Last week, the American Dairy Products Institute and the American Butter Institute held their annual conference in Chicago, Illinois. Conference attendees, which included manufacturers, marketers, and suppliers of dairy products all gathered downtown to listen to industry leaders discuss the state of dairy in the U.S. And surprise, surprise … they talked about plant-based milk. According to Dairy Reporter, the ADPI/ABI Conference was a space for several industry leaders to voice their concern over the threat that plant-based milk poses to the dairy industry.
Mike McClosky, co-founder and CEO of Select Milk Producers, expressed his beliefs that plant-based milk is “a serious threat” to the industry and added “many people have stolen the identity of milk over the years.” He closed his remark stating “we as an industry have sat back and not responded like we should have.” If McClosky is referring to the recent debacle in which members of Congress sent a letter to the FDA claiming that labelling plant-based milk as “milk” is “misleading to consumers … and a violation of milk’s standard of identity,” when he says they haven’t responded as they “should have”… then we agree — dairy producers and processors could have responded to declining sales a little better.
Sheryl Meshke, co-president and CEO of Associated Milk Producers, Inc., expressed concerns about milk’s stolen identity: “If you think of the word ‘milk’ as a brand, they stole our brand which really conveys the fact that it’s a powerful nutrient-packed product.” Meshke believes that the solution to fixing the dairy industry is to “be more relevant to the Millennial consumer.”
However, research has shown that Millennials prefer to make choices that have a better impact on both society and the environment — but can the dairy industry ever really be these things? Not only does the dairy industry have a major negative impact on the environment, but dairy milk is also not the nutritional powerhouse that many of us once thought it was — it turns out, we can get the same nutrients from fortified plant-based milks and whole, plant-based foods.
The newborn calf was terrified when he arrived at the sanctuary. You could tell by his eyes - they were wide and white. "He was so scared and disorientated without his mom," Deborah Pearce, founder of Where Pigs Fly Farm Sanctuary, told The Dodo. The calf - named Valentine - was born on a dairy farm in New South Wales, Australia. As a male calf, Valentine was considered a "waste product," because he could not produce milk. The farmer ripped him away from his mom when he was just a few hours old, so he could use the mother's milk for human consumption, and not "waste" the milk on the calf.
A neighbor had witnessed Valentine's birth, and his removal from his mother. She alerted Pearce, asking her to rescue Valentine. If Valentine wasn't rescued, the calf would be sent to slaughter, which is a standard practice in the dairy industry for male calves...
STEPHEN COMMENT: If you are going to buy eggs, source your eggs. Know where they come from.
Pasture-raised eggs taste much better. You can tell just by seeing the richer color of the yolks. They are fresher. They contain more vitamins and nutrients than factory-farmed eggs. They are the product of happy chickens, who have normal – not artificially accelerated - laying cycles, living healthy lives and thus, do not require antibiotic dosing to keep them disease free.
You will pay a bit more for these eggs, but the benefits are more than worth it. Your purchase is also supporting smaller scale family farmers, their families and by extension, their communities.
The theme of Issue 10 is, in these dark times, protecting yourself and your loved ones by living healthy, living well and staying strong.
Stay strong and take a stand: fight cruelty and injustice by the simple, powerful act of not spending your consumer dollars on food that is the product of animal cruelty and suffering. Do not contribute to ongoing and future animal suffering by supporting the companies responsible for it.
Between now and 2050, a global switch to diets that rely far less on meat and far more on vegetables, fruits, and other plant foods could not only save up to 8 million lives per year, and reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds. Such a change would also save, in reduced health care costs and reduced costs from climate change, up to $31 trillion.
Does that sound like the wild-eyed claim made by some group with a vegetarian agenda? It’s actually the conclusions of a major new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last week.
The just-released report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer judging processed meat as clearly carcinogenic and red meat as probably carcinogenic has caused consternation among meat producers and consumers.
...By the late 1990s, cancer experts said that red meat “probably” increases the risk of colorectal cancers, and “possibly” increases the risk of cancers of the pancreas, breast, prostate and kidney. The IARC report, based on more recent evidence, makes even stronger recommendations and favors carcinogens as the causative factors.
...For decades, the meat industry’s big public relations problem has been that vegetarians are demonstrably healthier than meat eaters. People who do not eat red meat have much less of a chance of developing heart disease and bowel cancers than the average American.
