Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

A resolution worth keeping

Hatched: Thursday, January 20th, 2011

By now, most individuals have already made New Year’s resolutions – some of them, which have already been broken. Instead of resolving to lose that last 10 pounds, the folks at Cluck Nation challenge you to commit to something bigger that will have long-term implications – educate yourself on where your food comes from.

Think about it…

Food is a basic need. Everyone eats. And, it’s the only arena where consumers get three votes a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. So make your vote count. But, first, do yourself a favor and learn about the farmers behind the product, where it comes from, and how it was produced.

Don’t ban the bird!

Hatched: Friday, July 2nd, 2010

United States chickens are allowed to cross the pond over into Russia again.

Since January, Russia has blocked American chickens from being imported into the country. What a foul decision! Previously the largest importer of U.S. chickens, Russians have seen no trace of Yankee-born chickens during the past five months—and that’s a mighty long time to go without a good ol’ American chicken dinner.

Thankfully, this all changed last week when Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met with President Barack Obama in Washington, and the two scratched out an agreement to reinstate chicken entry into Russia. As outlined in this article, chicken travel into Russia will likely resume quickly, even within a matter of days.

It’s great news that American chickens have been cleared on Russian border control list. But, it does seem rather ironic that all this productive chicken-squawk between Medvedev and Obama happened while the two shared a hamburger lunch.

Where the cluck were the tasty drumsticks to celebrate this victory?

Why jail birds but not jail eggs?

Hatched: Friday, April 30th, 2010

You have to hand it to the Sandusky County sheriff.  Sensitive to his county’s budget concerns and ongoing budget cuts, the sheriff has put prisoners to work, cultivating their own food and saving taxpayers’ money in the process.  It started with an inmate vegetable garden. Now chickens are being added to the jail yard – and eventually the menu. But when asked if prisoners will be gathering eggs in the near future, the answer was anything but sunny side up.

According to the article, the word was the USDA won’t allow egg farming in the jail yard because of concerns about salmonella poisoning. Far be it for us to be uncompassionate about the health concerns of the incarcerated, but how might this differ from, say, any small-time operator selling eggs by the side of the road or at local farmer’s markets?

 In light of the locally raised food issue that is all the rage, does it really get any more local than this? Fact is, the prison yard spinach could be tainted with E. coli, right? As with any food product, just follow the precautionary steps for cleaning, preparation and consumption.

Let the sheriff keep the cuts coming and the prisoners engaged in productive rehabilitation…and let ’em raise their own eggs.

Growing meat without growing animals?

Hatched: Monday, November 30th, 2009

So, how do you feel about your pork chop or burger being grown inside a lab?

While it sounds like the stuff of science fiction, a recent MSNBC article suggests that scientists have figured out how to grow tiny nuggets of lab meat and say it will one day be possible to produce chicken and steaks in vats, sans any livestock. For example, instead of growing a chicken embryo into a bird and cutting meat from it, the meat will be grown directly from the embryo.

It makes you wonder if this is what activists envision as they attempt to quell livestock farming as we know it.

If given the choice, would you prefer that your food was raised by seasoned livestock farmers running multigenerational farms, or scientists manipulating the contents of a Petri dish?

The answer should be cluckin’ [and] obvious.

The food utopia that doesn’t exist

Hatched: Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

It should come as no surprise that there is yet another beat down on the social, economical and environmental impact of America’s so-called “factory farms” hitting bookshelves in time for your bird-less Thanksgiving and ham-free holidays. This time it comes from Jonathan Safran Foer, a strict vegetarian who discusses these issues at length in his new book “Eating Animals” and in this recent interview

It’s relevant to know that Foer is first and foremost a novelist — and a polarizing one at that. This is his first foray into what is being marketed as nonfiction.

Here is one outtake from the interview.

“We [consumers] pay very little at the cash register, but we pay and our kids are going to pay for the environmental toll, obviously the animals are paying, rural communities are paying. And for what? So that corporations can prosper. The huge agribusiness — companies make hundreds of millions and sometimes billions of dollars, not in the name of feeding the world, but in the name of making something that’s so cheap that people become literally addicted to it.”

Fortunately, we as consumers have options and can choose our food preferences including how our food is produced (e.g., caged system eggs vs. free-range, organic vs. non-organic). Affordable is not synonymous with inferior just as expensive doesn’t hold exclusive rights to quality. And surely “good choices” are often what we, as individuals, deem to be good.

