Animal Welfare Groups Plan Suit in Response to USDA Decision to Support the Slaughter of Horses for Human Consumption

Comments Off on Animal Welfare Groups Plan Suit in Response to USDA Decision to Support the Slaughter of Horses for Human Consumption

“Scroll to the end of this post, to see a gallery of some of the worlds most beautiful horses…how could anyone even think, about killing one; let alone eating one??”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has given the green light for the grisly practice of horse slaughter to resume on U.S. soil. The agency approved an application for horse slaughter inspections under federal law at a plant in New Mexico.

This news comes on the heels of the U.S. House and Senate appropriations committees’ votes to halt all funding for horse slaughter in FY 2014. The decision means that the federal government could potentially spend millions of taxpayer dollars to start up inspections at horse slaughter plants, only to have Congress terminate the process in the coming months.

In response to the USDA’s decision, The Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue plan to file suit immediately against the USDA to put a stop to this agency decision. The two groups previously informed USDA that they would take aggressive legal action against the agency, in light of the serious unresolved environmental and food safety issues surrounding horse slaughter.

Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation at The HSUS, said: “The USDA’s decision to start up domestic horse slaughter, while at the same time asking Congress to defund it, is bizarre and unwarranted. Slaughter plants have a history of polluting their communities and producing horsemeat that is tainted with a dangerous cocktail of banned drugs.

“We intend to hold the Obama administration accountable in federal court for this inhumane, wasteful and illegal decision.”

Hilary Wood, president of Front Range Equine Rescue, said: “America’s horses are not raised as food animals, and they receive numerous substances during their lives making them unfit and illegal for human consumption. Adding insult to injury, the suffering of the horses in the slaughter pipeline and the danger to humans makes this action more than inhumane. Horses bound for slaughter have many alternatives open to them including re-training, re-homing, and humane euthanasia. We remain committed to stopping this insult to justice and our sense of justice.”

The USDA’s approval is particularly surprising, considering the recent scandal in the European Union, where horsemeat was discovered in food products labeled as beef.  The operation of horse slaughter plants in the U.S. will make it more difficult to prevent the commingling between horsemeat and beef products that occurred in Europe.

Horses are raised as pets and for use in show, sport, work and recreation in the U.S. and are regularly administered drugs that are expressly prohibited by current federal regulations for use in animals intended for human consumption. For example, a common pain reliever routinely administered to all types of horses, Phenylbutazone, is known to cause potentially fatal human diseases, and if the animal has taken the drug, the meat is adulterated and should not be eaten. There is also no system in the U.S. to track medications and veterinary treatments given to horses to ensure that their meat is safe.

Any facility slaughtering thousands of horses will necessarily be processing the blood, organs and remains of animals whose tissues and blood may contain significant amounts of dangerous substances, which are either known to be dangerous, or which have never been tested on humans and therefore present completely unknown dangers. At least six applications for horse slaughter inspections have been filed with the USDA.

Background:

  • This month, the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations committees voted to block funding for inspections of horse slaughter plants. President Obama’s proposed FY 2014 budget also included a request for Congress to prevent tax dollars from supporting horse slaughter.
  • The HSUS and FRER also filed petitions with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to declare horsemeat unfit for human consumption. USDA denied that petition.
  • According to a national poll conducted last year, 80 percent of Americans disapprove of horse slaughter.
  • “Kill buyers” gather up horses from random sources and profit by selling healthy horses for slaughter that bring the best price per pound for their meat. USDA reports show that approximately 92 percent of American horses going to slaughter are healthy and would otherwise be able to go on to lead productive lives.
  • The methods used to kill horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses often endure repeated blows to render them unconscious and sometimes remain conscious during the slaughtering process. When horse slaughter plants previously operated in the U.S., the USDA documented severe injuries to horses in the slaughter pipeline, including broken bones and eyeballs hanging from a thread of skin.
  • The Safeguard American Food Exports Act, H.R. 1094 / S. 541, introduced this year by U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., is a bipartisan measure that would outlaw horse slaughter operations in the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horsemeat.

