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Linnea Laestadius

Linnea Laestadius

Guest Blogger

Center for a Livable Future

Fed Up with the Tropes in Fed Up

wpid-fed-up-trailer-headerI finally made it out to see Fed Up this weekend. Slightly after the media hype has passed, but still pretty early for me since I rarely make it out to the movies. I followed a lot of the initial discussions about Fed Up on Twitter and they were already raising a lot of red flags for me. Unfortunately, the movie pretty much lived up to my concerns.

The movie obviously has a lot of positives, the most important in my opinion being the focus on advertising. I completely agree that Read More >

Meatless Monday in Sweden: Q & A with Köttfri Måndag’s Founder

The Meatless Monday campaign here in the U.S. has grown leaps and bounds over the past few years (the recent blogpost on Sodexo’s success with the campaign is just one example), but did you know that 23 countries now have campaigns that seek to reduce meat consumption one day a week? When I was in Sweden earlier this month I had the pleasure of meeting with Jonas Paulsson, the founder of the Swedish Köttfri Måndag (Meatless Monday) campaign. On top of co-managing the campaign with his friends, Paulsson also regularly writes editorials and engages in debates in support of Meatless Mondays, gives public lectures about the need to reduce meat consumption in Sweden, and works as a local politician. He was recently awarded the Swedish World Wildlife Fund’s Environmental Hero of the Year Award for his work with the campaign. I asked him if he might be willing to share some of his experiences with the Köttfri Måndag campaign with us here on the livablefuture blog in a short email interview, and he was kind enough to oblige. Read More >

Once More, Big Ag Wants Us Off the Farm

In 2008, 143 million pounds of beef from the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. in Chino, CA were recalled in what was the largest meat recall in U.S. history. The facility had failed to call in USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) veterinarians to inspect cattle that were too sick or weak to stand on their own (known as “downers”), something particularly troubling given that this can be a symptom of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (aka mad cow disease). Further compounding the issue, the facility was a major supplier of meat to the National School Lunch Program. In response to this violation coming to light, the USDA tightened its rules on downer cattle and California enacted a law banning the slaughter of downed cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats for human consumption.*

What makes this case so important, besides the sheer size of the recall, is the fact that the violation was not initially brought to light by FSIS inspectors. The recall, USDA investigation, and the subsequent policy response were all triggered by an undercover video investigation undertaken by the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS). Read More >

Budget Cuts and Baselines: Shedding Light on Endangered Farm Bill Programs

While the leaders of the Congressional Agriculture Committees have yet to announce the final details of their proposed Farm Bill cuts to the Super Committee, they have announced a goal of $23 billion in cuts to FB programs. We expect that cuts will touch commodity supports, conservation, and nutrition. The most recent information suggests that the proposal will cut:

  • Conservation programs by $6.5 billion (a 10 percent cut relative to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) currently projected baseline for the Farm Bill).
  • Commodity supports by $14 to $15 billion (24 percent)
  • Nutrition programs by $4 to $5 billion (1 percent)

At first blush the cuts to conservation and nutrition may seem small, but there’s  more at risk than meets the eye. Read More >