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Links With Your Coffee - Wednesday

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. . . I normally love Brian Dunning's Skeptoid podcast. In general, it's thorough, well-written, and Brian is interesting to listen to. I listen pretty much every week, and on weeks when I miss the podcast I usually catch up the next week. Unfortunately, occasionally even Dunning screws up. Occasionally he screws up big time. Like his podcast from three weeks ago, for instance, on DDT, which caused me to cringe as I listened to it. Indeed, I had even thought of blogging it at the time, but my expertise isn't sufficient to cover the topic as well as I normally like to cover my topics.


 

Comments

Whole Foods safety sucks but they care ...

Uhmmm I don't shop at whole foods often because they are too expensive, but there is nothing in that blog entry that made me have any concern about their food safety.

They have a burger recipe that suggests that you don't have to cook a burger as thuroughly when its from one steak and ground at the store. THis is true.

My grandfather used to get his hamburger meat direct from a butcher and ate some burgers raw. Sounds disgusting, but as I understand it, he didn't get sick. In the right circumstances its no more dangerous than eating a rare steak.

Also, is there any evidence that they are letting sick animals die rather than use antibiotics? You had one story of one cow that made no sense. I assume a company like tyson's takes sick chickens, treats them and then sells them in the normal chicken section. But again organic standards do allow for medical treatment with antibiotics, just not using them in feed.

re: RedSeven "But again organic standards do allow for medical treatment with antibiotics, just not using them in feed."

well, not exactly. Organic standard requires that animals be treated if needed, but once they've been given antibiotics they can no longer be sold under the Organic label. That's why many organic dairy farmers keep both Organic and Conventional herds. So long as the critters stay healthy, they stay organic. If they get sick, and must be treated, then they are moved to the conventional herd, and once the FDA required withdrawal time has passed for whatever medication is used, then their milk may be sold as conventional. (There are some drugs that are allowed under Organic practice, such as xylazine for pain during procedures such as castration).

That said, I agree that the article was misleading at best. Accusing a food company of unsafe practice is close to libel, especially when the evidence is a recipe that says to cook hamburgers less than 6 minutes on a side....

So is there really a trend of any farmers letting their animals die because the reduction in value they would see if they treated them? It doesn't seem to make economic sense that they would do that.

So what do you think, do farmers who keep both Organic and Conventional herds delay treatment with antibiotics not really wanting to lose the extra profit they get with selling organic. I suspect that the fact that they will suffer such losses will cloud their judgment, and even more so for those who don't have mixed herds. The organic label may mean unnecessary suffering of animals. I know conventional methods are worse in some ways, but like Mom said two wrongs don't make it right.

It wouldn't make a lot of sense for them to do that.

They would be risking losing 100% of the animals value in an attempt to preserve 20% of their value.

Perhaps they don't give antibiotics at the first sign of a fever, but that isn't exactly a great example of animal suffering. people don't all run to the doctor at the first sign of a cold.

The practice of doing such things was done because the cheapness of meat was valued above the treatement of human and animal deseases.

re: RedSeven "So is there really a trend of any farmers letting their animals die because the reduction in value they would see if they treated them? "

of course not, that would be silly.

re: Norm : "The organic label may mean unnecessary suffering of animals."

If a milk or breeding cow gets mastitis, it must be treated. Otherwise the animal is useless for the purpose for which it's kept, AND it will die. Caring for our animals is our job.

If a beef brood cow needs antibiotics for some reason, then she's treated. That year's nursing calf would need to be sold without the organic label. Just a cost of doing business. However the treated brood cow can continue to deliver Organic calves for years and years after that. Her value does not lie in meat (irrespective of how it's labeled). Her job is delivering calves. Besides which, animals over 3 years old have hardly meat value. Rules implemented in response to that mad-cow business some years back mean the only market are large packers who have the equipment needed to cut the meat from the spinal column, test for mad-cow, and wet age in packages. Those are all conventional packers and no Organic label would be possible anyhow.

I have never had to withdraw a slaughter animal from Organic labeling. The POINT guys, is that Organic meat production is HEALTHIER for the animals than feedlot CAFO operations who depend upon prophylactic antibiotics in feed just to keep the animals alive long enough to grow to slaughter weight.

Can you imagine what a bummer it must be to work a feedlot, depending on drugs just to keep those sorry critters alive. Where's the joy in that? Illness is not the normal state of a cow or chicken. Give the critters what they need to be healthy and you don't need to drug 'em. What a concept.

Happy Thanksgiving folks.

As to DDT, there is a blogger, Millard Fillmore's Bathtub, who has covered it for years.

Look up in his archives or perhaps write to him if you don't find the articles.

http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/

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