WorldWatch Institute Report: Rising Number of Farm Animals Poses Environmental and Public Health Risks
The WorldWatch Institute released a new Report stating the global population of farm animals increased 23 percent between 1980 and 2010, from 3.5 billion to 4.3 billion. They say these figures continue a trend of rising farm animal populations, with harmful effects on the environment, public health, and global development.
Here are the Details of the Report:
Both production and consumption of animal products are increasingly concentrated in developing countries. In contrast, due in part to a growing awareness of the health consequences of high meat consumption, the appetite for animal products is stagnating or declining in many industrial countries."The demand for meat, eggs, and dairy products in developing countries has increased at a staggering rate in recent decades," says report co-author Danielle Nierenberg, director of Worldwatch's Nourishing the Planet project. "While industrialized countries still consume the most animal products, urbanization and rising incomes in developing countries are spurring shifts to more meat-heavy diets."
"Farm-animal production provides a safety net for millions of the world's most vulnerable people," says Nierenberg. "But given the industry's rapid and often poorly regulated growth, the biggest challenge in the coming decades will be to produce meat and other animal products in environmentally and socially sustainable ways."
Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), or factory farms, are the most rapidly growing system of farm animal production. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 80 percent of growth in the livestock sector now comes from these industrial production systems. CAFOs now account for 72 percent of poultry production, 43 percent of egg production, and 55 percent of pork production worldwide.
But CAFOs produce high levels of waste, use huge amounts of water and land for feed production, contribute to the spread of human and animal diseases, and play a role in biodiversity loss. Farm animal production also contributes to climate change: the industry accounts for an estimated 18 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, including 9 percent of the carbon dioxide, nearly 40 percent of the methane (a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide), and 65 percent of the nitrous oxide (300 times more potent as carbon dioxide).
The environment is not all that is at stake with this rapidly shifting means of food production; factory farms pose a serious threat to public health as well. Diets high in animal fat and meat----particularly red meat and processed meats, such as hot dogs, bacon, and sausage----have been linked to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer.
Although CAFOs originated in Europe and North America, they are becoming increasingly prevalent in developing regions like East and Southeast Asia, where environmental, animal-welfare, public health, and labor standards are often not as well-established as in industrialized regions. The report stresses that to prevent serious human and environmental costs, policymakers will need to strengthen production regulations around the world.
Further highlights from the report:
Fedele Bauccio, CEO of Bon Appétit Management Company, was at the White House last week speaking to the FDA and members of Health and Human services on the Antibiotic issue in animals and how its affecting the human population.
Per Fedele: "I’ve also seen firsthand the ill effects antibiotic resistant bacteria can have on our most vulnerable populations. At one point last year, two people in our headquarters office had parents with MRSA infections. A 2009 study done at University of Iowa, as well as several conducted abroad, has linked the spread of this potentially fatal bacteria to hog production."
Here is Fedele Bauccio's speech in its entirety:
I am Fedele Bauccio, CEO of Bon Appétit Management Company, a national onsite restaurant company that serves 135 million meals each year at over 400 cafés in 31 states. As a company we are committed to two goals, culinary expertise and social responsibility, and in that vein I appreciate the opportunity to be here today to voice my strong support for White House intervention in preserving antibiotics for medical treatment.
It is imperative that we, as a country, discontinue the use of antibiotics for nontherapeutic purposes in animals. In addition to being harmful to the animals themselves and only marginally beneficial for meat producers, this common practice of using antibiotics as feed additives has led to dramatically increased antibiotic resistance in humans and has become a serious public health problem. I feel so strongly about this issue that I have banned most meat that has been raised in this manner to be served in my restaurants, and I’d ban it entirely but there isn’t enough supply for us to be able to make that commitment yet.
Our concern about this issue goes back seven years. In 2002, I learned that an estimated 70 percent of the antibiotics used in this country are fed to farm animals that are not sick in order to promote growth or prophylactically treat diseases caused by questionable animal husbandry practices. A more recent study estimated the number as 80%. As I learned more and realized how widespread these practices are in the meat production industry, Bon Appétit formed a partnership with Environmental Defense Fund to look at how we could take the lead and discourage antibiotic use in meat and poultry production. Our partnership resulted in the creation of the farthest-reaching corporate policy on antibiotics at that time: Bon Appétit only buys chicken raised without the “non-therapeutic routine use of human antibiotics as feed additives. In 2005, we extended this policy to turkey. We took this policy another step further and, since March 2007, we only serve hamburgers made from natural beef with no trim. While there is no strict legal definition of "natural," our suppliers commit to using no antibiotics, no added growth hormones, and no animal by products in feed.
