Danielle Nierenberg's blog

Got an addiction? Milk and oil prices rise, but demand remains strong

As prices for gasoline and milk rise, consumers have balked at—but still paid for—gas that hovers at around $3 a gallon and milk that costs anywhere from $3 to $5 a carton. But the question isn't whether these prices are too high—it's whether we're paying enough for our penchant for cheap dairy and fossil fuels.

Plant-based diets go Hollywood

Okay, I admit it. Sometimes I watch crappy TV—I call it "mind candy" after a long day of writing about tough issues like meat production, farm animal welfare, and the environmental problems caused by nitrogen pollution. Once in a while, however, these two worlds collide.

Foot-and-mouth hits UK livestock…again

Over the weekend, my inbox was filled with news about the latest foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in the UK. And, like many food and ag bloggers who write about animal agriculture, I’m anxious to see how the British government responds.

Preventing avian flu: Bigger isn’t always better

As avian flu has spread across Asia, Africa, and parts of Europe over the last three years, many countries have responded by banning outdoor raising and sale of poultry. Why? Their rationale is that confining poultry in larger, factory-farm style production facilities and implementing biosecurity procedures will prevent the emergence and spread of H5N1 and other diseases.

Feeding Livestock Grass: A Climate Solution

I’ve been reading a lot about "shit" lately—more specifically, cow manure and all the nasty things it can do to the air and even the climate. And my interest in this topic isn't that unique; there’s actually a lot of research currently being done around the world on how to make manure less noxious.

China's chicken leaves sour taste in world’s mouth

China’s food production has been in the news quite a bit over the last few years, thanks to avian flu and most recently the melamine-tainted pet food and livestock feed scandal. As a result, the nation’s director of food safety has been sentenced to death, and other heads are likely to roll, so to speak.

Livestock: Making climate count

Earlier this week, the new U.S. non-profit Climate Counts launched a website that ranks companies based on their commitment (or lack thereof) to curbing climate change. According to the New York Times, the group “wants consumers to think about more than taste or service” as they make their buying decisions. The site ranks 56 companies from 0 to 100, and of the 17 food and food service companies listed, none scored higher than Unilever, with a 71. Even Stonyfield Farm, a well-known purveyor of organic yogurt, only came out with a score of 63, which CEO Gary Hirschberg (himself a committed environmentalist and a board member of Climate Counts) hopes to strengthen by investing more in renewable energy.

Using livestock to make coal plants look better

An article in the Wall Street Journal last Thursday announced an interesting—and potentially disturbing—plan from the American Electric Power Company (AEP), one of the largest electric utilities in the United States. According to the Journal, AEP spews out more carbon dioxide than any other U.S. company—some 145 million metric tons a year. And while the utility is “investigating various ways to curb its global-warming emissions” at its plants, it is also finding ways to cut emissions at another kind of factory: factory farms...

Protecting livestock biodiversity

This week, the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is meeting to discuss something most of us never think about: the world’s livestock genetic resources. Participants from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, NGOs, and representatives for pastoralists and livestock farmers are meeting in preparation for the First International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources this September in Interlaken, Switzerland.

World Bank discusses livestock, Part 3: Preventing disease, protecting livelihoods

Last week's World Bank workshop on livestock's "long shadow" brought together a diverse crowd. In addition to Bank staff, U.N. representatives, animal welfare activists, and environmental NGOs, Dr. Steve Osofsky from the Wildlife Conservation Society spoke to the group. But why would a conservation organization be interested in livestock?

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