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March 19th, 2009

CyClone Dairy – putting a good face on a bad practice

You’ve got to hand it to the CyClone Dairy people. They’ve decided that rather than hide the fact that they use milk from cloned animals and their offspring, they’ll brag about it instead and hope that people assume that their positive attitude comes from a product that‚ been proven “safe.” Unfortunately, the reality is quite the opposite of the website’s cheerful photos and catchy slogans.

CowThe data on the safety of cloned products for human consumption is limited, while ethical concerns and negative animal health effects are extensive. However, the Food and Drug Administration, in keeping with their bad track record of approving questionable technologies with few questions asked, announced little over a year ago that they believed meat and milk from cloned animals safe to eat.  The agency managed to ignore the litany of problems that have yet to be solved with the entire cloning process. They also ignored over 30,000 comments opposing their stance on cloning. Read the full article…

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Political Intrigue at the World Water Forum

Behind the World Water Forum‚ public posture as a trade expo and an educational exchange among water advocates lies a labyrinth of political intrigue and corporate cronyism. Corporate interests that make up the World Water Council are in constant contact with the World Bank and other financial institutions; each Forum pretends to be a quasi-United Nations event, to the extent of issuing a Ministerial Statement at the Forum‚ close promoting global policy approaches to water and sanitation.

President of the UN General Assembly, requested to be given an opportunity to publicly address the World Water Forum, but received no response from the Forum‚ organizers.

This year, Miguel Descoto Brockman, President of the UN General Assembly, requested to be given an opportunity to publicly address the World Water Forum, but received no response from the Forum‚ organizers. Concerning Descoto‚ effective exclusion, Maude Barlow, his Senior Advisor on Water, said, “The Forum portrays itself as a UN event. But the President of the UN General Assembly was denied the opportunity to speak. We could hardly have a more clear message about the Forum‚ priorities.” Read the full article…

Voices of Dissent Unwelcome at the 5th World Water Forum

Before coming to the World Water Forum, we knew that it was an elite event, both hosted and attended by corporate interests , while welcoming under its umbrella a wide range of laudable and effective public-sector and development organizations. But by the second day of the forum, the exclusivity and elitism that marks the event, the panel discussions, and the massive trade expo that accompanies the forum is truly shocking.

From the entrance price (about $129 US per day) to the overwhelming security presence both outside and in, the clearest message to come forth is the divide between those who make decisions about water policy and those who live (and, in most of the world, die) with those decisions. Read the full article…

March 18th, 2009

Corporate Water Barons Indifferent to Running Water But Not Security at 5th World Water Forum

Now into its third day, the World Water Forum has an incredible police presence, and the security is downright oppressive. So much so that there are special VIP entrances and areas , including the restrooms. Yet despite the painstaking attention afforded to security, the forum is lax on certain other logistical details. Last night, one of the buildings that housed panel discussions and workshops did not have water for flushing the toilets or washing hands—a sad but fitting metaphor for the inefficiencies of privatized water systems that the World Water Forum promotes.

“Security intervenes if we try to ask questions at panels…”

Indeed, it is security, not access to water, that reigns as the top concern here. Forum attendees must have their access badges scanned at multiple security checkpoints. Our whereabouts are tracked throughout the forum, following which building we are in and what workshops we are going to. Security intervenes if we try to ask questions at panels or ask to present information that is contrary to what is being promoted.  Even the bathrooms have security. What, do you suppose, are they so afraid of? Read the full article…

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
truncheons.

…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…

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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…

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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.

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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…

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