The Ecologist

 

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Could a legal, regulated trade in rhino horn help save these wonderful animals by paying for their conservation and taking the profit out of poaching? Photo: rhino on the Eastern Cape, South Africa, by Colin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

To save our rhinos, we need a legal horn trade

Keith Somerville, University of Kent

22nd September 2016

The trade ban on rhino horn is not working, writes Keith Somerville. But non-lethally and sustainably harvested rhino horn can earn income to encourage breeders, pay rangers and anti-poaching teams, provide surveillance and supply wider benefits that will gain the support of people around parks, reserves and ranches. more...
Piglets living in cruel and unhygienic conditions on a factory farm somewhere in the UK Photo: FarmsNotFactories.

To stop antibiotic resistant superbugs, keep off factory farmed meat!

Alastair Kenneil

21st September 2016

All 193 UN states will sign a declaration today to fight the spread of drug-resistant 'superbugs', writes Alastair Kenneil. The problem is often blamed on over­prescription of antibiotics by doctors. But that's to ignore the massive use of antibiotics on animals in factory farms, both to prevent infection and to assist weight gain - turning farms into superbug breeding centres. more...
Monsanto Graph' in Abode of Chaos by Thierry Ehrmann, Saint Romain en Mont d'Or, France. Photo: Urban Scraper via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Bayer-Monsanto merger - corporate madness or a moment of possibility?

Pat Thomas

19th September 2016

With the Wall Street Journal warning that the GMO crop boom may be over in the face of superweeds, higher seed prices, falling yields and farmer antipathy, writes Pat Thomas, the Monsanto-Bayer merger is a sign of weakness as both companies struggle to deliver growth and profits to match shareholder expectations. We had better be ready to press home our advantage! more...
Yanomami children in their forest home - which, with notorious 'Soy King' Bairo Maggi as agriculture minister, is now looking decidedly less secure. Photo: Dung Nguyen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Brazil’s new government to sacrifice the Amazon for 'growth'

Ed Atkins, University of Bristol

19th September 2016

It's not that Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's ousted President, was wonderful for the environment, writes Ed Atkins. It's that Michel Temer's new regime is certain to be far worse. Plans are afoot to weaken environmental assessments for large projects like mines, roads and dams. And the new Minister of Agriculture is a notorious campaigner for hugely increased deforestation. more...
'Resistance is Fertile - Compost Capitalism !' Banner at Occupy Oakland protest against GMOs, 10th December 2011. Photo: Lily Rhoads via Flickr (CC BY).

Monsanto and Bayer: food and agriculture just took a turn for the worse

Colin Todhunter

16th September 2016

Bayer's $66 billion takeover of Monsanto represents another big click on the ratchet of corporate power over farming and food, writes Colin Todhunter. With the 'big six' of global agribusiness now set to turn into the 'even bigger three', farmers and consumers are facing more GMOs and pesticides, less choice, and deeper price gouging. Agroecology has never looked more attractive. more...
Who ate all the pies? Robin redbreast on an English farm. Photo: John Bennett via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

'State of Nature' 2016 report shows continued loss of Britain's biodiversity

Susan Clark

14th September 2016

The 2016 'State of Nature' report, published today, offers many small victories to celebrate, writes SUSAN CLARK, but overall it's not good news: 15% of our native species are under threat of extinction, while 53% are in decline. With intensive farming the main cause of the damage, and climate change a serious long term problem, turning the tide of wildlife attrition will be a long and challenging task. more...
Weeds in farmers' crops - like these poppies in an oilseed rape field near Thirsk - may reduce profit margins - but they are hardly a 'serious danger to plant health'. Photo: James West via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

EFSA creates 'plant health' loophole for banned weedkillers

Oliver Tickell

8th September 2016

The EU's food and farming safety regulator is trying to create a 'back door' system to licence the use of herbicides that have been banned for their toxic impacts on people and wildlife - under a clearly inapplicable 'plant health' exemption. more...

