Agriculture / Consumption / North America / Research / USA

‘Food miles’ can be ‘false miles’ when total energy expenditures are taken into account

American science and history writer Stephen Budiansky published a tonic op-ed in the New York Times last week on the dangers of simplifying such inherently complex issues as total energy expenditures in the production, transportation and marketing of food. As his article tellingly points out (see excerpts below), making arbitrary rules about our food systems, … Continue reading

Livelihoods / Pakistan / South Asia

A lifetime’s work and livestock swept away in Pakistan

The flooding in Rajanpur, in Pakistan’s Punjab region, 14 August 2010. A man stranded with his remaining animals on a bit of unflooded ground waves for help (photo by Mudassir Ejaz Khan). An Op-Ed in today’s New York Times, written by Daniyal Mueenuddin, a Pakistani mango farmer and writer (author of the story collection ‘In Other … Continue reading

Animal Production / Livestock Systems / North America / Pigs / Poultry / USA

Large-scale American livestock farmers and animal rights activists agree to compromise

‘Concessions by farmers in this state [Ohio] to sharply restrict the close confinement of hens, hogs and veal calves are the latest sign that so-called factory farming — a staple of modern agriculture that is seen by critics as inhumane and a threat to the environment and health — is on the verge of significant … Continue reading

Ethiopia / Nutrition

Why old (carnivory) habits die hard: Stone-tool butchery may be a 3.8-million-year-old affair

Reconstructed model of what Lucy looked like, from ‘Lucy’s Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia’, Houston Museum of Natural Science, July 2009 (photo by Trish Mayo) If something new is always coming out of Africa, something old is always coming out of the Middle Awash, a (once wet, now desiccated) region of the Great Rift … Continue reading

Climate Change / Europe / Research

British panel exonerates climate scientists of manipulating research

‘A British panel issued a sweeping exoneration on Wednesday of scientists caught up in the controversy known as Climategate, saying it found no evidence that they had manipulated their research to support preconceived ideas about global warming. ‘The researcher at the center of the controversy, a leading climatologist named Phil Jones, was immediately reinstated to … Continue reading

East Africa / Markets / Trade

East African countries form a Common Market

‘The world’s newest common market was created [1 July 2010] when a regional bloc of five east African countries freed up the movement of people, products and capital across borders, furthering East Africa’s dream of broad political unification. ‘The transformation and growth of the bloc, known as the East African Community, has been unfolding quickly … Continue reading

Animal Breeding / Biotechnology / Fish / USA

Genetically altered salmon get closer to US tables

‘The [US] Food and Drug Administration is seriously considering whether to approve the first genetically engineered animal that people would eat — salmon that can grow at twice the normal rate. ‘The developer of the salmon has been trying to get approval for a decade. But the company now seems to have submitted most or … Continue reading