Lots of folk are genuinely concerned about the aging population of famers in the USA. Who is going to grow our crops, raise our livestock and put food on the American table when this generation of farmers is too old to farm and quite literally dies out? How serious is this threat to our food system and are we right to be worried about the future of food?
~ THE ACTIVIST
One of the pork producers in our network has an on farm slaughter facility where the hogs are double-stunned, once to the brain and once to the heart. When an animal is stunned to the brain you have about 90 seconds to hoist it and exsanguinate it before it begins to regain consciousness - that's not a lot of time if you have issues with the hoist etc. - double stunning ensures that it will not regain consciousness. A double stun with cattle is not an option so the efficiency lies in a skilled stun gun operator with equipment in good working order. Inefficiency on kill lines and faulty equipment in the mega processing facilities means that animals can and do regain consciousness - the lines are too fast and are sometimes operated by inexperienced workers - the onsite USDA inspectors are too few to adequately inspect, and anyway their main job is to inspect food safety not to ensure animal welfare (despite the Humane Slaughter Act).
By GUEST BLOGGER Carries Abels: Humaneitarian
Reading a short history of veganism while traveling to a sustainable meat conference may seem like an odd thing to do, but trust me, it made sense. As I flew to Atlanta last week for the inaugural Southeastern Sustainable Livestock Conference, I gobbled up Erik Marcus’s excellent short history of the vegan movement and realized that the humane meat movement can learn a lot from America’s vegan and vegetarian pioneers.
Wait — the humane meat movement? Few people may be calling it that at this early stage, but the seeds of it have been planted. It’s a movement comprised of ordinary Americans who are choosing to eat humanely raised meat & dairy, organizations that are certifying and promoting such products, and farmers who are raising them. And just as veganism grew slowly but steadily after it took root in the 1940s, the humane meat movement is growing slowly and steadily — like a healthy heritage-breed chicken!
This is where the Atlanta conference comes in...
GUEST BLOGGER: Kristin Hanson, Atlanta Ethical Eats
This weekend was the first annual Southeastern Sustainable Livestock Conference put on by the talented women at Vital Awareness and I had such a blast attending! I chose to purchase the ticket that included a farm tour to White Oak Pastures on Friday and then entrance into the conference on Saturday. I’ve talked about White Oak Pastures a lot on this blog because they are one of the front runners in the ethical and sustainable eating movement in Georgia. Will Harris is practically a celebrity and for good reason. One of the most important factors in this movement is transparency on every level of the food system and White Oak Pastures is an amazing example of total transparency. This post will summarize my tour!
By Gillian March
What have The Epicurean & The Activist been up to lately? Organizing a livestock conference, that's what!
Not with animals and barn sales….no it was a gathering of folks mainly from the southeast to learn, network and pass on their experience and expertise in the field of sustainable animal agriculture.
We had a stellar list of sponsors:- Animal Welfare Approved, White Oak Pastures, Whole Foods Market, Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill, Global Speciality Foods Inc, Farm Burger, and organized by yours truly at Vital Awareness; with a star studded list of speakers - including Matthew O'Hayer CEO of Vital Farms, Leah Garces USA Director for Compassion In World Farming, Adele Douglas founder of Certified Humane, Donn Cooper Farmer Coordinator from Georgia Organics, and the list goes on (check out the website for the full list at Southeastern Sustainable Livestock Conference).
So why organize a livestock conference, what was the point of it, or more formally what was its mission?