A news roundup;
🌱 Food sovereignty explained in 3 new animation films
‘’Today Gaia and other founding members of the African Earth Jurisprudence Collective have launched three new animations exploring the revival of land, water, seed and Earth-centred cultures by Indigenous and traditional communities.
Told in the words of Earth Jurisprudence Practitioners trained by Gaia – each animation follows a community’s extraordinary story of rejuvenation through a central symbol of revival – bees in Kenya, millet in Zimbabwe and sacred natural sites in Uganda.
These decolonising stories are a testament to the fact that alternatives to the dominant industrial growth economy already exist. That the damages and losses suffered since colonisation can be healed. That, in collaboration with other species, we can reweave the fabric of life. That another world is possible.
We invite you to read on, watch and share these stories as widely as you can’.
👨🌾 Protect our farmers
Inspiring words from NFU Cymru warn MPs that family farms and their contribution to society must be protected from the impacts of trade agreements and included in the development of future farm policies;
“I want us to make sure that we do produce fantastic food here in Wales but with a small, sustainable footprint. We have a clear vision and ambition to be net zero by 2040 and provide the most climate-friendly food in the world.
We do not want to see these aspirations undermined by market conditions that mean we are unable to compete with imports produced to completely different considerations.”
The NFU Cymru president also welcomed the introduction of the new Trade and Agriculture Commission, but lamented the delay to it being set up.
During this time, the UK government had announced free trade agreements with Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
As part of his evidence, Mr Davies told MPs that the “strong and varied contribution of Welsh farming businesses to life in Wales was unparalleled and should be considered sacrosanct”.
🫒 Future of Food
Excellent speakers in the WWF-UK podcast talks; How To Change the Future of Our Food
‘In our increasingly urbanised world, many of us are disconnected from the ways our food is produced – and the consequences this has for our planet.
From the conversion of the US and Canadian Great Plains into farmland to the millions of hectares lost to Palm Oil production in Southeast Asia, the production of food is responsible for almost 60% of global biodiversity loss. Conventional farming requires masses of space, huge inputs of water and feed, and is one of the major causes of deforestation, pollution and habitat destruction around the world. Today, even as some farmers and businesses are developing more innovative and sustainable approaches to food production and responding to consumers desire to lower their footprint, trade deals, confusing labelling and the hidden costs of the food system could still take us in the wrong direction.
The leading voices include Professor of Food Policy Tim Lang, farmer and Creator of Riverford, Guy Singh-Watson, Cook, Writer, and Restaurateur, Thomasina Miers, Author of Eating to Extinction, Dan Saladino, and food systems Consultant Dr Afton Halloran.’
🐔 A chicken costs the same as a coffee
Fifty years ago, a medium broiler cost the equivalent of £11 today. Now it is less than a latte coffee or a pint of beer, raising serious ethical and environmental questions. Economies of scale in industrial farming can only out compete small-scale family farming because they exclude the true costs to the animal, the environment and human health.
‘Animal welfare organisations have long criticised a complex supply chain that has grown into a stunningly efficient beast of protein production. Advances in breeding and nutrition along with basic economies of scale have slashed prices. Now the industry itself is asking questions about the fraught chickenomics of the £3 broiler.’
🔥 Yet another factory farm blaze
A massive factory pig farm fire has killed a large number of small pigs in Co Armagh. As factory farm fires are common, we must include this horror as yet another reason why this barbaric system should be banned. To help achieve this, NEVER buy meat unless it has a label saying RSPCA, Outdoor Raised, Free Range or best of all Organic.
🐄 Regenerative Ag – the real thing
In regenerative agriculture, you only have to prove that you are improving your soil. So, with none of the organic certification’s prescriptive rules , it is susceptible to being hijacked by big ag! However, James Raebeck and others, in this BBC program explain the benefits of reg ag when practiced holistically. This section sums up the benefits of mob grazing;
“I was a young guy and I let my cows have my whole farm. They ate my whole farm down till it looked like a black top road. There wasn’t any forage left out there…… a relative told me to see a guy down the road – he’s got grass and you don’t. I visited this guy – he had 5 times more cattle than I did, the same amount of land than I did, and he had grass everywhere. He told me about rotational grazing and the importance of rest. To chew it off a little bit, don’t let them take more than half and get them off there to let the grass come back. The cow herd is moved morning noon and night 360 days of the year so you are constantly trying to keep a litter bank, some kind of organic matter trampled on the surface to feed all your soil microbes, keeps the soil covered so it stays cooler and if you get a big heavy rain, you have this beautiful carbon thatch laying on the ground. It catches the rain and holds it right where you need it. It doesn’t run off the property. Think of it like this; you are giving your animals a fresh salad bar every day.
