Also contributing to this post is Sarita Wahba, MS, research assistant at the Center.
Chicken coop, circa 1939, Florida
Sarita: David, thank you for inviting me to join you on a CLF field trip to Washington D.C. last week. I really enjoyed being present at the Senate hearing on the newly proposed amendments to the Egg Products and Inspection Act. It was interesting to learn about this bill that would upgrade the national living standard for egg-laying hens to “enriched colony housing.” Essentially, that means doubling cage size per hen, and adding perches and scratching posts so hens can engage in natural behaviors. Apparently, the amendments would also require more comprehensive labeling of egg cartons, which would clarify hen housing standards for consumers.
David: Of course. I’m glad we had the chance to witness firsthand the legislative process in action. It was interesting to see who was on each side of the argument. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D–California) brought forth this legislation with the support of both the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the United Egg Producers (UEP). On the other side was Senator Pat Roberts (R–Kansas) with support from a board member of the UEP who disagreed with the position UEP was taking on the bill. I thought it was particularly intriguing that the discussion in the hearing, while under the guise of improving animal welfare standards, focused primarily on the complex economics of egg production. Read More >
From producer to consumer: Tom Albright of Albright Farms handing over his chickens to hungry CSA member Russell
Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA for short, is often associated with an abundance of kale, collards, and other greens that, for many people, barely fit in the fridge, let alone their stomachs. As is often the case on days after a Tuesday CSA pickup, the topic of conversation around the CLF office is, “What am I supposed to do with all this lettuce?” While the CSA model, in which consumers pay an upfront cost for a share of the harvest on a local farm, began several decades ago with an emphasis on produce, the model has grown to include a larger array of products straight from the farm. Many CSA arrangements are now beginning to include meat as part of their business model.
A meat CSA works in the same way as a produce CSA, and has many of the same benefits. The model supports local family farms by guaranteeing a customer base and providing economic security for farmers in the face of unforeseen natural events such as droughts or diseases that may have negative impacts on production. In addition, CSAs allow consumers to purchase products that have a lesser environmental impact and are not associated with the same public health risks as are products from industrial farming operations. Read More >
With the debut of the Meat Without Drugs campaign and the popularity of Meatless Monday, it is nice to know there are other organizations alert to the public health threat of antibiotic misuse in animal feed. Adding antibiotics to animal feed became popular in food animal production in the 1950s after scientists discovered antibiotics promote animal growth. Yet over time, use of antibiotics for purposes other than treating disease has led to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Read More >