The Ecologist Arts Interview: Photographer Deon Reynolds

Gary Cook

2nd September, 2016

Marmite. Barry Manilow, Nigel Farage and wind turbines. People either love them or hate them with rarely anyone on the fence. But Deon Reynolds' atmospheric turbine photographs might just buck that trend and persuade even rabid climate deniers to acknowledge their beauty, writes
GARY COOK
more...
Jerusalem artichoke harvest at Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire. Photo: Sandy lane Farm via Facebook.

Good nutrition begins in healthy soils

Patrick Holden

7th September 2016

There's no such thing as 'healthy food' if it's not produced by sustainable farming systems on living soils, Patrick Holden told the recent 'Food: The Forgotten Medicine' conference. But after 70 years of industrial farming, there's a huge job to be done to restore our depleted soils and the impoverished genetic diversity of our seeds and crops. more...

Shocking cruelty and welfare breaches to livestock on their way to and at British abbatoirs

Andrew Wasley and Josh Robbins

Thousands of British farm animals are subjected to needless pain and distress - six times a day on average - as they are slaughtered according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. more...
Suffolk farmland at dusk. Photo: Jimmy - S via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Dark days ahead for British agriculture? Or green shoots of a brighter future?

Keith Tyrell / PAN UK

25th August 2016

With Brexit the UK will have to chose between two visions of our farming future, writes Keith Tyrell. Will it be heavily subsidised corporate agribusiness that ravages both nature and small, high quality farmers. Or will we seize the chance to build a sustainable food and farming system that supports wildlife, landscape, family farms, organic production and diverse rural economies? more...
English badger. Photo: Kentish Plumber via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

England's £100m badger cull extensions condemned

The Ecologist

23rd August 2016

England is about to extend its badger cull policy to five new areas of the country, proving that only that science is a dead letter to May's conservative government as it was to Cameron's. While bovine TB infections in cattle rise in the existing cull areas, Wales has just achieved a cull-free 14% reduction. more...

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Front cover of 'Badgered to Death' by Dominic Dyer (exerpt), published by Canbury Press.

Why are our badgers ‘Badgered to Death'?

Lesley Docksey

23rd August 2016

With today's news that badger culling will continue in Gloucester, Somerset and Dorset, and take place in three other counties, writes LESLEY DOCKSEY, there could be no more opportune moment for Dominic Dyer's new book 'Badgered to Death' to appear - expertly exposing the total absence of scientific evidence that badgers transmit bovine TB to cattle. more...
The first ingestible GE product, L-typtophan, derived from GMO bacteria.contained impurities that killed dozens of Americans and seriously sickened thousands, permanently disabling many of them. Image: Bin im Garten via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

The GMO food venture is built on a foundation of mass deception

Steven M. Druker

23rd August 2016

The very first GE product, a dietary supplement, poisoned thousands of people of which dozens died, writes Steven M. Druker. The first GE food, the 'Flavr Savr' tomato, caused stomach lesions. But a long campaign of concealment and deception by regulators and corporate scientists re-engineered the truth to present GMOs as so safe they did not even need to be tested for safety. more...
Olive harvest at Surif in the West Bank, Palestine. Photo: Palestine Solidarity Project via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Rooted in the soil: the birth of agro-resistance in Palestine

Jonathan Cook

19th August 2016

For decades Israel has been driving Palestinian farmers off their land by imposing restrictions on agriculture, writes JONATHAN COOK. But one company, Canaan Fair Trade, has found an innovative way to resist peacefully, increasing resilience and prosperity in rural West Bank communities, and forging international alliances in the global movement for good food and farming. more...
Could the British countryside look like this one day? Gaur, a species of wild cattle, in the forest at the Kabini Wildlife Santuary, Kerala, India. Photo: rahul rekapalli via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

What if Britain really did abandon its farms and leave them to nature?

