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What is Better Meat?

 

Let’s face facts: America has a very deep-seated meat culture—and that’s not going to change any time soon. Despite the efforts of some food advocates to persuade people to stop eating meat, U.S. per capita meat consumption rose by a whopping 5 percent in 2015—the largest increase in over 40 years.

As an organization promoting high-welfare, sustainable food animal production—and working directly with thousands of livestock farmers and ranchers—this represents a real challenge. It’s now widely accepted that if we continue to consume such unsustainable levels of industrial meat, dairy and eggs, we’re all in big trouble. We urgently need to change what we eat and how it’s produced.

Over recent years, some food advocate groups have sought to find a ‘silver bullet’ solution that consumers can easily buy into, which will bring about the wholesale reform of industrial food animal production we so urgently need. While these efforts have resulted in some good (and some not so good) ideas, the food industry has always been sharper and far more effective at getting their message across to the consumer.

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Big Ag’s Gifts for 2016

 

As many of you know, it’s a tradition of ours to look back over the last 12 months at the many “gifts” Big Ag has bestowed upon us. In most case, they’re gifts we’d probably all like to return… Here’s our top 5 for 2016.

#5 – Big Ag Gets… Bigger

After months of speculation, German-based chemical giant Bayer bought up Monsanto for a cool $56.5 billion. The move follows similar consolidations in the agribusiness sector—including the merger of the U.S. agrichemical giants, Dow and DuPont, in late 2015. If the Bayer-Monsanto deal is approved by regulators, the combined company would be the world’s largest suppliers of seeds and agrichemicals, which raises major issues.

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Farm Health Online: The Right Tool for the Job

At A Greener World, we’re always looking for positive solutions to help fix our food system, as well as ways to give farmers and ranchers the practical support and guidance they need to transition towards sustainable, pasture-based livestock production. Well, we have some exciting news to announce…

Farm Health Online is a powerful new website, offering free and immediate access to practical, science-based advice on positive livestock management and sustainable farming practices for cattle, sheep, poultry, and pigs, with comprehensive information on over 100 common livestock diseases, best practices on nutrition, housing, breeding and husbandry—and much more!

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Man Reading Meat Label

“Antibiotic-Free”: Industrial Farming with a Nice-Sounding Label

Food label claims about antibiotic use are a hot topic in the U.S. According to the Wall Street Journal, sales of “antibiotic-free” labeled chicken at U.S. retailers rose 34% by value in 2013-14, driven by public concerns about antibiotic use in food animal production.

Earlier this month, McDonald’s announced that, within two years, all chicken served at its 14,000 U.S. restaurants will come from farms that raise birds without antibiotics that are important to human medicine. The statement was welcomed by leading U.S. public health and environmental advocates (who are campaigning to ban antibiotics in farming) as a major step in combating the threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and follows earlier initiatives. Last year, for example, Chick-fil-A announced plans to phase out chicken raised with antibiotics; Perdue Foods and Tyson Food both said they would no longer use antibiotics in their chicken hatcheries; and Cargill announced it had removed growth promoting antibiotics from its turkey flocks.

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Sustainable Farming Means Safer Meat? Now There’s a Surprise…

 

High-welfare, sustainably-produced beef isn’t just better for the animals or the planet: Consumer Reports’ recent tests on ground beef proves it’s safer for us, too.

In one of the largest like-for-like comparison test of its kind, the widely respected Consumer Reports found that conventional ground beef is twice as likely to contain potentially life-threatening antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’ than ground beef from sustainably-raised cattle, and three times as likely when compared to ground beef from cattle raised outdoors on an entirely grassfed diet.

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Big Ag’s Gifts for 2014

It's a tradition of mine to write a note of sincere gratitude to Big Ag for the many "gifts" they've bestowed upon us all over the past 12 months relating to food animal production. Gifts that we didn't really want, need, or—in some cases—didn't even know about. Here's my top 10 for 2014.
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This Thanksgiving, Eat Like A Pilgrim

Here at AWA, we’ve been thinking a lot about this special holiday and how we may have more in common with our ancestors than we think. Upon arriving in America, the early pilgrims ate what was locally available (granted, they didn’t have an alternative!). This happened to be animals that ranged and foraged in the woods and pastures, eating a diet specific to their natural needs and free from non-therapeutic antibiotics or added hormones. Sounds like a Certified AWA farm, doesn’t it? Meat, dairy, and eggs from animals raised outdoors on pasture or range is better for you, better for farmers, and better for the planet all great reasons to give thanks.
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Joint Letter to the Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef Executive Committee

While the GRSB states that it has deliberately avoided outlining indicators, metrics or practices on the basis they are “only applicable in a narrow range of environments and systems and therefore need to be developed at the local level,” we believe that in order to be credible, any further local and international work in this area must properly tackle the following fundamental limitations of the GRSB’s Principles and Criteria report—and the industrial beef production model itself.
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Farming’s Bitter Pill: Has the FDA flouted its own evidence about the safety of farm antibiotics?

A damning new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reveals that our Government has been ignoring the very real risks to public health from routine antibiotic abuse in intensive livestock farming. According to the NRDC’s new report, Playing Chicken With Antibiotics, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—whose key remit it to protect public health—permitted the nontherapeutic use of 30 medicinally important antibiotics, including 18 rated as “high risk” to human health, on industrial farming operations despite knowing this could pose a direct threat to human health through the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. It makes truly somber reading for anyone concerned about future public health—and the independence of our Government agencies from vested corporate interests.
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