There is a reason Big Pharma and Big Food fear Web and social media. It can't be bought, manipulated or spun! Big Ag has forced through "Ag Gag" laws in eight states that criminalize free speech and whistleblower activity. When Idaho lawmakers were confronted with grotesque undercover video from Bettencourt Dairies Dry Creek Dairy in Hansen, Idaho showing workers beating trapped cows and dragging a cow by a chain around her neck they had a swift response: They passed a law to criminalize videotaping of farms. Yet even leading pro-animal ag voices say streaming live video on factory farms might be the only way to stop abuse,
Recently Big Pharma got approval from the FDA to make "corrections" to "factually incorrect postings" on the Web and Twitter without having to balance them with the side effects found in its ads. Why the new leniency? "Correcting the many incorrect posts is an important tool for drug companies whose reputation can be shattered by bloggers," said the FDA about its industry buddy.
4) Biotech Food Is Green
It was a great moment in factory farming disingenuity. In 2009 the National Turkey Federation's Michael Ryblot told Congress if they took away his antibiotics it would increase manure and pollution and be less green because the animals couldn't be crammed together. Similar arguments swirled around Monsanto (now Elanco's) recombinant bovine growth hormone because Posilac made each cow "unit" produce more milk. "Fewer cows means less methane produced by bovine intestinal tracts, and manure production is cut by about 3.6 million tons" per year said an oped in the Washington Times. "At the same time, more than 5.5 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel (enough to power 8,800 homes) are saved, greenhouse gas emissions are lowered by 30,000 metric tons."
"More innovation not more animals," asserts the Elanco report, repeating the same Biotech green-washing. "Simply by using practices available today or already in the pipeline, cows around the world can increase their output by a mere half glass per cow, enough to satisfy future global demand," in a veiled commercial for GMOs like rBGH. Adding the "innovations" would save "747 Million Tons of feed, 388 Million Acres
of farmland" [and[ 618 Billion Gallons of water" a year says the report. Why does Big Ag only admit to environmental destruction when selling Biotech?
5) Transporting Food Across the World is Green
Even as many in the U.S. embrace the carbon footprint friendly idea of locally grown food, Big Ag and Biotech tout the opposite. "Growing food in highly productive areas where the resources exist, then moving it to areas of need, offers far more efficient use of resources," says Elanco's report. "In fact, transportation accounts for less than 4% of the environmental impact of food production. Further, it's cost effective. Refrigerated freight for a pound of meat to Asia adds just 15 cents on average to the cost."
The U.S. chicken industry has done similar computations. Last fall, the Obama administration approved the sale in the U.S. of chickens raised and slaughtered in the U.S. or Canada, "processed" in China and sent back to the U.S. Presumably the outsourced labor is cheap enough to offset transportation and refrigeration costs, though no one is addressing the carbon footprint. Sending chickens half way around the world and back for U.S. consumers also has a precedent. "The U.S. currently allows shrimp to be sent to China for processing, including breading," reports Bloomberg, and imported $1.9 billion worth of seafood from China in 2012. Recent KFC, Starbucks, Pizza Hut and McDonald's scandals show the dangers in China food production, especially meat.