Our biggest challenge in implementing our antibiotics policy has always been sourcing the products. We have recruited both major poultry producers as well as small, local producers as suppliers. We only purchase food from those who provided written confirmation of their compliance. But there are not enough suppliers who meet our standards everywhere. We use a purchasing preference to induce suppliers in many markets, but we don’t have the concentration of business in all markets to buy enough chicken or turkey or beef in some states to tip the scales as we have in other locations, and we can’t find a national pork producer who will commit at all. Many producers are afraid to change, even with an economic incentive. They need a push. The White House could be that lever of change we need.
From 2006 to 2008, I served as a member of the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production. I learned a lot from the physicians, poultry producers, farmers and industry representatives on the committee, as well as those who testified before us. I came away from that experience enriched and much better educated about animal husbandry. One of the many things I concluded is that there is absolutely no good business reason, and certainly no good moral reason, for feeding medically important human antibiotics to animals that we eat. None.
I’ve also seen firsthand the ill effects antibiotic resistant bacteria can have on our most vulnerable populations. At one point last year, two people in our headquarters office had parents with MRSA infections. A 2009 study done at University of Iowa, as well as several conducted abroad, has linked the spread of this potentially fatal bacteria to hog production.
The bottom line is, Americans want safe food. Food is nourishment. It shouldn’t be something that does us harm. Antibiotic resistance is harmful. These drugs were meant to treat humans and animals when we’re really sick and need them, not as a feed additive for animals so they won’t be effective when humans need them. Let’s get our priorities straight. The time to ban antibiotics as a feed additive is long overdue. I strongly support this action. Thank you.
Bon Appétit Management Company, an on-site Palo Alto, CA-based restaurant company offering full food-service management to corporations, universities, and specialty venues with more than 400 cafés in 31 states has announced a Groundbreaking Animal Welfare Policy in conjunction with the Human Society of the United States (HSUS) that says no more gestation crates and battery cages.
Bon Appétit Management Company has been a pioneer in environmentally sound sourcing policies by developing programs addressing local purchasing, the overuse of
antibiotics, sustainable seafood, cage-free eggs, the connection between food and climate change, and, most recently, farmworker welfare and has received numerous awards for its work from organizations such as the James Beard Foundation, Chefs Collaborative, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Seafood Choices Alliance, The Humane Society of the United States, and Food Alliance.
Per Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States “Once again Bon Appétit sets a benchmark that the rest of the food-service industry should strive to meet...We hope this announcement will inspire others to follow Bon Appétit’s forward-thinking lead.”
In addition to other socially responsible practices, the company has used exclusively cage-free shell (whole) eggs since 2005 and endorsed legislation to outlaw gestation crates (eight states have now passed such laws). It has also fought against the routine use of antibiotics in farm animals, both to safeguard their efficacy in humans and to end
the factory-farm conditions they enable.
As part of the new policy, Bon Appétit is:
● Requiring that all pork it serves — currently 3 million pounds annually — be produced without gestation crate confinement systems, using higher-welfare group housing systems instead.
● Switching all of its pre-cracked (liquid) eggs — currently 11 million eggs annually — from hens confined in barren battery cages to hens living in cage-free farms, as it already does for shell eggs.
● Ramping up efforts to seek out the most responsible meat, poultry, and egg producers — those who have received one of the four highest animal-welfare certifications
Bon Appétit will also entirely eliminate foie gras (livers of force-fed ducks) and veal from calves confined in crates from its menus. All of these important reforms will be phased in by the end of 2015.
The company will also continue to offer and promote vegetarian options daily as part of its Low Carbon Diet initiative (introduced in 2007).
“I have never forgotten the terrible things I saw when touring factory farms,” said Fedele Bauccio, cofounder and CEO of Bon Appétit Management Company. From 2004 to 2006 Bauccio served on the prestigious Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, which issued a landmark report calling for an end to gestation crate, battery cage, and veal crate confinement of farm animals. “We’ve been asking the industry to do the right thing, but we can’t wait anymore. We have to send the message that these practices are unacceptable. If the supply doesn’t catch up by our deadline, we’ll do what we have to — even if that means cutting back on bacon.”
Bon Appétit will continue to work with the most responsible meat and poultry producers to pursue Animal Welfare Approved, Food Alliance, Humane Farm Animal Care, or Global Animal Partnership certification of their animal welfare practices. These four programs have standards that not only prohibit such cruel practices as gestation crates
and battery cages, but also require animals to be allowed to engage in their natural behaviors.
