Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Last chance to be heard

Any of you who know me know that I want as little government intervention in agriculture as possible. Two weeks ago I sent out a request to write to Dr. Nancy Helpern during the comment period about animal handling guidelines and I got some negative feedback from some my best supporters. I believe that this is a pro-active step in animal agriculture. The attempts to legislate us out of business are endless and well-funded. At the Animal Rights conference, a man who finances these initiatives bought me breakfast while he was telling me how he would do it.

Sunday morning I had breakfast with Bradley Goldberg from New York. He spent 35 years in the investment banking business; now at age 59 he is spending his retirement using his wealth to change food production. His group, Animal Welfare Trust, is not about animal welfare but it is animal liberation. One of the projects he has “invested” in is Farm Sanctuary and the New Jersey legislation. It is not a coincidence that a story appears today in the New Jersey Star Ledger with a wonderful slant towards Farm Sanctuary. Read entire story, although check this out from the story…

"I'd wish I wasn't tethered all the time. But you know what, I'm a person, that's why I'd wish that," said Larry Katz, chair of the Department of Animal Science at Cook College and a farm industry adviser. "You have to try to view the world as the animal does and not expect the animal to perceive the world as a human does."

"The American public enjoys the healthiest, safest, cheapest food supply in the world," Katz said. "That has been the fuel for so many of our other economic advances, which have allowed us the luxury of starting to think about what is humane."
I don’t know Larry Katz, but we all have something to learn from him. Those two paragraphs NEED to be adopted by every one of use who desire to be heard. Nice job Mr. Katz.

The deadline for comments on the proposed legislation ends Friday. If you haven’t responded, you need to. I am not telling you what to say although this is a nice first line:

I’m writing to you in support of the Humane Animal Standards as published in the May 5,2003 New Jersey Register (35 NJR 1873).

Send them to: humane.standards@ag.state.nj.us

Irradiation battle

Speaking of the luxury of thinking, on June 18, 2003 this story appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer about Hatfield Meats. The anti-irradiation movement is somewhat harder to understand than the animal rights issue. Don’t believe for a minute that whether it is irradiation, animal rights, environmentalism or global warming that they aren’t all connected. “Anti’s” will use any source of “fear” or “anxiety” that might get attention.

For example did you know “health foods” such as St. Johns wort is irradiated? How about fruits and vegetables, wheat flour, etc? During irradiation beef receives a dose of 4.5 kGy and herbs get 30 kGy. So it is not only possible but highly likely that the same “weenies” are complaining about irradiated beef immediately after consuming irradiated herbs on their veggie-burger.

An excellent resource on the subject of irradiation is the Minnesota Dept of Health website. Be sure to look at this Journal of Food Protection report on lettuce, where are the weenies on this one?

Gamma-irradiated lettuce

In studies, irradiation at 1 or 2 kGy improved overall appearance of fresh-cut lettuce and reduced browning. Fresh-cut iceberg lettuce packaged in passive modified atmospheres can tolerate 1 kGy of radiation. Results demonstrate that irradiation at doses of less than 2 kGy can be used to improve the safety of fresh-cut iceberg lettuce without loss of quality. The irradiated lettuce was stored at 37.4°F (3°C) for 14 days without significant quality loss compared to non-irradiated control lettuce.

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