Factory Farms

Factory Farms

‘Ag-gag’ bills face tough row to hoe

As you were saying?Big Ag is having trouble installing its Iron Curtain. I am referring, of course, to the various “ag-gag” laws proposed in Florida, Minnesota, and Iowa that would make it illegal to produce (and, in some cases, possess) undercover videos from within factory livestock farms. The latest state legislature to pursue this dubious goal is New York’s — but the fate of ag-gaggery in other states makes success in the Empire State seem unlikely. Florida’s bill died a few weeks ago when legislators withdrew the bill from consideration as the legislative session ended. And now the Humane Society …

Industrial Agriculture

How industrial agriculture makes us vulnerable to climate change, Mississippi floods edition

An “ephemeral gulley” that carried soil and agrichemicals from an Iowa farm toward the Gulf of Mexico during a 2010 storm. Photo: Environmental Working GroupNancy Rabalais, marine scientist and executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, is probably our foremost authority on the vast, oxygen-depleted “dead zone” that rears up annually in the Gulf of Mexico, fed by fertilizer runoff from large Corn Belt farms. (I interviewed her for my podcast last year.) In a report on the PBS Newshour blog, Rabelais delivers some bad news: Floods in the Mississippi River watershed this spring are washing tremendous amounts of …

Industrial Agriculture

Forget rice, think meat and yogurt: ‘Chinese food’ looking more and more like Western diet

Meating demand: Workers at an industrial meatpacking house in China try to keep up with their nation’s soaring appetite for animal products.Photo: Shreyans BhansaliIt’s Monday, which for many is now a meatless day, so it’s appropriate I think to highlight Howard Schneider’s Washington Post article on the long-anticipated Chinese meat-eating explosion: For China, the world’s most populous country and now its second-largest economy, changes in food consumption are happening fast. In a nation where the word for rice is synonymous with food, people are eating less rice and other grains, preferring pork, fish and, to [chicken farmer] Liu’s delight, chicken. …

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