March, 2009 | Food & Water Watch - Part 2
Victory! Farm Bureau case challenging EPA’s right to share factory farm data dismissed. more wins »


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Blog Posts: March 2009

March 18th, 2009

Fifth World Water Forum Marked by Violence and Repression

As the World Water Forum opened on March 16th in Istanbul Turkey, 300
Turkish activists gathered near the forum’s entrance were faced with an
overwhelming force of 2000-3000 police. The peaceful protest quickly
escalated as police charged the crowd, firing water cannons, tear gas,
and rubber bullets and lunging into the crowd with fists and

…police charged the crowd, firing water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets and lunging into the crowd with fists and truncheons.

The World Water Forum is a triennial gathering
which, according to it’s website, is “an open, all-inclusive,
multi-stakeholder process” where governments, NGOs, businesses and
others “create links, debate and attempts to find solutions to achieve
water security.” The World Water Council, the forum’s main organizer,
is dominated by two of the world’s largest private water corporations,
Suez and Veolia. Loïc Fauchon, president of the Council, is also the
president of Groupe des Eaux de Marseille,
a company owned jointly by
Veolia and a subsidiary of Suez. The alternate president, Charles-Louis
de Maud’huy, has been working at Compagnie Générale des Eaux, a
subsidiary of Veolia, since 1978. Critics contend that the Council’s
links to Suez and Veolia, as well as the large representation of the
business industry in the Council, compromise its legitimacy. Read the full article…

A Water Group Protests the World Water Forum: Why We’re Part of the People’s Water Forum Instead

You may have heard about the protests Monday at the World Water Forum in Istanbul that were met with violent suppression from the Turkish police. Food & Water Watch released a statement Monday denouncing this reaction, which you can read here.

If you didn’t already know, the World Water Forum is taking place this week in Istanbul, and is touted as the “premier water event in the world,” with more than 20,000 people flooding into the city to participate. Food & Water Watch and our allies are there too, but are not attending as regular participants. Our coalition is there to oppose the forum and to hold counter events known as the People‚ Water Forum, including discussion panels and a film screening, and to denounce the forum as a sham. Our allies include Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians and representatives of the Latin American network Red VIDA, the Asian organization Focus on the Global South, and others from groups around the world. Read the full article…

March 17th, 2009

Seafood Worthy of the First Family

[2009.1.20] Inauguration of President Barack ObamaThree months into the New Year, and the Obama family seems to have finally settled in to their White House lives. They have a new dog, the girls are in school, and the President and First Lady are hard at work. Considering the stresses that inevitably come with being a First Family, it‚ imaginable that things like choosing sustainable seafood might get overlooked. However, safe and sustainable seafood is an important matter , and luckily, finding better seafood can be very simple if you just know where to look. Read the full article…

March 13th, 2009

Righteous Porkchop

With a title like Righteous Porkchop, Nicolette Hahn Niman‚ recently released book is hard to miss. Which is a good
thing too, considering how it takes a somewhat difficult topic like factory farms and makes it accessible to a wide audience. The relevance of this book is painfully clear, in an era where factory farms have become the norm. Hahn Niman does more than just profile the megafarms that are causing pollution, as can be seen on our Factory Farms map, but she also tours traditional farms and notes how they run their practices and what makes them both an efficient and safer alternative to factory farms. Read the full article…

March 12th, 2009

Funniest Newspaper Ever, on Salmonella

We love The Onion.* Don’t you? Does anyone not love The Onion? Check out their latest take on the food safety scandals that have been racking our nation. Of course, Salmonella is no joke, and we definitely don’t want to make light of the suffering of those who’ve been affected or lost loved ones to the outbreak. But when it comes to the almost Kafkaesque level of absurdity that seems to pervade our regulatory system, The Onion just seems to have it so right.

I mean, really Nella Wafers?  Too good.

,Erica Schuetz

*In case you’ve never read The Onion, it’s a humor newspaper that publishes entirely fictional, satirical articles.

