March 25, 2009

Scrapin' Up the Bits... Welcome Back Neko Style

So much news, so little brain power to process it all...

I don't know if this will have the legs to get through the sausage-making process, pun intended, but Rep. Louise Slaughter has introduced a bill that would put tough limits on the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics on farms raising pigs and such for consumption by, well, consumers. This is aimed directly at factory farms, you know, those kind that don't smell too good.

Who knew you could learn so much in an actual piece of legislation...
      (5)(A) an estimated 70 percent of the antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs used in the United States are fed to farm animals for nontherapeutic purposes, including--
        (i) growth promotion; and
        (ii) compensation for crowded, unsanitary, and stressful farming and transportation conditions; and
      (B) unlike human use of antibiotics, these nontherapeutic uses in animals typically do not require a prescription;
(6)(A) large-scale, voluntary surveys by the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in 1999, 2001, and 2006 revealed that 84 percent of grower-finisher swine farms, 83 percent of cattle feedlots, and 84 percent of sheep farms administer antimicrobials in the feed or water for health or growth promotion reasons, and many of the antimicrobials identified are identical or closely related to drugs used in human medicine, including tetracyclines, macrolides, Bacitracin, penicillins, and sulfonamides;

(9) the United States Geological Survey reported in March 2002 that--
(A) antibiotics were present in 48 percent of the streams tested nationwide; and (B) almost half of the tested streams were downstream from agricultural operations;

On the local tip, Pines Tavern in the northern 'burbs, not too far from Casa de Fillippelli, is having these monthly beer dinners. They are, on the whole, affordable. This month's dinner, which began tonight and runs through Friday, features beers from Peak Organic Brewing and some local pork. Unfortunately we had things going on all three nights. Next month, though, as long as the beer offering is decent, I'm there, kids in tow.

Speaking of local, CSA season is not too far away. If you haven't signed up for one, better do it soon.

The Times weighs in on food politics with a semi-strange article, "Is a Food Revolution Now in Season." I didn't find it as off-putting as some. It provides some good general background on the growth of the sustainability movement in the U.S., and it also highlights one of the biggest problems with ag policy in the U.S.: the obstinance and, in my view, corruption of the legislators from the farm states that have been doing big ag's bidding for far too long.

Of course, [Agriculture Secretary] Vilsack will need the approval of Congress for any major changes in farm policy, and therein lies his greatest challenge. Congress passed a farm bill last year that details farm policy for the next five years, and farm-state legislators say they are not interested in starting over.

When the Obama administration recently proposed a budget that would cut subsidies to the nation’s largest farmers and bolster child nutrition payments, it was greeted with hostility in Congress, even by some Democrats.

And, finally, as for the title of this post, Neko Case, she of the glorious pipes, is back with a new album, complete with first single. And, yeah, it's live. No production. Enjoy.

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