Conventionally produced food is irresponsibly or dishonestly priced

I had two sets of visitors to the farm today and the question of the pricing of organic goods came up again. Second to the great canard, organics cannot feed the world, it is the most common observation about our produce. That usually stops after tasting the quality and engaging on the subjects below.

As Joel Salatin so eloquently argues conventional food is mispriced. We can use any conventionally produced fruit, meat or vegetable for the purposes of this discussion but in this case lets look at feedlot or grain fed beef.

Here are the items that are not in the price that you pay for your steak (remember it is only ourselves and Greenfields who finish our beef on pasture/grass).

1. The environmental damage from the feedlot.

2. The antibiotic resistance in the human being from eating antibiotic meat.

3. The environmental damage from raising the GMO grains fed to these animals.

4. The humaneness or rather lack of it in having an animal stand in its own excrement for at least 110 days.

5. Contributing to global warming.


Before discussing in a little more detail have a look at the photo below of a feedlot in this country.

Now compare that with this picture taken last week whilst we were training our cattle to high density graze the vineyard cover crops. 200 cattle in a total of 2 hectares daily, moved twice a day versus an animal having 10 square metres to stand in for 110 days.

Spier vineyard grazing

1. The environmental damage from the feedlot.

The waste from the feedlot is uncompostable as the antibiotics kill the microbes that would be breaking down the compost.

2. The antibiotic resistance in the human being from eating antibiotic meat.

You can choose to read anywhere you want but this is becoming a major global health issue. Don’t expect our Department of Health or of Agriculture to take any notice of this.

3. The environmental damage from raising the GMO grains fed to these animals.

Your beef eats GMO grains. South Africa is the only country in Africa that allows GMO grains and that makes us the stupidist country in Africa. The only ones who benefit from GMO grains are the companies selling glyphosate. Here is a concise update and explanation of what the problems are with GMO’s. Words such as spontaneous abortion and resistant super weeds should get you to read this article.

4. The humaneness or lack of it in having an animal stand in its own excrement for at least 110 days.

Should there be a premium for beef eating what it is designed to eat and being moved to fresh pasture at least twice daily? Or does the treatment of animals not matter as a price factor? Is it being too green to worry about these things?

5. Contributing to global warming.

Grain fed beef contributes to global warming. Admittedly not as much here as in the Americas but think about the diesel spent on preparing, growing, planting and harvesting the maize and soya and the diesel spent getting it to the silo and then to the feedlot. Compare this to high density grazing where the pastures recover to be grazed every 6 weeks. 65% of the sugars produced by the plant are stored in complex carbon chains in the ground. Carbon is removed from the atmosphere by a growing plant.


30 Responses

  1. Dear Angus

    Regarding points 1 to 5
    1 How much feedlot manure have you composted . I have successfully composted alot.
    2 .Antibiotic resistance in humans is caused by people not completeing their courses as prescribed by the doctor or doctors prescribing antibiotics for everythig from a runny nose to a dry throat . By the way : all beef should be antibiotic free at slaughter by law .
    3. The GMO grain debate is unfortunately a political one and not one of food safety . How does Europe protect it farmers from cheaper imports from the USA : ban GMO because it is apparently bad . You have unfortunately been conned by people driving other agendas than food safety .
    4. The feedlot surface is cleaned regularly ( as is evident in your picture ) and kept injury free for the cattle . No hazards to the cattle like getting ensnared in wire like the cattle in the picture of your farming operation .
    5. When maize is milled for maize meal ( for people ) 30 % of the maize is left over which people do not eat : very nutritious for cattle , When we mill wheat for flour wheat bran is left also nutritious for catlle . There are many examples of this . What do you want to have happen with these products : taken to the local land fill or rather used productively to produce healthy and wholesome beef .

    In previous blogs you stated that feedlots feed bread , pasta . chocolate etc . Where did that come from because I am mystified .

    Being an intelligent person you most probably knew all of the above but just failed to mention it in your endevours to market your product ..


    Willem Wethmar
    Director : Feedlots
    Chalmar Beef

  2. The picture of the cows in the feedlot looks unnatural. The cows in the grapevine looks aesthetically pleasing to the human eye. its a no brainer

  3. Dear Trevor

    Are you looking for something which is aesthetically pleasing ( which is a subjective opinion ) or something that is safe , nutritionally wholesome and grown using the best principals of stockmanship : you are right , it really is a no brainer .

    Willem Wethmar
    Chalmar Beef

  4. We need to make more food from less land, that requires science and technology. Organic food is nice for wealthy people but it is not possible to feed a growing population.

    Think about it, if we make more food from less land that opens up more land for reserves and nature. Im sorry but organics is not the solution. I have nothing against it and its great to teach school kids life skills etc. using organic farming but we need pragmatic solutions using technology on a large (and I hate to say it) industrial scale.

    Yes there are many problems with the current method of industrial farming and negative externalities are not correctly being incorporated into the price but there is a huge incentive to find scientific solutions that reduce these externalities while increasing yield. A solution of this nature would be a strong competitive advantage.

    Next you going to be telling me homoeopathy is better than pharmaceuticals…

    1. Steve I can take 200 acres and put it in a 2,000sf barn and grow feed year around with a bit of water and minimal light. How about that? or would you like to modern food like the replicator from Star Trek?????? guess you like farmed salmon… or KFC ‘white meat’ cuz it can’t be called CHICKEN. Science can grow me a new ear but not my dinner


    Gebruik van voerkrale is ‘n onnatuurlike manier van boerdery. Dit bied tydelike oplossing, nie ‘n volhoubare manier van boerdery nie.

    Dit wat God deur die natuur gegee het is onverbeterlik. God se werk kan nie verbeter word deur die mens en die wetenskap nie. Goeie voorbeel is GMO mielies wat aangepas is vir Roundup gebruik. Wonderlik in die begin totdat die onkruid begin weerstandig word. GMO tegnologie se koste maak dit nie volhoubaar om te boer nie.

    Dieselfde argumente met voerkrale. Dieresiekte raak weerstandig teen Antibitika gebruik. Die bees se verteringstelsel is nie ontwerp om soveel grane te verteer nie. Dit veroorsaak weerstandige E.coli infeksies wat oorgedra word op die vleis. Die Suid Afrikaanse voerkrale word op die Amerikaanse model geskoei. Daar lei antibiotika weerstandige E.coli dat mense doodgaan oor vleis wat E.coli besmet is – 1000de tonne vleis moet vernietig word.
    Dus voerkraal is ‘n korttermyn boerdery metode – mens kan nie teen die natuur baklei nie. Koste om vleis skoon te maak maak die prys van vleis baie hoog en onbekostigbaar duur.
    ‘n Mens kan nie ‘n beter rpoduk gee as wat die natuur gee nie. Die natuur is soos God dit ontwerp het om te wees. Gesond en natuurlik, noie vol antibiotika en ander middels nie.

    Gee ‘n lys van middels wat in voerkrale gebruik word, sodat mense hulle kan vergewis van dit wat in hulle kosproduksie gebruik word. Dan kan studies onderneem word om die veiligheid te bepaal, asook die langtermyn effek kan gemeet word en of dit lei tot weerstandige siekte.

    ‘n Volhoubare manier van boerdery is om vee te verbou as vrylopende diere op gras, dit waarvoor hulle verteringstelsel ontwerp voor is.
    Byvoorbaat dank.

  6. Reducing the Use of Antibiotics Across America’s Feedlots 31 JULY 2012

    Last week Judge Theodore H. Katz of the Southern District of New York ordered the F.D.A. to alert livestock growers to stop using two popular classes of antibiotics, penacillins and tetracyclines, to promote growth in their animals. In this ruling, manufacturers of these drugs are required to prove that the use of their drugs in livestock doesn’t contribute to the development of drug-resistant bacteria and that the drugs are safe for human consumption. If proven, these drugs can continue to be used.

