Monday, August 23, 2010

GIPSA 'Competition' Rule Bad For Farmers

Sam Carney, a pork producer from Adair, Iowa, and president of the National Pork Producers Council, has an op-ed critical of the proposed GIPSA livestock "competition" rule in today's Omaha World-Herald.

Carney also spoke with AgWired reporter Cindy Zimmerman about the potential effects on pork producers of the regulation.

Friday, August 20, 2010

We're Better Than You Are

No doubt you've heard of the locavore movement -- not to be confused with the animal rights movement or a bowel movement -- which preaches buying locally raised fruits, vegetables and food animals and rails against "industrial" farming, claiming it uses massive amounts of energy to grow, fertilize and transport goods across the country.

An op-ed in today's New York Times calls out locavores for peddling, well, pig poop!

Conclude's the op-ed's author, Stephen Budiansky: "The relative pittance of our energy budget that we spend on modern farming is one of the wisest energy investments we can make, when we honestly look at what it returns to our land, our economy, our environment and our well-being."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Animal Rights Groups' Not-So-Hidden Agenda

There's an interesting commentary on the animal rights movement and its ultimate goal on The Pork Network site.

The author of the commentary, Pork magazine editor Marlys Miller, lays out the not-so-hidden agenda of animal rights groups. Miller notes that at a recent animal rights conference in Washington, D.C., Carrie Packwood Freeman, an assistant professor of communications at Georgia State University, told the audience, "We should distinguish a message from less meat, because we want no meat.”

Packwood's agenda clearly isn't covert. From the abstract of her graduate thesis on press coverage of, what she calls, the "industrialization of animal farming": "Findings show news discourse largely supports the speciesist status quo by representing farmed animals primarily as resources for human use through commodifying them, failing to acknowledge their emotions and perspectives, and failing to describe them as inherently-valuable individuals. ... Social change for animals is more likely if the media begin to construct stories which respect both human and animal interests."

We guess this means that, after they free all the animals, groups such as the Human Society of the United States and the Animal Liberation Front will champion for their right to vote.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

U.S. Pork Exports Looking Good

Data released last week by USDA showed U.S. pork exports on pace to set a new record this year, surpassing 2008's all-time high. Through June, pork exports totaled $2.35 billion, up 10 percent over the same period last year and about $30 million higher than the same six-month period in 2008.

This is great news for the U.S. pork industry, which earlier this year came out of 28 months of losses.

The data showed pork exports to Mexico up 31 percent over the January through June 2009 period. Canada imported 23 percent more U.S. pork, while Japan, the No. 1 market for U.S. pork, took 3 percent more. While exports to China and Russia were down 34 and 32 percent, respectively, the United States recently resolved with the countries issues that were limiting U.S. pork exports to those markets.

If the United States really wants to boost pork -- and other -- exports and create thousands of jobs, it will pass the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Groups Opposed To Government Intervention Call On Feds To 'Fix' Things

Several so-called grassroots farmer groups are holding a series of rallies in support of a proposed rule from the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) on the selling and buying of livestock and poultry.

The groups want the federal government to impose tighter regulations on transactions, contracts and other aspects of the livestock and poultry industries as a way, they say, to bring about "fairness" and "competition." (Actually, the rhetoric from some of the organizations makes it clear they want equal outcomes, not equal opportunities.)

But how ironic. It's these same groups that disdain government involvement in their businesses. They adamantly oppose, for example, a federal animal identification system, which simply would make it easier to locate, control and eradicate diseased animals and keep export markets open to U.S. meat and poultry. They don't want the federal government getting a hold of all that public information about individual farms and ranches. Whatever.

The proposed GIPSA rule would be a disaster for farmers, ranchers, consumers and jobs in rural America. Those supporting this monstrosity clearly don't understand Economics 101.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Coming To A College Campus Near You

In a few weeks, young people will head to university campuses around the country. While there, they may run into Bruce Friedrich, PETA's v.p. of policy and government affairs, who has been peddling PETA's pap about the indefensibility of "eating animals."

Friedrich will visit Boston College, Cornell, Princeton, the University of Minnesota and six other schools this fall to debate the ethics of eating animals, arguing that "vegetarianism is an ethical imperative for all members of the student body." He's also set to lie to all those impressionable, young minds, claiming that eating meat pollutes the land, air and water and drives up grain prices, which leads to starvation and food riots! But mostly, he'll tell them that eating meat supports animal cruelty.

Friedrich, of course, is a protege of PETA co-founder and President Ingrid Newkirk, who (in)famously once said, "Animal liberationists do not separate out the human animal, so there is no rational basis for saying that a human being has special rights. A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy."

In a recent Huffington Post piece bragging about his college campus crusades, Friedrich says he tells college kids "there is no ethical difference between eating a dog, cat, chicken, pig or fish." He even cites evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who denounces "speciesist arrogance" -- the idea that we are better than, and can do whatever we want to, other species.

It should be noted that Dawkins is not only an atheist but an anti-theist who has called religion a "primitive superstition." Friedrich, it should be noted, contributed to Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? Reflections on the Liberation of Animals, a book about the animal liberation movement. In it, he argues in support of the activities and tactics of the Animal Liberation Front, which the FBI considers a terrorist group. (The book's forward was written by former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, who essentially said America -- and the "little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers" -- deserved the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.)


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter

Man smart, woman smarter, crooned the late Robert Palmer. Well it appears our vegetarian ancestors were smart enough to discover protein rich meat, which, as it turns out, made them smarter -- and slimmer.

From National Public Radio:

"Our earliest ancestors ate their food raw — fruit, leaves, maybe some nuts. When they ventured down onto land, they added things like underground tubers, roots and berries. It wasn't a very high-calorie diet, so to get the energy you needed, you had to eat a lot and have a big gut to digest it all. ... 'What we think is that this dietary change [to meat] around 2.3 million years ago was one of the major significant factors in the evolution of our own species,' Aiello says." Read the story here.