let's talk farm animals

“Pink slime” – What’s in a name?

By: Leslie Ballentine, Farming and Food Commentator

“Pink slime” a pejorative term for boneless lean beef trimmings has been getting a lot of attention from, food advocates and US policy makers in recent weeks. Called “lean finely textured beef within the industry,” the ground beef filler is reportedly not used in fabricating meat in Canada. Never-the-less, the hoopla is spilling over our border and is another example of how a name can affect the industry. 

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Posted by FFC on April 2nd, 2012 :: Filed under animal by-products,Consumers,Food,Food safety,Meat/slaughter plants
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Animals in the news: 2011 top ten

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

New Years always brings with it retrospect’s of the past year and predictions for the year ahead. As a result we get “top ten” lists, “most” lists, trends lists and all types of year in reviews.  So in the spirit of year-end lists, here is my top ten “quirky” animal news items for 2011.

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Posted by FFC on December 28th, 2011 :: Filed under Media,Uncategorized
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If slaughterhouses had glass walls…

By: Leslie Ballentine, Farm and Food Commentator

There is a common saying among vegetarians that “If slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be a vegetarian”.  Having been to all types of meat plants I disagree.  And so did one of North America’s largest processing companies.

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Posted by FFC on November 21st, 2011 :: Filed under animal handling,Beef cattle,Consumers,Education and public awareness,Meat/slaughter plants,Media,Vegetarian
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Even experts can inflate the facts

By: Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

A recent news item in the Vancouver press illustrates why we need to be critical of what we read, regardless of who it comes from. This particular news story highlighted the growing demand for animal welfare certified foods in B.C. To her credit the journalist went to a noted expert rather than a vested marketer to write her story. In this case she cites UBC professor of applied ethics and long-time welfare researcher David Fraser.  According to her reporting, the animal welfare expert says the move (to certified humane) is part of a larger consumer trend of rejecting products from factory farms.

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Posted by FFC on August 22nd, 2011 :: Filed under Consumers,eggs,Food,Media,Organics
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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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What is a ‘factory farm’ anyway? – Part I

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

In recent years, the term ‘factory farm’ has been used with growing frequency in both conventional and online/social media to signify anything and everything that is seen as bad in livestock and poultry production. The term is almost exclusively used to criticize animal farming. You rarely hear it used to describe greenhouse tomatoes for example.

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Posted by FFC on March 17th, 2011 :: Filed under Canada,Consumers,Education and public awareness,Family vs factory farming
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Why Farmers should NOT Speak Up

For more than a decade now, there’s been a movement across Canada with a goal of empowering farmers to take a chance, Speak Up, and share their passion for farming with the public – most of whom have no direct connection with food or farming. And we’re happy to report that movement appears to be growing. We’re seeing farmers start blogs, tweet from their tractors, write letters to the editor on topics of importance to them and take a chance on doing more media interviews when we know that they’d much rather be working in their barns or in their fields. Michele Payn-Knoper of Indiana is a farmer and an agricultural advocate who works tireless to champion the farmers’ cause. We especially like this blog post, posted at www.causematters.com earlier this year and reprinted here with permission from her. Michele’s cited a number of the “excuses” she’s heard for farners not speaking up about agriculture – if you have any more, feel free to comment on the blog post below! –  OFAC

 The new year typically starts with motivational tips, hype about resolutions and pressure to make promises of how we’re going to do things differently. Not me. I’m bringing an entirely different perspective on advocacy – a highly sarcastic view on why we SHOULD NOT tell agriculture’s story. Several ag folks from across the U.S. and Canada added to the list on Twitter and Facebook – you’re welcome to post your own comment in the spirit of some fun.
Shhh, there’s no need to tell your story!

15.  Agriculture has little economic contribution – and the American economy is thriving.  After all, 80%+ of the economy isn’t reliant on the agrifood system – and surely your community doesn’t benefit from property taxes and jobs paid by farms.

14. “It’s embarrassing to have people thank you for producing their food. I don’t want people to think I am a corporate shill (every farmer who speaks out is one, right?) says sheep and daughter raiser Venessa in her own Spartan sarcasm.

