Following the recent launch of our newest label, Certified Regenerative by A Greener World (AGW), we are thrilled to select over 50 farms to join the program’s pilot phase. Building on our successful family of leading labels, the new certification…
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.
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.
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.
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.
The way we farm and feed ourselves is a hot topic right now—and so it should be. While many of us have access to an abundance of so-called “cheap” food, it turns out that it’s not as “cheap” as we might think. All the evidence suggests that industrial farming is damaging our health, animals, and the planet we share. Hardly a day goes by without a food- or farming-related headline—whether it’s “Pink Slime” in our meals, obesity and diet-related ill health, the abuse of antibiotics in meat production, or belching cattle warming the planet.