let's talk farm animals

I expect better from the New York Times

By: Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

Not being a foodie, I never knew who U.S. food writer Mark Bittman was until he broke out of the food world into the mainstream with his 2009 bestselling book Food Matters, “a look at the links among meat production and obesity, global warming, and other nasty features of modern life.” According to his bio, “[i]t has good recipes, too.” Since then he has garnered a strong following of those who share his conspiracy theories and impractical opinions on the way farming and food production should be. He also says he has been a journalist since 1968.

So when I read his July 6 New York Times opinion piece, Banned from the Barn, I thought I was reading something from a cheap tabloid not a highly regarded newspaper.

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Posted by FFC on August 8th, 2011 :: Filed under Housing,Letters to the Editor,Media,Pigs
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Food animals are not pets

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

The following letter to Reader’s Digest points out that even veterinarians can have misplaced views about animals.

Dear Editor:

The recent issue of Readers Digest carries an editorial titled “Food For Thought:  Pets are family, but chickens are food?” Written by a rural vet in Quebec, this editorial claims to “examine our changing view of other creatures” to make an argument for applying the same standards to food animals as we do our pets.

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Posted by FFC on April 21st, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Consumers,Family vs factory farming,Letters to the Editor,Veterinarians
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What is a ‘factory farm’ anyway? – Part 2

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

The over-used term “factory farm” never seems to be defined. Many farmers and others who work in the agriculture business consider it an insulting term, much like a racial slur that shouldn’t be tolerated.  Here is what one farmer thinks.

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Posted by FFC on March 23rd, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Education and public awareness,Family vs factory farming,Letters to the Editor,Sustainability of the family farm
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Why farmers responded to a sled dog incident

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

Recent revelations about the circumstances behind a sled dog cull in Whistler B.C. has gotten world-wide attention and has spurred some of agriculture’s critics to capitalize on this attention.  One of several examples was a Vancouver Sun commentary in which the author surmises that the mass shooting of nearly 100 sled dogs is no different than what occurs in animal agriculture on an hourly basis.  Citing a number of activist references and websites, this regular columnist goes on to say that he finds “it curious that we’re justifiably disturbed by the unspeakable act at Whistler yet remain largely complacent about the cruel and completely unnecessary slaughter of other animals.” By misrepresenting  agricultural practices he paints a false picture that demanded a response. After all, if agriculture doesn’t speak-up for itself, who will?

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Posted by FFC on February 15th, 2011 :: Filed under Activism,Animal care,Animal cruelty,Canada,Letters to the Editor
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Animal Ag Alliance to Yellow Tail: Please Reconsider

Animal Ag Alliance To Yellow Tail: Please Reconsider
02/12/2010 11:05AM

In an effort to assist Yellow Tail Wines in determining its best opportunity to help animals, the Animal Agriculture Alliance has written a letter this week to the company’s owner, Cassella Wines. Yellow Tail Wines announced last week their intent to donate $100,000 to the Humane Society of the United States.

Yellow Tail’s announcement has generated considerable controversy among livestock producers and a backlash against the wine company. “The uproar over the last week has shown that you will undoubtedly lose a significant segment of your American customer base if you continue with your pledge of support for HSUS,” the letter says.

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Posted by FFC on February 16th, 2010 :: Filed under Activism,Consumers,Letters to the Editor,Vegan,Vegetarian
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The Best Care for Pigs Should be Up to the Farmer

October 17, 2008, Letter to the Editor, New York Times

To the Editor:

“Standing, Stretching, Turning Around” (editorial, Oct. 9) does little
to advance the debate on farm animal housing. It accepts completely the hype concerning a California ballot initiative that among other things bans gestation stalls for pregnant sows.

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Posted by FFC on July 21st, 2009 :: Filed under Housing,Letters to the Editor,Pork
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Free or caged, an egg is an egg

Montreal Gazette, 2008.08.04, Letter to the Editor

“Free-range eggs rule the roost ” (Gazette, July 30).
This is an interesting and generally informative article, but it contains some factual errors. The most glaring being that its claim that some hens in cages are given hormones.

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Posted by FFC on July 21st, 2009 :: Filed under Education and public awareness,Letters to the Editor,Poultry
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What do farmers know about farming?

Lloydminster Meridian Booster, 11 Jan 2008, Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

Why is it that urban dwelling experts and animal rights advocates feel they have to educate farmers in the economics and practices of farming?

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Posted by FFC on July 21st, 2009 :: Filed under Family vs factory farming,Letters to the Editor
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Most farmers would never think of abusing animals

Waterloo Record, MARLENE OTTENS, (Jul 19, 2006)

The July 14 letter of the day, Livestock Suffer Under Horrific Conditions, would be amusing if it wasn’t such a blatant collection of half-truths.

Writer Carol A. Lodin makes a series of statements based on assumptions and propaganda that need to be addressed.

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Posted by FFC on July 21st, 2009 :: Filed under Education and public awareness,Family vs factory farming,Letters to the Editor,Pork
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Animals for meat beneficial to earth

BY CRYSTAL MACKAY, ONTARIO FARM ANIMAL COUNCIL, London Free Press, 2006.04.22; Letter to the Editor

Regarding the letter, Meat products harmful to the environment (April 20):

I’d like to do something crazy and write in favour of something, which seems to be out of vogue these days. Eating meat is actually good for the environment and makes ecological sense.

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Posted by FFC on July 21st, 2009 :: Filed under Letters to the Editor,Vegetarian
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