News Link:-http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2013/06/usda-horse-slaughter-suit-062813.html

Some of the world most beautiful horses – should not end up on a dinner plate!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Dept. of Agriculture Approves Horse Slaughterhouse Amid Lawsuit Threat

Comments Off on Dept. of Agriculture Approves Horse Slaughterhouse Amid Lawsuit Threat

“PLEASE NOTE – GRAPHIC IMAGES OF HORSE TRAILER ACCIDENTS – AT THE END OF THIS POST. Do not scroll down the post if you do not want to see them! They are just one of many reasons why these companion animals should not be slaughtered for human consumption; would you think it ok to send your family pet dog to slaughter? Horses were not put on Gods green earth for humans to eat, they are our pets; just as much as cats & dogs are!”

“It is pure greed, FFS we slaughter enough animals to satisfy the human hunger for meat. Nobody is going to starve, horses are not part of a normal persons diet. I am totally sickened & disgusted that this heinous act, the killing of Gods noble most beautiful creatures; is once more going to be in action!! I can only hope & pray that those who want to eat any part of a horse, after all the health scares etc. suffer a miserable & painful existence!! PLEASE sign the petitions”

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A New Mexico meat plant received federal approval on Friday to slaughter horses for meat, a move that drew immediate opposition from animal rights group and will likely be opposed by the White House.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said it was required by law to issue a “grant of inspection” to Valley Meat Co, Roswell, New Mexico, because it had met all federal requirements. Now, the USDA is obliged to assign meat inspectors to the plant.

The USDA also said it may soon issue similar grants for plants in Missouri and Iowa.

NO HORSE SHOULD END UP ON THE END OF A BUTCHERS HOOK!!

Horse meat cannot be sold as food in the United States, but it can be exported. Attempts to reach Valley Meat Co via a number listed on-line were unsuccessful.

Valley Meat would be the first meat plant to be allowed to slaughter horses since Congress banned it in 2006.

It is not known when the plant will start production, but two bills in Congress want to ban horse slaughter and President Obama has asked Congress to ban it.

The Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue threatened on Friday to sue the USDA, saying horses are raised as pets and as working animals. Because they are not intended as food animals, horses are given medications banned from other livestock, the groups said, questioning if the meat would be safe.

The USDA says it can test for residues of 130 pesticide and veterinary drugs. It also has safeguards to keep horse meat out of the food supply.

Congress effectively banned horse slaughter in 2006 by saying the USDA could not spend any money to inspect horse plants. Without USDA inspection, meat plants cannot operate.

The ban was part of the annual USDA funding bill and was renewed a year at a time through 2011. The prohibition expired in October 2011.

Lawmakers could vote on reinstating the ban in coming weeks when the USDA appropriations bills are debated in the House and Senate. But no date has been set to consider the bills and it could be months before work is completed.

The USDA said it was required by law to issue the grant of inspection because Valley Meat met all federal requirements. At one point, the company sued the USDA for an overly long review of its application. Once it issues a grant of inspection, the USDA is obliged to assign meat inspectors to a meat plant.

“Until Congress acts, the department must comply with current law,” said a USDA spokeswoman.

Valley Meat retrofitted its plant for horses after drought weakened its cattle slaughter business.

Horse meat is sold for human consumption in China, Russia, Mexico and other foreign nations and is sometimes used as feed for zoo animals.

But in the United States, horses enjoy a higher stature, more akin to house pets, than to hogs, cattle and chickens.

An estimated 130,000 U.S. horses are shipped annually to slaughter in Canada and Mexico. Groups have quarreled for a decade whether a ban on slaughter will save horses from a cruel death or lead to abandonment by owners of animals they cannot afford to feed or treat for illness.

Early this year, regulators discovered that horse meat was being sold as beef in Ireland. The mislabelled meat was found in meatballs sold by Swedish retailer IKEA in much of Europe and in other outlets.

IF YOU SCROLL FURTHER – GRAPHIC IMAGES ARE BELOW – VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED 

USDA conducts tests on domestic and imported products to identify the species that yielded the meat. The tests can distinguish beef, sheep, swine, poultry, deer and horse.

As well, USDA stepped up its species testing in April because of the meat adulteration scandal in Europe.