March 11th, 2009

Thousands of People Sporting rBGH-free Milk Mustaches for National "Know Your Milk" Day

Nothing goes better with chocolate chip cookies than a tall, cold glass of rBGH-free milk. As you can see in the photo, Food & Water Watch staff is having fun celebrating National ‚Know Your Milk” Day , a day of action where thousands of people across the country are flooding their Congress members phone lines. Know Your Milk Day
From San Francisco and Chicago, to Philadelphia and New York, activists dressed in cow costumes at local coffee houses are inviting the public to eat cookies and drink artificial hormone-free milk while calling members of Congress. People are asking representatives to include language in the Child Nutrition Act , up for re-authorization this year – stating that schools participating in the National School Lunch Program and other federal feeding programs can purchase milk that is free of artificial hormones.

Approved in 1994 by the Food and Drug Administration, rBGH is injected into cows to make them produce more milk. Besides the documented increase of infections in dairy cows injected with rBGH, which necessitates increased use of antibiotics, there are ongoing questions about links to cancer in humans. Based on the number of dairies that use rBGH in the United States, it is possible that at least 84 million gallons of milk from rBGH-treated cows were distributed through the school nutrition programs in fiscal year 2005-2006. That‚ way too much potentially dangerous milk making it‚ way to our nation‚ most vulnerable members of society , our children. Read the full article…

March 10th, 2009

Starting a dialogue

April 6, 2009 Update: Last night the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) released a feature story concerning the shooting of seals by Scottish salmon farmers. In this article it was made painfully clear that the Scottish salmon industry does shoot seals to protect their salmon cages, despite previous attempts to play down this practice. While the industry has only admitted to killing 489 seals in the last year, concerned groups estimate that the number could reach up to 5,000. No matter what the number is, killing seals to protect aquaculture cages is repulsive.

Recently we posted a blog entitled ‘Intolerable Cruelty’ which prompted a response from a Scottish fish farmer who questions some of its claims and asks for clarification. So we’d like to address those concerns below (the farmer‚ name and the original text of her e-mail are withheld for privacy reasons). Read the full article…

March 9th, 2009

Tune in…

Wenonah HeadshotTonight at 8 PM EST our Executive Director, Wenonah Hauter, will be featured on radio station WPKN in Connecticut, discussing the Fifth World Water Forum. The interview, hosted by Scott Harris, will be covering upcoming protests to defend water as a human right , something which the World Water Forum blatantly fails to do, despite assurances to the contrary. The forum will be held in Istanbul, Turkey from March 16-22. Be sure to either tune in online or, if youre in the area of Bridgeport, New Haven, New London, Montauk, or Westerly, listen in on 88.7 or 89.5 FM


– Sofía Baliño

March 5th, 2009

A Little Bit of Mercury Won’t Hurt, will it?

The Food and Drug Administration is sadly becoming notorious for sloppy work. Not only has it failed to adequately protect consumers from recent food safety fiascos, it now seems to be allowing consumption of a well-known toxin mercury.

fish in seaweedFirst, FDA ignored the presence of mercury in high fructose corn syrup, and decided to forego further testing, while neglecting to make consumers aware of the problem. Now, FDA has added fuel to the fire by releasing a flawed report regarding mercury in fish that serves as yet another example of a lack of concern for the health and well-being of the U.S. public. Once again, FDA is dragging its feet on what is a critical consumer safety issue. Read the full article…

March 3rd, 2009

Intolerable cruelty

sealThe upcoming trial of a Scottish trawlerman who clubbed 21 baby seals to death , using a fence post , is a harsh reminder of how offshore aquaculture can lead to the unnecessary deaths of a variety of marine mammals worldwide. Whether it‚ as a result of accidental drowning in netting, or from the increasing numbers of attacks by fish farm workers to stop natural feeding behaviors, the end result – the deaths of assorted animals – some that are already endangered , is inexcusable and inhumane. Combined with all the other potential ills from offshore aquaculture, it’s very troubling to see how such a practice continues to be pushed as a means to increase seafood production, and how little is being done to stop the serious problems associated with it.

Fish farms naturally attract sea lions and other predators because there is an easy meal there – how can predators resist thousands of fish crammed in cages? Unfortunately, in pursuit of a meal, many sea creatures get caught in netting and drown , sadly, often the fish farms involved are not required to report it, so the real numbers are hidden. Read the full article…

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