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farm: 25/50 of 1537
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English badger at sunset near Canterbury, Kent. Let's all blame him for farmers' poor biosecurity! Photo: Ian Blacker via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Is Natural England granting unlawful badger cull licences to farmers with poor biosecurity?

Anna Dale

29th March 2017

Below-par farm biosecurity should block farmers from participating in England's badger culls, writes Anna Dale. But a large body of evidence of poor and negligent biosecurity by farmers suggests that Natural England, the government's official regulator, is turning a blind eye to this strict requirement - and undermining the purpose of the cull. more...
Sumatran elephant at Tangkahan, Sumatra, Indonesia. The species' native rainforest habit is fast giving way to thousands of square miles of palm oil plantation. Photo: Vincent Poulissen via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

The oilpalm connection: is the Sumatran elephant the price of our cheap meat?

Philip Lymbery / CIWF

28th March 2017

We may know that palm oil is wiping out rainforests worldwide, writes Philip Lymbery. But few realise that our factory farmed meat and dairy are contributing to the problem. As revealed in Philip's new book, 'Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were', palm kernels, left after pressing the fruit for oil, is a protein-rich livestock feed of growing importance. And nowhere is the impact greater than Sumatra, home (for now) to its own unique species of elephant. more...
Hounds observing slaughtered fallen cattle.

Bovine TB found in foxhounds - and nothing to do with badgers! Now what?

Lesley Docksey

9th March 2017

The news that the Kimblewick Hunt's hounds are infested with bovine TB has come as a shock to farmers and hunters, writes Lesley Docksey. But it's no surprise to campaigners against the badger cull, who have long complained about poor farm hygiene and the feeding by hunts of disease-ridden 'fallen cattle' carcasses to foxhounds - never mind that the cattle are likely bTB carriers! more...
Mmm ... but did you know the chips could be fried in oil from GMO corn or soya, and that the steak almost certainly came from an animal fattened up on GMO feed? Photo: Henry Burrows via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Hidden GMOs in our daily food? Let's get UK chefs talking, and doing!

Pat Thomas

31st March 2017

Increasing quantities of 'hidden GMOs' are finding their way into our diet, writes Pat Thomas. They are coming mainly in US imports for supermarkets and caterers, and in animal feeds used for meat, dairy and egg production. It's time for chefs, pubs, takeaways and restaurants to take responsibility for the food chains that supply them - labelling the GMOs in their meals, and better still, cutting them out. more...
If it's not organic, milk in UK supermarkets is almost all from cattle fed GMOs in their feed. Photo: Echoplex7 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Supermarkets: 'Feed me the Truth' about GMOs in our food chain!

Liz O'Neill / GM Freeze

7th March 2017

UK supermarkets led the world in saying 'no!' to GM foods and ingredients, writes Liz O'Neill. But they faltered on GM feeds for pigs, cattle, poultry and fish, with GM soy and corn dominating the UK's non-organic market. Now campaigners are putting the pressure on supermarkets to make their entire supply chains GMO-free for the sake of animal, human and ecological health. more...
Photographs showing the growth of plants and seed heads of the new golden rice crosses versus the non-GMO cultivar. The GMO golden rice is the abnormal and stunted one on the left. Photo: from PLOS One.

GMO golden rice trials fail: stunted plants, reduced grain yield

GMWatch

1st March 2017

The troubled project to develop GMO 'golden rice' cultivars has just hit a serious obstacle. An attempt to breed the 'event' responsible for carotenoid production into a commercial rice variety has produced widespread genomic instability, causing weak plants and poor grain production. Has the golden rice hype bubble finally burst? more...
Badger trying to keep out of trouble in the Somerset cull area, September 2015. Photo: Somerset Badger Patrol via Facebook.

Putting the 'con' into consultation and the 'fiction' into science: England's badger cull

Lesley Docksey

27th February 2017

We know the outcome of Defra's latest 'public consultation' on killing badgers long before the results have even been analysed, writes Lesley Docksey. Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom has already promised farmers to extend the cull 'even further' - although it brings no proven benefits. Welcome to the new world of 'alternative facts' that's driving UK government policy. more...
Radical roots ... radishes in a Boston farmers' market. Photo: WBUR Boston's NPR News Station via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brexit and the future of farming: threat or opportunity?