(Reporting By Charles Abbott; Editing by Bernard Orr)

News Link:-http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/06/29/dept-of-agriculture-approves-horse-slaughterhouse-amid-lawsuit-threat/

This link explains in a little more detail, worth reading:-http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130628-909609.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

HORRIFIC INJURIES OBTAINED WHILST TRAVELLING TO SLAUGHTER HOUSE 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Animal Abuse Persists At Some Meat Plants

Comments Off on Animal Abuse Persists At Some Meat Plants

The meat industry has been scandalized in recent years by undercover videos showing horrific abuse of farm animals on their way to slaughter: workers kicking piglets like volleyballs, skinning veal calves alive and ramming a forklift into a sick cow. (Undercover videos at end of this post)

The videos prompted commitments to improve enforcement of a 55-year-old federal law requiring that animals be insensible to pain when they’re slaughtered.

Although many slaughter plants and meat inspectors have worked hard to avoid further abuse, new evidence shows that problems continue.

A federal investigation released last month shows many animals still suffer needlessly.

The federal audit found that meat inspectors unevenly enforce humane-slaughter rules — or don’t enforce them at all. That’s because their bosses won’t support them, two whistle-blowing meat inspectors recently told The Kansas City Star.

Even efforts by the government’s “humane handling ombudsman” –– hired last year to improve enforcement –– reportedly were ignored in one recent case.

Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin, a meat industry consultant and a widely acknowledged expert on the humane treatment of animals, agrees there are still problems.

Inconsistent enforcement and vague regulations mean some plants get away with “really mistreating animals and doing bad stuff,” she said, while others abide by the law and are still unfairly punished.

A top meat inspection official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture acknowledged problems in uniformly applying the rules, but said he does not believe his agency would punish inspectors for enforcing the law.

It’s the law

The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1958 requires that food animals be slaughtered in a way “that causes a minimum of excitement, pain, injury, or discomfort.”

It says animals should be rendered “insensible to pain” before slaughter, a tall order in a country that last month alone killed 3 million head of cattle and 9.2 million pigs.

Today that is accomplished by electrical stunning, a bullet to the head, a “captive bolt” gun that drives a steel rod into the animal’s brain or –– in the case of pigs –– lowering them into a carbon dioxide gas chamber.

While some might see humane slaughter as the sole province of animal-rights groups and radical vegetarians, many in the meat industry have long embraced it.

Compliance with the law saves money, improves meat quality and keeps consumers happy.

When pigs are stressed before slaughter, for example, they produce what is called PSE, or “pale, soft, exudative pork,” which makes the meat dry and unattractive to consumers.

Despite the benefits, however, a number of incidents from 2008 to last year show enforcement is lacking.

A 2008 undercover video by the Humane Society of the United States showed a crippled, sick cow being shoved toward the kill floor of a California beef plant with a forklift. The video led to a recall of 143 million pounds of beef –– the largest in U.S. history.

In March 2010, Dean Wyatt, a USDA veterinarian, told a congressional hearing that when he tried to enforce the humane slaughter act, he was overruled by his bosses and eventually punished.

Those incidents led to renewed enforcement efforts.

Yet just last month, an audit by the USDA’s inspector general found that conditions in some plants haven’t changed.

At a plant in Minnesota, investigators saw a hog emerge from a carbon dioxide chamber still conscious and alert.

“Instead of immediately re-stunning the hog, it took plant employees over 1½ minutes to administer a stun with the captive bolt gun,” auditors said.

In a testament to one Indiana pig’s incredible luck and sheer will to live, auditors said the animal was stunned with a captive bolt gun that misfired, causing the bolt to lodge in the animal’s skull. It remained conscious and aware while the plant sent for another gun, which also misfired.

The hog remained conscious, squealed and somehow managed to dislodge the first bolt from its skull. Finally, workers put it out of its misery with an electric stunner.

Despite meat industry protests, the USDA began posting significant humane-slaughter violations on its website last year.

Among the 85 enforcement actions since May 2012 is a New York plant cited in March when inspectors found a calf that was still gasping for air after it had been partly eviscerated and skinned.

The meat industry’s primary lobby, the American Meat Institute, has actively promoted humane slaughter and says the low number of violations reflects “a high level of compliance by the industry.”

Whistle-blower

Some federal meat inspectors say their efforts to enforce the law are hampered by their bosses.

After federal meat inspector Jim Schrier documented problems late last year at a Tyson pork plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, he said he was transferred to another plant miles from his home.

The plant stuns hogs with a hand-held electrical stunner.

Setting the stunner too high can cause a “blowout,” Schrier said, when hogs jerk abruptly, breaking their backbone and damaging valuable cuts of meat.

