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AGW Blog

Challenging greenwashing and supporting positive solutions

21May 09

Farmers Enlist Mother Nature in Rodent Control

Farmers of Israel, Palestine and Jordan are utilizing an alternative method of pest control: birds of prey. Owls and kestrels are now being courted with nests and plentiful hunting grounds, that they may serve as a "natural" means to keep the rodent population in check. Previously, rodenticides had been sprayed on crops to deter the pests. This proved fatal to hundreds of birds of prey - including many endangered species - that died after eating the poisoned animals. Quests for an alternative method ultimately led to a government-funded program encouraging the erection of nesting boxes for owls and kestrels - birds whose complementary hunting patterns result in 24-hour rodent control. A kibbutz, or farming village, in the Bet-She'an Valley was one of the first to employ this method in 1983. The practice has now blossomed into a partnership between three countries, multiple charities, scientists and farmers, in an effort to reduce the amount of chemical pesticides used on middle eastern farms.
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12May 09

A Taste That’s Truly Texas: Hut’s Now Serving Animal Welfare Approved Texas Longhorn Burgers

Hut's Hamburgers, an Austin tradition since 1939, has added that iconic symbol of Texas-the Longhorn-to its menu. Animal Welfare Approved Bandera Grassland of Tarpley, Texas is supplying the restaurant with pure Texas Longhorn beef from cattle that are direct descendants of the Iberian cattle brought by the Spaniards in the 1500s. The Animal Welfare Approved seal is an assurance to consumers that cattle from Bandera Grassland have been treated according to the highest welfare standards. "We were interested in the beef because of its unique history and strong identification with Texas, but what sold us on the burger was the spectacular taste," said Michael Hutchinson, the owner of Hut's, which is regularly voted as having the best burgers in Austin and is known nationwide for its innovative menu. "Our customers love it. It tastes like the beef you used to be able to get 150 years ago-like the beef you might have eaten on cattle drives. It's got big, authentic Texas flavor. Having the beef come from an Animal Welfare Approved ranch is an added bonus, because Austin is a town that cares about sustainable agriculture and animal welfare."
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11May 09

New Website Provided by Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network

We wanted to share news about a new website published by the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network, nichemeatprocessing.org, which was designed to provide information for smaller meat processors working with local, organic or grassfed products. This resource should be helpful, providing information on processing regulations, mobile processing units, and marketing information. Please see the topics contained in main menu from the website (below). Rules and Regulations Find Help Near You Niche Meat Processor Case Studies Business Development Workforce Management Plant…

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04May 09

Update on H1N1

I spent many years talking to the press saying H5N1 was a disease of chickens. This morning I spoke with my son's pig and explained H1N1 was a disease of humans. I hesitate to make light of the situation but sadly it is the truth: we can and do infect our animals. In another twist, we appear to be at a plateau for new human infections according to the numbers on the WHO website. Reported cases are not growing significantly.…

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