Molly Scott Cato MEP

21st February 2017

With most of our food exports going to the EU, and most of our food imports coming from the EU, Molly Scott Cato wondered what plans the government had for the sector after Brexit. The answer? None! Two reports published today map out a positive future of sustainable farming, local food, thriving rural economies and abundant biodiversity. But is the government on the same page? more...
Photo: Somerset Badger Patrol Group via Facebook.

'You'll never walk alone': highs and lows of badger patrolling against the cull

Lesley Docksey

17th February 2017

If you love wildlife and enjoy country walks, you've got the makings of a badger patroller, writes Lesley Docksey. You can walk at night if you want to, but daytime observation on country lanes and footpaths is no less important, watching out for the signs of cullers at work. And with the trust and warm friendship that builds among badger patrollers, you'll never be without congenial company. more...
Cage in a 500-puppy puppy mill, raided by voluntary organisations on 8th July 2009. Photo: Josh Henderson via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

And then he came for the animals - is Donald Trump trying to make puppy mills great again?

JP Sottile

15th February 2017

Whatever people were voting for when they elected President Donald Trump, very few were seeking to remove the already scant protections afforded to dogs and puppies kept in unregulated 'factory farm' breeding sheds, writes JP Sottile. But that's the effect of the deregulatory whirlwind that's hit USDA: more profit for the animal abusers, and more suffering for the animals. more...
Monarch butterfly sipping nectar from milkweed. Photo: Sherri VandenAkker via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Monarch butterflies down over a quarter in one year

The Ecologist

10th February 2017

It's been another disastrous year for North America's Monarch butterflies, with the insect's population down 27% in a single year. The sudden decline is blamed on severe winter storms in Mexico, and the impacts of GMO crops, herbicides and insecticides on US farms. more...
Pesticide spraying taking place just over the garden fence of a British home. Photo: UK Pesticides Campaign.

Pesticide deregulation - the real reason for Myron Ebell's Number 10 meeting?

Georgina Downs

3rd February 2017

If it wasn't climate change, was the real purpose of the Number 10 meeting of Theresa May's advisors and President Trump's environmental transition supremo Myron Ebell to plan the post-Brexit deregulation of UK farming, including pesticides? That's how it looks, writes Georgina Downs - and we had better begin now to fight for our health, wildlife and environment. more...

farm: 25/50 of 1537
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EU countries don't want British pollution blowing their way! London air pollution - view from Hackney 10th April 2015. Photo: DAVID HOLT via Flickr (CC BY).

MEPs may veto 'dirty Britain' Brexit deal

Charlotte Burns, University of York

2nd February 2017

MEPs have signalled that any Brexit deal that allows Britain to scrap the environmental laws it has signed up to as an EU member faces veto, writes Charlotte Burns. They are not prepared to countenance a bad neighbour 'dirty Britain' just off the EU's shores, nor to see the EU's environmental progress undermined by unfair competition. more...
Can the UK's countryside and those who farm it survive the twin assaults of Brexit and a trade deal with the USA? Photo: KayYen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brexit and Trump trade deal spell doom for our 'Green and Pleasant Land'

Kate Parminter

31st January 2017

Leaving the European Union and reaching a trade deal with President Trump's US would create a perfect storm for UK farmers, writes Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Kate Parminter, with new EU tariffs, reduced subsidies and drastically lower standards. The changes would also pose a serious threat to our natural environment, food quality and public health. more...
Some of the 17,000 poultry at an intensive chicken farm in Pennsylvania, USA, which produces 2.5 million chicks each year. Photo: Lance Cheung / US Department of Agriculture via Flickr (CC BY).

Deadly bird flu strains created by industrial poultry farms

Robert G. Wallace

30th January 2017

As deadly H5Nx bird flu strains diversify in giant, fast-rotation flocks and and adapt to poultry that tens of thousands of human handlers care for and process every day, the emergence of a deadly human-specific flu becomes ever more likely, writes Robert G. Wallace. The industry can no longer blame wild birds for the problems it is creating - and must urgently reform its own practices. more...
Could your household gas come from wildflower rich meadows, like this Culm Grassland at Knowstone Moor, Devon? Photo: Col Ford and Natasha de Vere via Flickr (CC BY).

It beats fracking - but can we believe Ecotricity's vision of 'green gas from grass'?

Almuth Ernsting

27th January 2017

Just imagine: gas for your cooking and heating made by composting home-grown British grass, writes Almuth Ernsting. What's not to like? Well, it would need almost all the UK's grassland to match our gas demand, leaving cows and sheep to starve or forcing them into sheds to eat foreign-grown feeds. And methane leakage could easily wipe out any climate benefit. more...
Rally to support GMO food labeling at the Connecticut State Senate, 21st May 2013. Photo: CT Senate Democrats via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Nothing 'parochial' about GMO food labeling!

