The Community Impact of CAFOs

Stop the Wysocki Factory-CAFO Farm

Seth Victor

Saratoga, WI is a small town in central Wisconsin. Set on the banks of the Wisconsin River, this community of a few thousand people is likely not a major destination for tourists roaming through the state, but by all appearances it seems a typical mid-western settlement from the 19th century that evolved into a small town befitting a Prairie Home Companion yarn. It is also the setting of an ongoing fight between the community and a proposed CAFO, one that has drawn intense public ire. Continue reading

Cows Send Intimate Text Messages to Farmers

Stephanie Chery

Imagine a world where a farmer will get a text message from his cow telling him she’s feeling sick or that she’s in heat.  Nope, it is not a joke. We live in that world.

New technology in farming has been developed to give farmers some very detailed information about the current condition of their cows.  According to an article in The New York Times, a system has been developed to track exactly when a cow is in heat.

The system works by way of a heat detector, a small sensor, which is implanted in the cow’s genitals and a motion sensor, attached to the cow’s neck, which measures movements made by the cow. The results of both sensors combine using an algorithm which determines whether or not the cow is in heat.  If the results indicate that the cow is in heat then an SMS is sent to the farmer.  A SIM card is affixed to the cow’s sensory collar so that the farmer can pay for the text messages.

Although, the development can give rise to any number of jokes about cows “sexting” their farmers, the truth is that the current conditions of cows in countries like Switzerland and Scotland where the technology is being tried out is no laughing matter. Continue reading

Government Hypocrisy — The Dairy Version

David Cassuto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amidst all the topsy turvy election results, one can easily start obsessing about the nation’s future.  Or, one can cling to the words of Lee Hays whose comment on the 1980 election results was: “This too shall pass; I’ve had kidney stones and I know.”  But was he right?  It depends on what issues matter to you.

One of the dominant themes of this election was a sense of voter outrage with the actions (or inaction) of the government.  I too am outraged, but for entirely different reasons than were discussed by either party.  I’m outraged by the government’s entrenched, callous, and bizarre complicity in the hegemony of industrial food.  Continue reading

Cow Abuse

ABC News expose of horrific abuses by the dairy industry.  More here.

More on Cows and Climate

fart_cow_1Following up on the post below, this article in the NYT bears a look.  Some in the dairy industry (e.g. Stonyfield Farms) are experimenting with feeding dairy cows green plants instead of corn to see if it lowers their methane output.  Guess what?  It does.

Cattle fed alfalfa and flax emit less methane than those fed the industrial ag diet of corn and soy (apparently most of the emissions come from burps rather than the other… — who knew?).  Guess what else?   Cows that eat food that they can digest naturally also live longer than those who eat grain.

I suppose I should rejoice that the dairy industry has begun examining such issues but I am too busy worrying about the likelihood that dairy and beef cattle production will double over the next three decades.  As the article mentions, the cattle industry already poses more of a threat to the atmosphere than cars and trucks combined.  Somehow, I don’t think alfalfa and flax are going to solve this little problem.

–David Cassuto