February 19th, 2021 Newsletter

Pay a Bit More – For Humanity’s Sake

🐽 Pay a Bit More – For Humanity’s Sake

Actor, Jeremy Irons says, “Only 1 out of every 5 pigs consumed in Britain has been raised on a high welfare farm. We should do everything we can to preserve the heritage of local farmers raising their pigs indoors with deep straw, or better still, outdoors, with plenty of space in the fresh air and sunlight. Buy high welfare pork at your local butchers, farmers’ market or online. If you go to the supermarket, look for the labels RSPCA Assured, Free Range or Organic. Pay a bit more. For humanity’s sake“.

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🐷 A Pigs Life – Part 6/6 – Pigs Have Died

Due to the appalling conditions, many pigs die in pig factories. To combat this, pigs are given routine, preventative doses of antibiotics – making them a breeding ground for antibiotic resistant diseases. By not accurately reporting the number of pigs born in pig factories, owners can avoid revealing the shocking number of pig mortalities.

As fresh air in the factory is denied,
Contaminants poison and viruses multiplied.
As fever sets in, our temperatures are seething,
we pigs soon have trouble breathing.
When we get sick with disease,
the factory solves the problem with ease;
they hide the symptoms, but not fix the cause
incinerating the evidence on pig factory floors.
Great praise has been given to this hideous machine
For burning us,….calling the solution ‘clean’

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The mainstream farming media is full of articles and advertisements to sell inputs to farmers to keep animals alive in animal factories. Their journalists report on symptoms of a broken system that relies on constant medication, special feed, sophisticated ventilation systems and concrete and metal sheds . By using this inhumane, antibiotic driven system, industrial agriculture can suck profits out of the pockets of the world’s farmers.

The cost of the disease to the industry is significant. About 40% of businesses report a level of clinical problems in the herd, and all will also be suffering the effects of unseen subclinical disease. As many as 50% of units will have subclinical issues and be largely unaware of it”.

The animal factory path is inevitable when workers’ labour is taxed while inputs can be taken off your tax bill. To compete with economies of scale, farmers follow the corporate narrative by packing ever more animals into barren sheds – get big or get out of the industry – their medical bills rise exponentially eating into their meagre profits forever squeezed by the few giant supermarkets themselves competing to survive in this dog eat dog economy. When it comes to food, isn’t it time we took the word ‘protection’ out of the bin and removed food from free trade treaties whose rules should only apply to non essentials like cars?

Harry Boglione has shortened the distance between the producer and consumer by running a small scale mixed farm that sells direct to his parents’ restaurant and the local market. He explains in this short video clip how the rise of factory pig farming has been enabled by routinely giving pigs antibiotics to prevent diseases caused by the overcrowded, stressful and unhygienic conditions. This has led to diseases in pigs becoming antibiotic-resistant and passing to humans. This report shows that stable flies and house flies disperse live LA-MRSA bacteria into the surrounding environment of pig farms.

It is time we recognised that pigs are more than just ‘protein’ that can be abused as if merely a car-part. Pigs are so intelligent that they can do joystick operated video tasks. Anyone who has seen a pig wallow in mud, a hen dust bathe, or a cow let out into pasture for the first time each spring, can see that farm animals are sentient. Yet, as a result of leaving the EU, animal sentience is no longer recognised in UK law.

Compassion In World Farming, working with the Better Deal For Animals coalition, has continued to maintain the pressure on the UK Government and Members of Parliament, to ensure that legislation recognising animals as sentient beings is introduced as soon as possible – please email your MP today.

🚜 Red Tractor Consultation

The Red Tractor farm assurance scheme has opened a consultation process and has a duty to respond to and to take into account all consultation responses. With higher standards and better enforcement, undercover activists will no longer have to break into farms to reveal the atrocious conditions in many Red Tractor farms, like this horrendous US style factory cattle farm in Daventry. The fact that this farm was granted accreditation from Red Tractor in the first place is horrific, and is a testament to the abysmal protection that Red Tractor accreditation gives to animals, the environment and human health. Vets should be responsible for reporting any breach of Red Tractor and/or DEFRA standards and visits should be frequent and unannounced.

