Digest – News: Smithfield’s flu, organic for the masses, Vilsack reserves judgment

They're not confining everything, apparently: MSM's all over the swine flu (SJ Merc) and U.S. hog prices are tanking (Reuters), but few are talking about its possible origins - flies and manure from the CAFO facilities of a Mexican subsidiary of Smithfield Foods. What would we do without Tom Philpott? (Grist) Dr. Michael Greger explains why industrial pork production breeds virulent strains of flu and recalls that this happened before on a CAFO in North Carolina (HSUS) and EGK explain how the government deals with a pandemic. (Obama Foodorama)

No Gr8 ideas?: Ag ministers from the leading industrialized countries acknowledge their own failure to help reduce world hunger and then add insult to injury by putting forward a bunch of vague rhetoric as the solution. One bright spot is the mention of an international grain reserve to keep markets from being so volatile, an idea championed by groups like Via Campesina and the National Family Farm Coalition. Vilsack's response? Repeating his mantra for a redoubling of efforts to promote acceptance of GM seeds. (Des Moines Register)

The BST finale?: Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, likely the next Secretary of Health and Human Services, vetoes legislation that would have made it very complicated for dairies to label their milk as being from cows not injected with artificial growth hormone. A veto override is possible, but not considered likely. (Lawrence Journal-World)

All sow and no reap: As a Senator, President Obama championed legislation to compensate black farmers in the South for decades of discrimination by the USDA, which funneled credit and other support to whites. But now, citing budget pressure, he appears to be backing down. (Capital Press) The Congressional Black Caucus is not happy. (The Hill)

Take that, Crop Life: USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan kicks off Earth Day with planting activities in "The People's Garden" and Vilsack announces plans to expand it to cover the entire grounds of the USDA. Eventually, it will include "organic raised vegetable beds, organic transition plots, an organic urban container garden, an organic kitchen pollinator garden, rain gardens and a bat house." (USDA Press Release)

The cow map: Scientists announce completion of bovine genome mapping and hopes for breeding more efficient cattle. (Science) Twenty related papers have been published for the seriously interested. (BioMed Central)

President of South Dakota State University to head Monsanto's Board of Directors (Monsanto News Release - thanks, Andy!)

One Responseto “Digest – News: Smithfield’s flu, organic for the masses, Vilsack reserves judgment”

  1. cherchezlemeat says:

    "Smithfield flu" is the only appropriate name for this flu.