    This ruling is resultant of a 35-year old proposal to restrict antibiotic use in livestock once evidence was found in the 1970s that overuse of such antibiotics led to deadly infections in livestock that became resistant to treatment.

    According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, “about 80 percent of all antibiotics in America are used in livestock in order to speed up their growth or preempt diseases caught from cramped living conditions.”

    Common antibiotics are intended to be life saving medicines, and when they are misused for the purpose of fattening up our pigs, cattle, and chickens before slaughter they wind up posing a risk to our body’s abilities to ward off bacteria. Bacteria are now developing resistance faster than we’re inventing new medicines to fight them, creating dangerous antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”.

    Many people are skeptical that this ruling will not change the overall usage levels of antibiotics in US feedlots because it only prohibits antibiotic use to promote growth while it does not prohibit antibiotic use for disease prevention. Farmers and ranchers now only need to claim they are using them for the latter of the two.

    Although this ruling may be a small step to addressing this problem, we cannot forget our purchasing power as consumers to affect the livestock industry. Every dollar we spend on antibiotic- and hormone- free meat, milk, or dairy products is a vote towards tightening restrictions on farmers and ranchers in their over-use of antibiotics.


    It’s bad enough when pathogenic bacteria work their way into the animal food supply.

    Here’s a related problem that has recently attracted scientists’ attention: some of the pathogens may become resistant to the antimicrobials that are used to fight animal disease, and that might lead to more human resistance to the benefits of antibiotics.

    “We’re speculating that there may be a possibility of a link,” said Daniel Fung, a food science professor at Kansas State University who led research into the question for the Food Safety Consortium. “We are looking at it from the food scientist’s standpoint. The resistant cultures may get into the food supply and may get into human beings. But those are speculations only.”

    The work was done by Maggie Hanfelt and Mindi Russell under the direction of Fung and KSU College of Veterinary Medicine professionals.

    Fung’s research group targeted lagoons in Midwestern cattle feedlots because of concern over antimicrobial-resistant microbes being transferred into the food supply through water sources. In the feedlots, Fung explained, antimicrobials are used to treat sick food-producing animals such as cattle, poultry and swine.
    Antimicrobials are also used to prevent disease and to promote growth.

    The drawback, Fung said, is that the use of antibiotics as growth promoters appears to create large reservoirs of resistance to antibiotics in animals. That resistance could be transferred to humans who consume the food from those animals.

    The KSU group looked at two types of feedlots: natural feedlots, which don’t use antimicrobials in the cattle, and commercial feedlots, which use the antibiotics. Tests in the feedlots’ lagoon water were conducted to measure the presence of E. coli and Enterobacter. The results consistently showed that the pathogens were more prevalent in the feedlot lagoons where the antibiotics were used.

    Fung emphasized that the study is a preliminary one that raises questions. Veterinary medicine researchers are also interested in the situation and are starting to study gene pools and to track the resistant genes in the environment.

    The studies of the lagoons showed that although those feedlots using antibiotics had higher rates of resistance to pathogenic bacteria, the natural feedlots still recorded instances of resistance. That’s not unexpected, Fung said.

    “That may be because of the naturally resistant organisms already in the environment anyway,” Fung said. “They would have some antibiotic resistance because of the organisms around the environment.”

    Because antibiotics are used in the commercial feedlots, Fung said, it is reasonable to conclude that they would have more antibiotic-resistant cultures than the natural feedlots. But natural feedlots also use antibiotics when animals become ill.

    “The vet school will do a lot more on this subject,” Fung said. “If we find out something really interesting that can relate to food safety directly, then we’ll do some more work.

    In any case, it’s still important to find the answers because of the implications for antibiotic resistance in humans, Fung said.

    “If humans receive antimicrobial cultures in their system and if they’re sick from something, then the antibiotics will not be able to treat human beings. There are many antimicrobials in cultures in hospitals and places like that. And there aren’t too many antibiotics discovered in the past 20 years.”


    Saving Antibiotics
    What You Need to Know About Antibiotics Abuse on Farms

    Feeding low levels of antibiotics to cows, pigs and chickens that aren’t even sick breeds “super bugs” — dangerous germs that are able to fight off antibiotics that spread to our communities and families.

    Find out why these drugs are used on feedlots, the problems they pose and what you can do to keep you and your family healthy.
    Why are antibiotics used on livestock animals?

    Since the 1950s, it has become routine practice to add low levels of antibiotics to the feed or water of healthy poultry, cattle, and swine to promote faster growth and prevent infections that tend to occur when animals are housed in crowded, unsanitary, stressful conditions.
    Why is the use of antibiotics in livestock a problem?

    The unnecessary use of antibiotics in the livestock industry is a key culprit in the rise of drug-resistant bacteria that pose a growing public health risk.

    By overusing antibiotics on industrial feedlots and feeding them to animals that don’t have bacterial infections we’re making the drugs doctors rely on to treat illnesses like pneumonia, strep throat, and childhood ear infections less effective.

    Furthermore, we have few new antibiotics in the pipeline to replace those that are no longer effective, and many of them are more expensive or have greater side effects associated with them.

    According to the Infectious Diseases Society of America, almost 2 million Americans per year develop hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), resulting in 99,000 deaths, the vast majority of which are due to antibacterial (antibiotic)-resistant pathogens. MRSA alone kills more people (approximately 19,000) than HIV/AIDS. Although the number of these fatalities linked to livestock is not known, we do know that over 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are used in food animals (and the vast majority of this use is for animals that are not sick).

    Drug-resistant infections are estimated to cost Americans up to $26 billion per year in additional healthcare costs. Those costs go up to as much as $36 billion a year when lost productivity and other factors are taken into account.
    Is store-bought meat contaminated with superbugs?

    Many studies show a multitude of resistant organisms on meat and poultry products purchased in grocery stores. For example, a recent study of meat and poultry from five U.S. cities found Staphylococcus aureus on 47 percent of samples. Ninety-six percent of those samples were resistant to at least one antibiotic, and 52 percent were multi-drug resistant.

    Tests conducted by the FDA every year routinely show high levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria on retail meat. In 2010, almost 52 percent of chicken breasts tested were contaminated with antibiotic-resistant E. coli. Safe food handling practices are necessary to protect against exposure (see below).
    How does farm-use of antibiotics contribute to drug-resistant diseases in people?

    When farm animals receive antibiotics in doses too low to kill all the infectious bacteria in them, those bacteria that survive and flourish do so because they are resistant to the drug. As they multiply and interact with other bacteria, they pass on their resistance.

    Bacteria can even share the traits that make them drug-resistant with other kinds of bacteria, leading to widespread drug-resistance and the creation of bacterial super-bugs.
    How do these drug-resistant bacteria spread?

    Antibiotic-resistant bacteria generated on industrial feedlots spread out in a number of ways:

    By food: As noted above, testing of meat found in retail stores typically finds drug-resistant bacteria on meat and poultry products. Bacteria on food are carried into the kitchen where other foods can be cross-contaminated by contact with infected knives, cutting boards, our hands and other surfaces. We can then spread these bacteria to others.
    By air and water: Drug-resistant bacteria have been found in drinking water near hog facilities in three states and have been detected in the air downwind from industrial swine facilities.
    By livestock workers: Those who work in livestock operations can accidentally carry drug-resistant bacteria in their clothing and on their bodies, unwittingly passing them on to their families, friends, and communities.

    What are other countries doing?

