The major GMO companies are achieving success in their campaign to spread GMO foods all over the world. According to an article in the UK Telegraph today, "Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, Co-Op, Somerfield and the budget chain Aldi have met with civil servants to discuss their problems in finding traditional food supplies." A report on the meetings noted: "Retailers were concerned that they may not be able to maintain their current non-GM sources of supply as producers increasingly adopt GM technology around the world."
The New York Health department has given up the idea of taxing soda as a weapon in the war against obesity and have instead started a graphic advertising campaign showing a soda being poured into a glass, with the soda turning into liquid fat on its way to the glass. Pretty graphic, and some may even think gross, but it really gets across the message that drinking soda is a major cause of obesity. Pretty creative, and great to see the government actually get serious about getting the message across.
An August 23, 2009 LA Times article is an interesting read on the push to tax junk food. Apparently what really helped people give up smoking was to tax tobacco product so much that smokers started to finally just give it up in increasing numbers; and the increased taxes are supposed to go towards health care system costs. I don't like to advocate increased taxes, but this is one type of tax that may help, especially if the taxes do actually go directly to funding the health care system. The article raises various issues in implementing such a tax regime.
Johnny nailed it when he commented (in response to my blog post about taxing soda to limit obesity):
"I think a better solution would be for the government to take all the money that it currently uses to subsidize the meat industry and use that to improve the heathcare system.
"If people had to pay what it actually costs to get their burgers, fast food would be a lot less popular and people would be a lot healthier because they'd be eating less meat."
Never a truer word has been said!
Front page news today is about an ex-caretaker of 400 animals claiming he is the victim of a vendetta by the Humane Society. He and his wife operated a non profit animal shelter at Nanakuli, after his wife died it apparently got too much for him so he asked for help from the Oahu Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who came and got the animals. The SPCA does not euthanize animals, unlike the Humane Society, though the Humane Society state on their website in the Q & A's about this matter:
Question: What is the Humane Society’s euthanasia policy on animals?
Following on from my blog post about the "murder" at the Nanakuli animal shelter, here is an account from Wikipedia of the mass murder process at a slaughterhouse (this is not for the faint of heart):
The slaughterhouse process differs by species and region and may be controlled by civil law as well as religious laws such as Kosher and Halal laws. A typical procedure follows:
Cattle (mostly steers and heifers, some cows, and even fewer bulls) are received by truck or rail from a ranch, farm, or feedlot.
Cattle are herded into holding pens.
A LA Times article on September 4, 2009 was about a Korean vegetarian's efforts to garner signatures for a petition to stop the eating of dog meat in Korea. In the past westerner's have criticized the eating of dogs as inhumane, but Koreans have tended to disregard that as being merely hypocritical opinion. One government official who eats dog meat stated "Westerners eat one type of animal and tell the world they can't eat another. I say, if you eat animals, you eat animals."
In a rather gruesome incident twelve Muslims have been charged in Malaysia with illegal assembly and six of them have been charged with sedition, which is defined as an act that may engender "feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races", after parading a severed cow's head in a protest against the planned relocation of a Hindu temple to their neighborhood.
The following if from Natural Foods Merchandiser's blog: Store-bought vegetables are not as good for you as they were 40-50 years ago. According to the USDA, fruits and vegetables were packed with far more nutrients back then than they are now. Experts attribute the nutritional drop to hybrid breeding of crops, designed more for size and color and ability to survive transport, than nutritional value.
There has been a debate for many years about whether organic foods are healthier and more nutritious than non organic foods (i.e. foods sprayed with poison). Last month a UK study found that there was no evidence of nutritional superiority of organics. This month there is a French study that shows that there are nutritional benefits to organic.
In an update about the Leeward Coast animal shelter which was accused of animal hoarding and cruelty to animals, the owner has filed a lawsuit against the Hawaiian Humane Society and several other local and national animal welfare societies. The following is from the Honolulu Advertiser story on the lawsuit: The surviving owner of the Leeward Coast animal shelter where more than 400 dogs, cats and birds were housed in a no-kill sanctuary has filed a lawsuit against several local and national animal welfare organizations, including the Hawaiian Humane Society.