Tag Archives | meat

The Meat Industry Now Consumes Four-Fifths Of All Antibiotics

Will our taste for flesh be what leads to the creation of super-strains of bacteria impervious to antibiotics? Mother Jones reports:

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a set of voluntary “guidelines” designed to nudge the meat industry to curb its antibiotics habit. But the meat industry has been merrily gorging away on antibiotics—and churning out meat rife with antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

While human antibiotic use has leveled off at below 8 billion pounds annually, livestock farms have been sucking in more and more of the drugs each year—and consumption reached a record nearly 29.9 billion pounds in 2011. That suggests that meat production might be getting more antibiotic-intensive.  To put it another way, the livestock industry is now consuming nearly four-fifths of the antibiotics used in the US, and its appetite for them is growing.

 

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Burger King Admits To Serving Horse Meat

Photo: Chrisloader (CC)

Now that Burger King has fessed up to serving horse meat in its burger patties, one wonders what other animals made it into its not so delicious offerings. Gawker sums up the scandal:

Though it initially made “absolute assurances” that all of its burgers were 100% beef, Burger King has been forced to admit that some of its patties may have contained horse meat, after traces of equine DNA were found at one of their processing plants.

The scandal started two weeks ago, when supermarket chains in the UK and Ireland began pulling certain beefburger products off the shelf after test concluded that they contained varying amounts of horse meat.

The tainted product was traced back to three processing plants, one of which — Silvercreft Foods — supplies Burger King restaurants in both the UK and Ireland with some of their patties.

“Our independent DNA test results on product taken from restaurants were negative for any equine DNA,” the company said in a statement.

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Oregon Farmer Eaten By His Pigs

Little more remained of hog farmer Terry Vance Garner than his dentures, the Guardian reports:

Oregon authorities are investigating how a farmer was eaten by his pigs. Terry Vance Garner, 69, never returned after he set out to feed his animals last Wednesday on his farm near the Oregon coast, the Coos county district attorney said on Monday.

A family member found Garner’s dentures and pieces of his body in the pig enclosure several hours later, but most of his remains had been consumed, the district attorney, Paul Frasier, said. Several of the pigs weighed 320kg (700lb) or more.

It is possible Garner had a medical emergency, such as a heart attack, or was knocked over by the animals, then killed and eaten, Frasier said, adding that at least one pig had previously bitten Garner.

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McDonald’s Opens Its First Meat-Free Restaurants

I’m frankly speechless. This seems as if it symbolizes something —  but what exactly? The true end of the American century? Russia Today reports:

The McDonald’s restaurant chain is to open its first vegetarian-only outlets in India. The move is not so much about the hamburger chain going vegan due to a revelation, rather an aspiration to win over the lucrative fast food market of India. The company’s signature product is taboo in India because cows are sacred and beef-eating is prohibited by religion.

Two vegetarian McDonald’s are due to open next year in the Indian pilgrimage centres in the city of Amritsar, home to the Golden Temple, and the town of Katra. “A vegetarian store makes absolute sense in the places which are famous as pilgrimage sites,” Rajesh Kumar Maini, a spokesman for McDonald’s India told AFP.

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Food Shortages May Force World Population To Go Vegetarian

Drought Swimming HoleCould this be a conspiracy against freedom-loving, red meat-eating Americans? I have a feeling there will be those in certain quarters who claim just that. John Vidal reports for The Guardian:

Leading water scientists have issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world’s population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages.

Humans derive about 20% of their protein from animal-based products now, but this may need to drop to just 5% to feed the extra 2 billion people expected to be alive by 2050, according to research by some of the world’s leading water scientists.

“There will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in western nations,” the report by Malik Falkenmark and colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) said.

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World Must Be About To End: USDA Promotes Meatless Mondays

A searingly hot summer that’s affecting 88% of the United States’ corn crop has the government forecasting meat prices up to 5% higher next year. Perhaps that what caused the USDA, normally a staunch meat booster, to promote Meatless Mondays. This seemingly sage advice (vegetables are farm crops too, remember) to take a weekly day off from meat has many Americans even more hot and bothered. Amy Harmon reports for the New York Times:

The message seemed innocuous enough, coming as it did from the federal agency tasked with promoting sustainable agriculture and dietary health: “One simple way to reduce your environmental impact while dining at our cafeterias,” read a United States Department of Agriculture interoffice newsletter published on its Web site this week, “is to participate in the ‘Meatless Monday’ initiative.”