    Many European countries stopped using penicillin, streptomycin, and tetracyclines to promote faster growth in animals in the mid-1970s. This policy was expanded to other medically important antibiotics in the 1990s and to all antimicrobial growth promoters across the European Union in 2006 (although “disease prevention” uses are still permitted with a prescription).

    Denmark, the world’s largest exporter of pork has gone further and restricts antibiotic uses for both growth promotion and to compensate for diseases caused by crowded, unsanitary feedlot conditions. Since the late 1990s, Danish pork producers achieved a 60 percent reduction of antibiotic use, substantially reducing incidence of antibiotic bacteria in feedlots and on meat. This transition was successful economically, with pork production actually increasing 50 percent and costs going up only by about 1 percent. Producers achieved these outcomes by adopting better animal management practices to improve sanitation and reduce animal stress, among others.
    What can be done?

    In May 2011, NRDC filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration to finally end the use of antibiotics in animal feed. We have won two decisions against the FDA, but the FDA continues to stall and has appealed one of the decisions already. We continue to press the fight in court. But while NRDC is seeking to end this abuse of antibiotics once and for all, you can take the following steps to protect youself:

    Prepare foods safely at home — follow the food-safety handling tips in our grilling guide.
    When shopping for meat, look for these labels that certify products come from farms that only use antibiotics on animals to cure infections and not for any other “non-therapeutic” uses:

    USDA Certified Organic
    American Grassfed Certified
    Animal Welfare Approved
    Certified Humane

    You may also want to look for labels like “No Antibiotics Administered” or “Raised Without Antibiotics”, especially if they are USDA process verified. CAUTION: Even meat labeled “Organic” or “No Antibiotics Administered” can be contaminated with antibiotic resistant bacteria, so you’ll still need to follow the safe handling practices above.
    Urge your representative to support the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA).


    Prescription for Trouble: Using Antibiotics to Fatten Livestock

    From Feedlot to Kitchen
    Keeping Drugs Useful, Keeping Meat Cheap
    The Challenges of Reducing Antibiotic Use
    What’s Next

    If you get food poisoning, will the antibiotic prescribed by your doctor be able to fight the infection? We regularly hear news stories heralding promising new drugs or drug therapy. Ironically, concealed in the din of information about new drugs looms a health crisis growing out of the loss of old drugs.

    Once, a storehouse full of medicines such as penicillin and streptomycin could handily fight off most infections from bacteria and other microorganisms. Now, once-vulnerable bacteria have evolved resistance, and many of these drugs are losing their effectiveness. Health experts agree that there is serious danger of losing some of the most precious drugs—antibiotics, a subgroup of a larger group of threatened agents known as antimicrobials. Some strains of tuberculosis, for example, are now resistant to all available antimicrobial drugs. Unfortunately, tuberculosis is not the only resistant microorganism on the public health horizon.

    Why are these drugs losing their power? Because they’re being overused. Bacteria become resistant to antibiotics through overexposure to them. Hardy strains of the bacteria survive the exposure and pass on that resistance trait to successive generations. And they also pass the trait across to other bacteria that are unrelated, including some that cause human disease. Eventually the antibiotic wipes out all the vulnerable bacteria, and only resistant bacteria remain. Then the drug is no longer effective.

    Preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics and other antimicrobials will require changes in all major areas of use: human medicine, veterinary medicine, and agriculture. But agricultural uses deserve special attention, since they account for 70 percent of the antibiotics and related drugs used in the United States, and since they provide resistant bacteria with a direct route into people’s kitchens.

    From Feedlot to Kitchen

    Resistant bacteria that develop in CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) can be transferred to the general human population via food. The government, public health officials, and physicians are increasingly concerned about foodborne diseases caused by Campylobacter and Salmonella bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nationwide there are 76 million cases of foodborne illness a year and 5000 deaths from viral and bacterial pathogens.

    As resistant strains of bacteria emerge, they have easy passage to humans—right though the grocery store. Campylobacter, for example, is carried into kitchens on poultry and can cause illness when people eat raw or undercooked poultry meat. While this does not always cause severe illness, the CDC estimates that there are two to four million Campylobacter infections per year, resulting in as many as 250 deaths each year in the United States. Furthermore, about one in a thousand Campylobacter infections leads to Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a disease that can cause paralysis. Thus, the emergence of drug-resistant Campylobacter is a serious public health concern.

    In fact, the use in poultry of fluoroquinolones, a precious class of antibiotics, led to the development of resistant Campylobacter strains. Before fluoroquinolones were approved for use in agriculture in the United States, no fluoroquinolone resistance was reported in people unless they had previously taken the drugs for illness or traveled to a country that permitted their use in agriculture. But after the antibiotics were approved for agricultural use, resistant strains began emerging in samples taken from both humans and poultry. The correlation of the emergence of resistance with the use in animal systems was important evidence that agricultural use was the culprit. The FDA recognized the seriousness of the threat and banned fluoroquinolones from veterinary use in September 2005.

    Antimicrobial use in agriculture can also compromise human therapies when bacteria develop cross-resistance—when their resistance to one drug also makes them resistant to other, related drugs. This has happened in Europe with vancomycin, one of the drugs of last resort for treating certain life-threatening infections. Data suggest that rising levels of vancomycin-resistant bacteria in hospitals may have resulted from use in agriculture of avoparcin, a drug chemically related to vancomycin. Because avoparcin and vancomycin are similar in structure, bacteria resistant to avoparcin are resistant to vancomycin as well.

    Similar phenomena are apparently occurring as a result of the use of antimicrobial drugs in the United States. The effectiveness of synercid, a drug of last resort for the treatment of vancomycin-resistant infections, is threatened because of the use of virginiamycin as a growth promoter in chickens and pigs in the United States. Virginiamycin is chemically related to synercid, and bacteria resistant to the one drug also appear to be resistant to the other.

    While the links between animal agriculture and human disease are complicated and in need of additional study, evidence is strong enough for scientists and public health organizations to call for reduced use of antibiotics in agriculture. The CDC has concluded that, in the United States, antimicrobial use in food animals is the dominant source of antibiotic resistance among foodborne pathogens.

    Keeping Drugs Useful, Keeping Meat Cheap

    What can be done so that these drugs remain useful? Aren’t antibiotics necessary to preserve the health of the livestock? While some uses of antibiotics in livestock operations are a matter of animal health, other uses have an economic motive. Especially troubling is their use not to cure sick animals but to promote “feed efficiency,” that is, to increase the animal’s weight gain per unit of feed. These drugs are also regularly added to the feed and water of animals that are not sick in order to prevent diseases caused by overcrowded and unsanitary CAFO conditions. These nontherapeutic uses translate into relatively cheap meat prices at the grocery store.

    But is this economic motive an essential use of these drugs? First, the economic advantage appears to be minimal. The National Research Council estimated that a ban on nontherapeutic use (that is, any use in livestock that are not sick) would increase per capita costs by about $5-10 per year. That is a price most people would willingly pay to preserve a robust arsenal of medicines against infectious disease.

    Second, using antimicrobial drugs is not the only way to lower meat costs. The same report suggests that adopting other methods of maintaining animal health, comfort, and well-being could reduce drug use and cut costs. Such methods might include reducing overcrowding, controlling heat stress, providing vaccination to prevent disease, and using beneficial microbial cultures.

    The Challenges of Reducing Antibiotic Use

    Although reducing or eliminating nontherapeutic uses of antibiotics is a straightforward solution to the problem of resistance, it will be difficult to implement. Eliminating this use of antibiotics challenges the standard operating procedures of a large and powerful industry.
    The nontherapeutic use of antibiotics is ingrained in livestock and poultry operations because producers believe that chickens, cows, and pigs—particularly those that are not healthy to begin with—gain weight faster when these drugs are added to their feed.