But what about the oxymoron that Foer doesn’t call out – like the organic corporation? What about the farmer who, for what it’s worth, is producing organic food but hasn’t ponied up for its marketing benefit? Before we champion some practices and relegate others as the scourge to all that is perceived as good, it would be wise to rethink our relationship to food in practical terms. 

Just image, for the sake of illustration and activist jubilation, that all eggs were free-range and organic – as well as four bucks a dozen. Imagine the public outcry and backlash, despite the “humane” practices or “perceived” health benefits. Imagine the 39.8 million Americans who, living in poverty, can barely afford the 99-cent variety and would otherwise go without this affordable source of protein. Then imagine stumbling on a recent study that says organic food is not healthier for you. What Biggie do we blame then? Big Organics? Big Media? Big Government? Big Activist? Or maybe, just maybe, the Big Dope in the mirror that’s perhaps the recipient of the Big Dupe?

Finding ways to feed the world – reaching the millions who are starving and malnourished with real farm-raised food – should trump any grandiose vision of an elitist food utopia pushed by those who have no idea what it means to go hungry or, for that matter, farm.

Mr. Foer has an opinion – and certainly he’s entitled to it. But as an acclaimed fiction writer, you can sense his difficulty discerning between his worldview (fact?) and his craft (fiction)…you know, the form that brought him to this dance in the first place.

All-vegetarian school? Not quite…

Hatched: Friday, October 30th, 2009

This past week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) devoted an entire blog post applauding the Alachua Learning Center (ALC), in Alachua, Florida, for going meat-free in their cafeteria (Florida School Serve All-Vegetarian Meals, 10/27/09).

Now before you go thinking that thousands of public schoolchildren are suddenly shunning meat, you should know that PETA forgot to mention:

1. ALC is a charter school of only 170 students of K-ninth graders.

2. The school is positioned on land owned by the Hara Krishnas. The reason for going vegetarian is because “many of the school’s first students came from Hare Krishna Temple who are strict vegetarians.”

3. The photo from the blog post is really from a Philadelphia article, which goes on to explain one reason for such a menu for a cash-strapped school is because of “the economic downturn and increasing food and fuel costs have put extra strain on budgets, prompting cost-saving innovations. We keep prices stable by using the same products in cycle menus.”

And, in case you were wondering, ALC students are still allowed to bring meat lunches from home. Did PETA also forget to mention that this was a “sidebar” to the main news article?

Congratulations to ALC on its academic achievement (what the article was really about). Further, we can respect this niche market segment allowing consumer choice (Hare Krishna preferences notwithstanding) to determine what’s offered, while also allowing students to bring a ham or turkey sandwich if they choose.  Just be sure you know the WHOLE story and understand the context. Remember, just because the “school” (e.g., food service) is going veggie, doesn’t mean the students are.

Consider the source, people. Then get the real facts.

Meatless in Cincinnati? What the Cluck?!

Hatched: Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Who knew getting “green” meant throwing out the red and the white (meat), which should be enough to make any omnivore quite blue. But that’s exactly what Cincinnati City Council would like to mandate by 2012 as reported in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

It’s just not eating one day a week…to start. It’s another classic distortion of “doing your part” – only they don’t tell you that your part is to help put an end animal agriculture.

Our friends at the Ohio Livestock Coalition took the idea to task, and set the record straight.

We agree. Green is the new black. But those manipulating good green intentions to promote their radical agendas will be exposed. We promise.

Poultry now chic for city dwellers

Hatched: Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Nano pets are out. Backyard poultry is…in?

The urban chicken movement has taken wing in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, where officials increasingly are forced to decide whether to allow backyard poultry (Columbus Dispatch, May 10, 2009).

Earlier this year, Worthington residents pushed City Council to reform city laws. Currently, Worthington allows chickens and coops, but only if they are no closer than 150 feet to another resident’s property, impossible within most of the city.

Residents there and elsewhere violate the seldom-enforced laws. Still, Worthington City Council plans to hear options for possibly legalizing the birds.

Large cities such as Portland, Oregon; Seattle and Los Angeles already have such provisions.

Growing interest in backyard chickens has some rallying for change, while causing others to squawk, “what the cluck?”

What do you think? Do chickens belong in the city?