As a result, he said, stunners are sometimes set too low.

“That’s when you end up with hogs that are conscious, a violation of the humane slaughter act,” Schrier said.

Schrier said plant workers –– who are sometimes injured by animals that are conscious and kicking in mid-slaughter –– often had to re-stun the hogs with a captive bolt gun.

After he confronted his boss about ignoring his findings, Schrier said, he was transferred to another plant 120 miles away.

“We’ve been gagged the last few years if we stop the production line,” Schrier said. “And our supervisors never back us up.”

Several of Schrier’s co-workers backed up his claims, but asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.

Schrier, a food inspector for 29 years, sought help from the Government Accountability Project, or GAP, a nonprofit organization that offers legal help to whistle-blowers.

Schrier’s bosses at the USDA are reluctant to comment on his specific case.

But Dan Engeljohn, deputy administrator of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, said, “With regard to Mr. Schrier … I was aware of repeated behaviors over extensive periods of time … Sometimes employees need to start fresh with a new environment.

“In this particular case,” Englejohn said, “there is some history there that played into the decision about whether this employee would be better positioned elsewhere. There is a broader perspective here, not just the humane handling.”

GAP officials don’t agree.

“With 29 years of outstanding civil service and a near-perfect record of employment, it seems to me the only career mistake Mr. Schrier made was enforcing the law,” said Amanda Hitt, director of GAP’s Food Integrity Campaign, which is preparing to intervene on Schrier’s behalf.

A Tyson spokesman said the company was unaware of Schrier’s assertions.

He said the company trains its workers carefully and uses strict humane-handling guidelines developed by Grandin. He added that the plant monitors its electrical stunner to make sure it is working properly.

Official ignored?

Partly because of complaints such as Schrier’s, the USDA last year appointed a humane handling ombudsman, whose job is to help resolve complaints from inspectors and the public.

But the travails of Kansas-based meat inspector Judy Kachanes, a 26-year veteran of the agency, suggest the department isn’t making the ombudsman’s job any easier.

Kachanes said she contacted the ombudsman, Mark Crowe, after her bosses failed to take action on her complaints about humane-slaughter violations at a small meat plant in McPherson, Kan.

Eventually, her complaint made its way to Englejohn, who met Crowe in McPherson last year to look into the situation.

Englejohn said in documents obtained by The Star that the plant could probably improve its compliance with humane-slaughter rules, but he ultimately decided there was no violation.

Kachanes has since been reassigned to another plant, and she is currently being advised by GAP.

At the very least, said Hitt, of GAP, the case demonstrates that the inspection agency dismissed or ignored the efforts of its own humane handling ombudsman.

Hitt said Crowe told her that the USDA’s meat inspection division had “largely ignored” him in his efforts to resolve the matter.

Crowe declined to comment, but Englejohn acknowledged that Crowe wanted the agency to do more to address Kachanes’ concerns.

As for Kachanes, Englejohn said he was asked to look into her performance history, “and there is some history there that needed to be addressed.”

Hitt responded: “The only performance history in question is the USDA’s history of not enforcing the act.”

Downers

Some in the meat industry continue to fight efforts to improve humane practices, some animal-welfare groups say.

For example, the industry has pushed for state “ag gag” laws that make it a crime to take unauthorized videos at farms and slaughterhouses. Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas and 18 other states currently have ag gag laws.

“These ag gag laws are the worst thing agriculture ever did,” said Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. “It sounds like they’ve got something to hide.”

Recently released USDA documents also show that regulators gave in to meat industry pressure on the issue of “downer” animals –– those that are unable to walk to the kill floor under their own steam.

After the Humane Society’s 2008 “sick cow” video, the USDA banned the slaughter of “downer” cattle.

Downed pigs and sheep can still be slaughtered if they pass certain inspections.

But as a result of the scandal, another USDA agency –– the Agricultural Marketing Service, which buys meat for the school lunch program –– reconfigured its purchasing requirements.

An early draft said any plant that processed downed pigs could not sell to the school lunch program, even if that meat went to other customers.

But according to USDA documents obtained by the Humane Society, and verified by The Star, that requirement was dropped after the meat industry objected.

Industry lobbyists said they were concerned that the rule would “preclude pork suppliers from doing business with the Federal commodity purchase program.”