    In addition, livestock producers have bought into the myth that bacteria that cause illness in humans develop resistance only in medical settings. While no one denies that unwise use of antibiotics in human medicine is a source of serious resistance problems, this view has prevented recognition of one of the best opportunities to cut back on these drugs—in nontherapeutic agricultural applications.

    Agricultural use for growth promotion and prevention of diseases due to overcrowded CAFO conditions accounts for the vast majority of the antibiotics and related drugs used in the United States. This enormous amount of drugs is delivered to animals under conditions conducive to the development of resistance. Large numbers of similar animals are raised in CAFOs that characterize contemporary agriculture. Chicken houses, for example, can contain 50,000 birds. And the Environmental Protection Agency estimates there are about 11,000 operations with over 1,000 beef cattle, 700 dairy cattle, 2,500 hogs, or 30,000–125,000 chickens.

    In such large operations, antibiotics are often delivered to animals in food and water over extended periods. Bacteria are constantly being exposed to the drugs and eliminated from the populations. It is hard to imagine how resistance would not develop under these circumstances. Indeed, industrial livestock systems are hog heaven for resistant bacteria.

    What’s Next

    The battle against emergence of antimicrobial resistance will take place on many fronts: in hospitals, in doctors’ and veterinarians’ offices, and on farms. The most sensible approach is to identify and reduce nonessential uses of antibiotics and reserve as many of these drugs as possible for wise use in human and veterinary medicine. Obvious nonessential uses, such as nontherapeutic use in livestock operations, should be the first target in the effort to save antibiotics.

    The CDC and the World Health Organization have called for an end to the nontherapeutic use in animals of drugs that are used to treat human disease or that are related to such medicines.

    Congress is considering a bill called the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) that would ban the nontherapeutic agricultural use of certain antibiotics that are particularly valuable for treating human illness. Over 350 health, consumer, and environmental organizations nationwide, including the American Medical Association, support PAMTA. UCS expert Margaret Mellon testified at a congressional hearing in support of this legislation in July 2009, and UCS is collecting the names of organizations that endorse the bill.

    In addition, the Food and Drug Administration announced in July 2009 that the Obama administration supports ending nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock. The FDA announced that it will seek to end the use of clinically valuable antibiotics for growth promotion and feed efficiency uses and to restrict over-the-counter use of these antibiotics. UCS spoke out along with other organizations in support of this policy.


    80% of all antibiotics sold in the United States are used on livestock.

    Over two hundred thousand Americans have written to the FDA to demand a better solution for antibiotic misuse in livestock. They were responding to the toothless new guidelines—mere recommendations that industry is free to ignore and full of loopholes at that—that FDA released as its preferred approach to addressing the rising public health threat of antibiotic resistance associated with the dangerous misuse of antibiotics in livestock.

    Here are some key stats from what we know about the letters submitted so far:

    Almost 220,000 citizens
    44 hospitals
    Over 350 doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals in the Health Care Without Harm network and over 500 health professionals in the Healthy Food Action network
    6 progressive businesses already working to provide their customers with livestock products raised without antibiotics (Applegate, Bon Appétit Management Company, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Niman Ranch Pork Company, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm)
    270 chefs from across the United States
    At least 58 organizations, spanning medical, health, business, consumer, farming, environmental, veterinarian, and food-focused groups

    The letters call on the FDA to do better. They tell the FDA that mandatory requirements are necessary to stop the misuse of antibiotics on animals that are not sick and to eliminate the loopholes in the FDA’s proposed recommendations so that they might potentially serve as a useful addition to mandatory regulations. (Click here to see the letter NRDC sent in addition to the coalition letter we signed.)

    Here’s a reminder of why this issue is so important. 80% of all antibiotics sold in the United States are used on livestock, the vast majority on animals that are not sick, to make them grow fatter faster and to compensate for unsanitary and crowded conditions. This overuse of antibiotics in livestock is a leading contributor to the rise of dangerous “superbugs”—bacteria that develop resistance to the commonly prescribed antibiotics we rely on when we get infections. More and more, doctors are struggling to treat these types of infections, and many become fatal. When antibiotics don’t work as well as they used to, illnesses can last longer, can lead to more hospitalizations, can require the use of stronger antibiotics with greater side effects, and can even result in death when a bacteria that is causing the infection is resistant to all antibiotics that can be used to kill it.

    Recent reports link antibiotic resistant bacteria found in chicken to painful urinary tract infections affecting 8 million women in the U.S. that are resistant to a cure (see this ABC News report). The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 99,000 people died of hospital-acquired infections in 2002, the most recent year for which data are available. According to the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the vast majority of those infections were caused by antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.” The Institute of Medicine warns that “the specter of untreatable infections – a regression to the pre-antibiotic era – is looming just around the corner” if antibiotic resistance is not addressed. (For more about the issue of antibiotic use in livestock, see my past blogs:

    The outpouring of feedback to the FDA from citizens and from groups focused on our health, food, and environment, shows that consumers are becoming more aware of this threat to their health and are ready for serious action to protect the public interest. It’s also a clarion call for the FDA to stop dragging its feet and to move decisively to curtail the unnecessary use of antibiotics in livestock.

    The ball is in the FDA’s court. It needs to start prioritizing public health and stop protecting the profits of the industries that are putting our medicines and health at risk.

    Note: I want to be sure to acknowledge that the letters submitted to FDA reflect the great work of a broad coalition of groups, including: Farm Aid, Food and Water Watch, Food Democracy Now, Consumers Union, True Food Now, the Keep Antibiotics Working Coalition, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), Pew Charitable Trusts, Health Care Without Harm, CREDOMobile, Union of Concerned Scientists, Family Farmed, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Chefs Collaborative, and, of course, NRDC.

    *This blog was updated on Friday, July 13, with the note above and on Monday, July 16, with the information about the letters from healthcare professionals in the Healthy Food Action network.


    Court Tells FDA: Don’t Delay on Protecting People Against Antibiotic Overuse in Factory Farms
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    Avinash Kar

    Posted August 8, 2012 in Health and the Environment

    antibioticresistance, antibiotics, CAFO, factoryfarm, FDA, food, health, livestock

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    In a decision earlier today, a federal court in New York ruled that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cannot delay regulatory proceedings for penicillin and tetracyclines use in livestock – two kinds of antibiotics whose overuse in animals is reducing their effectiveness in treating sick people. This is good news!

    Thumbnail image for feature_pighazard_adjusted.jpgThe court action 1) ensures that action is not delayed further until after the resolution of an appeal by FDA of the court’s original decision to mandate these proceedings and 2) imposes a deadline for the completion of the proceedings (thereby rejecting FDA’s arguments that a schedule was not needed). FDA will have approximately five years to complete proceedings.

    A quick refresher on how we got here: In 1977, FDA found that the use of penicillin and tetracyclines in animal feed poses risks for human health because it leads to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance reduces the efficacy of important medicines and can lead to longer illnesses, more hospitalizations, the use of drugs with greater side-effects, and even death when treatments fail. As the Director General of the World Health Organization has warned, bacteria are becoming so resistant to common antibiotics that it could mean “the end of modern medicine as we know it,” and “[t]hings as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill.”

    We sued FDA to force FDA to address this threat, and back in March, the court ruled that FDA must withdraw approvals for the use of penicillin and tetracyclines in animal feed unless drug manufacturers prove in regulatory hearings that such uses are safe for human health.

    In imposing a schedule for FDA action today, the court pointed to FDA’s “unreasonable” 35-year delay in “perform[ing] its statutorily-prescribed duty to initiate, let alone complete, withdrawal proceedings” for penicillin and tetracyclines. In other words, it’s been long enough already.

