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How it all began: Monsanto Tribunal Opening day, 14th October 2016. Photo: Monsanto Tribunal via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Tribunal judges: Monsanto isn't feeding the world - it's undermining food security

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

24th April 2017

Five international judges say Monsanto's activities have negatively affected individuals, communities and biodiversity, writes Claire Robinson. The Monsanto Tribunal's damning ruling denounces the company's harmful impacts on food sovereignty, agricultural production, access to nutrition, the natural environment, seed diversity, climate change, pollution and traditional cultural practices. more...
Another 100,000 English badgers could be shot because of fake science and faker statistics. Photo: Tom Langton. Note that no badgers died or suffered to produce this photograph!

Lies, damned lies and twisted statistics - fake science set to kill 100,000 English badgers

Tom Langton

13th April 2017

The government / NFU badger culling policy is based on a single study, the Randomised Badger Culling Trials (RBCT), which found that area-wide badger killing reduced TB 'breakdowns' in cattle herds. But a robust reanalysis of the RBCT data reveals that culling is entirely ineffective, writes Tom Langton. The only scientifically valid conclusion is that culling badgers has no effect on TB in cattle. Defra and Natural England must think again! more...
The rich, deep color of this soil and high organic content shows exactly what healthy soil looks like. A diverse blend of crops, grasses, and cover crops creates a protective blanket that feeds and nurtures the soil. Photo: USDA-NRCS photo by Catherine Ul

How to feed the world? The answer lies in healthy soils

David R. Montgomery, University of Washington

7th April 2017

There's only one real faultline in farming, writes David R. Montgomery, and it's not the one between organic and 'conventional'. What really matters is whether farming systems are building, improving and nurturing soils - or exploiting them for short term gain. And if we want to keep humans well fed and healthy for the long term, there's only one choice to make. more...

The Food Paradox and our collective role in it...

Laura Briggs

5th April, 2017

How can we bridge the gap between ‘fast food' living and responsible consumption when mass production and a throw-away mindset still dominate the lifestyles of most people? LAURA BRIGGS has some thoughts... more...
Photo: Tom Langton.

Bovine TB summit: science-based policy, or policy-based science?

Tom Langton

7th April 2017

The Bovine TB conference in London last week was disrupted by media reporting of scientific conflict over badger culling studies, writes ecologist Tom Langton. But the real story is the collapse of confidence in the Randomised Badger Culling Trials, used to justify the mass killing of badgers; and the emergence of reliable new TB tests. The simple solution: stop the cull, and spend the money on gamma interferon cattle TB testing. more...
Bacon with nipple: Still from 'Carnage' by Simon Amstell / BBC iPlayer.

'Carnage' imagines a vegan utopia where animals live as equals - could it happen?

Matthew Adams, University of Brighton

28th March 2017

In the year 2067, the eating of meat - carnism - will be seen as crime similar to cannibalism today, writes Matthew Adams. That is, in the fertile imagination of Simon Amstell, expressed in his BBC iPlayer film 'Carnage'. With 55 billion animals slaughtered every year for their meat, the vision looks remote. But the world will be a far better place if we begin the transition to plant-based diets - for our health, that of the planet, and not least, the animals themselves. more...
Cattle grazing in Maharashtra, India. With global warming, their forage will get tougher, and their methane emissions higher. Photo: Vijay Sonar via Flickr (CC BY).

Spiral of doom: hotter world increases cattle methane emissions

Oliver Tickell

27th March 2017

A vicious cycle of climate change, cattle diet and rising methane has been revealed in a new scientific study: as temperatures rise, forage plants get tougher and harder to digest, and cause more methane to be produced in bovine stomachs. And with cattle numbers rising and methane 85 times more powerful a greenhouse gas over 20 years, that spells trouble. more...
Does this look like genetic engineering to you? Crystal Structure of Cas9 in Complex with Guide RNA and Target DNA. By Hiroshi Nishimasu, F. Ann Ran, Patrick D. Hsu, Silvana Konermann, Soraya I. Shehata, Naoshi Dohmae, Ryuichiro Ishitani, Feng Zhang, and

'New Breeding Techniques' and synthetic biology - genetic engineering by another name

Helena Paul, Elisabeth Bücking & Ricarda A. Steinbrecher

4th April 2017

Advocates claim that synthetic biology and the so-called New Breeding Techniques (NBTs) are distinct from genetic engineering (GE), write Helena Paul, Elisabeth Bücking & Ricarda Steinbrecher. In fact synthetic biology and NBTs carry similar risks to old-style GE, and even create novel hazards. The 'new GE' techniques - as they should be named - and their products deserve regulation at least as strict as those applying to GMOs. more...
Victoria water lilies in Pucate Creek (Quebrada Pucate) off Rio Marañon, Peru. Photo: Mike LaBarbera via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Scientists: protect vast Amazon peatland to avoid palm oil 'environmental disaster'

Joe Sandler Clarke /Greenpeace Energydesk

23rd March 2017

A recently discovered peatland in northeast Peru contains two years worth of US carbon emissions, writes Joe Sandler Clarke, but it's under threat from the rapidly advancing 'palm oil frontier'. Now scientists are calling for the wetland's immediate protection - before it's too late to save it. more...
Organic beetroot grown at Sandy lane Farm, Oxfordshire: good for you, the farmer, wildlife and the wider environment. Photo: Sandy lane Farm via Facebook.

We need more organic farming!

Peter Melchett / Soil Association

23rd March 2017

A new study sets out the huge benefits of organic farming to people and the environment, writes Peter Melchett, including more wildlife, healthier consumers and farm workers, lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduced soil erosion and increased water retention. We need more of it, fast! more...
Photo: VIVA & Allen Hanford Ltd.

Human rights are animal rights!

Peter Tatchell

28th March 2017

Abusing animals is no more justifiable than abusing people, writes Peter Tatchell. The moral touchstone is sentience, not species, and the 'humans first' ideology of speciesism is analogous to homophobia, racism & misogyny. Cruelty is barbarism, whether inflicted on humans or on other species. We need to recognise and accept our common animal nature. more...

Ecologist Special Report: Colombian Coffee Growers Adapt to a Changing Climate

Forest Ray

21st March, 2017

Growing coffee is both a point of pride and a significant economic driver for Colombia but a changing climate is now threatening the harvest. FOREST RAY reports on the new challenges facing growers from that country more...

farming: 1/25 of 1500
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Badgered to death? Photo: Andrew Gray via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Badgered to Death? Now MPs have no excuse for ignorance

Dominic Dyer

20th March 2017

The badger cull is a clear failure on scientific, cost and humanity grounds, writes Dominic Dyer. Yet the government is planning a major extension of the cull in 2017. That's why he has just sent a copy of his acclaimed book to every British MP, before they debate the issue next week. Write to yours now demanding an end to the slaughter! more...

Fukushima farmers grow traditional brown cotton

20th March, 2017

In 2011 the Fukushima region of Japan was devastated by an earthquake and nuclear disaster. Six years on, the residents have begun to rebuild their lives and are producing Japanese cotton. more...
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...
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