Digest – News: Farm Bill languishing, we have a beef with Boxer, more Aurora
Farm Bill delayed, again: Even though we're currently Farm Bill-less — the 2002 one effectively ended Sunday — the Senate mark-up of the 2007 bill is being pushed back once again. Why? They want the Finance Committee to go first, so they know how much money they have to work with. Um, shouldn't they be working together to determine how much money the bill actually needs? (Brownfield Network) Thankfully, Dan Owens over at the Center for Rural Affairs' blog is back from vacation and posting like mad: he has some thoughts on the speculation around where the money might be found to pay for various increases.
Boxer, we'll fight you on this Please see comment section: Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) says that she will block the Farm Bill if it allows state-run slaughterhouses to ship meat across state lines. The House-passed bill authorizes the shipments if the state facility is subject to guidelines that are identical to federal guidelines. Sen. Boxer sees a health risk to consumers. (AP) Californians, please let her know that until the processing infrastructure to support small ranches is rebuilt, this proposal is critical to their continued survival. And by the way, all the major beef recalls of late have come from federally inspected slaughterhouses — the big ones. Revised (again): Sorry for the annoying updates. I'm hearing from people that there's more to this slaughterhouse thing than just what Patty has said — and more than just what met my hurried eye. With luck one of us Ethicureans will have time to get to the bottom of the good/bad debate in the next 24 hours, but I would love for any folks who have the inside skinny to share in the comments as well.
Cutting corners on your box of organic milk: Now that Aurora Organic dairy (revenues, $100 million) has settled charges that it violated organic food standards, Aurora president Mark Retzloff wants to muzzle its foes, reports Marc Gunther. "Organic milk shouldn't cost so much that only elites can afford it," says Retzloff. To which we reply: Diluting standards to make it cheaper — and raise your profits — is not the solution, even if you think the end justifies the means. (CNN Money)
Expelled from Eden: The UK organic community is divided over what should happen to organic male calves. Many are slaughtered at birth, others are exported for inhumane veal production elsewhere in Europe, like Holland. (Channel 4)
Maybe they should dye dogfood gray, too: Joining North Carolina, the Georgia Department of Agriculture is proposing to dye raw milk — which can only be sold as "pet food" — charcoal gray to discourage human consumption. Hey guys — what about letting the market decide? (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Si, GM-free: Italian food producers, consumersm and conservation groups start a petition drive to ban genetically modified food. (Reuters)
Swim, boys, swim!: A U.Cinn professor is intensifying the properties of light-emitting diodes by introducing biological materials, specifically salmon DNA. Where does he get it? Salmon sperm! It's considered a waste product of the fishing industry. (Press release)
Lake poisoning seems to have worked to kill invasive pike (SF Chronicle)
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