    FDA needs to move forward as rapidly as possible with the regulatory proceedings to address this pressing health threat and to rectify its decades-long neglect of this issue.

    It’s time to quit stalling and get going.


    Raising Resistance: Feeding Antibiotics to Healthy Food Animals Breeds Bacteria Dangerous to Human Health
    Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a major public health crisis, leading to infections that are difficult to treat and sometimes impossible to cure, require longer and more expensive hospital stays, and are more likely to be fatal. At the same time, the development of new antibiotics has slowed to a trickle. In some cases, there are now few or no antibiotics that work to treat drug-resistant bacterial infections. Meanwhile, scientific studies have shown that consumers are exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria on their meat and other food. While improper use of antibiotics in the health care sector is a problem, organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) recognize that the “overuse and misuse of antibiotics in food animals” is a major source of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Curbing inappropriate use of antibiotics is key to maintaining their effectiveness in humans and slowing the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

    last revised 10/11/2011


    Antibiotic Resistance
    Antimicrobial Use in Food Animals

    No one knows for sure how much of the antibiotics used in this country are consumed by animals being raised for food, such as cattle, dairy cows, pigs, and poultry. One estimate places the number at 20 million pounds of antimicrobials each year.

    What is known is that the use of large quantities of antibiotics in producing the nation’s food supply contributes to antibiotic resistance.

    Bacteria can move between ecosystems, animals, and humans. Antibiotic resistant bacteria from the intestines of animals enter the food supply and can then be introduced into the human intestine when food is consumed.

    There is some evidence that resistance genes carried by the bacteria in animals can be transferred to bacteria that are normally human-specific. For example, the use of the antibiotic avoparcin as a growth promoter in food animals has been linked to the subsequent appearance of vancomycin-resistant enterococci in human intestines.

    Some antibiotic resistant Salmonella cases have been traced back to meat from animals fed antibiotics.

    Epidemiological information indicates that food of animal origin is the source of the majority of foodborne bacterial infections caused by non-typhoid Salmonella, Campylobacter, Yersinia, and E. coli O157:H7.

    Food animals are often given the same drugs used in humans. Antibacterials are also used in veterinary medicine, fish farming, and agriculture, and have been found in food, soil, and water. Many are available at feed and pet stores without a prescription.

    Most of the antimicrobials given to food-producing animals each year are not used to treat sick animals.

    Instead, antibiotics are routinely added to feed and water to prevent disease and to promote growth. This long-term, low-dose exposure to antibiotics is more likely to result in resistant bacteria than short-term antibiotic use to treat sick animals.

    The practice of giving subtherapeutic doses of antibiotics to prevent disease and promote growth dates back to the 1950s, but even now the mechanisms are not well understood. The controversy over the practice dates back almost as far.

    In the 1960s, scientists began raising concerns about the emergence of multiple drug-resistant strains of bacteria and the possibility of cross-resistance with therapeutic antibiotics used in humans.

    Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials proposed restricting the use of penicillin and tetracycline (antibiotics commonly used in humans) in 1977, but were overruled by Congress, which requested that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) conduct a study.

    The NAS concluded that no restrictive actions should be taken on the sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics in animal feed. A 1999 report once again concluded that there was no immediate public health risk from antimicrobial use in food animals, but did acknowledge that “there is a link between the use of antibiotics in food animals, the development of bacterial resistance to these drugs, and human disease, although the incidence is very low.”

    In the meantime, Danish food animal producers voluntarily gave up use of antibiotics as growth promoters altogether in 1998. (Denmark had banned such use of specific antibiotics in the 1970s and 1990s.) Sweden banned the use of all antibiotics as growth promoters in 1986. In 1999, the European Union banned the use of four antibiotics as growth promoters.

    Here in the U.S., the FDA proposed a ban on the use of fluorquinolones in poultry in late 2000. Fluorquinolones are important in the treatment of human infections because of their broad spectrum of activity against a range of infectious bacteria and their safety and ease of administration.

    Many scientists are concerned about potential problems from the apparent relationship between the use of the agents in food-producing animals and the emergence of Salmonella serotypes with reduced susceptibility to fluorquinolones in humans. Since their introduction for use in poultry, there has also been a significant rise in fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter jejuni isolated in live poultry, poultry meat, and humans in the U.S., U.K. and Netherlands.

    FDA has proposed a regulatory framework for antimicrobial drugs used in food-animal production, and is developing a guideline document for industry. The framework seeks to rank drugs by their importance to human medicine and to provide a risk-based framework for their use in animals. FDA’s Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance expressed “particular concern that certain drugs, of classes currently viewed as critical for human medicine, are already being used in food animals.”

    The Task Force is part of a recent government-wide effort to combat antimicrobial resistance.

    Legislation introduced into Congress in June 2002 would prohibit the nontherapeutic use in feed animals of eight specific antimicrobial drugs that could select for resistance to drugs used in human medicine.

    The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends using narrow spectrum drugs when possible, limiting treatment to only sick or at-risk animals rather than dosing whole herds or flocks, and using drugs important to human health only after careful consideration. The association calls for further research to determine the risks of sub-therapeutic levels in animal feed to promote growth before prohibitions are imposed.
    Who Keeps Track?

    In the U.S., the Department of Agriculture collects information about resistant bacteria in animals as well as antibacterial drug residues in food. While the levels of antibacterials in food that might promote resistance in humans are not known, their use can contribute to the pool of resistant pathogens.

    The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) monitors the occurrence of drug resistant microbes in both humans and animals. This coordinated network of public health laboratories and federal agencies collects samples of specific microbes found in people and animals and sends them for testing to determine if they are resistant to antibiotics. The results of these tests are compared with data from previous years to look for changes in resistance patterns. NARMS reports are published annually.

    Surveillance for antibiotic resistance in agricultural settings is being expanded to all 50 states and a study is being launched of resistant pathogens found on retail foods. The Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing current scientific data on the effect of antimicrobial pesticide products.
    Effects of Antibiotic Bans on Growers and Consumers
    The Danish Experience

    Five years after Denmark banned the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in food animals, resistance rates of bacteria to these antibiotics fell significantly.

    Following Denmark’s ban of the antibiotic avoparcin in food animals in 1995, the resistance rate for this and related antibiotics fell from 72.7% in 1995 to just over 5% in 2000.

    One of the concerns raised by calls to reduce or prohibit antimicrobial use in food animals is that production costs will rise.
    The Swedish Experience

    A University of Iowa study of the effect of Sweden’s ban on antimicrobials for growth promoters in the hog industry found an estimated net increase of consumer costs of about $0.12 +/- 0.06/kg retail meat, half of which was due to the antibiotics ban and half to animal welfare legislation.
    The U.S. Situation

    Because of differences between farming and food production practices in Scandinavia and the U.S., it can’t be assumed that the exact same outcomes would be seen following a ban of antimicrobial use on American farms and feedlots.

    The impact of such a ban needs to be studied to examine issues such as the incidence of disease in flocks without preventive antibiotics, the effect on food production and the general food supply, and how to address possible economic losses for farmers.

    This examination of possible outcomes and ways to address them should include participation by farmers, food producers, scientists, the pharmaceutical industry, and public health officials. For example, if the proposed legislation becomes law, steps could be taken to help compensate farmers and food producers for losses associated with the transition away from antimicrobial use.

    The University of Iowa report on potential effects on the hog industry estimated that a ban in the U.S. would cause production costs to initially rise by $6.04 per hog, tapering to an increase of $5.24 after 10 years. The decrease in net profit would be $0.79 per hog after 10 years because of higher prices charged to consumers. Retail pork prices would increase by $0.05 per pound.