There was a time (as recently as five years ago) when shopping for packaged foods that were made entirely of plant-based ingredients meant scouring the aisles of health food stores. The product choices were few and far between, and the products themselves were created to cater to a specific segment of the population, namely people who ate a vegan or vegetarian diet. If you visit any grocery store today – from Whole Foods to Target – it won’t take long for you to realize that those days are long gone. Welcome to the new world where plants are going beyond the produce section and vegan/plant-based foods are dominating grocery store aisles, refrigerated and frozen food sections of the biggest retailers nationwide.
STEPHEN COMMENT: Breaking News. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, with 22 scientists having evaluated over 800 studies from around the world, now classifies processed meats as “carcinogenic to humans.” A very sobering, significant conclusion…
The World Health Organization has confirmed some dietary advice that's unlikely to go down easy with most Americans: Bacon, hot dogs and other processed meats can increase your risk of cancer. Not only that, fresh cuts of red meat probably cause cancer too.
Doctors have long warned that steak and sausages can be hazardous to your health. But the new assessment from the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer officially classifies processed meats as "carcinogenic to humans," putting them in the same category as asbestos, tobacco smoke and formaldehyde.
A group of 22 scientists came to that conclusion after evaluating more than 800 studies from countries — and cuisines — around the world.
STEPHEN COMMENT: Watch this short entertaining animated video. It echos Maryn McKenna’s premise in her article appearing in Issue 6, Resolutions For 2015: Buy the Change You Want to See in the World, that the food you purchase “supports—or discourages” the changes you want to see.
If you purchase factory farmed meat or diary products, you
· are supporting this industry’s horrific unconscionable animal cruelty
· are consuming food that can put your health at risk
· are sustaining and enabling an industry that is, by far, the most environmentally damaging, and climate damaging industry on this planet
Realize your power as a consumer. Use it. Do not purchase factory farmed products. Don’t.
When doing your food shopping, make kind choices. Avoid factory farmed products, buy fewer animal products, or even go meat-free.
This is the most effective way you can end animal abuse. Factory farming is the only way to meet the current demand for these animals products. A demand that would never have occurred had consumers known how animals were treated. If you refuse to buy factory farmed products, the businesses which provide them will quickly get the message that there is no future in cruelty. The choices you make at the supermarket can ensure a kinder world for these animals.
STEPHEN COMMENT: Before I was an animal rights activist, I was a budding human rights activist. While in law school, I helped victims of domestic violence obtain personal protection orders. I studied human rights and refugee law, participated in an asylum clinic, spent all my summer legal internships working with refugee organizations and focused primarily on helping women who were victims of gender-based persecution and violence such as honor crimes, forced genital mutilation, sex-trafficking, and rape.
It is hard to measure pain. Usually with humans we just ask them how much pain they feel and they tell us. But when they can't tell us, we look for external signs of pain such as trying to get away from the source of pain, vocalizing (yelling, crying), grimacing or shaking to name a few. Nonhuman animals demonstrate all of these same signs. If we can bear not to look away, it is plain to see that the egg laying hens crammed into battery cages, or the sows confined to gestation creates so small that can't turn around, or the dairy cows being dragged to slaughter because they are too lame to walk all suffer tremendously.
STEPHEN COMMENT: Lindsay Patton writes, “Since we can’t get away from our bodies, we should be thinking about how we treat them throughout the course of our lives. We’re told over and over again to get exercise, not to smoke, keep alcohol intake at a minimum, don’t overeat, etc., etc., etc. One of the things that’s not mentioned is eating factory farmed meat.”
The luxury we have when it comes to our food is that we don’t get to see how it’s made. We receive it all nicely packaged at the grocery store or market without having to think about how it got there. Ignorance allows us to eat without guilt. Ignorance, however, does not make a change in our eating habits and the food industry.
It’s been well publicized that factory farmed meats and products are filled with growth hormones, bacteria, diseases and antibiotics, and yet, we still consume them. The worst offender in the world of factory farmed meat is the chicken industry.
You know how this goes. Today is the day that you put into practice all those resolutions that have been percolating in your head since you ate that third piece of pie on Christmas Day.
In 2015, you’ll cut out sugar. You’ll enough with the alcohol. You’ll sacrifice sleep, so you can get to the gym. You’ll stop buying junk, stop detouring through the drive-through, stop reading Pinterest because it just makes you want to eat. You’ll do better, by doing less.
I have a different idea.
Like everyone else perched on the cusp of a new year, I fret about how my choices affect my well-being (and, let’s be honest, my dress size too). But as someone researching food policy, I worry as well over how my choices affect the food system: how what I eat supports—or discourages—the changes I want to see.
So instead of phrasing my resolutions as denial, this year I’m framing them as actions I can take on behalf of my health and the food shed’s health as well. And because the biggest way I interact with the food system is to spend money to purchase its products, I’m choosing five categories of foods to buy that I believe can make a difference, and that I want to see thrive.
