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AGW Blog

Challenging greenwashing and supporting positive solutions

22Jan 09

USDA Gives Final Rule on “Naturally Raised,” Hisses and Boos Resound

Despite significant protest from organizations (including ours) and many thousands of concerned individuals, the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has defined "naturally raised" to mean something far from it. Producers are now allowed to to label products "naturally raised" as long as the animals have been produced "entirely without growth promotants, antibiotics (except for ionophores used as coccidiostats for parasite control), and have never been fed animal by-products." Nowhere does this definition mention pasture (or even outdoor access!), genetic engineering,…

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22Jan 09

UK Study Finds Biodiverse Systems Produce Healthier, Better Tasting Meat

It turns out the old adage "You are what you eat" is true for livestock too. Researchers at the University of Exeter recently published a study which found that meat from animals grazed in quality, biodiverse systems is nutritionally superior to meat from intensive systems. Professor Henry Buller and his colleagues attributed this difference to the impact of the different plants on the digestive process and the growth and development of the animals. Laboratory analyses showed that lamb meat from…

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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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