The Humane Society and other groups said they had no opportunity to comment.

A spokeswoman for the American Meat Institute said the policy would “dissuade companies from participating in the school lunch program and ultimately drive up costs with no consumer benefit.”

The spokeswoman, institute Vice President Janet Riley, added that the policy would have been an overreach.

“AMS should not be dictating to companies what products those companies can sell with respect to transactions outside the scope of the school lunch program,” she said.

An AMS official speaking only on background told The Star that the requirement was not dropped because of industry pressure but because the agency realized it would be demanding a wholesale change in meat industry practices.

Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle said the case shows that the Agriculture Department bent to the will of the meat industry.

“USDA has historically been more a protector of the meat industry than a serious-minded enforcer of the laws,” Pacelle said.

News Link:-http://www.kansascity.com/2013/06/28/4320072/animal-abuse-persists-at-some.html

Undercover videos

Here are links to three undercover videos of animals abused on their way to slaughter; some scenes are quite graphic.

Humane Society video showing sick cows being pushed by a forklift: http://youtu.be/CrxvxewC-gA

Humane Society video of veal calves being abused:http://youtu.be/LnlusPCzXI0

An undercover video showing abuse of pigs at Smithfield Foods. The company later changed its practices:http://youtu.be/L_vqIGTKuQE

Watch an American Meat Institute video about proper humane handling procedures: http://youtu.be/LsEbvwMipJI

Detroit’s Tiger Cub Photo Represents The Opposite Of Hope For Big Cats

Comments Off on Detroit’s Tiger Cub Photo Represents The Opposite Of Hope For Big Cats

UPDATE: Since this posting, the Detroit Tigers organization has taken these photos down from its website and Facebook page….

Today is the official opening day for Major League Baseball in America.

For many, the day signifies hope – a new season, a fresh start, a promise of a good year. Millions of fans from all over the nation flock to stadiums to cheer on their favorite baseball heroes. Many of these fans are children who look up to the athletes as role models and emulate their behaviors.

This is why we were especially disappointed to hear that, last Friday (March 29), the Detroit Tigers organization posted photos on its Facebook page of its star players handling a tiger cub at a spring training game.

The photos got so much attention that they were subsequently posted on USA Today’s website.

Undoubtedly, the Tigers, like so many other animal enthusiasts in the U.S., did not realize that cub photo ops represent the very opposite of “hope”.

Not only do the photos send the wrong message that handling a wild big cat and treating it like a “pet” is an acceptable thing to do, and frighteningly, despite the fact that 17 adults and 5 children in the U.S. have been killed and nearly 300 other people have been injured by captive big cats within recent years, many people added comments to the Facebook posting that express enthusiasm for owning a tiger, but these photo op’s also represent less than a hopeful situation for the poor cub.

After all, he was brought to the ballpark by Dade City‘s Wild Things Zoo, a private zoo that shamefully allows the public to swim, bottle feed and cuddle with tiger cubs and has repeatedly been cited by the USDA due to poor veterinary care, improper cub handling, and unacceptable fencing, among other disturbing issues.  

Dozens of U.S. traveling zoos and roadside exhibitors profit from charging the public a fee to pet and pose with tiger cubs and other large big cats.

People don’t realize when they patronize these facilities that they are contributing to a huge public safety and animal welfare problem that exists in the U.S. today.

After the cubs grow too big and dangerous for handling, all too often they could be kept in someone’s backyard; sent to a roadside zoo; bred incessantly to further fuel the cub handling trade, or could even be killed.  

In one notorious incident of severe cruelty, investigators found more than 90 dead tigers, including 58 cubs stuffed into freezers, on the property a self-professed animal “rescuer” who charged admission for people to visit the tigers.

This is why passing the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act – a nationwide ban on private big cat ownership and breeding that will soon been reintroduced in Congress-is so important.

The Detroit tigers now have a key opportunity to use their national voice to turn this around and pledge that they will, in the future, choose not to pose with tiger cubs because they would never knowingly want to support an industry that thrives off the exploitation of big cats.

This would be a most appropriate way to kick off a season of hope. -TC

For more information about our efforts to protect big cats in captivity, visit our campaign page.

Petition link:-http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/get-involved/support-big-cat-and-public-safety-protection-act

News Link:http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/news/detroits-tiger-cub-photo-represents-opposite-hope-big-cats

“Please note I have the required permission from f IFAW to post news stories.”

