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Cattle packed in as far as the eye can see at the Harris Ranch feedlot in California. Photo: Farm Sanctuary via Flickr.

The true cost of your beefburger is much worse than you know

Gidon Eshel

22nd July 2014

US beef carries a heavy environmental cost in water, land, emissions. But few of us know quite how damaging beef is, writes Gidon Eshel, nor that it is more than five times worse than pork, poultry, eggs or cheese. Isn't it time we did something about it? more...
The social structure of badger families is perturbed by the loss of a single member, and this can cause the spread of any TB they may be harbouring. Photo: Tim Brookes via Flickr.

Badger Trust's High Court cull challenge

The Ecologist

21st July 2014

The Badger Trust will challenge the trial badger culls in the High Court next month, claiming that Environment Secretary Liz Truss and Natural England are acting unlawfully in failing to appoint an expert panel to oversee the experiment. more...
Deyeatee and Comfort, JogBahn Clan women leaders, reading the petition. Photo: Jason Taylor for Friends of the Earth, 2014.

Liberia - communities join to fight the palm oil land grab

Jacinta Fay & Silas Kpanan'Ayoung Siakor

18th July 2014

Liberia's Jogbahn Clan is at the forefront of efforts to resist the grab of Indigenous Peoples' land and forests for palm oil plantations. But according to the country's President, they are only 'harrassing and extorting' international investors. more...
Liz Truss threatens a badger with a garden fork at the Family Action's Escape Allotment in Swaffham. Photo: Matthew Usher / edp24.co.uk/

Truss - the badgers must die!

The Ecologist

17th July 2014

The new Environment Secretary Liz Truss flunked her first 'Green test' today as she told Parliament that the badger cull goes on. We run this excerpt from the Parliamentary record in which she states 'We are progressing with our programme!' more...
Barn swallow chicks (Hirundo rustica) at Arrábida (Quinta do Camalhão), Setúbal, Portugal. This insectivorous species is among those impacted by imidacloprid. Photo: Jose Sousa via Flickr.

It's not just the bees! 'Neonic' pesticides linked to bird declines

Helen Thompson

17th July 2014

A study published today in Nature shows a strong correlation between concentrations of a popular neonicotinoid pesticide in water, and bird declines, writes Helen Thompson. Regulators are under pressure to tighten up, but the industry still claims there's 'no substantiated evidence'. more...
A Palestinian woman hugs an olive tree to protect it from destruction by the Israeli army. Photo: via Frank M. Rafik / Flickr.

Bethlehem: 'No matter how many olive trees they destroy, will will plant more!'

Megan Perry / Sustainable Food Trust

18th July 2014

Since 1967, Israeli soldiers and 'settlers' in occupied Palestine have destroyed 800,000 olive trees in an attempt to force Palestinian farmers from their land, writes Megan Perry. 'Our response to this injustice will never be with violence, and we will never give up and leave.' more...
Colorful Heirloom Potatoes - 'Carola', 'All Red', 'All Blue', and 'Purple Viking' - collection  from Seed Savers. Photo: Susy Morris via Flickr.

Building an International Seed Savers Exchange

Andrew Kimbrell / Center for Food Safety

19th July 2014

Recent decades have seen a hardening global clampdown on the rights of farmers to use, save, develop, share, swap and distribute the seeds that produce the food we all eat, writes Andrew Kimbrell - and which constitute an essential common heritage of mankind. Here's his plan to fight back against the seed monopolists ... more...
Vandana Shiva leads a protest in India against Monsanto's GM seeds. Now she's on the warpath against Avaaz. Photo: Daniel Voglesong via Flickr.

Avaaz's global 'ebay of seeds' - how did they get it so wrong?

Julian Rose

16th July 2014

Already 56,000 people have pledged to support a global 'internet seed swap' initiative promoted by Avaaz, writes Julian Rose. Trouble is, the plans are deeply flawed, and have been developed without consultation with major seed saving groups worldwide. more...
Owen Paterson MP with Joe & Sephs Gourmet Popcorn. The 'Mad Dog' sign refers to a brand of lemonade. Photo: UKTI via Flickr.

Owen Paterson sacked: the end of 'badger bashing'?

Lesley Docksey

15th July 2014

Owen Paterson's departure from Government could see the end of the hated badger culls and a wider return to environmental sanity, writes Lesley Docksey. Given his disbelief in climate change and his arrogant disregard of science, it's not a moment too soon! more...
A tobacco farmer in Marondera District, Zimbabwe. Photo: Zimbabwe Ministry of Agriculture.

Tobacco - Zimbabwe's forests are going up in smoke

Ray Mwareya

22nd July 2014

A flood of smallholders that have benefited from Zimbabwe's land reform are turning to tobacco as their crop of choice, reports Ray Mwareya. But the economic gains are coming at a terrible cost - the accelerating destruction of the country's forests. more...
For Sale - the Co-op's Stoughton Farm.

Community bids excluded from Coop farm sale

The Ecologist

9th July 2014

The sale process of the UK's Co-op Group of its entire 70,000 acre farm estate systematically blocked community and cooperative bidders. Not a single such bid was received by the deadline. more...
French dairy farmers Sandrine Lizaga milking her organic ewes.

EU outlaws animal use of herbal remedies on organic farms

Sandra Saadi

11th July 2014

New EU regulations forbid the use of herbal remedies and plant essences to maintain animal health instead of antibiotics, reports Sandra Saadi. An organic ewe breeder in France has already been threatened with the loss of EU farm support payments. more...

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Bee gathering nectar. Photo: Jack Wolf via Flickr.