13. “Who needs consumers anyway? I can still farm without people to buy my grain and animals that eat my grain. I like grain storage.  Those big shiny bins are SO pretty and cheap…” was a heavily sarcastic comment from Sarah Bedgar Wilson, a young farmer in North Dakota (the cold made her do it, I’m sure).

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Posted by FFC on March 4th, 2011 :: Filed under Consumers,Education and public awareness,Farm life,HSUS,Misconceptions,Speaking out,Uncategorized,Urban Myths
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Stop bashing those who grow our food

Lilian Schaer
Owen Sound Sun Times
October 19 2009

I ‘ve started noticing a bit of a trend in popular media — the bashing of farmers, especially those who grow crops we all depend on.

These horrible people — or so the theme goes — are ruining the environment by producing large volumes of corn and soybeans and they’re making us fat to boot.

There are two sides to every story and the farmer’s is rarely heard or included in the barrage of popular media and consumer criticism about agriculture. So let me debunk a few of these myths.

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Posted by FFC on October 21st, 2009 :: Filed under Canada,Consumers,Education and public awareness,Media
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The end – A PIG’S TALE

Steve Buist, Hamilton Spectator, 2008.06.07

I left the Great Lakes packing plant on May 12 with four boxes of meat piled onto the back seat of my car. Piggy — my pig, the pig I had helped raise and care for — was packed inside those boxes.

Six months of his life, six months of my life, all reduced to four cardboard boxes on my back seat.

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Posted by FFC on July 23rd, 2009 :: Filed under Canada,Consumers,Farm life,Pork
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The New Wake UP America Radio Show is Your Wake Up Call

Source:
http://www.prweb.com/releases/2009/01/prweb1822754.htm

The recent flow of media about animals being treated cruelly in factory farms, and the up and coming vegetarian movement is covered every Saturday, on Voice America Health & Wellness Network. Listen online, download, even listen on your phone, but don’t miss a single show.

Phoenix, AZ (PRWEB) January 6, 2009 — Every Saturday morning Wake UP America and its expert guests will examine our food choices and talk about the wonderful animals we share the earth with. We will discuss how mega- corporations are destroying our health and polluting our world – and most importantly – the simple solutions that will keep our families healthy and safe, save animals lives, and help our planet at the same time…..

Upcoming Guests on Wake UP America:

January 3rd, 2009 – Wayne Pacelle
Few are in a position to speak for the animals like Wayne Pacelle. As President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, he leads nearly 10.5 million members and constituents in the mission of celebrating animals and confronting cruelty.

January 10th, 2009 – Ingrid Newkirk
PETA President and cofounder Ingrid Newkirk has led the world’s largest animal rights organization for more than 25 years. Her passion and dedication to making this world a better place for all living beings has inspired countless others to do what they can to help animals.

January 17th – Gary Francione
Gary Francione is professor of law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Distinguished Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University School of Law in New Jersey. Gary is an author of several books, the newest being, Animals as Persons.

January 24th, Rory Freedman
Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin started a movement when they wrote their best-selling manifesto, Skinny Bitch. Both a wake-up call and a kick in the ass, Skinny Bitch exposed the horrors of the food industry while inspiring people to eat well and enjoy food.

January 31st, Howard Lyman
A successful Montana cattle rancher for nearly four decades, Howard Lyman sold his farm in 1983. Lyman went on to become one of the most prominent activists in the animal rights and environmental movements, authoring 2 books, and travelling over 100,000 miles each year speaking.

About the host:
Tina Volpe is the author of the book The Fast Food Craze, Wreaking Havoc on Our Bodies and Our Animals, and coauthor of The Missing Peace, The Hidden Power of Our Kinship with Animals, scheduled release in Spring, 09. She is a health researcher, speaker, educator/consultant, television guest appearing all over the country, hosted the top rated radio show “Wake Up America” on GlobalTalk Radio, now with Voice America Radio, and published columnist. Tina is now affiliated with PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) as a “Heart Health” speaker, and SPEAK (Supporting and Promoting Ethics for the Animal Kingdom), as a “Humane Educator:”. She lives on a ranch in Northern Arizona, supported by her family, and 21 unique animal friends.

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Posted by FFC on July 21st, 2009 :: Filed under Consumers,Education and public awareness,Media
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