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AGW Blog

Challenging greenwashing and supporting positive solutions

15Jan 09

A Day at the Stuart Family Farm with the Channel 11 News Team

We just returned from an exciting day at the Stuart Family Farm in Bridgewater, Connecticut. We visited with Bill and Deb Stuart along with WPIX/CW Channel 11 News who wanted to see firsthand what an Animal Welfare Approved farm looks like and how the auditing process works. Arthur Ch'ien and his cameraman Jason Johnson spent three hours with us and took so much farm footage that they ran out of tape! And despite, both Arthur and Jason's initial apprehension about getting up close and personal with the cows, they became fast friends with Urma and a few other heifers in the Stuarts' grassfed herd.
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12Jan 09

Vilsack Moving to Secretary of Commerce Post?

Last month, we posted some possible Obama appointees for the Secretary of Agriculture position in "Wanted: an rBGH-free Appointment." We voiced our support for the picks touted at FoodDemocracyNow.org and also skepticism at the change-making capabilities of potential candidate Dennis Wolff. Since then Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack has been put forth for the post, leaving the sustainable agriculture movement somewhat nonplussed (see The Ethicurean's post, "AgSuck"). Rumors are now circulating that Vilsack may be shifted to the office of Secretary…

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09Jan 09

Report from the Oxford Farming Conference

A speaker at the Oxford Farming Conference (held at Oxford University from January 5-7) reported that farming in an animal welfare-friendly way can be the key to better profitability. Alistair Lawrence from the University of Edinburgh Veterinary School continued,"It is an achievable goal to deliver animal welfare within a competitive farming system." Professor Lawrence used examples from the dairy industry to illustrate this point, noting that the emphasis used to be on breeding for maximum yield but that this single-minded…

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18Dec 08

Whose FDA Is It Anyway?

If the system is so poor that it must be propped up with off-label and subtherapeautic antibiotics, perhaps its time to revise the system? In an apparent win for pharmaceutical companies, the Food and Drug Administration has recently rescinded a proposed ban on off-label use of cephalosporin drugs in animals raised for food. According to the Wall Street Journal, this last-minute reversal came just five days before the proposed ban would take effect. Has the FDA lost its way? The official mission of the agency states, "The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs," (among other responsibilities like regulating radioactive materials). Despite significant evidence that off-label and widespread agricultural use play a major role in creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the FDA has caved under pressure from the very companies selling the drugs. This decision not to ban off-label usage begs the question: What is the point of having a label in the first place?
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11Dec 08

Wanted: An rBGH-Free Appointment (can we still say that?)

A recent article on the Organic Consumers Association website joins the vetting process for Obama's Secretary of Agriculture appointment. Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff's name has surfaced as a potential pick for this post, and anyone that remembers his campaign against rBGH-free labeling will wonder how this appointment could possibly bring the change Obama mentioned in his Rural Plan (namely, to "Prevent Anticompetitive Behavior Against Family Farms" and "Encourage Organic and Sustainable Agriculture"). Visit the OCA site to read…

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