    E. coli

    Escherichia coli, although considered to be part of the normal gut flora for many mammals (including humans), has many strains. Strain E. coli 0157:H7 is associated with human illness (and sometimes death) as a foodborne illness. A study by Cornell University[24] has determined that grass-fed animals have as much as 80% less of this strain of E. coli in their guts than their grain-fed counterparts, though this reduction can be achieved by switching an animal to grass only a few days prior to slaughter. Also, the amount of E. coli they do have is much less likely to survive our first-line defense against infection: stomach acid. This is because feeding grain to cattle makes their normally pH-neutral digestive tract abnormally acidic; over time, the pathogenic E. coli becomes acid-resistant.[25] If humans ingest this acid-resistant E. coli via grain-feed beef, a large number of them may survive past the stomach, causing an infection.[26] A study by the USDA Meat and Animal Research Center in Lincoln Nebraska (2000) has confirmed the Cornell research.[27][dubious – discuss]
    BSE (So-called Mad Cow Disease)
    Main article: Bovine spongiform encephalopathy

    Meat and bone meal can be a risk factor for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), when healthy animals consume tainted tissues from infected animals. People concerned about Creutzfeld-Jacob disease (CJD), which is also a spongiform encephalopathy, may favor grass-fed cattle for this reason. In the United States, this risk is relatively low as feeding of protein sources from any ruminant to another ruminant has been banned since 1997.[28] The problem becomes more complicated as other feedstuffs containing animal by-products are still allowed to be fed to other non-ruminants (chickens, cats, dogs, horses, pigs, etc.). Therefore, at a feed mill mixing feed for pigs, for instance, there is still the possibility of cross-contamination of feed going to cattle.[citation needed] Since only a tiny amount of the contaminating prion begins the cascading brain disease, any amount of mixed feed could cause many animals to become infected.[citation needed] This was the only traceable link among the cattle with BSE in Canada that led to the recent US embargo of Canadian beef.[citation needed] No cases of BSE have been reported so far in Australia. This is largely due to Australia’s strict quarantine and bio-security rules that prohibit beef imports from countries known to be infected with BSE.

    However, according to a report filed in the Australian, on February 25, 2010, those rules were suddenly relaxed and the process to submit beef products from known BSE-infected countries was allowed (pending an application process).[29] But less than a week later, Tony Burke, the Australian Minister For Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry swiftly overturned the decision and placed a ‘two year stop’ on all fresh and chilled beef products destined for Australia from BSE known countries of origin, thereby relaxing fears held by Australians that contaminated US beef would find its way onto Australian supermarket shelves after a long absence.[30][31]

    Soybean meal is cheap and plentiful in the United States. As a result, the use of animal byproduct feeds was never common, as it was in Europe. However, U.S. regulations only partially prohibit the use of animal byproducts in feed. In 1997, regulations prohibited the feeding of mammalian byproducts to ruminants such as cows and goats. However, the byproducts of ruminants can still be legally fed to pets or other livestock such as pigs and poultry such as chickens. In addition, it is legal for ruminants to be fed byproducts from some of these animals.[32] A proposal[weasel words] to end the use of cow blood, restaurant scraps, and poultry litter (fecal matter, feathers) in January 2004 has yet to be implemented,[33] despite the efforts of some advocates of such a policy[who?], who cite the fact that cows are herbivores, and that blood and fecal matter could potentially carry BSE.

    In February 2001, the USGAO reported that the FDA, which is responsible for regulating feed, had not adequately policed the various bans.[34] Compliance with the regulations was shown to be extremely poor before the discovery of the Washington cow, but industry representatives report that compliance is now 100%. Even so, critics[who?] call the partial prohibitions insufficient. Indeed, US meat producer Creekstone Farms alleges that the USDA is preventing BSE testing from being conducted.[35]

    Campylobacter, a bacterium that can cause another foodborne illness resulting in nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, headache and muscle pain was found by Australian researchers to be carried by 58% of cattle raised in feed lots versus only 2% of pasture raised and finished cattle.[36]

    Bovine Leukemia virus is insect-borne and found in 20% of US cows, and 60% of US herds. Studies in Sweden and the Soviet Union have linked BLV outbreaks and increases in human leukemia. BLV and HTLV-1 share a common gene, HTLV-1 is the first human retrovirus ever shown to cause cancer.
    Environmental concerns

    In arid climates such as the Southwestern United States, livestock grazing has severely degraded riparian areas, the wetland environment adjacent to rivers or streams. People[who?] have long recognized that riparian zones and rivers are the lifeblood of the western landscape,[citation needed] being more productive and home to more plants and animals than any other type of habitat[citation needed]. Scientists refer to riparian zones as hotspots of biodiversity, a characterization that is particularly apparent in arid and semiarid environments[37] (like Nevada, where over 80% of the 300 represented terrestrial wildlife species are “directly dependent on riparian habitat”), where such zones may be the only tree-dominated ecosystems in the landscape[citation needed]. The presence of water, increased productivity, favorable microclimate, and periodic flood events combine to create a disproportionately higher biological diversity than that of the surrounding uplands.[38]

    “According to the Arizona state park department, over 90% of the original riparian zones of Arizona and New Mexico are gone”. A 1988 report of the GAO was equally grim, estimating that 90% of the 5,300 miles of riparian habitat managed by the BLM in Colorado was in unsatisfactory condition, as was 80% of Idaho’s riparian zones, concluding that “poorly managed livestock grazing is the major cause of degraded riparian habitat on federal rangelands.”[39]

    Grass fed beef hides the controversial and heavy use of human sewage sludge by ranchers in the beef industry.[40][41] Science has cited being more cautious and reevaluating the practice that was first legalized in 1992.[42] There are new emerging toxic pollutants that could contaminate beef that ultimately end up on USA dinner plates.[43]

    The cow’s diet might affect the flavor of the resultant meat and milk. A 2003 Colorado State University study[44] found that 80% of consumers in the Denver-Colorado area preferred the taste of United States corn-fed beef to Australian grass-fed beef, and negligible difference in taste preference compared to Canadian barley-fed beef, though the cattle’s food was not the only difference in the beef tested, nor is Denver as representative sample of the world beef market, so the results are inconclusive.

    Grass-fed beef is not standardized. Most is leaner than conventional feedlot beef, but some is equally marbled due to carefully managed grazing, excellent pastures, and improved genetics. Another technique for producing well-marbled grass-fed cattle is to keep the animals on pasture for two years or more. Most pasture-based ranchers dry-age the beef for 7–21 days, enhancing the flavor and tenderness of the meat.[citation needed]

    Remarkably, in some circumstances, cows are fed wine or beer. It is believed that this improves the taste of the beef. This technique has been used both in Japan and France.[45]

  15. I’m no farmer, but I would far rather eat an animal that eats what it evolved to eat, gets some exercise, doesn’t stand in its own excrement all day, and in all likelihood is a happier animal. Its common sense. The only reason consumers accept these farming practices is that they have not seen the life of the animal they are eating. They see only a piece of beef. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Its also blatantly obvious that long term use of low dose antibiotics must result in resistant strains, with potential transmission to humans. Equally obvious is that diseases spread rapidly in densely populated areas, human or otherwise. Ask any ship captain. (Let alone densely populated areas covered in faeces.)

    Bearing in mind that the USA is one of the most malnourished countries in the world (yes obese people are malnourished) I wouldn’t be so keen to replicate their food system.

    I would rather see less urbanisation and more small scale organic type farming. From an economics perspective I see more jobs in farming coming from a non industrialised system and surely it is more sustainable long term.(not the farm, the system)

    1. Andrew

      What you say makes complete sense to all of us except those in the factory farming business.

      Can you not read the comments on this blog by the confiners of animals to see that their heroes are the Americans.