Thousands of corporate cafeterias, restaurants and schools have embraced the idea of skipping meat on Mondays in favor of vegetarian options, an initiative of the nonprofit Monday Campaign Inc.

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Vast Majority of Americans Want Meat Raised Without Antibiotics

Consumer Reports has created a campaign, Meat Without Drugs, and a promo video narrated by Bill Paxton and directed by Robbie Kenner (Food, Inc. and the disinformation doc When Strangers Click):

We typically don’t like to regurgitate press releases, but the following statistics from Consumer Reports show Americans to be so overwhelmingly in favor of eliminating the use of antibiotics in factory food animals that it seemed worth sharing:

A majority of Americans want meat raised without antibiotics to be sold in their local supermarket, according to a new national poll conducted by Consumer Reports. The poll is part of a report released today, “Meat On Drugs: The Overuse of Antibiotics in Food Animals and What Supermarkets and Consumers Can Do to Stop It,” available online at www.ConsumerReports.org.

Consumers Union, the public policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, has simultaneously launched a new marketplace campaign, urging supermarkets to sell only meat raised without antibiotics─starting with Trader Joe’s, one of the leading national chains best poised to make this commitment.

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Tick Bites Turning Meat Eaters Into Vegetarians

Have animals finally found a way to stop us eating them? Katie Moisse reports for ABC News:
There's a new weapon in the war on meat: a tiny tick, whose bite might be spreading meat allergies up the East Coast. A bite from the lone star tick, so-called for the white spot on its back, looks innocent enough. But University of Virginia researchers say saliva that sneaks into the tiny wound may trigger an allergic reaction to meat -- agonizing enough to convert lifelong carnivores into wary vegetarians. "People will eat beef and then anywhere from three to six hours later start having a reaction; anything from hives to full-blown anaphylactic shock," said Dr. Scott Commins, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. "And most people want to avoid having the reaction, so they try to stay away from the food that triggers it."...
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Eating Less Meat Is World’s Best Chance For Timely Climate Change

Santa GertrudisAccording to some “experts,” as reported by Michelle Maisto in Forbes:

Shifting the world’s reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is important, certainly. But the world’s best chance for achieving timely, disaster-averting climate change may actually be a vegetarian diet eating less meat, according to a recent report in World Watch Magazine. (While I’d happily nudge the world toward a vegetarian diet, the report authors are more measured and simply suggest diets containing less meat.)

“The entire goal of today’s international climate objectives can be achieved by replacing just one-fourth of today’s least eco-friendly food products with better alternatives,” co-author Robert Goodland, a former World Bank Group environmental advisor wrote in an April 18 blog post on the report.

A widely cited 2006 report estimated that 18% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions were attributable to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, pigs and poultry. However, analysis performed by Goodland, with co-writer Jeff Anhang, an environmental specialist at the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation, found that figure to now more accurately be 51%.

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Where’s The Beef? Meat-Seeking Early Humans Wiped Out Most of the Prehistoric Large Animals

SmilodonAnn Gibbons writes on Science:

When human ancestors began scavenging for meat regularly on the open plains of Africa about 2.5 million years ago, they apparently took more than their fair share of flesh. Within a million years, most of the large carnivores in the region—from saber-toothed cats to bear-size otters—had gone extinct, leaving just a few “hypercarnivores” alive, according to a study presented here last week at a workshop on climate change and human evolution at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Humans have driven thousands of species extinct over the millennia, ranging from moas—giant, flightless birds that lived in New Zealand—to most lemurs in Madagascar. But just when we began to have such a major impact is less clear. Researchers have long known that many African carnivores died out by 1.5 million years ago, and they blamed our ancestor, Homo erectus, for overhunting with its new stone tools.

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