Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hormel pork supplier charged

An Iowa Sherriff has announced that 22 charges of livestock neglect and abuse have been filed against six current and former employees of the Hormel supplier that PETA recently investigated. For more than three months, PETA went undercover at an Iowa pig factory farm, which supplies piglets who are raised and killed for Hormel products. They found rampant cruelty to animals committed by workers and supervisors. Abuse and neglect were widespread during the entire investigation.

These are just some of the abuses that were documented:

- A supervisor shoved a cane into a sow's vagina, struck her on the back about 17 times, and then struck another sow.
- Multiple pigs were beaten with metal gate rods, and lacerations were found on more than 30 sows, which is probably evidence of more abuse.
- A worker hit a young pig in the face four times with the edge of a herding board, and investigators witnessed dozens of similar incidents involving this worker and 11 other workers.
- Two men, including a supervisor, were witnessed jabbing clothespins into pigs' eyes and faces. - A supervisor also poked two animals in the eyes with his fingers.
- A supervisor kicked a young pig in the face, abdomen, and genitals to make her move and told PETA's investigator, "You gotta beat on the bitch. Make her cry."

To learn more about the investigation and charges, go to:

And btw, findings on this Iowa pig farm, however, were not limited to cruelty to animals. PETA also documented an apparent violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Animals who were to be killed for human consumption were sprayed with a substance that contains gentian violet (a chemical that is linked to certain cancers) thereby making their flesh "adulterated" under federal law.

By purchasing pigs bred and born on this farm and then grown elsewhere before being slaughtered for Hormel products, Hormel is financially supporting an operation whose employees abuse animals. If you eat meat, look for local, humanely raised and slaughtered animals and if you live in California, vote 'yes' on proposition 2 to protect farm animals from abuse.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Study shows that organic farming can combat global warming

Data from the Rodale Institute’s long-running comparison of organic and conventional cropping systems confirms that organic methods are far more effective at removing the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, from the atmosphere and fixing it as beneficial organic matter in the soil. In fact, if organic farming methods were practiced on all the planet's food-growing land, it would be like taking more than 1.5 billion cars off the road. Even if we just converted the U.S.’s 160 million corn and soybean acres to organic production, it would sequester enough carbon to satisfy 73 percent of the Kyoto targets for CO2 reduction in the U.S. See the full story here:

Need more reasons to buy organic? According to the Organic Consumers Association:

- You can increase your antioxidant intake by 30 percent by choosing organic.
- The average child in America is exposed to five pesticides daily in their food and drinking water.
- The U.S. water system is regularly contaminated above safe limits immediately following chemical fertilizer applications to farm fields.
- Farms in developing countries that use organic techniques produce an average of 79% more than farms that don't.

What can you do?

Let your grocer know you want organically grown foods and buy organic products as much as possible. Visit local farms and farmers' markets and talk to the farmers. Even if they are not certified organic, they may be growing using organic practices.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Food Politics in the New York Times

Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense Of Food, has a great article in the New York Times ( ).

In the form of a letter to the president-elect, Pollan outlines why the president should be working on food policies, since it directly affects global warming (farming is the second largest user of fossil fuels after cars), the economy (food is not so cheap anymore), and health care (1 of 3 children born in 2000 are expected to develop type 2 diabetes).

Pollan explains how we got to where we are today and gives some excellent detailed advice for how a new food system could work, where the government:

- encourages and reward those that do "sun farming" rather than farms relying on fossil fuels
- builds an infrastructure that supports diversified farming rather than monocrops
- allows foods stamps and issues WIC coupons to be used at farmers markets which woulds also help attract farmers markets to urban areas
- makes sure all schools have gardens, kitchens and workers trained to cook real food
- sets an example by hiring a white house chef active in the local and organic food movement

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Saving the earth . . . one pizza at a time

Despite the ongoing economic recession, consumers are increasing their purchases of green or sustainably produced foods. One Florida-based chain, Pizza Fusion, delivers locally grown, family-farmed foods in hybrid vehicles. The chain now boasts 75 franchises in 15 states, all of which are built from recycled materials. Check it out at:

Farmers and Restaurants Collaborate

This is so cool--a union of 42,000 North Dakota farmers have pooled their resources and invested more than $6 million to build green restaurants in Washington D.C. to showcase food from family farms. One of the "farm-to-table" establishments is walking distance from the Capitol and the White House, maybe it will serve as a reminder to U.S. policy-makers that this nation was built on the backbone of the family farmer.

Get the full story here:

Friday, October 03, 2008

An apple a day

Check out my Whole Family column on VegFamily Magzine this month -- lots of yummy apple recipes . . . .

Eco Lunch Boxes!

As much as I love my kids laptop lunch boxes, I hate that they're plastic--even though they are not the kind of plastic with lead or phylatales . . . . Anyway, here is a new lunchbox on the scene. Stainless steel lunch box with stainless steel water bottle. It doesn't have those nice compartments like the laptops, but it does come with a nontoxic reusuable plastic sandwish wrapper.

Check it out at: