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Nobel’s furniture design was dynamite | Letters

23/10/2017 Letters 0

One-legged stools | Mercia mudstone | Death by fish | Lancia cars | Naming your coldAll this discussion about the relative design and merits of three-legged stools (Letters passim) is as nothing compared with the so-called suicide stool, a one-legged s…

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Factory farming is not just cruel – it’s inefficient, says Farmageddon author

04/10/2017 Bibi van der Zee 0

Industrial agriculture contributes to deforestation, soil erosion and pollution, and uses antibiotics that create global health risks. Philip Lymbery argues for a regenerative farming future

The world desperately needs joined-up action on industrial farming if it is to avoid catastrophic impacts on life on earth, the head of one of the world’s most highly regarded animal campaign groups has said.

Philip Lymbery, chief executive of Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) and the author of Farmageddon and more recently Deadzone, said: “Every day there is a new confirmation of how destructive, inefficient, wasteful, cruel and unhealthy the industrial agriculture machine is. We need a total rethink of our food and farming systems before it’s too late.”

Related: Goodbye – and good riddance – to livestock farming | George Monbiot

Related: Scandal-hit 2 Sisters suspends chicken production at West Midlands plant

Related: Meat industry blamed for largest-ever ‘dead zone’ in Gulf of Mexico

Related: Factory farming in Asia creating global health risks, report warns

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The Guardian view on food standards: the cost of competition | Editorial

29/09/2017 Editorial 0

Look away now: an investigation into one food processor might put you off your next chicken meal

For almost every meat eater, chicken is the great standby. Every day, more than 2 million birds are consumed: spiced up as drumsticks or curry-sauced thighs or succulently ham-wrapped breasts. But there is perhaps no other area of food production where what we eat has become so distant from what happens to it on the way to the plate. It is not a process for the faint-hearted: and as an investigation by the Guardian and ITV has found, it can also break the law.

Undercover reporters who took jobs with 2 Sisters Food Group (2SFG) found workers at the company’s processing plant in West Bromwich packing chicken pieces that had been picked up off the floor, mixing fresh with less-fresh meat and fiddling key information about slaughter dates in a way that might have meant customers were misled about use-by dates. It ought to shame the industry. But on past evidence, it is hard to believe that it will.

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Sixth mass extinction of wildlife also threatens global food supplies

Plant and animal species that are the foundation of our food supplies are as endangered as wildlife but get almost no attention, a new report reveals

The sixth mass extinction of global wildlife already under way is seriously threatening the world’s food supplies, according to experts.

“Huge proportions of the plant and animal species that form the foundation of our food supply are just as endangered [as wildlife] and are getting almost no attention,” said Ann Tutwiler, director general of Bioversity International, a research group that published a new report on Tuesday.

Related: Chips, chocolate and coffee – our food crops face mass extinction too

Related: Earth’s sixth mass extinction event under way, scientists warn

Related: Global warming brews big trouble in coffee birthplace Ethiopia

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Farmer wants a revolution: ‘How is this not genocide?’

22/09/2017 Susan Chenery 0

Health comes from the ground up, Charles Massy says – yet chemicals used in agriculture are ‘causing millions of deaths’. Susan Chenery meets the writer intent on changing everything about the way we grow, eat and think about food

The kurrajong tree has scars in its wrinkled trunk, the healed wounds run long and vertical under its ancient bark. Standing in front of the homestead, it nestles in a dip on high tableland from which there is a clear view across miles and miles of rolling plains to the coastal range of south-east Australia.

Charles Massy grew up here, on the sweeping Monaro plateau that runs off the eastern flank of Mount Kosciuszko, an only child enveloped by the natural world, running barefoot, accompanied by dogs and orphaned lambs. Fifth generation, he has spent his adult life farming this tough, lean, tussock country; he is of this place and it of him. But when his friend and Aboriginal Ngarigo elder Rod Mason came to visit he discovered that a lifetime of intimately knowing the birds, trees and animals of this land wasn’t significant at all.

Related: EU report on weedkiller safety copied text from Monsanto study

It makes a world war look like a little storm in a teacup. And we are in denial

If people ate truly nutrient-rich food out of healthy soil, you would slash the national health bill straight away

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A million tons of feces and an unbearable stench: life near industrial pig farms

North Carolina’s hog industry has been the subject of litigation, investigation, legislation and regulation. But are its health and environmental risks finally getting too much?

Rene Miller pokes a lavender-frocked leg out of her front door and grimaces. It’s a bright April afternoon, and the 66-year-old Miller, with a stoic expression and a dark crop of curls, braces herself for the walk ahead.

Her destination isn’t far away – just a half-mile down a narrow country road, flanked by sprawling green meadows, modest homes and agricultural operations – but the journey takes a toll. Because as she ambles down the two-lane street, stepping over pebbles and sprouts of grass, the stench takes hold, an odor so noxious that it makes your eyes burn and your nose run. Miller likens it to “death” or “decomposition” to being surrounded by spoiled meat.

That scent is so bad. You can’t go outside. You can’t go outside and cook anything because the flies take over

“In 1995, I began to meet neighbors of industrial hog operations,” he said. “I saw how close some neighborhoods are to hog operations. People told me about contaminated wells, the stench from hog operations that woke them at night, and children who were mocked at school for smelling like hog waste. I studied the medical literature and learned about the allergens, gases, bacteria, and viruses released by these facilities – all of them capable of making people sick.”

Everything was segregated, but we still got along. But now, after these hogs came in, everything has gone downhill

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