Christopher Sandom, University of Sussex

16th August 2016

The National Farmers Union has been issuing dire warnings that if UK taxpayers do not keep on paying landowners billions of pounds of annual subsidies after Brexit, many will simply give up farming altogether. So, asks CHRISTOPHER SANDOM, how would our countryside change if they followed through on that threat? (Or was it a promise?) more...
Intensive arable farming near Eakring, Nottinghamshire, England, carried out with massive taxpayer-funded subsidies to wealthy landowners. Photo: Andrew Hill via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

A post-EU agricultural policy for people and planet

Alex Scrivener

12th August 2016

Brexit gives the UK the chance to reform the system of agricultural subsidies that rewards wealthy landowners at the expense of taxpayers, the global south, the environment, and small scale sustainable farmers, writes Alex Scrivener. But strong, effective campaigning will be needed to bring about the changes we desperately need. more...

After Brexit - Envisioning New British Landscapes

James Luchte

10th August, 2016

At a post-Brexit crossroads, we may still articulate a new vision for the countryside, one which expresses the concerns and desires of stakeholders - farmers, conservationists, land and land tenure reform advocates, communities, and environmentalists writes JAMES LUCHTE more...

The Ethical Foodie - Thought for Food

Tim Maddams

8th August, 2016

In his new column for the Ecologist, chef and campaigner TIM MADDAMS tackles the big question - how do we reduce the environmental impact of the food we buy? more...

Soil Association campaigns against glyphosate in our bread

Laura Briggs

8th August, 2016

The Soil Association is calling on bread producers and supermarkets to stop making and selling bread products that contain traces of Glyphosate. LAURA BRIGGS reports. more...

Why are Badgers always at the head of the 'Blame Queue'?

Lesley Docksey

5th August, 2016

With the publication today of a new report that admits badgers tend to avoid direct contact with cattle, LESLEY DOCKSEY asks why are badgers still being blamed for bovine TB? more...
The yoke of direct colonial rule in India has been replaced with a new system of oppression and exploitation - this time by and for agribusiness corporations and transnational capital. Photo: Kannan Muthuraman via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

On Independence Day, India's new rulers are the World Bank, IMF, WTO and Monsanto

Colin Todhunter

15th August 2016

India celebrates its Independence Day today, writes Colin Todhunter. But the highly visible system of British colonial dominance has been replaced by a new imperial hegemony: the invisible, systemic rule of transnational capital, enforced by global institutions like the World Bank, while US-based global agribusiness corporations have stepped into the boots of the former East India Company. more...
How will the promoters of GMO golden rice ensure that malnourished children receive it in the first place? Will they also ensure they get the dietary fat they need to actually assimilate the carotene once they have eaten it? Photo of children playing in M

Millions spent, no one served: who is to blame for the failure of GMO Golden Rice?

Angelika Hilbeck & Hans Herren

15th August 2016

The real reason why 'golden rice' remains uncultivated after a 20 year effort is its poor agronomic performance, write Angelika Hilbeck & Hans Herren. But beyond that, the very idea of golden rice as a 'solution' to Vitamin A deficiency fails to recognise the real causes of malnutrition - poverty, hunger and poor diet. How will golden rice reach poor children in the first place? And will they ever get the rich, oily diet they need to assimilate its fat-soluble nutrients? more...
Inside the pig farm. Photo: Farms Not Factories.

Not just cruel to pigs - farmers are the other victims of intensive animal farming

Tracy Worcester

29th July 2016

Free range pig campaigner Tracy Worcester had a surprise encounter after filming horrific conditions in an intensive UK pig farm. She met the elderly farmer who was cutting corners to stay in business under cut-throat pressure from supermarkets and global agribusiness - only to find he shared all her concerns. The answer is for shoppers to buy only high-welfare meat. more...
Might England's badgers finally be getting lucky? Don't count on it. Photo: Andrew 3457 via Flickr (CC BY).

Post-Brexit Britain cannot afford the badger cull!

Lesley Docksey

27th July 2016

The government may want to press ahead with the English badger cull, writes Lesley Docksey. But after the Brexit vote it may just cost too much - for taxpayers and for the farmers who bear part an increasing share of the expense, now facing the loss of the 55% of their income that currently comes from Brussels. more...

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