Bon Appétit vows that by 2015, at least 25% of its meat, poultry, and egg purchases companywide will be sourced from producers that meet one of these four certifications. The company has always encouraged the best farms amongst its suppliers to get the recognition they deserve. This announcement sets an important new baseline for the
minimum standards it will accept.
Photo Credit: Intellectual Ventures
Come discover the high-tech end of the culinary world at After Dark: Gastronomy on Thursday, April 5, 2012, from 6 to 10 pm at Exploratorium 3601 Lyon Street San Francisco California.
You are invited to eat with your eyes, taste with your nose, and savor through your fingertips.
In the spirit of Modernist Cuisine, a sumptuous, six-volume record of science-inspired cooking techniques, After Dark: Gastronomy explores how surprise and innovation can transform our experience of food. Guests will engage in food-themed activities and see demonstrations, including how liquid nitrogen ice cream and fruit juice entrees are made. Learn the cultural history of the orange, then take home some experimental activities you can do with asparagus. Find out if you are a “super-taster,” learn the cultural history of the orange and much more. After Dark is for adults 18 years and older.
Gratitude Gourmet is giving away 2 sets of tickets to 2 lucky winners (total of 4 tickets)!
Just comment on Facebook or this Blog post by 12noon PT Monday April 2nd with your favorite Veggie Modernist Cuisine and 2 people will be randomly chosen to win 2 tickets to the April 5 After Dark Gastronomy Event! Have Fun and Good Luck!
Photo: Rhone Rangers
The Rhone Rangers is America's leading non-profit organization dedicated to promoting American Rhone varietal wines.
American Rhone-style wines are made from the same grapes that have flourished for centuries in France’s Rhone River Valley, and their growing popularity in the United States speaks to their versatility with food, wide range of rich flavors, and to the skills of American winemakers. For a wine to qualify as a “Rhone Rangers” wine, the winery must be a member of the organization and 75% of the wine’s content must include one or more of the twenty-two traditional Rhone grape varieties as approved by the French government for the wines of the Cotes du Rhone (including Petite Sirah/Durif).
Join Gratitude Gourmet in celebrating the 15th Annual San Francisco Weekend Celebration of American Rhones with a $5 Discount on the General Admission Grand Tasting Ticket.
It normally sells for $45, but with this special code, Gratitude Gourmet Readers pay $40. The promo code GRATG312 must be entered during the online purchasing process, and the code is good until 3/25 at noon. You can purchase tickets here: http://www.rhonerangers.org/calendar/sf_grand_tasting.php. Cheers!
We are pleased to announce our newest Gratitude Gourmet Store item, in addition to our Gratitude Gourmet Chocolates and Healthy Monthly Food Deliveries!
The Mobile Organic Foodie Survival Kit is a pocket-size set of organic seasonings that are essential for any foodie on the go.
It includes thirteen organic herbs and spices, plus wasabi powder for that special Japanese kick.
Contents: organic basil, organic cayenne, organic curry, organic dill, organic granulated garlic, organic ginger, organic cinnamon, organic oregano, organic thyme, organic granulated onion, sea salt, organic black pepper and wasabi.
Assembled by disabled adults at the Mid-Hudson Workshop, a nonprofit organization that gives disabled adults the opportunity to work.
As part of the countdown to Rio+20, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has just released it's "100 days to Rio+20- 100 facts!" Count down with FAO with a fact about the connection between people, food and the environment every day until Rio+20!
Photo: San-J Gluten Free Tamari
Looking for a great Gluten-Free Stir-Fry Recipe? I'm a huge fan of veggie stir-frys made in a Tagine! Yes a Moroccan Tagine :) You know I'm a global citizen so it makes sense, doesn't it? - Stay tuned for the Tagine article.
Try this Recipe from San-J using their delicious Tamari Sauce (and you can make it in anything you prefer, including a Tagine if you're adventurous).
SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS, PEA PODS & WATER CHESTNUTS
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced with stems removed
1 pound fresh oyster mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 cup dry sherry or sake
2 Tablespoons San-J Gluten Free Tamari
1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
2 cups fresh bean sprouts, cleaned
8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
In a medium saute pan, heat the oils on medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until they just begin to brown. Add the sugar, sherry or sake and the San-J Gluten Free Tamari, mixing well to combine. Cook and stir for 1 minute and then add the sugar snap peas. Cover, reduce heat to low and steam the peas for 2 minutes until they are tender-crisp. Add the bean sprouts and water chestnuts and saute until most of the liquid has evaporated. Makes 4 Servings. (Recipe Courtesy of San-J)
At almost every foodie and some tech events I attend, I meet someone who only eats gluten-free.
