Grazing the Net
Greg Henderson and Friends
Our editors spend some time roaming the web looking for stuff cattle people and others in agriculture might find useful or entertaining.
Low Expectations Met
Dec 30, 2013
When the Huffington Post launched its "Food for Thought" blog last fall our expectations were low. And so far the editors haven’t disappointed. For instance, in "6 Crimes Against Nature in Factory Farming," author Martha Rosenberg uses an abundance of hyperbole to paint food producers in the most unflattering way possible. She believes modern farming practices have "created institutionalized ruthlessness toward animals, workers and the environment." There’s nothing really new here, just a rehash of activist claims that animal abuse is widespread, despite evidence to the contrary and the overriding fact that farmers know healthy, happy animals are more profitable. But what caught our attention is that Rosenberg also throws a punch at ag journalists with this line: "'Forget it’s an animal,’ wrote one farmer magazine." Really? Rosenberg is supposed to be an investigative journalist but is afraid to name the "farmer magazine?" Highly suspicious, and if true the quote is likely taken out of context.
Dogometer App for Ole Blue
Is weight loss one of your New Year’s resolutions? If so, you’ll join 108 million other Americans currently on a diet. And it’s big business — a $20-billion-dollar industry that includes weight-loss books, diet drugs and weight-loss surgeries.
Techies are also noticing the weight-loss industry, and there are now thousands of fitness apps in the iTunes store. The New Republic reports that the most popular is MyFitnessPal, which has more than 40 million users.
Maybe you don’t need to lose weight, but maybe your dog does. There’s an app for that, too. It tracks Fido’s activity so you can determine how much exercise he’s getting. Trendy or not, we don’t expect to see many of those in cow country.
FDA Under Fire Over Antibioitcs
The Food and Drug Administration is taking a lot of heat over its new guidelines for antibiotic use in livestock production. Announced earlier this month, the guidelines are criticized mostly because they are "voluntary," and because livestock producers would still be allowed to use antibiotics to treat sick animals. Predictably, there are a bunkfull of editorials criticizing FDA for not implementing an outright ban. USA Today says producers use antibiotics "cavalierly" and the FDA response was "timid."
Writing for CNN, New York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and Johns Hopkins professor Robert Lawrence claim the new FDA guidelines fail to protect the public. They want Congress to take action. LOL! Like that’s gonna happen.
Livestock producers haven’t ignored the antibiotic issue, however. In fact, Dr. Richard Raymond, former undersecretary of the Food Safety and Inspection Service, provided some science-based, common sense to the issue with "What the Center for a Livable Future, Pew Commission and Others Aren’t Telling you about Livestock Production."
It’ll Never Fly, Orville
Hi-tech gadgets draw all the attention, but there’s still a need for the low-tech variety down on the farm.
Then there’s the stuff developed by people with way too much time on their hands, like this bike-powered coffee grinder. Yeah, it’s simple and it works, but it just doesn’t seem worth the effort. Wait, there’s more. This gadget sells for about $575. Probably more than the Wright brothers invested in their first flying machine.