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When I scan my Inbox each day, I single out emails from Food & Water Watch because they keep me up-to-date on back-room shenanigans that affect relevant issues that are of concern to me... like the food I buy in the grocery store! And when they ask me to do something, I do it.
Press Releases: Factory FarmsPress Releases Found: 16
January 29, 2013
Press Release: “Governor O’Malley’s announcement last week that Maryland is investing in a controversial manure to energy scheme is good for factory farms, but bad for the Chesapeake Bay. Manure to energy projects are no solution for managing the estimated 300,384 tons of excess poultry litter in the Bay region.
“The state, in partnership with the University System of Maryland, will enter into a power purchase agreement with Green Planet Power Solutions to purchase a minimum of 10 MW of electricity produced from animal waste in Caroline County. But converting poultry litter into energy is not a sustainable solution for the problems created by concentrating too many animals in one place. These projects, funded by government subsidies and tax credits, often create new waste streams, such as toxic air emissions that introduce harmful air pollutants into communities, and do not eliminate many pollutants of concern in animal waste such as nitrogen and phosphorous that choke the Bay.
“While the details of the Green Planet Power Solutions project are not yet publicly known, we call upon Maryland’s political leaders to stop asking citizens to bail the industrial ag interests out of their massive waste problem by financing projects that only perpetuate unsustainable farming practices.”
December 7, 2012
Press Release: A coalition of local and national public interest organizations have asked a federal court for permission to participate in a legal action that will decide when Clean Water Act restrictions apply to the release of pollutants in animal manure into local waterways used for recreation, drinking and to support nearby communities. In the lawsuit, American Farm Bureau Federation and West Virginia Farm Bureau Federation (Farm Bureau) claim that a Clean Water Act permit is not required for discharges of animal waste from a large Hardy County poultry concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO). The organizations, including Potomac Riverkeeper, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Center for Food Safety, Food & Water Watch, and Waterkeeper Alliance, are seeking to ensure that the Farm Bureau-backed poultry CAFO cannot sidestep Clean Water Act standards. Today’s filing asks the Court to give the public interest organizations the same right to participate already given to the Farm Bureau.
The motion to intervene in the case was prompted by the CAFO’s refusal to comply with an EPA order directing it to obtain a Clean Water Act permit for its discharges of pollutants from animal manure generated at the facility. The CAFO houses 200,000 chickens and contains ditches that direct animal waste from the operation into a tributary of the South Branch of the Potomac River which is listed by the state as “impaired” because of algal blooms and the presence of fecal bacteria. Although the CAFO is not disputing that its waste is discharged into these waters, it sued the agency claiming that the discharges to local waterways are exempt from the Clean Water Act, rather than obtaining a permit. The motion to intervene seeks confirmation that no exemption applies here.
“The issue here is about more than one CAFO polluting one waterway,” said Brent Walls, Upper Potomac River Manager for Potomac Riverkeeper. “It’s about defining a way to preserve and protect the right of everyone to have clean rivers and streams, even when they’re near industrial agriculture.”
November 2, 2012
Organic food has become big business and the largest food manufacturers have rapidly taken over the organic food sector, sweeping formerly independent businesses into large food conglomerates. An analysis released today by the national consumer group Food & Water Watch found that the farmers who grow organic crops and raise organic livestock now face the same forces of corporate consolidation that dominate the conventional food industry, with a declining number of buyers putting downward pressure on the prices farmers receive.
Iowa produces more pigs than any other state in the country. In years past, hog farming and pork processing boosted Iowa’s rural economies. But as the pork packing industry consolidated, the economic benefits of the hog sector shifted from rural Iowa to Wall Street. Today, growth in the consolidated hog industry has become a mechanism for draining value from, not adding to, Iowa’s rural economies.
September 26, 2012
Press Release: There is more to our meat than meets the eye: overuse of antibiotics in factory farm animals is leading to the spread of antibiotic-resistant (AR) bacteria, a trend that deteriorates the effectiveness of antibiotic drugs needed to save human lives. A new report released by the national consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch, Antibiotic Resistance 101: How Antibiotic Misuse on Factory Farms Can Make You Sick, provides an overview of the growing threat to public health and examines the pervasiveness of AR bacteria in the U.S. meat supply.
August 28, 2012
Press Release: Just days after the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board refused to investigate Iowa Regent Bruce Rastetter for conflict of interest violations, newly released documents reveal that he attempted to use a partnership with Iowa State University (ISU) to get U.S. government funding to establish his controversial agribusiness project in Tanzania.
Working with ISU faculty, Rastetter’s company AgriSol applied in 2011 for more than $7 million in taxpayer dollars as part of an international food aid program run by the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA).
August 24, 2012
Media Statement: Since 2007, thousands of American dogs have fallen ill or died after eating jerky treats made in China. In the past of couple days, it has come to light that Chinese government officials overseeing the factories that make the questionable treats refused to allow U.S. inspectors to collect samples for independent analysis.
While this lack of cooperation shows an unfortunate disregard for health and safety on behalf of the Chinese government, it’s the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who has shirked its responsibility to keep U.S. citizens and their pets safe and it’s the FDA who must step up and block these potentially deadly treats from harming more animals.
July 17, 2012
Media Statement: “The facilities, known as Concentrated Animal Feeing Operations, or CAFOs, are responsible for a multitude of environmental and public health impacts and make up part of an industry that is the single largest contributor of pollutants to our nation’s waterways. The failure to follow through with a 2011 proposal to gather even simple data like locations of the facilities, number of animals contained and proximity to waterways is clearly pandering to agribusiness during an election year.”
“Specifically, the EPA announced late last week it will not move ahead with a 2011 proposal to gather even simple data like locations of the facilities, number of animals contained and proximity to waterways.
May 22, 2012
“Today, the state of Maryland became the first state in the nation to ban arsenical drugs in chicken production and took a significant step in addressing one of many issues associated with industrial agriculture.
“It is a testament to the power of grassroots organizing that this arsenic prohibition bill passed at all given the formidable opponents who fought for three years against removing the carcinogen from our food.
“Governor O’Malley’s cozy relationship with the poultry industry hasn’t helped, either. The poultry industry continues to push agricultural policy in Annapolis that pads their profits at the expense of Marylanders and the Chesapeake Bay—even though Maryland’s entire agricultural sector contributes only .35 % of the state’s GDP. We will continue to fight the industry’s attempts to block environmental regulations and reforms that would benefit the state’s farmers.”
May 7, 2012
Press Release: Emails released today by national consumer group Food & Water Watch reveal an unnervingly close and direct relationship between Governor Martin O’Malley and chicken giant Perdue. Seventy pages of emails, mostly between Governor O’Malley and Herb Frerichs, Perdue’s general counsel, illustrate the strong hold the industry has on Governor O’Malley on topics ranging from waste incineration to the lawsuit brought by the University of Maryland Legal Clinic against Perdue and one of its contract growers.