Tell USDA To Do Its Job And Help Elephant Nosey: Please Sign

Comments Off on Tell USDA To Do Its Job And Help Elephant Nosey: Please Sign

The USDA has yet again let a chronic violator of federal animal welfare standards get away with little more than a slap on the wrist.

PLEASE  Help save NOSEY A Very lonely Elephant Who Deserves Freedom

Just days before Hugo Liebel was set to face a hearing on March 26, 2013 for 33 violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the USDA announced it had reached a settlement. Instead of revoking Liebel’s license and handing down a maximum penalty of $330,000, the USDA settled with the agreement that Liebel would pay a meagre civil penalty of $7,500 and cease and desist from violating the AWA.

This settlement is a shocking disappointment and a pathetic excuse for government oversight.

For decades, Liebel has blatantly ignored his legal responsibilities and the well being of the elephant Nosey, and other animals he uses for circus shows. The 33 charges described years of mistreatment including failure to provide veterinary care for the weight loss and chronic skin condition of Nosey, chaining her so tightly that she could not move or lie down, and handling her in a way that was dangerous to her and to the public. The charges also included an incident involving a critically endangered spider monkey who escaped and was not recaptured for 10 days.

With your help, IDA has monitored Liebel for years, documenting numerous, flagrant violations of the AWA as he dragged Nosey and other animals around the country to give rides and perform.

IDA submitted multiple complaints with supporting evidence to the USDA, urging the agency to take action to protect Nosey and the public. When the USDA finally filed charges against Liebel in 2011, IDA hoped the agency was finally taking meaningful action to help Nosey. But yet again, the USDA squandered this opportunity to hold Liebel accountable for ignoring the law.

As long as Nosey remains with Liebel, her suffering will continue.

Use the form below to fax Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who is responsible for ensuring that the agency enforce AWA regulations.

Tell Sec. Vilsack that you are outraged by the USDA’s settlement with Hugo Liebel. Remind Sec. Vilsack that with this settlement, Nosey’s suffering will continue as long as she remains with Liebel. Urge Sec. Vilsack to order the USDA to confiscate Nosey. Then call him, also!

Please visit the following & send the fax:https://secure2.convio.net/ida/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=2367&JServSessionIdr004=gaqslixzp1.app245b

NOSEY THE ELEPHANT

Published on 2 Oct 2012 – Wendy Michaels

1:14 little movie about NOSEY. On behalf of Nosey let USDA know how you feel:
JUDGE JANICE BULLARD 1-202-720-4443. 1-202-720-9776 (fax)
USDA atty COLLEEN CARROLL colleen.carroll@usda.gov

The New Dirty Dozen: 12 Foods to Eat Organic

Comments Off on The New Dirty Dozen: 12 Foods to Eat Organic

The latest list of foods with the highest pesticide residue includes some familiar fruits and vegetables, and some surprises.

Foods With Pesticide Residue

The benefits of eating organic food go straight to the farm, where no pesticides and chemical fertilizers are used to grow the organic produce shipped to grocers. That means workers and farm neighbors aren’t exposed to potentially harmful chemicals, it means less fossil fuel converted into fertilizers and it means healthier soil that should sustain crops for generations to come.

For individuals, organic food also has benefits. Eating organic means avoiding the pesticide residue left on foods, and it may even mean more nutritious varietals, though research into that subject has yielded mixed results. While there are few if any proven health impacts from consuming trace quantities of pesticides on foods, a growing number of people take the precaution of avoiding exposure just in case, particularly in the cases of pregnant women (growing babies are exposed to most of the chemicals that mom consume) and the parents of young children.

But organic food can cost more, meaning many families are loathe to shell out the extra cash for organic produce on every shopping trip. That’s what makes the Environmental Working Group‘s annual list of the dirty dozen foods so useful. The group analyzes Department of Agriculture data about pesticide residue and ranks foods based on how much or little pesticide residue they have. The group estimates that individuals can reduce their exposure by 80% if they switch to organic when buying these 12 foods.

The USDA and farm and food industry representatives are quick to remind consumers that the government sets allowable pesticide residue limits it deems safe, and the produce for sale in your grocery store should meet those standards. Watchdogs like Environmental Working Group see those limits as too liberal, and see the dirty dozen list as a teaching tool to educate consumers about the benefits of organic food.