  16. Dear Tommie

    What has happend to the average life span of a human being the past 50 years ? It has increased dramatically and one of the reasons is that healthy , wholesome food has never been more affordable and available .

    I have grown up and lived my entire life within 200m of our feedlot and so are my young children to no detriment . What I have come to experience though is that a pre-school is an absolute haven for bacteria and the spread of disease . I do therefore declare that God never intended for children to go to pre school and that they are places where evil lurkes and mutates to destroy the very soul and fabric of our society !

  17. Dear Michael

    Are you talking about hydroponics ? What nutrients are you going to give the plants ( nitrogen , phosphates , calcium etc ) ? Where are these nutrients going to come from ? How are you going to distribute the water and nutrients to the plants ? Your example is a shining light of science at work !

    I did not go to youtube but where and when were these cattle fed chocolates ? In the USA ? Name the Feedlot please . By the way what negative impact would the feeding of chocolate ( bread or pasta ) have on the wellfare of the cattle or the safety of the beef produced?

  18. Willem,

    Shock findings in new GMO study: Rats fed lifetime of GM corn grow horrifying tumors, 70% of females die early
    by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

    (NaturalNews) Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto’s Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. That’s the conclusion of a shocking new study that looked at the long-term effects of consuming Monsanto’s genetically modified corn.

    The study has been deemed “the most thorough research ever published into the health effects of GM food crops and the herbicide Roundup on rats.” News of the horrifying findings is spreading like wildfire across the internet, with even the mainstream media seemingly in shock over the photos of rats with multiple grotesque tumors… tumors so large the rats even had difficulty breathing in some cases. GMOs may be the new thalidomide.

    “Monsanto Roundup weedkiller and GM maize implicated in ‘shocking’ new cancer study” wrote The Grocery, a popular UK publication. (…)

    It reported, “Scientists found that rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females.”

    The Daily Mail reported, “Fresh row over GM foods as French study claims rats fed the controversial crops suffered tumors.” (…)

    It goes on to say: “The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. The researchers said 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group.”

    The study, led by Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen, was the first ever study to examine the long-term (lifetime) effects of eating GMOs. You may find yourself thinking it is absolutely astonishing that no such studies were ever conducted before GM corn was approved for widespread use by the USDA and FDA, but such is the power of corporate lobbying and corporate greed.

    The study was published in The Food & Chemical Toxicology Journal and was just presented at a news conference in London.

    Findings from the study
    Here are some of the shocking findings from the study:

    • Up to 50% of males and 70% of females suffered premature death.

    • Rats that drank trace amounts of Roundup (at levels legally allowed in the water supply) had a 200% to 300% increase in large tumors.

    • Rats fed GM corn and traces of Roundup suffered severe organ damage including liver damage and kidney damage.

    • The study fed these rats NK603, the Monsanto variety of GM corn that’s grown across North America and widely fed to animals and humans. This is the same corn that’s in your corn-based breakfast cereal, corn tortillas and corn snack chips.

    The Daily Mail is reporting on some of the reaction to the findings:

    France’s Jose Bove, vice-chairman of the European Parliament’s commission for agriculture and known as a fierce opponent of GM, called for an immediate suspension of all EU cultivation and import authorisations of GM crops. ‘This study finally shows we are right and that it is urgent to quickly review all GMO evaluation processes,’ he said in a statement. ‘National and European food security agencies must carry out new studies financed by public funding to guarantee healthy food for European consumers.’ (…)

    Read the study abstract
    The study is entitled, “A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health.” Read the abstract here:

    That abstract include this text. Note: “hepatorenal toxicity” means toxic to the liver.

    Our analysis clearly reveals for the 3 GMOs new side effects linked with GM maize consumption, which were sex- and often dose-dependent. Effects were mostly associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, although different between the 3 GMOs. Other effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system. We conclude that these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded.

    Here are some quotes from the researchers:

    “This research shows an extraordinary number of tumors developing earlier and more aggressively – particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts.” – Dr Michael Antoniou, molecular biologist, King’s College London.

    “We can expect that the consumption of GM maize and the herbicide Roundup, impacts seriously on human health.” – Dr Antoniou.

    “This is the first time that a long-term animal feeding trial has examined the impact of feeding GM corn or the herbicide Roundup, or a combination of both and the results are extremely serious. In the male rats, there was liver and kidney disorders, including tumors and even more worryingly, in the female rats, there were mammary tumors at a level which is extremely concerning; up to 80 percent of the female rats had mammary tumors by the end of the trial.” – Patrick Holden, Director, Sustainable Food Trust.

    Spread the word: GMOs are toxic!

  19. Willem,

    Die vleis wat julle produseer op voerkraal basis, is jy trots op die produk ?
    As jy Genetiese geproduseerde mielies vir jou diere voer, sal dit ‘n probleem wees om die vleis te “Brand” te “Label” dat dit met GMO produkte gevoer is ? As jy glo in die kwaliteits en die kwaliteit van jou metodes van boerdery, dan kan jy dit mos “Label” sodat mense kan sien jy is trots op jou produk. Dit sal my ook in staat stel om ‘n keuse te maak, of ek jou produk wil koop of ‘n organiese geproduseerde produk te wil koop. Vrye mark en demokraties.
    As jy nie daarvoor kans sien nie, Gee redes daarvoor ?
    Ek dink mense moet ‘n keuse kan uit oefen om te kies watse boerdery praktyke en voeding skema geondersteun word.
    Dit is waarvoor ek steun sal soek. Gee ons as verbruiker die keuse.

    Ek daag jou uit om ‘n lys van medikasie en aanvulling wat julle op voerkraal beeste te gebruik beskikbaar te stel. Gee ook die rede gebruik aan. Wat is vir gesondheid en watter produkte word vir vinnige gewig toename gebruik. Meld ook die persentasie GMO produkte wat julle gebruik. Hoeveel Soja en mielies is GMO produkte?

    Dink jy jou produk is van goeie kwalitiet? Sal jy adverteer of wil wys hoe dit geproduseer word byvoorbeeld jou produkte te ” Label”

  20. Willem,
    Hoekom begin jy nie ‘n Blog en stel jou saak soos wat Farmer Angus sy saak stel nie ?
    Jy kan mos die publiek en verbuiker opvoed in die metodes wat julle gebruik.
    Jy gaan dalk meer uitrig as om negatief te reageer op Farmer Angus se vrylopende boerdery metodes.
    Hoekom is jy sensitief oor kritiek op die Voerkraal industrie? Maak die waarheid dalk seer ?
    Stel jou saak en plaas alle voerkraal metodes en medikasie en aanvulling beskikbaar aan die publiek sodat mens weet wat in die produksie van vleis gaan.
    Vir elke 1000 beeste wat julle voer, hoeveel vrek, en wat is die redes vir die vrektes?
    Is daar ‘n moontlikheid dat die vrektes in voerkrale dalk te doen het met die kos wat hulle gevoer word ?
    Aangesien beeste met ‘n verhoogte mielie dieet gevoer word, buite hulle natuur. – Sal jy op die selfde dieet gaan om te bewys dit is veilig vir ‘n mens?

