The Ecologist


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Pools of liquid still present outside the perimeter of the Aurobindo drug manufacturing plant near Hyderabad this month. Photo: Ecostorm.

Dirty production of NHS antibiotics in India helping to create superbugs

Andrew Wasley & Madlen Davies

26th October 2016

The NHS is buying drugs from pharmaceutical companies in India whose dirty production methods are fuelling the rise of superbugs, write Andrew Wasley & Madlen Davies. There are no checks or regulations in place to stop this happening - even though the rapid growth in antibiotic resistant bacteria in India is spreading across the world, including to the UK and NHS hospitals. more...
Welsh Badgers at Dinefwr Park, Llandeilo. Photo: Neil Schofield via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Wales demands 'objective evidence' before killing badgers. Whatever next?

Lesley Docksey

21st October 2016

Wales has achieved enviable success in reducing bovine TB in its cattle herds without killing badgers, writes Lesley Docksey. The farming lobby is still demanding an England-style cull, but the Welsh government's 'refreshed' policy on bTB remains firmly science-based and no badgers will be killed without 'objective evidence' of infection. more...
Ineos gas tanker at port. Photo:

Challenging the delusion of cheap, safe shale gas extraction

Alex Russell & Peter Strachan

20th October 2016

The UK government's insistence of pursuing fracking is based on a flawed and utterly misinformed vision of our future, write Alex Russell and Peter Strachan. Rather than delivering the prosperity they promise, large scale fracking would cause massive pollution of air and water, undermine vital export industries, and leave us with an irretrievably damaged economy and natural environment. more...

WITNESS: Obesity, Ecology and the Confines of the Government Strategy

Yvonne Adebola

13th October, 2016

In the first of our new WITNESS series of blogs, food anthropology researcher YVONNE ADEBOLA suggests a 'One Health' approach to childhood obesity which recognises the ecological impact of modern food systems on the environment and on our collective health and wellbeing more...
A total of 1,378 chemicals are banned for use in cosmetics in the EU, as opposed to a mere 11 in the US. Photo: Agnes via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Europe must resist chemical industry attacks on health and environment

Lora Verheecke & Laura Große

12th October 2016

Chemical and pesticide industry lobbyists are striving to abolish the European precautionary principle in favour of a so-called 'science-based' approach, write Lora Verheecke & Laura Große. If the EU succumbs to the spin, human health and the environment across Europe will be sacrificed to corporate profit. more...
Piglets living in cruel and unhygienic conditions on a factory farm somewhere in the UK Photo: FarmsNotFactories.

Superbug-infected pigs get into Britain unchecked, contaminate food chain

Andrew Wasley / Bureau of Investigative Journalism

14th October 2016

Regulatory failures are allowing Danish pigs infected with lethal antibiotic-resistant bacteria into British farms, writes Andrew Wasley, with contaminated pork found in UK supermarkets, and three human infections recorded. The official response? Deny there's a problem, take no action, and hope for the best. Six people may have died from the bug in Denmark, but the UK is safe, surely? more...
Is there more in your supermarket meat than you bargained for? Like antibiotic resistant bacteria? Photo: Robert Couse-Baker via Flickr (CC BY).

Supermarkets must act on farm antibiotics!

Emma Rose

11th October 2016

Hot on the heels of the recent revelations of antibiotic-resistant bacteria on UK meat, a new Early Day Motion in the House of Commons calls on supermarkets to prohibit 'routine mass-medication of livestock' in their supply chains, and commit to 'drastic reductions' in farm use of critically important antibiotics. Make sure your MP signs! more...
A keyboard player, blind from birth due to a genetic defect induced by Agent Orange, performing at the War Remnants Museum. Photo: Mick Grant.

First Agent Orange, now Roundup: what's Monsanto up to in Vietnam? Ecologist Special Investigation

Mick Grant

10th October 2016

With the International Monsanto Tribunal beginning this week (14-16 October) in The Hague, MICK GRANT reports from Vietnam with this special investigation for The Ecologist five decades after the company's lethal herbicide Agent Orange first devastated the country - and discovers the agribusiness giant is sneaking its way back into Vietnam with modern herbicides and 'Roundup-Ready' GMO crops. more...
Mark Lynas, Kevin Folta, Bill Gates ... the chair is yours to make the case for GMO crops. Or are you chicken? Photo: Hernán Piñera via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

GMO debate: why are Cornell biotech boosters 'chicken'?

Jonathan Latham

4th October 2016

The purported mission of the Cornell Alliance for Science is to explain the science underlying biotechnology and GMOs, writes Jonathan Latham. So with a debate on the issue taking place tomorrow, 5th October, on the Cornell campus, how come CAS can't find a single speaker prepared to defend their zealously pro-GM stance? 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...
Fresh organic 'Heirloom' garlic from New Roots Farm in Newmarket NH, at the Portsmouth, NH farmer's market. Photo: ilovebutter via Flickr (CC BY).

Why the sustainable food movement is unstoppable: it's the philosophy!

Jonathan Latham, PhD

3rd October 2016

Members of the food movement share an infectious vision, writes Jonathan Latham - one which is constructive, convivial, classless, raceless, international, and embraces the whole world. Unled yet inspirational, it rests on a novel, harmonious philosophy that combines science, recognition of planetary boundaries, and the universal need for wholesome sustenance. 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...