🚫 U-turn on farrowing crate ban
Intensive pig producers have struck a legislative victory after a clause seeking to ban farrowing crates immediately was dropped by the government.” – (pigs not celebrating) – Committee Stage discussions on the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill last week, a clause proposed by the Shadow DEFRA Minister that would ‘end the use of farrowing crates’ was removed.”
‘Daniel Zeichner said farrowing crates were “a major concern because they prevent sows from building their nest.”‘
“Alternatives to farrowing crates, many of them designed by British farmers and engineers, are already commercially available in the UK,” he said.
“We should support British ingenuity and pig welfare by requiring the use of these higher-welfare systems.”
🇮🇳 Indian Farmers continue year-long demo
Indian farmers held a mass rally to keep pressure on President Modi to fulfil all their demands as written in a letter from a body of farmer unions coordinating the protests;
‘These include a legal guarantee that farmers will continue to receive a minimum support price (MSP) — a fixed minimum rate backed by the government — for all agricultural produce. Presently the government only provides support prices for rice and wheat.
The laws are designed to open up farming to the private sector, and the government described them as a necessary step to modernise a heavily subsidised system that is no longer fit for purpose.
Farmers, however, feared the measures would leave them open to exploitation by big corporations that are close to the current government, and that it would be a step on the road to doing away with their MSP. (price guarantees)’
🇱🇰 Back To The Future in Sri Lanka
Lessons learned during the civil war (when people in the isolated N of the country survived by adopting organic farming methods) led to the government shift from chemical to organic farming last May by banning all imports of pesticides and other chemical inputs.
However, the ban was lifted last month after pressure from farmers’ demonstrations, abandoned land due to predicted financial loss and spiralling food prices. To ensure food security, the government respected their concerns with a pledge to introduce a slower paced withdrawal from these expensive and unsustainable inputs.
‘The negative social and environmental impacts of the Green Revolution are recognised as much as the lower farm yields and higher prices associated with organic produce are. However, an increasing body of research has placed its hope on organic farming to meet the global climate targets and conserve natural ecosystems.’
🏭 Intensive farming NOT sustainable
EXCLUSIVE Investors warn the EU against badging intensive farming as sustainable
‘A group of global investors (FAIRR) representing more than $3.5 trillion in assets has urged the European Commission not to allow intensive farming to be badged as a sustainable activity in upcoming rules, a letter seen by Reuters showed. Auditors say these subsidies often have dubious climate benefits, and some support intensive farming.
As well as carbon emissions, the letter said intensively reared livestock also had negative impacts on biodiversity, water use, antimicrobial resistance and soil health and “should not be included in the EU Taxonomy as it stands”.’
🐖 Pig patrol
Amsterdam airport’s innovative approach to flight safety is to graze pigs outside.
“Geese like beet, and when it’s left on the fields, they flock to eat it,” he told the Guardian on a visit to the trampled field just west of Amsterdam. “Over there are 30 geese enjoying the beet, but those geese are a danger to aircraft. Here, the pigs have eaten up the beet so the geese stay away.
We have an intrinsically cruel and stupid economy when morality and profits are consistently antagonistic – only when profits are threatened, are farmers paid to give pigs a good life outside.
🇪🇸 Factory pig farm threatens Spanish town
Spanish countryside rebels against mega ‘pig factories’
‘The 58-year-old local winemaker has for months been battling the planned opening of a large pig farm that will breed almost 40,000 piglets a year from 2,200 sows less than three kilometers (1.9 miles) from his town of Quintanar del Rey, in the central province of Cuenca.
Locals fear the pollution from pig manure, bad smells, and flies, which they say the project will bring and have staged regular protests against it. The farm is just 350 meters (1,200 feet) from the wells that provide the town of around 7,000 residents with fresh water.