By Dr. Debra Shapiro: As an ob-gyn, my career has been dedicated to women’s health. While my day job as a physician is to ensure the reproductive health of my patients and the health of their newborns, the physician in me is alarmed by how little regard our society has for taking care of our lifelong health. I’m talking about the staggering public health crisis our nation is facing due to chronic preventable disease. It’s a crisis of epidemic proportions that doesn’t need to be addressed in our nation’s delivery or operating rooms, but rather in our dining rooms.
STEPHEN COMMENT: At faCE, we have a vision: 500,000 new sustainable family farmers.
That’s 500,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. At least that many if not more. A return to the days of the 1930’s – 1960’s, to profitable small sustainable farms – farmed in a modern way. Throughout this site are examples of success stories, with links and information on how that’s being accomplished, as well as shout-outs to organizations like Farm Aid dedicated to advocating “fair farm policies and grassroots organizing campaigns designed to defend and bolster family farm-centered agriculture.”
Here are things you can do right now to help support sustainable farms and farmers. Source your own healthy organic foods…
Over the last 30 years, the average age of farmers has steadily increased, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that half of all current farmers are likely to retire in the next decade, leaving a large gap for the next generation to fill. Fortunately, a new wave of food pioneers, mostly from non-farming backgrounds, is turning to careers in agriculture. This career path comes with its fair share of hurdles. According to Lindsay Lusher Shute, executive director and co-founder of the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC), “Capital and land top most young farmers’ lists” as their biggest challenges. Here are 10 ways to help the next generation of farmers nourish future consumers:
According to seasoned agriculture journalist Ed White, "It's a good time to be an alternative protein." His comment is in response to the growing popularity and demand for non-animal derived meat and dairy products in Canada.
The growing popularity is, as expected, causing a significant decline in meat and dairy consumption. In fact, consumption of fluid dairy (i.e. milk) has decreased a dramatic 25% in the last 20 years as consumers switch to alternatives such as almond, soy and rice milk.
The decline is so striking that the Dairy Farmers of Canada commissioned a survey to find out why milk drinkers are ditching it in droves.
Use of antibiotics in healthy livestock account for about 80% of all antibiotic use in the US, so in order to halt the growth of antibiotic resistance, we really must address this source. According to a Y 2009 report by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the subject, factory farms used 29-M lbs [29,000,000 lbs] of antibiotics that year alone. Besides promoting growth in livestock, antibiotics are also used to compensate for the crowded, unsanitary living conditions associated with large-scale confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
Since the food animals are routinely fed low doses of antibiotics, the bacteria become resistant far more easily than they do when aggressively treating an active infection until all the bacteria are eradicated. As a result of this agriculture practice, we end up ingesting these drug remnants through the animal food products we consume. And, since we are now getting very low doses of antibiotics through our food on a regular basis, the promotion of resistance continues in the human population as well.
CHICAGO - The state consumer group Illinois PIRG launched a national campaign Jan. 22 asking McDonald's to stop the purchase of meat raised with antibiotics.
As one of the largest purchasers of beef, pork and chicken in the United States, such a commitment from McDonald's would help tackle the growing public health crisis of antibiotic resistance.
"People are becoming increasingly aware of the growing public health crisis surrounding antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the role that factory farms play in overusing antibiotics," said Dev Gowda, campaign coordinator of Illinois PIRG's Stop Antibiotics Overuse Campaign.
A new study on the environmental burdens of beef, pork, chicken, eggs, dairy and plant products finds that beef is by far the worst offender. According to the study, published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a prominent scientific journal, beef production releases five times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions as the average of other meats and animal products. Nor is that all: Beef requires 28 times more land, 11 times more water, and 6 times as much reactive nitrogen as the average of the other categories, according to the study.
STEPHEN COMMENT: Tracy Worcester’s engaging video is fun, upbeat and lays it all out for you in just over three minutes. It contains no hard-to-watch animal-suffering content - this will archive in Candy's Room!
There’s good news. Meat consumption per person in this country has declined for the past 5 years and continues to decline. A recent Harris Poll revealed that 30% of people under age 30 now want veggie options on restaurant menus.
Going meatless each Monday will improve your health, reduce animal suffering and save animal lives by reducing demand.
STEPHEN COMMENT: Wow... "Producing half a pound of beef uses 1,200 gallons of water. Nearly half of the water used in the United States goes toward raising livestock—an untenable amount, considering the severe droughts we’re experiencing."