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Old landfill site at Cow Lane, Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire. Photo: Peter O'Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Zane: the lethal conspiracy of silence over contaminated land must end

Paul Mobbs

6th September 2016

The shocking death of Zane Gbangbola, killed by toxic gas from a 'forgotten' landfill under his home, exposes the UK's dangerous legacy of contaminated land, writes Paul Mobbs. Without action, these polluted sites will damage health and even kill for centuries to come. But governments, local authorities, landowners and developers are united in a shameful policy of silence and denial. 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...
Waves break over the sandbars (1), feeder currents form moving parallel to the shore (2), until meeting and flowing offshore as a rip current (3). Image: Tim Scott, Author provided.

How to spot hazardous 'rip currents' at the beach - before you get in the water

Martin Austin, Bangor University

25th August 2016

Five men tragically died this week at Camber Sands in East Sussex, making holiday makers are increasingly fearful of the dangers of sea bathing. One of the biggest dangers comes from so-called 'rip tides' which carry swimmers out to sea on fast-moving 'rivers' of water, writes MARTIN AUSTIN. So here's how to recognise the dangers - before you even get in the water. 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...
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...
Most rice-eating peoples like their rice white - and will avoid yellow rice as the colour is an indicator of the deadly mould that causes beri-beri disease. Photo: rice and curry on banana leaf in Riau, Indonesia, by John Walker via Flickr (CC BY).

Beri-beri disease and resistance to GM 'Golden Rice'

Ted Greiner, PhD

13th July 2016

Rice-eating peoples are very particular about the rice their diets are based on, writes Ted Greiner. And they have a strong aversion to yellow grains, the tell-tale sign of the deadly mould that causes beri-beri disease. That alone makes GMO 'Golden Rice' a non starter; 107 Nobel Laureates had better start eating their words. more...
Tank destroyed by depleted uranium (DU) munitions on Iraq's 'Highway of Death' in the first Gulf War, February 2003. Photo: Christiaan Briggs via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Chilcot: UK insists it has 'no long-term legal responsibility to clean up DU from Iraq'

Doug Weir

11th July 2016

The Chilcot report reveals that the UK has disclaimed any duty to decontaminate the toxic, radioactive ash left behind by its DU munitions, or even monitor the impacts on human health, writes Doug Weir. But Iraq and other countries are working towards a UN Resolution this October that would hold contaminating governments like the UK and the US legally accountable for DU pollution. more...
Whited Sepulchre of science? The Royal Society's imposing building overlooking St James's Park, London. Photo: Steve Slater via Flickr (CC BY).

Royal Society must end its partisan, unscientific support for GM crops and food

Steven Druker

13th July 2016

The Royal Society purports to provide unbiased information on scientific issues, writes Steven Druker. But its new guide on GMOs is grossly misleading - glossing over the many dangers inherent to the technology with bland, unsupported re-assurances. The Society must end its partisan promotion of GMOs or risk its reputation as Britain's premier scientific body. more...
A flayed whole dog placed in a cooking pot with other ingredients to make the 'dog elixir' soup for South Korea's 'Boknal' festival. Photo: courtesy of Anneka Svenska.

Korea's disgusting dog-eating 'festival' must end

Anneka Svenska

11th July 2016

With the coming of summer, South Korea's 'Boknal' dog-eating festival is under way, writes Anneka Svenska. Known for the extreme cruelty deliberately inflicted on dogs to improve the taste of their meat, Boknal is a barbaric relic rooted in ignorance and pseudo-medical superstition whose time is well and truly up. more...
Spot the difference! Golden rice and ordinary rice. Photo: International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY).

Pro-GMO campaign exploits Nobel laureates in 'Golden Rice' Greenpeace attack

Claire Robinson

4th July 2016

Greenpeace is being attacked for 'crimes against humanity' by 100 Nobel laureates for blocking GMO 'golden' rice, reports Claire Robinson. But the low-yielding crop is years away from going on sale, and there is no proof of any nutritional benefit to the malnourished children it's meant to benefit. Could the distinguished prize-winners have fallen for slick pro-GMO PR and spin? more...
Are we the real lab rats? If glyphosate herbicides can mess up rats uterine development, what's it doing to humans? Photo: Tatiana Bulyonkova via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Glyphosate disrupts rats' uterine development


21st June 2016

As the EU prepares to vote on whether to re-authorise glyphosate this week, a new study finds that commercial formulations of the herbicide alter the development of rats' uteruses, potentially causing cancer and affecting fertility. more...
Jo Ruxton, co-producer of 'A Plastic Ocean'. Photo: via

Plastic Ocean - why the world should declare plastic 'hazardous waste'

Lesley Henderson, Brunel University London

8th June 2016

Plastic is ubiquitous around the world's oceans, writes Lesley Henderson, but although it's visible from space, it can be surprisingly elusive in the water - as she heard from Jo Ruxton, producer of the investigative documentary 'A Plastic Ocean'. Solutions to this growing hazard have also proved elusive to date, hence the film's strong focus on action: educational, cultural and legal. more...


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