“If the water gets polluted, the village will be ruined,” says Escribano, who speaks with a gravelly voice and has salt and pepper hair.’
🧫 Industrial cell meat anyone?
When the world’s largest meat processor, JBS, spends $100M buying a cell-based meat company, we know to avoid it like the plague.
‘JBS, the world’s biggest meat processor, is now pivoting its business towards alternative proteins with its first foray into the cell-based meat space. It has announced plans to acquire BioTech Foods, the Spanish startup behind cell-cultured Ethicameat, as well as build a new R&D site dedicated to cultivated protein in Brazil.’
🌾 Bio-piracy of farmers’ seeds
Ghana must protect the seeds of its farmers from corporate capture to ensure the people’s right to food and nutrition
‘FIAN International said Act 1050 would make Ghana depend on these seeds grown with poison-laden pesticides and chemical fertilizers that are harmful to humans, biodiversity, and the environment.
“Commercial seeds are expensive and have to be bought every season and will thus increase dependence on the seed industry,” said Hategekimana. “Furthermore, there is a risk of biopiracy of Ghana farmers’ seeds as these could be imitated by any plant breeder, who can seek protection of what could become his or her own variety.”
Hategekimana pointed out that this situation could criminally punish farmers exercising their rights to their seeds that have been patented by other entities. Act 1050 imposes a jail term of up to 15 years and financial penalties on a person who may sell or market the propagating material of a variety protected in Ghana.’
🪝 No more fish for local people
Overfishing in West Africa used to feed fish in Asia and Europe! Fishmeal and fish oil are protein ingredients in feeds used in different types of farming, particularly fish farming leaving locals with no fish to eat.
“We work with Burkina Faso or the Togolese,” says Kama. “But in 2020 and 2021 we are no longer able to produce anything at all due to the fishmeal factory.”
New report finds that major supermarket chains in UK, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Austria are turning a blind eye to the destructive nature of their farmed fish supply chains
‘The global aquaculture industry has experienced staggering growth over the past five decades, going from supplying a mere 5% of fish 40 years ago to accounting for over half of the fish we eat in 2021, and this has come with significant environmental and social costs. Not only does the industry impact on marine biodiversity – most notably through the annual extraction of millions of tonnes of pelagic fish from ocean food webs for use in aquafeed – but it also leaves communities in West Africa, Latin America and other areas in the Global South without essential protein and with impaired access to traditional livelihoods. In addition to this, there are growing concerns about the impact of intensive fish rearing itself on the welfare of farmed fish and cleaner fish, which die prematurely in their millions every year as a result of poor farming practices.’
❓ Who are the terrorists?
Michael Moore reminds us of the brutality we have inflicted on the world in the name of defeating terrorism when we ourselves are in fact the terrorists.
‘It turns out, this proposed memorial is not to honor those Third World people who’ve been slain by the sword in our hands. It’s for our dead! Would anyone mind if I stated an inconvenient fact? Other than the horrific, tragic loss of nearly 3,000 people in just two hours on that one day in September of 2001, the total number of Americans slaughtered by foreign terrorists over the past 50 years, is perhaps an average grand total of 10-20 people a year.
Every life is precious. But let me give this some perspective. By any means of mathematics, history, or honesty, when it comes to creating terror and killing the innocent, the USA is the modern day Genghis Khan and Bubonic Plague rolled into one. Whether it’s the four million we killed invading and bombing Southeast Asia in the 60s and 70s, or the hundreds of thousands of civilians killed by the sanctions we’ve imposed on Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, the former Yugoslavia and Syria over the years, or the 200,000 George W. Bush killed in his 2003 Iraqi invasion, or the one million Iranians who died when Bush’s Daddy and Reagan backed and armed Saddam in his invasion of Iran in the ‘80s (and when that killing wasn’t enough, we switched and began selling arms to both sides, just for fun).’
Forgive me for pointing out that, while we receive some one-off donations, I am funding Farms Not Factories myself, and if we are to continue to fight the cruel, antibiotic-led factory farm system, we will need some regular donations from like-minded people. Please consider a monthly subscription of £2/month and help us support a network of smaller scale, humane and healthy UK pig farms, local abattoirs and butchers.
“Our message is simple, we want to help bring an end to this dangerous, inhumane system. Vote for real farming over factory farming.”
– Tracy Worcester, Director