Victory! Syngenta pulls 'bee-killer' pesticide application

The Ecologist

4th July 2014

Blaming 'lack of time', Syngenta withdraws its emergency application to use a seed treatment blamed for killing bees. Friends of the Earth and 38 Degrees claim victory - but Syngenta warns: we'll be back! more...
Spaying agro-chemicals on a windy day. Photo: Graham Rawlings via Flickr.

Scientists write: EPA, ban 'agent orange' herbicide mix and GMO crops!

The undersigned

3rd July 2014

Thirty-five distinguished scientists urge the US-EPA not to register new mixtures of the herbicides 2,4-D and glyphosate, intended for use on herbicide-tolerant GMO crops. Approval of the herbicide mixtures would endanger both human and environmental health. more...
Model's prediction vs recorded data of (a) reactor (infected) cattle, shaded region shows 95% credibility from 5,000 simulations, and (b) distribution density of infected cattle. Image: Brooks-Pollock, Roberts, Keeling / Nature.

Culling badgers is no way to stop the spread of bovine TB

Matt Keeling

3rd July 2014

Published in Nature today, a new cattle herd model shows how bTB infects cattle and how to halt its spread, writes Matt Keeling. Most effective is the slaughter of entire herds with even a single TB infection detected. Culling badgers has very little impact. more...
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson faces a High Court appearance when his 'irrational' decision to hold the 2014 badger cull with no independent expert scrutiny is subjected to Judicial Review.

Badger cull High Court challenge goes ahead

The Ecologist

2nd July 2014

The Badger Trust has been granted leave for a Judicial Review of Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and Natural England over their 'irrational' decision to conduct the 2013 badger cull with no independent expert scrutiny. more...
Neonicotinoid insecticides are killing more than just bees - entire farmland ecosystems are being poisoned. Photo: honeybees (Apis mellifera) on wild fennel, Albany, California, by Jack Wolf via Flickr.

Neonicotinoids are poisoning entire farmland ecosystems

Damian Carrington / The Guardian

2nd July 2014

The widespread use of neonicotinoid insecticides is causing a neurotoxic overload afflicting entire farm ecosystems from earthworms to bees, other pollinators and birds, writes Damian Carrington. A collapse in food production may inevitably follow. more...
Examples of female mammary tumors observed. Mammary tumors are evidenced (A, D, H, representative adenocarcinoma, from the same rat in a GMO group) and in Roundup and GMO + Roundup groups, two representative rats (B, C, E, F, I, J fibroadenomas) are compa

Seralini republished: Roundup-ready GMO maize causes serious health damage

Oliver Tickell

25th June 2014

A scientific study that identified serious health impacts on rats fed on 'Roundup ready' GMO maize has been republished following its controversial retraction under strong commercial pressure. Now regulators must respond and review GMO and agro-chemical licenses, and licensing procedures. more...
A terraced valley at Battir. Photo: Andrea Moroni via Flickr.

Palestine's Battir terraces accorded World Heritage protection

Abby Zimet

25th June 2014

An ancient system of irrigated terraces in Palestine's West Bank have been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site against strong opposition from Israel - which wants to build its 'separation wall' across Battir, cutting Palestinian farmers from their land. more...
A palm oil plantation in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network.

The Big Ten food companies must join the climate fight

Julia Wright

20th June 2014

Oxfam's report 'Standing on the Sidelines' lays down a challenge to the 'Big 10' of the global food industry, writes Julia Wright. They must cut their huge carbon emissions, campaign to protect global climate, and rethink their entire mission to encompass health and wellbeing. more...
These organic broad beans at Sandly Lane Farm, Oxfordshire, will soon be ready for harvest. Photo: Sandy Lane Farm.

Earth's vitality and the power of happiness

Jigmi Y. Thinley

19th June 2014

Farming should not only sustain people with healthy food, writes Jigmi Y. Thinley. If humans are to survive on Earth, it must also revitalise nature and sustain vital planetary systems, instead of poisoning and over-exploiting them. And to do that farming must be organic. more...
These cows on the Kerry Ridgeway in Wales are subject to annual TB testing - key to halving TB incidence over 5 years. Photo: John Clift via Flickr.

Bovine TB - biosecurity works, new Defra figures show

Lesley Docksey

18th June 2014

With the 6th International Conference on Bovine TB under way today in Cardiff, Lesley Docksey reports on Defra's latest statistics. BTB in England is falling - and it's falling fastest where the strongest biosecurity measures are in place, confirming the experience of Wales and Scotland. more...
If Europe's farms, like this one near Ludlow, England, provide benefits to wildlife, it's no thanks to the EU's agriculture policies. Photo: Robert Davies via Flickr.

The 'greening' of Europe's farms is a shameful failure

Lynn Dicks & Tim Benton

17th June 2014

The EU's farming policy is being touted as 'greener than ever' - but it's no such thing, write Lynn Dicks & Tim Benton. The 'green reforms' pay farmers for actions (and often inactions) that do not benefit wildlife, and contain no real or effective measures to help. more...
Coming to EU soon - unless the Parliament blocks it. Photo: Dawn One / © Linda and Mikael Hammond / IndyFoto.com via Flickr.

EU go-ahead for GMO crops

The Ecologist

12th June 2014

The EU's Environment Council voted today to devolve GMO decisions to member states - in effect allowing pro-GM governments to go ahead. This messy compromise threatens to allow GMO corporations to ride roughshod over Europe. more...
Switchgrass - 65 tons of it - baled and delivered to a poultry farm. In future, it will be sent in far larger volumes to bioethanol plants. Photo: University of Delaware Carvel REC via Flickr.

GMO bug makes bioethanol direct from grass

Tim Radford

15th June 2014

A new GM bacterium can produce bioethanol from coarse switchgrass, rather than using food crops like maize, writes Tim Radford. It does this by 'digesting' the tough cellulose that yeasts are unable to break down. more...

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