  21. Willem,
    Jou kommentaar ” What I have come to experience though is that a pre-school is an absolute haven for bacteria and the spread of disease . I do therefore declare that God never intended for children to go to pre school and that they are places where evil lurkes and mutates to destroy the very soul and fabric of our society ! ”
    Het jou kinders dalk gereeld siek geraak dat jy so daarop reageer? Is dit nie omdat hulle immuunstelsel swak is a.g.v. oormatige blootstelling aan anti-biotika nie ?
    Hoe meer antibiotika gebruik word, hoe minder is die effektiewiteit.
    Ek sien jy skiet nie die artiukels en die inhoud van die artiukels af nie. Kyk egter hoe raak dit jou en jou kinders se omgewing – en ja die skool is een van die plekke waar jy die effek gaan sien van oormatige blootstelling aan antibiotika.
    Die voorskoolse stelsel in nie verkeerd nie, die oormatige aanwending van antibiotika is ‘n probleem.
    Een van die dae sal jy ‘n homeopaat moet besoek om ‘n oplossing te kry vir siekte probleme aangesien antibiotika nie meer gaan werk nie.

  22. Dear Tommie

    Yes I am very proud of the product our family produces . If you do a little research you will find pictures of our cattle in the feedlot as well as the feed they eat . We have never sold our beef as organic and our name is on the packaging the beef is sold in .Please visit the feedlot association web page for futher industry information .

    Systemic antibiotics are used to treat sick cattle as per animal welfare best practice . All cattle treated with antibiotics are taken to a hospital system where they recover before taken back to their “home” pen . All cattle treated with antibiotics have to complete a withdrawel period ( as mandated by law ) before they may be harvested for human consumption .

    Out of every 1000 cattle we receive 5 will die before harvesting .Main causes of death include : pneumonia , tick borne disease and diarrhoea . Compare this to South Africas infant mortality rate of 50 per 1000 births if I remember correctly ?

    I am not negative to Angus and his free range beef : it is another production system which is just fine . What I am negative about is when Angus made statements such as we feed chicken litter and meat to our cattle which are totally untrue . There have been futher misleading/incorrect statements made on this blog by various people and I simply cannot let that stand because as they say when a lie is repeated enough it becomes the truth .

    As to starting my own blog : My philosophy about individual blogs is that they communicate interessting daily experiences and could be fun to read . Bussiness blogs on the other hand I see as tools for self serving propaghanda . Who believes them anyway ?

    As to eating what the cattle eat . I eat whole corn on the cob from the same field their corn comes from . The maize porridge I eat is from the sam e maize by product they eat . The soya in the food I eat is also included in their diet . The wheat in the bread I eat is the same as the wheat co products they eat etc.

    My children get sick because other parents send sick children to school . Do you want to argue that vegetarian children do not get sick when sent to these same schools ? Maybe they are the hosts for the bacteria . LOL .

    Your articles are more popular press than science based . You use the term scientist very loosly . Please find out how to reference scientific articles and make sure your source is broadly accepted as reputable in the scientific community .

    As to homeopathic medecine . Is that labelled with the manufacturers name and address , compliance certificate number , chemical analysis , etc ?

  23. Seralini blasts GM regulatory failure
    For anyone who has been left with the impression that Gilles-Eric Seralini is some kind of maverick or fringe scientist, it’s worth noting that as well as being Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Caen, France, in charge of the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, he has written over 100 scientific articles and conference papers for international specialist symposiums.

    He has also been an appointed member of two French government commissions on GMOs – the Biomolecular Engineering Commission (CGB – Commission du Genie Biomoleculaire) which oversees risk assessment, on which he served for nine years, and the Biovigilance Committee looking at commercialised GMOs, on which he served for ten years. In 2003 he was appointed an expert advisor on GM to the European Commission in the context of its WTO dispute. And in 2008, Prof. Seralini was made a Knight of the French Order of Merit in recognition of his scientific research.

    However, since the time that he began to voice serious concerns about GM, and about the quality of GM, food and pesticide regulation, he has come under sustained personal attack, particularly after his research exposing problems in this area was published in the peer reviewed literature.

    In January 2011 he won a libel case against Marc Fellous, head of the French Association of Plant Biotechnology and the former Chair of the CGB on which Seralini served, but the defamatory attacks have continued, and have reached a new pitch following the publication of his most recent paper.

    While serving as a regulator, Seralini saw GM regulatory decisions being pushed through independently of the full CGB by Fellous, who unlike Seralini has not published any research in international scientific journals relating to plant genetics, plant biotechnology, or food safety in regards to farm GMOs.

    Seralini also points out that while Fellous and his associates, and bodies like EFSA, launch well-publicised attacks on his peer reviewed studies, their own opinions are not published in international peer-reviewed journals and are not therefore scrutinized with the same rigour, which limits their scientific validity.

    Here’s an English translation of Seralini’s recent comments on the abject failure of the regulatory system to undertake rigorous testing, provide transparency or protect the public:

    “GMOs and pesticides, food additives (aspartame …) artificial colours, preservatives, chemicals are not tested on humans in clinical trials. What counts for market approval is mammalian blood analysis during lab tests on animals (rats mostly).

    These are industrial secrets which become state secrets jealously guarded by the Rapporteur State Member (RMS) alloted the task of evaluation. This means experts like Marc Fellous and Gérard Pascal (Cf. their full credentials in this week’s Canard Enchaîné) who are the ones deciding what constitutes proof of safety back in August 2003 for the NK603 corn at the Agriculture Ministry, and giving it the green light by writing to the European Commission.

    They do this without going through the CGB (Biomolecular Engineering Commission) which they should have done, as explained in my books Ces OGM qui changent le Monde (These GMOs changing the World) and Tous Cobayes! (We’re all guinea pigs!).

    It’s the same story for every product, with different experts, or the same, doubtless the same for the absence of testing for unheated meat and bone meal, when the preparatory method was altered.

    It’s absolutely vital to publish the blood test results of rats exposed to glyphosate or Roundup or pesticides. There are 50 different side effects compared to the control group acknowledged by Monsanto (covering themselves legally) and underestimated by Monsanto, disregarded by GP and MF or others at EFSA for the NK 603.

    In most other instances worldwide it’s not even necessary to complete these tests to get market approval. For 50 years these have been inadmissible and unlawful industrial secrets (health and environmental effects must be made public, the tests on rats are the only ones which count in the two risk assessment studies).”

    We need [to gain access to] these tests by tackling the Commissions, but especially the Agriculture Minister and the European Commissioner for Agriculture. If the whole chain is transparent, we change society and in particular we free ourselves progressively from GMOs and pesticides. It’s your call.

    I thinks this mans academic and scientific record speaks loader than words. Somebody you can listen to. Listen to his warnings about the failure and manupulation of science to benifit company profit and not human health.

  24. Willem,
    Boerdery is ‘n Biologiese proses, daarom is dit soveel ouer as die Wetenskap.
    Wetenskap probeer boerdery ‘n wetenskaplike proses maak.
    Daar is sekere dinge wat nie meetbaar is deur die wetenskap nie.
    Wetenskap kan nie die bestaan van God bewys nie – Dink jy daar is ‘n Skepper, ‘n Hemelse Vader, God ?
    Wetenskap kan nie Liefde se bestaan bewys nie – so volgens wetenskap bestaan liefde glad nie. So jy kan nie jou vrou, kind, ouers, plaas, diere, beroep lief hê nie.
    Wetenskap het al gebed bestudeer, en dat dit ‘n effek kan hê. Maar omdat dit nie meetbaar is nie bestaan dit nie volgens die wetenskap nie.

    Ek moet jou geluk wens met jou lae mortaliteit syfers in jou voerkraal – dit is sekerlik ver onder die industrie standaard. Ek wonder hoeveel liefde en trots jy insit in jou boerdery, al is dit nie meetbaar deur die wetenskap nie, wys dit dalk in die lae verliese wat jy lei aan natuurlike dood onder jou diere.
    Netso sit Angus baie passie in sy boerdery, en mens lees dit op sy blog. Hy is trots op wat hy doen en glo in wat hy doen. Net soos jy. Gaan kuier vir hom op sy plaas, ek is seker julle sal goed oor die weg kom.

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