Radioactive Fish

David Cassuto

There have been a number of developments on the agriculture front that I want to discuss but that will have to wait until things settle down around here at least a little bit.  In the meantime, here´s an interesting tidbit from today´s WaPo. 

Apparently, fish in the Connecticut river, in the New Hampshire/Vermont region, are testing positive for strontium-90 — a very dangerous radioactive isotope (it causes bone cancer and leukemia).  Some believe that the contamination comes from the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, which is in the midst of cleaning up its most recent tritium, cesium-137, zinc-65, and cobalt-60 leak.  Others say that it can´t be from Vermont Yankee and is most likely residual buildup from Chernobyl.  Or maybe Indian Point.          Continue reading

Newborn Calves Abused at Organic Farm

Elizabeth Bennett

Unfortunately, allegations of animal abuse at slaughterhouses have long been prevalent.  It is not, however, too often that you hear of a farm or company being punished for such cruel behavior.  Recently, an organically certified Vermont slaughterhouse called Bushway Packing Inc. was ordered to close because of their inhumane treatment of calves.  An undercover agent for the Humane Society of the United States captured various forms of animal abuse at this slaughterhouse on video.  According to the humane society, slaughterhouse employees were kicking calves, electrically prodding them, wetting them with water so that electric prodding would be more painful, improperly rendering them senseless before slaughter, and even skinning them alive.  These are typical abuse allegations against slaughterhouses commonly made by animal welfarist and rights advocates that are all too often ignored.

The calves processed at Bushway Packing were born on dairy farms and immediately torn from their mothers so that the mother’s milk would not be wasted on them.  This rendered many of them weak and unable to walk.  They were then physically abused into standing and walking so that employees can avoid prohibitions on slaughtering “downed cows.”   These calves were being produced as “bob veal,” where they were killed when less than a week old to be used in food items such as hot dogs and lunch meats, unlike regular veal production which “harvests” calves at around 4 months of age.  Keep in mind that supporting the dairy industry is, in a way, supporting the veal and bob veal industries because of the need to take calves away from their dairy cow mothers so that all their mother’s milk can be processed for human use.  Male calves are a byproduct of the dairy industry and are thus put to use in the veal industry.  For this very reason, dairy farmers were greatly worried about their financial stability in the wake of this story.   Continue reading