By Animal Welfare Approved
| February 26, 2014
Despite claims from the likes of Monsanto and the biotech industry that GE crops are an environmental panacea and will feed the world, two decades after they first went on sale the evidence suggests that GE’s key golden promises are beginning to look more like epic failures…
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.
The Sonne family raises AWA pigs, laying hens, and laying ducks in the mountains of Virginia. With the help of John Sonne’s parents, Chris and Priscilla, he and his wife, Jade, manage an integrated, multi-species operation that utilizes sustainable techniques with an eye toward continually improving the farm for future generations.
For several generations, Veronica Serna’s mother’s family raised fruits and vegetables, pigs, dairy cattle and laying hens in Buena Vista, northern New Mexico, making enough to support themselves on farming alone. Over 60 years ago, however, they stopped farming on a large scale when some of her uncles were drafted into the military, leaving behind a few siblings, including her mother, who ended up marrying and leaving the farm for better opportunities. Soon after Veronica’s parents met, they moved to Colorado and then Wyoming, and eventually moved back to northern New Mexico in 1971. Unfortunately, by then the family’s larger acreage had been sold off piece by piece when times were tough, but her parents wanted to return to farming nonetheless. While her father stayed away during the week to work, the rest of the family remained at home to tend to a small herd of cattle and to continue their education.
Belinda and David Gutierrez manage Local Yolk, a pasture-raised laying hen operation, at Pilot Creek Ranch, a 970-acre property in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Belinda and David returned to the ranch, which has been in David’s family since the late 1800s, in 2006 and began raising laying hens on the family’s property in 2013. They raise 500 AWA-certified Black Austrolorp ,Ameraucana, and Rhode Island Red laying hens outdoors on pasture.
Leonard Pigott was born and raised on a diversified farm. He went away to university and worked as livestock specialist with the government for many years, before beginning his own farm in 2002. Now he puts his knowledge as a trained educator in Holistic Management into practice on a 2,200-acre ranch in Dysart, Saskatchewan, that he calls Triple H Beef. Leonard explains that, “The ‘H’s’ refer to healthy bodies, holistic living, and healing the land,” and believes that these three objectives go hand-in-hand: “If the land isn’t healthy, we don’t have anything.”
Vince and Nancy Pope raise AWA-certified sheep on a centennial family farm in the southern driftless region of Wisconsin. Vince was raised on a dairy farm and worked as a livestock nutrition specialist, and Nancy is a practicing veterinarian. Their skillsets are strong assets in their commitment to pasture-based management of their flock. “Essentially, we have a nutritionist and veterinarian on staff,” Nancy explains. Their combined skills allow Vince and Nancy to identify potential problems in the flock early, and make adjustments or provide treatment as needed.
Yellowbird Farms is a sustainable, grassfed, family-owned farm tucked away in central Tennessee. The farm is bordered by the beautiful Collins River and is located in one of the most ideal grass and forage growing climates in the country. Yellowbird Farms is a refuge for diverse plant and wildlife communities; these natural resources are protected by responsible stewardship, careful planning, and collaboration with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services. In recognition of their commitment to sustainable farming practices, farmers Deanna and Jim Malooley were named 2013 Warren County Conservation Farmers of the Year.
Marguerite Whildon started Sweetbay Cottage Hens after a 30-year career in various aspects of resource management. Her primary focus was in land management for flood mitigation, wetland protection, and watershed planning. “Often the lands I worked with were farms with severely eroded banks and soil loss or former farms under development for housing or commercial purposes,” says Marguerite.