
Now through midnight April 30, 2018, get 20 percent off Mercola’s Kinetic Culture Starter Kit and most other Mercola products with this promo code: ORGANIC418. Mercola will also donate 20 percent of the product price to OCA.
Shop now and get 20 percent off.
Essential Reading for the Week
Are You Ready for the New Wave of Genetically Engineered Foods?
‘Wi-Fried’ — Is Wireless Technology Dooming a Generation to Ill Health?
USDA Secretary Accused of Siding with Industry over Science in New Report
The Science About Eating Out That Will Scare You Into Cooking Your Own Dinners
The Coca-Cola Invasion Is Causing Mexico’s Slow Death by Junk Food
Why Fasting Is Such a Powerful Treatment Strategy for Diabetes
Create a No-Till Garden and Retire Your Tiller Forever