Here are some great baked Blue Diamond gluten-free Baked NUT•CHIPS that also include 3 grams of protein per serving and are made with whole grain brown rice and almonds; and the Sea Salt flavor is my favorite.
These are chips you can eat alone or with a nice hummus or salsa dip.
You can find them in the natural foods section in your grocery store, and online at www.bluediamond.com.
FAO and IIED (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Institute for Environment and Development) have just released a NEW 5-step guide to help farmers evaluate the benefits, and costs of applying pollinator-friendly practices, called Handbook for Participatory Socioeconomic Evaluation of Pollinator-friendly Practices.
This publication provides guidance aka Handbook on an "ecosystem approach” implemented in seven countries - Brazil, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, and South Africa. It may be used in farmer-field school formats, community meetings with farmers, or other instances where farmers can benefit from keeping records to better assess the value of specific practices. The outcomes of the global project are expected to expand global understanding, capacity and awareness of the conservation and sustainable use of pollinators for sustainable agriculture.
Per the Document:
"..in agro-ecosystems, pollinators are essential for orchard, oilseed crop, horticultural and forage production, as well as the production of seed for crops. Pollinators such as bees, birds and bats boost 35 percent of the world’s crop production, increasing outputs of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide, such as coffee, cocoa, chilies, apples, palm oil, tomatoes, papaya, mango, avocado, cardamom, vanilla, pigeon pea, most spices, most vegetable seeds, plus many plant-derived medicines in the world’s pharmacies."
I would advise reading the complete Document for all the details. The 5 Steps are:
1. Characterize Current Production Systems
- identify challenges farmers face
- examine farmers' current use of pollinator-friendly practices
- collect baseline information
2. Identify Appropriate Pollinator Friendly Practices To Test
- draw up a short-list of practices
- discuss implementations of short-listed friendly practices and make final selection
3. Select Plots Where the Pollinator-Friendly Practices Will Be Tested
4. Plan Tests of Selected Practices With Farmers
- explore impacts in more detail
- select indicators and determine how they will be recorded and tracked
5. Analyze and Evaluate The Practice
- analyze quantitative information on the indicators
- draw comparison between plots
- evaluate based on qualitative information
I enjoyed Dinner at a new Sunnyvale restaurant called Arka which features modern Indian cuisine from many corners of India, and they also have an organic and sustainable wine and cocktail listings.
Cocktails & Drinks
I started out my Dinner with the Farmers Market Cocktail made with seasonal fruits and herbs from the local farmers market: Ingredients included: Crushed Grapes at the bottom of the glass, 3 grapes on a toothpick, Sweet and sour and Gin.
My guest had a DES Jutes Obsidian Beer.
Our Appetizers included Blue Ginger Gobhi Florets of Cauliflower infused with Galangal, Tomatoes, and Scallions...Very Nice, Saucy and Spicy which was Great.
Note this is for those who like spicy food and I do.
Entrees included Lal. Bhelpuri, a tangy salad of potatoes and avocado roasted beets, and chickpea strips served with tamarind sauce and
Mirth baingan aur Ananas baby eggplant, pineapple and peppers cooked in a tangy coconut and peanut sauce.
Both Entrees were delicious and flavorful, especially when paired with the nice hip music being played at the restaurant. The restaurant was busy but at the same time you felt that you still had your own space, surrounded by modern decor.
Dessert featured Lychee Kheer, Slow cooked rice pudding finished with nuts and lychees and
Carrot Payasam stewed carrots with ghee nuts
One word: Delicious.
If you're looking for a place that serves, high quality, modern Indian food and cocktails at reasonable prices, you will love this.
If you visit, report back to us at Gratitude Gourmet and let us know your thoughts!
As many of my Gratitude Gourmet Readers know, Agriculture's significant contribution to Earth's Greenhouse Gas Emissions was the main reason I started Gratitude Gourmet May 2008. I first publicly mentioned the connection as a Speaker at the 2008 Women in Technology Silicon Valley Conference.
Here's a new TEDx Video featuring Jonathan Foley discussing several startling Global Agriculture Statistics and time-lapse images.
What are your thoughts on the Video?