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Leading animal rights activist Gene Baur examines the real cost of the meat on our plates -- for both humans and animals alike -- in this provocative and thorough examination of the modern farm industry. Many people picture cows, sheep, pigs, and chickens as friendly creatures who live happily within the confines of a peaceful family farm, arriving as food for humans only at the end of their sun-drenched lives. That's what Gene Baur had been told -- but when he first visited a stockyard he realized that this rosy depiction couldn't be more inaccurate. Amid the stench, noise, and filth, his attention was drawn in particular to one sheep who had been cast aside for dead. But as Baur walked by, the sheep raised her head and looked right at him. She was still alive, and the one thing Baur knew for sure that day was that he had to get her to safety. Hilda, as she was later named, was nursed back to health and soon became the first resident of Farm Sanctuary -- an organization dedicated to the rescue, care, and protection of farm animals. The truth is that farm production does not depend on the family farmer with a small herd of animals but instead resembles a large, assembly-line factory. Animals raised for human consumption are confined for the entirety of their lives and often live without companionship, fresh air, or even adequate food and water.Viewed as production units rather than living beings with feelings, ten billion farm animals are exploited specifically for food in the United States every year. In "Farm Sanctuary," Baur provides a thoughtprovoking investigation of the ethical questions involved in the production of beef, poultry, pork, milk, and eggs -- and what each of us can do to stop the mistreatment of farm animals and promote compassion. He details the triumphs and the disappointments of more than twenty years on the front lines of the animal protection movement. And he introduces sanctuary. us to some of the special creatures who live at Farm Sanctuary -- from Maya the cow to Marmalade the chicken -- all of whom escaped horrible circumstances to live happier, more peaceful lives. "Farm Sanctuary" shows how all of us have an opportunity and a responsibility to consume a kinder plate, making a better life for ourselves and animals as well. You will certainly never think of a hamburger or chicken breast the same way after reading this book.
Once patronized primarily by the counterculture and the health food establishment, the organic food industry today is a multi-billion-dollar business driven by ever-growing consumer demand for safe food and greater public awareness of ecological issues. Assumed by many to be a recent phenomenon, that industry owes much to agricultural innovations that go back to the Dust Bowl era. This book explores the roots and branches of alternative agricultural ideas in twentieth-century America, showing how ecological thought has challenged and changed agricultural theory, practice, and policy from the 1930s to the present. It introduces us to the people and institutions who forged alternatives to industrialized agriculture through a deep concern for the enduring fertility of the soil, a passionate commitment to human health, and a strong advocacy of economic justice for farmers. Randal Beeman and James Pritchard show that agricultural issues were central to the rise of the environmental movement in the United States. As family farms failed during the Depression, a new kind of agriculture was championed based on the holistic approach taught by the emerging science of ecology. Ecology influenced the "permanent agriculture" movement that advocated such radical concepts as long-term land use planning, comprehensive soil conservation, and organic farming. Then in the 1970s, "sustainable agriculture" combined many of these ideas with new concerns about misguided technology and an over-consumptive culture to preach a more sensible approach to farming. In chronicling the overlooked history of alternative agriculture, A Green and Permanent Land records the significant contributions of individuals like RexTugwell, Hugh Bennett, Louis Bromfield, Edward Faulkner, Russell and Kate Lord, Scott and Helen Nearing, Robert Rodale, Wes Jackson, and groups like Friends of the Land and the Practical Farmers of Iowa. And by demonstrating how agriculture also remains central to the public interest-especially in the face of climatic crises, genetically altered crops, and questionable uses of pesticides-this book puts these issues in historical perspective and offers readers considerable food for thought.
Sir Albert Howard presents a summary of his life's work in this book. Howard states "This law is true for soil, plant, animal, and man: the health of these four is one connected chain. Any weakness or defect in the health of any earlier link in the chain is carried on to the next and succeeding links, until it reaches the last, namely, man." Howard's work, decades ahead of its time, provides an insight into how he realized the value of organic methods though he went to India intending to teach the use of chemical fertilizers and chemical pest control.This text has been published under the title "The Soil and Health" and also under the title "Farming and Gardening for Health or Disease."
The politics of food is changing fast. In rich countries, obesity is now a more serious problem than hunger. Consumers once satisfied with cheap and convenient food now want food that is also safe, nutritious, fresh, and grown by local farmers using fewer chemicals. Heavily subsidized and under-regulated commercial farmers are facing stronger push-back from environmentalists and consumer activists, and food companies are under the microscope. Meanwhile in developing countries, agricultural success in Asia has spurred income growth and dietary enrichment, but agricultural failure in Africa has left one third of all citizens undernourished. The international markets that link these diverse regions together are subject to sudden disruption, as noted when an unexpected spike in international food prices in 2008 caused street riots in a dozen or more countries. In an easy-to-navigate, question-and-answer format, Food Politics carefully examines and explains the most important issues on today's global food landscape, including the food crisis of 2008, famines, the politics of chronic hunger, the Malthusian race between food production and population growth, international food aid, controversies surrounding green revolution farming, the politics of obesity, farm subsidies and trade, agriculture and the environment, agribusiness, supermarkets, food safety, fast food, slow food, organic food, local food, and genetically engineered food. Politics in each of these areas has become polarized over the past decade by conflicting claims and accusations from advocates on all sides. Paarlberg's book maps this contested terrain through the eyes of an independent scholar not afraid to unmask myths and name names. More than a few of today's fashionable beliefs about farming and food are brought down a notch under this critical scrutiny. For those ready to have their thinking about food politics informed and also challenged, this is the book to read.