To help UK farmers improve their animal welfare standards, please sign this open letter to put pressure on Red Tractor (whose guarantors are the National Farmers Union and the industry body Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) to improve its welfare standards. Alternatively you can fill in their consultation form, live up to 5 March, which we have made easy with a step by step guide – great if you could put as much as possible into your own words.

Sign Petition Fill in a Consultation Form

🇺🇸 Cancerous Trade with the US

While we lobby to improve the Red Tractor standards, they will be undermined by our importing US food like US bacon which is cured using cancer causing nitrates;

The meat has been cured with nitrites extracted from vegetables, a practice not permitted by the European Commission because of evidence that it increases the risk of bowel cancer. But it is allowed in the US, where the product is often labelled as “all natural”. The powerful US meat industry is likely to insist that the export of nitrite-cured meat is a condition of a post-Brexit UK-US trade deal, which the UK government is under intense pressure to deliver.,”

So we must keep up the pressure on our MPs to ensure we have standards enshrined in all trade deals, not least with the US; you can join thousands of others and sign this letter from Global Justice Now.

🌾 Threat to Big Ag’s profits and power

It is vital we protect our standards in trade deals to avoid the power games described by Henry Kissinger, American politician, diplomat, and geopolitical consultant, who in 1970 said “Control food and you control the people.” Internal US government emails show how the pesticide industry and US officials tried unsuccessfully over the last 18 months to get the Mexican government to reverse its ban on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup weedkiller linked to multiple health issues, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Throughout the months of email correspondence, [pesticide] industry executives told US government officials that they feared restricting glyphosate would lead to limits on other pesticides and could set a precedent for other countries to do the same. Mexico may also reduce the levels of pesticide residues allowed in food, industry executives warned.,”

“If Mexico extends the precautionary principle” to pesticide residue levels in food, “$20bn in US annual agricultural exports to Mexico will be jeopardized”, Novak wrote to US officials.,”

Corn and soybeans exports to Mexico would be particularly at risk if the country stopped allowing glyphosate residues in food, according to the communications between industry and the USTR.,”

The pressure on Mexico is similar to actions Bayer and chemical industry lobbyists took to kill a glyphosate ban planned by Thailand in 2019. Thailand officials had also cited concerns for public health in seeking to ban the weedkiller, but reversed course after U.S. threats about trade disruption.,”

☣️ Who needs GM and Gene Editing?

While Mexico, Peru and Tanzania have bravely banned high tech GMOs and gene-editing, Boris Johnson wants to abandon the EU’s cautions and embrace them. He is willing to sacrifice our standards and values on the altar of free trade deals that will tie the hands of future governments from being able to introduce laws to protect our health. If scientists deem a food import to be unhealthy or simply if we want to protect our farmers from cheap, lower standard imports, global corporations will have enormous powers to prevent our government from banning a product due to its undermining their expected profits. Tim Lang, Professor Emeritus of food policy at City, University of London, writes in the Spectator about how the gene editing consultation and lifting the EU ban on bee killing neonicotinoids are both troubling signs “that the UK is breaking away from the EU’s Precautionary Principle”.

British farming, however, knows weakened food standards sends ‘come hither’ signals to US agribusiness.,”

🌱 Brexit disruption makes the case for local production

If the UK wants to avoid the future loss of revenue to businesses from delays at customs and increased costs to customers, disruptions due to Brexit should sound the alarm bells around any increase in global trade from our island. Instead the Government should encourage farmers/businesses to convert to producing meat, vegetables and animal feed for local UK markets. For example, UK exports of animal feed has problems at the border and yet all of the ingredients could have been produced in the EU importing countries;

Problems have been particularly challenging for feeds containing animal byproducts such as milk and milk derived products, gelatine and collagen, hydrolysed proteins, eggs, dicalcium phosphate, chondroitin and glucosamine,” he explained. “The requirement to complete Export Health Certificates (EHCs) for feeds containing these products is particularly challenging as suitable EHCs do not exist and GB suppliers are not listed on EU approved establishment lists to supply such feeds into the EU.,”

Please read this Sustainable Food Trust article to see how a community health approach to ‘local food’ expands the conversation beyond the argument that ‘local food’ is elitist by broadening participation in the dialogue to include members of communities who experience barriers to acquiring locally produced food.

