Agriculture

More Companies Discontinuing Farm Animal Confinement
April 7, 2008 08:19 AM - Ben Block, Worldwatch Institute

More companies around the world are adjusting their farm-animal confinement policies and requesting clarification of consumer labels to reflect these changes. The moves come largely in response to U.S. voter-led initiatives and the implementation of farm policy reforms in the European Union. Animal confinement - forcing dense populations of chickens, pigs, or young cattle into cages, crates, or tight pens to more efficiently utilize farm space - is a common practice in the United States, Europe, and increasingly the developing world.

Bangladesh company makes yarn from cotton waste
April 2, 2008 07:28 AM - Reuters

DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh has begun producing environmentally friendly yarn from cotton waste to save foreign currency on imports, a local company said on Wednesday. "We have set up the factory to produce cotton yarn by using waste from ready-made garment products to export to foreign markets," said Anwar-Ul-Alam Chowdhury Parvez, managing director of Evitex Polycot Limited (EPL).

World Mayors Propose Urban Water Declaration
April 1, 2008 09:40 AM - , Worldwatch Institute

Ankara, Turkey's capital and second largest city, dried up last summer. Faced with low rainfall and a shrinking reservoir, the city of 4 million resorted to water rationing. Hospitals delayed surgeries. Stray dogs died in the streets. Mayor Melih Gokcek asked residents to "wash your hair, not your bodies" and came under heavy criticism for alleged water mismanagement. In an effort to be better prepared for future droughts as well as the catastrophic dry spells expected to accompany climate change, Turkey's leaders and the World Water Council (WWC), a multi-stakeholder group based in Marseilles, France, are proposing a global declaration on urban water management strategies.

A Fake Group Fights for Monsanto's Right to Deceive You
April 1, 2008 09:34 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

The American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology, or Afact, calls itself a "grass-roots organization" that came together to defend their right to use the artificial growth hormone recombinant bovine somatotropin, also known as rBST or rBGH, in their milk production. What they do not tell you is that Afact is not only an organization of dairy farmers. The group actually has close ties to Monsanto, the makers of rBGH, which is marketed under the brand name Posilac.

"Organic" Milk Class-Action Lawsuit is Underway
March 31, 2008 09:15 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Attorneys representing 52 consumers in a lawsuit against Boulder, Colorado-based Aurora Organic Dairy and some of the nation's largest retailers will face off in court today at the federal court in the Eastern District of Missouri, Judge Richard Webber, presiding. The consumers allege that the milk they purchased, although labeled as "organic", did not meet federal organic standards. Their attorneys will argue claims including breach of contract and of implied warranty, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and also claims under the consumer protection and deceptive trade practices statutes of several states.

Why Monsanto Doesn't Want You to Know About Those Hormones in Your Dairy
March 27, 2008 09:43 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

New York state dairy farmer John Bunting doesn't use an artificial bovine growth hormone on his cows for one key reason. He doesn't want them getting sick. "I care about my cows," he said, "I like my cows." The growth hormone in question is made by the Monsanto Company. The current debate about Monsanto's hormone involves labels. The multinational agricultural biotech company seems to be getting nervous about the prospect of telling consumers what's in their milk - or rather, what's not in their milk.

Climate change threatens Amazonian small farmers
March 26, 2008 09:36 AM - Indiana University

A six-year study of Amazonian small farmers and their responses to climate change shows the farmers are vulnerable to natural catastrophes and risky land use practices, say Indiana University Bloomington anthropologists Eduardo Brondizio and Emilio Moran. The researchers report in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (now accessible online) that an increase in climate anomalies like El Nino could ultimately drive many small farmers to ruin, forcing them into Brazilian cities that may be ill-equipped to employ, house and feed them.

Western Canadian pine beetle infestation spreads
March 26, 2008 07:49 AM - Reuters

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - About half of the marketable pine trees in West Coast Canadian province of British Columbia have been ravaged by a nearly decade-long beetle infestation, according to new government statistics. The outbreak of mountain pine beetles has affected trees over an area of 13.5 million hectares (33.4 million acres) in the Western Canadian province, which is a major source of softwood lumber exports to the United States.

How Safe is the U.S. Food Supply ?
March 25, 2008 09:15 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Jill Kohl was a healthy young woman in early August 2006. A marathon runner, the 2000 Wahlert High School graduate was attending graduate school in Milwaukee. She ran regularly and was careful to eat a diet of healthy foods. But just a few days after eating a spinach salad late that month, Kohl started to experience flu-like symptoms.

Australian wine industry feels heat from climate change
March 25, 2008 08:18 AM - Reuters

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian grape growers reckon they are the canary in the coalmine of global warming, as a long drought forces winemakers to rethink the styles of wine they can produce and the regions they can grow in. The three largest grape-growing regions in Australia, the driest inhabited continent on earth, all depend on irrigation to survive. The high cost of water has made life tough for growers.

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