Although my next post was to be a continuation of the Land of Confusion this week has been one of those weeks! Un-freaking-believable is a more apt description! Of course I’ve been completely sidetracked from talking about genetics in farming.
One of my repetitive sayings is “it never ceases to amaze me”. This usually accompanies me closing my eyes and shaking my head as if trying to clear it in order to take in the latest assault to my brain. I’ve done this a lot this week. More often than not, it takes me a couple of days to absorb “the latest” and to wrap my mind around it.
I should be of a very jaded mindset in regards to the meat and poultry industries and their relationships with government/politicians in power. I don’t discriminate when it comes to political parties – I call it as I see it.
One of the latest revelations to my brain was the release of emails between Maryland’s Governor, Martin O’Malley, and Perdue, mostly through the company’s attorney. Cozy, is a polite description. This really shouldn’t have come as a surprise because in the recesses of my mind, it was something that I already thought and something that many had speculated about.
Through a Freedom of Information request, Food and Water Watch, a Washington, DC based nonprofit organization, emails between O’Malley and a Perdue representative were obtained and released to the public. It’s interesting, informative reading and certainly lends credibility to theories as to why taxpayers in Maryland are picking up the tab for industry and its share of pollution caused by company owned chicken poop! This is one of those “indirect” subsidies that continue to prop up cheap chicken.
On another subject, and leading back to the saga of The Land of Confusion, I’ve had several conversations this week about objections to farmers using the term “pasture raised”. I discussed this in my last post, The Land of Confusion Part II and from what I gather it has ruffled feathers of some who have adulterated the term “free range”.
In my mind and in the minds of many other farmers who are practicing the method of “pasture raised” it’s a term used to inform consumers that animals are REALLY outside on pasture. The animals REALLY do eat grasses, bugs, and worms and are able to forage.
The term “pasture raised” most definitely goes above the term “free range” because some have coined the term “free range” to conjure up a picture in consumer’s mind of animals being out on lush green forage. In reality, those who’ve bastardized free range through the definition of animals only needing to have “access” to the outside created the need for farmers who actually let their animals outside and provide actual pasture, to clearly define their farming methods.
It appears to me that coining of phrases can only be used if it suits the purpose of a select few. Like it or not, this argument is something that USDA is going to have to address. The high jacking of labels for the sheer purpose of greed has been going on in the farming community for quite some time. Closing loopholes through clear definitions of what actually happens on the farm needs to happen in order for farmers who REALLY do what they say they do can be the only ones to claim the phrase or term and consumers can be assured. To further add credence to the need for this to happen can be found from several sources who’ve felt the need to search out and write about this issue. The latest comes from Rodale
It’s perfectly clear where I stand on this issue and I’m sure that we can look forward to a huge and long battle! Of course we will see a lot of wheeling and dealing during this process and the flexing of money, power, and influence.
While there were other assaults to my brain throughout the week I haven’t quite decided what to make of them so discussion will have to wait for other posts. Hopefully, the next post will get back to the subject of genetics and the effects created by them in farming and food.