Besides, if the true cost of producing meat in animal factories was internalised into the retail cost, local meat and feed from small scale high welfare farms, would be cheaper. Costs associated with factory farmed meat include air, water and soil pollution, antibiotic resistant bacteria and significant contributions to greenhouse gas emissions due to indoor livestock being fed soya grown on deforested land and shipped 8,000 miles to Europe. If not in excessive numbers, pasture fed meat is a closed system with CO2 being sequestrated into the permanent grassland. As explained by the Sustainable Food Trust:

“In mixed farming systems, ruminant grazing can recycle nutrients and re-fertilise soils, lowering chemical inputs. It also has an essential role in biodiversity promotion in many of the UK’s most important habitats such as heathland, wood pasture and coastal marshes. In addition to these well-accepted benefits, there is a growing movement championing the role of regenerative grazing in sequestering carbon in the soil, with some research suggesting this could offer significant carbon mitigation.”

Being the #1 pig exporter to China (Spain presently holds that title) would no longer be seen as winning the global competition if the long term viability of the animal factory business, wellbeing of the pigs and health of neighbours and the consumer, biodiversity and environment were taken into account.

To help take back control of our pork, we must use the power of our purse and boycott supermarkets that don’t support UK producers. Less than half the fresh pork on offer in Tesco and Asda has been found to come from British farms whereas all fresh pork in the Co-op is from the UK. Also the Co-op has responded to civil societies’ request not to stock GM and gene-edited food.

A joint letter, organised by Beyond GM and Slow Food UK, and signed by more than 50 UK leading civil society groups, academics and producers, calls for UK supermarkets to respect the wishes of their customers – the majority of whom, surveys show, oppose genetically engineered foods. It also asks the retailers to show leadership by supporting strong regulation of genetically engineered crops and foods and refusing to stock unregulated, unlabelled gene-edited foods in their stores.,”

For a more resilient food economy, try to avoid buying meat at supermarkets and instead seek out your local farmers market, butcher, or shop online at Big Barn.

The intrinsic volatility of the present centralised system of production, slaughter, processing and retailing has been proved during this pandemic as large scale factory farms have suffered from both hospitality closures and the closure of slaughter and packing plants. Diseases spread like wildfire between the hundreds of closely packed workers which forced massive slaughterhouse/packing sheds to close. In the US, this caused a backlog of overweight pigs at the farms that were cruelly euthanised.

Let this be a warning to the UK government to immediately halt the loss of any more of our small scale abattoirs, not only to avoid the animal cruelty of long distance journeys and killing and removing millions of pigs from the food chain, but also the trauma experienced by farmers when they lose their animals and businesses.

Farmers have one of the highest suicide rates compared to other professions. What makes the consequences of the pandemic so impactful is the combination of a lack of control along with the need to still take responsibility for a decision, along with the lack of recognition and lack of financial and social support.,”

🤢 Behind the Gates Green Mask

From previous newsletters, you have heard about my opposition to one of the richest men on earth, Bill Gates, dictating the rules of the game by replacing our skilled farmers and natural systems with ever more corporate produced chemicals, GM crops, machines, robots and drones and replacing real meat with lab grown meat from animal cells. On February 16, he released his vision of climate solutions in his new book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster”. Climate change is one of the crises used by Gates and his Foundation to justify urgent, technocratic “solutions” for altering food systems around the world.

His recommendations include consumers in the rich countries only eating synthetic beef! Personally, I don’t trust petri dish food made by large multinational companies who have been proven time and again to put short term profit before protecting our nutritional health and wellbeing. Plus it is an unnecessary technology when we could eat less but better meat from mixed farms which are sustainable, keep money in the local economy and where accountability is rooted in the local community or choose a plant based diet – mushrooms are a perfect substitute to meat!

Gates also advocates the absurd and extremely dangerous technology called geo engineering – the deliberate intervention in the climate system to counteract man made global warming – where particles are sent up into the sky to reflect the sun’s rays back into outer space! In this short video, Prof Bill McGuire, University College London, raises awareness of the dilemmas and dangers of geoengineering.

In response, Community Alliance for Global Justice/AGRA Watch present: Billionaire or Community Solutions to Climate Chaos zoom conference to counter top-down, billionaire expertise as the means of solving our world’s most pressing issues. The panellists will present an alternative approach centered on Food Sovereignty, with communities leading the way to a climate just future. Join the zoom 1800 – 1930 GMT Thursday 25 February.

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.

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