Jonathan Latham, PhD

24th January 2017

With USDA proposing to redefine GMOs for the purposes of food labeling, the issue is more important than ever, writes Jonathan Latham. It's not just to give consumers' the 'right to know' when they buy GM food, it's also a vital means to empower citizens to fight back against the industrialisation of food and farming, and the monopolies of agribusiness corporations. more...
Submerged valley near Foel, Wales. Should farmers consider switching to growing rice in their flooded fields? Photo: Jonathan Pagel via Flickr (CC BY).

Climate change and farming: let's be part of the solution!

Anna Bowen

9th January 2017

What with rising rainfall in the west, and hotter, drier summers in the east, British farmers place plenty of challenges from global warming, writes Anna Bowen. But there are also positive opportunities for agricultural innovators to adapt their farming systems to changing conditions, make their operations more resilient and sustainable, and make themselves part of the solution. more...

Real Farming Report - Whose seeds are they anyway?

Kathryn Hindess

6th January, 2016

The new People Need Nature report - published to coincide with this week's annual Oxford Real Farming Conference - warns that modern farming practices are not good for wildlife. But they're not good for humans either. And with predictions that we will need to produce 70 per cent more food to feed a third more mouths by 2050 the question of seed ownership and diversity cannot be ignored. KATHRYN HINDESS reports more...
The bottom line: post-Brexit, will our countryside be richer, or poorer, in wild-flower meadows like this one near Silsden in West Yorkshire, England? Photo: Steven Feather via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Four essential 'green lines' for Brexit negotiators

Viviane Gravey, Queen's University Belfast

5th January 2017

Will the UK keep Theresa May's promise to 'leave the environment in a better state than it found it' in the Brexit negotitions? Or is the government bent on the 'bonfire of red tape', including environmental protections, demanded by right-wing former and serving ministers? Viviane Gravey sets out four 'green lines' by which to judge the Brexiteers' true colours. more...

"Small really is beautiful", claims new report on England's farming

Kathryn Hindess

4th January, 2016


When it comes to farming, size matters. Currently, subsidies - received under the EU Common Agricultural Policy - are available only to farmers with more than five hectares of eligible land. Now, a new report by the charity People Need Nature published to coincide with the Oxford Real Farming Conferene (which starts today) claims that this "excludes the producers it should be supporting." KATHRYN HINDESS reports
more...

Brexit offers a "rare opportunity" to change UK farming practices says the charity People Need Nature

Kathryn Hindess

3rd January, 2017

Leaving the EU provides a "once in a lifetime opportunity" for England to change the way its land is managed so that nature, the environment, and society are better off according to a new report by the UK charity People Need Nature which is published to coincide with this week's Oxford Real Farming Conference. KATHRYN HINDESS reports more...
Bigor longhouse with land cleared for oil palm in the background. Photo: Sophie Chao.

Malaysia: the Murut struggle against palm oil, for land and life

Sophie Chao

12th December 2016

Supported by state and national governments, palm oil plantations are advancing over the rainforest hills of Sabah, Malaysia, writes Sophie Chao. In their way: the indigenous Murut of Bigor, whose culture, livelihood and very lives are under threat as forests and farms fall to chainsaws and bulldozers, enriching loggers and distant investors beyond the dreams of avarice. more...
Hunger: a street-dweller in New Delhi, India. Photo: johnjodeery via Flickr (CC BY).

India's 'economic miracle' is built on debt, dispossession and now, monetary destruction

Colin Todhunter

30th November 2016

After two decades of neoliberalism, India's magnates and corporations are profiting as never before, writes Colin Todhunter. But the entire economic edifice is built on the dispossession of the poor, locked into debt servitude, and ever rising income inequality. Prime Minister Modi's latest move, 'demonetization', is yet another example of the state stealing from the poor to give to the obscenely rich. more...

How Solar power is bringing food security to Africa

Joe Ware

25th November, 2016

Malawi is a country on the front line of climate change. Unlike nations ravaged by a typhoon or rich western cities swamped with floodwater, the kind of impacts Malawians face barely raise a flicker of interest in the media. Compared to a hurricane, a few degrees of temperature rise and shifting rainfall patterns sound mild, but in reality they have the potential to be far more devastating writes JOE WARE more...

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