Even Environmental Working Group says that the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables outweighs the known risks of consuming pesticide residue. At TheDailyGreen.com, we always favour educating consumers so that we can make the decision for ourselves.

Note: The 2011 dirty dozen list reflects testing data from the 2010 harvest, and because some pesticide use is dependent on weather conditions that vary by farm, it may not reflect the pesticide residue on produce in your grocery store.

That’s why we include not only those fruits and vegetables on Environmental Working Group’s current list, but produce that has made the list in the past, as well as information about pesticides used to produce meat, dairy and some other favourite foods that aren’t on Environmental Working Group’s latest dirty dozen list.

In general, tree fruits, berries, leafy greens dominate the list. Since the USDA tests produce after a typical household preparation, fruits and vegetables with thick skins that are removed before eating (melons, avocado, corn, etc.) tend to have the lowest amounts of pesticide residue.

If you don’t see a favourite food here, check Whats On My Food, a project of the Pesticide Action Network that makes the same USDA pesticide residue testing data available in an easy-to-use database.

Visit the link below, then click “NEXT” at the bottom of the page. There are 20 pages in full, starting with the worst…Apples, then Celery!!

Click Herehttp://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/eat-safe/dirty-dozen-foods#ixzz2OC60EmrD

What’s On My Food?:-  This is a brilliant & easy way to find out how many pesticide residues are left on your food. 

Pesticides – A Public Problem
…on our food, even after washing;
…in our bodies, for years;
…& in our environment, travelling many miles on wind, water and dust.

This is a searchable database designed to make the public problem of pesticide exposure visible and more understandable.

How does this tool work? We link pesticide food residue data with the toxicology for each chemical, making this information easily searchable for the first time.

Use the tool, share it with others: we built it to help move the public conversation about pesticides into an arena where you don’t have to be an expert to participate.

At Pesticide Action Network (PAN), we believe that pesticides are a public health problem requiring public engagement to solve. We want you to have the information you need to take action based on a solid understanding of the issues. What’s On My Food? builds on PAN’s 28-year tradition of making pesticide science accessible

Click here to find out what’s on your food:-http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/  Read The Foot Note!

Equine Welfare Alliance: US Horsemeat Banned in EU

Comments Off on Equine Welfare Alliance: US Horsemeat Banned in EU

CHICAGO, (EQUINE WELFARE ALLIANCE/PR Newswire) – Since Congress lifted the ban on USDA inspections of horse meat, several small shuttered cattle slaughter plants have clamored for the USDA to provide horse meat inspections.

Ricardo De Los Santos of Valley Meats, a New Mexico plant, went as far as to sue the USDA for not providing the service. The attorney for Valley Meats has announced it will be opening in three weeks.

Unfortunately for those wishing to bring horse slaughter back to the US, they will have to do so without the ability to sell to the EU, the main market for US horse meat. The Equine Welfare Alliance has received confirmation from EU authorities that “by virtue of Commission decision 2011/163/EU the US is not authorized to export horsemeat to the EU.

The decision was made in 2011, when the USDA neglected to comply with new regulations requiring submittal of a drug residue control program. Approval of such an application requires extensive review as well as audits and can take up to several years to complete.

The EU authority (SANCO) went on to say “Our Directorate General, up to now, does not record a recent residue monitoring plan on horse meat submitted by USDA.”  In other words, the process has yet to begin.

The scandal over horse meat being substituted for beef in a myriad of products, as well as the finding of the banned drug phenylbutazone in some of those products has further dimmed the prospects for a lifting of the ban.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, in an interview with Reuters, said sequestration could cause sporadic food shortages if inspectors aren’t available to examine meat, poultry and egg products. Obviously, providing inspectors for horse meat would further exacerbate the need to protect US consumers. Vilsack shocked many today when he was quoted as saying he hoped that Congress could come up with an alternative to horse slaughter.

EWA’s John Holland explains the bleak prospects for private horse slaughter plants in the US, saying “these plants will have no access to the markets even if the EU ban is lifted because the distribution is controlled by a few multi-nationals, and those expecting to contract with these companies should heed the story of Natural Valley Farms (SK Canada) which lost millions trying to do so.”

News Link:-http://horsebackmagazine.com/hb/archives/21225

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: