In an article he wrote this week, journalist Sam Husseini recounts how, on February 11, he asked Anne Schuchat, the Centers for Disease Control’s principal deputy director, at the National Press Club if it were a "complete coincidence" that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus happened in Wuhan, a center of China's declared biowarfare/biodefence capacity.
“I didn't get a satisfactory answer. In fact, at the end it was remarkably evasive. She wouldn't answer my followup question about whether the claimed ‘zoonotic origin’ precluded the outbreak from being caused [by] pathogens from nature that then could be accidentally leaked from the labs.”
In polite media circles, journalists don’t want to talk about biowarfare or bioterrorism or bioweapons at all, much less in the context of COVID-19.
Husseini thinks that’s a mistake. So do we—an irresponsible, dangerous mistake.
After all, if consumers should have the right to know if their food is genetically engineered, shouldn’t we have the right to know if scientists are genetically engineering viruses in labs? And how potentially dangerous that "research" might be?
If you’ve been following our coverage of the pandemic, you know that we’re focused on health—how to get healthy, and stay healthy (hint: stay away from Big Food).
We’re also focused on how COVID-19 has exposed the fatal flaws in our industrial food system: monopolies that have led to too few and too big processing plants; unjust treatment of farmworkers and slaughterhouse workers; diversion of stimulus funds to Big Ag instead of to family farmers.
But we’re also focused on how the world unites around actions to prevent the next pandemic. Those include restoring biodiversity, shutting down factory farms . . . and ending “gain-of-function” research, genetically engineered or otherwise.
Husseini exposes the media’s failure to take seriously the opinions of a host of credible scientists who are arguing for a thorough investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
We think the world has a right to know what happened. So we can do everything in our power to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
READ: ‘Averting Our Gaze from Biowarfare: Pandemics and Self-fulfilling Prophecies’
MORE ON COVID-19:
Evidence SARS-CoV-2 Emerged From a Biological Laboratory in Wuhan, China
Dr. Fauci Backed Controversial Wuhan Lab With Millions of U.S. Dollars for Risky Coronavirus Research
SARS-CoV-2 Could Have Escaped From a Lab – and the U.S. Is in the Frame
SIGN THE PETITION: Stop the Genetic Engineering of Viruses! Shut Down All Biowarfare Labs Now!
It’s a common assumption: Anywhere cattle are grazing, land—and biodiversity—are being destroyed.
That assumption is 100-percent correct, if you’re talking about the cattle raised for Big Meat giants like Cargill and JBS.
But it’s dead wrong if you’re talking about ranchers like the Elzinga family, who run Alderspring Ranch in May, Idaho. After a recent visit to Alderspring Ranch, Linley Dixon, associate director of Real Organic Project, wrote:
“The cattle at Alderspring never stand still. They graze as they slowly move, strategically guided by the Elzingas on horseback, across the high elevation sagebrush steppe . . . The herd’s continuous movements mimic the impact of the 50-90 million buffalo that once helped to shape the carbon sequestering American grasslands.”
By intentionally herding their cattle to mimic the movements of buffalo herds that grazed the same lands decades ago, the Elzinga family is actually restoring the rangelands.
“While most beef cattle graze monoculture pastures, those at Alderspring Ranch graze ‘a salad bar’ of over 2,500 different plant species.”
Real Organic Project’s video of Alderspring Ranch includes gorgeous scenery—and an important lesson for environmentalists and consumers on regenerative grazing.
Read 'What Do a Rancher and Vegan Have in Common?'
Watch the video on Alderspring Ranch
Last week Tyson, one of the biggest Big Meat companies of them all (and a Big Donor to Trump’s 2016 campaign) took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to whine about how the global supply chain is “breaking.”
Trump responded immediately by ordering factory farm meat processing plants to stay open, even though massive food processing facilities like the meatpacking plants are overtaking nursing homes as the country’s worst COVID-19 disaster zones.
The order came after the Trump administration had already waived regulations limiting meat-processing line speeds, making one of the most dangerous jobs, even more dangerous.
And it gets worse. Despite allowing Big Meat to speed up its already dangerously fast slaughterhouse line speeds, despite the growing number of COVID-19 deaths and illnesses at processing plants, the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Labor issued “interim guidance” for meatpacking plants which essentially gives corporations a free pass if workers are injured.
Rather than invest in smaller processing plants to serve organic regenerative meat producers, it appears Trump will save his favorite cheap McDonald’s burgers—no matter who dies in the process.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: No more COVID-19-contaminated factory farm slaughterhouses! Support local processing plants for organic pasture-based farmers and butchers.
You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: There is an opportunity in every crisis and the deeper the crisis, the better the opportunity can be.
No one would wish for a global pandemic. The human suffering. The economic fallout. It’s horrendous.
But here we are. The big question is: What do we do now?
For those of us engaged in trying to replace a failing, extractive, unjust industrial ag model with a just and regenerative food and farming system, the answer is clear: We must use this crisis to convince consumers and policymakers that there’s a better way.
You can’t turn on the TV, open a newspaper or visit an online news site these days without reading something about the factory farm-COVID-19 dilemma.
Thousands of workers at slaughterhouses have COVID-19—but we have to keep those monstrous killing factories running at warp speed, or Wendy’s will run out of hamburgers.
And oh-by-the-way we’re also going to run out of meat and milk in grocery stores, but meanwhile factory farm dairies are dumping milk, and hog and poultry farms are “depopulating” chicks and pigs by the millions, because the supply chain is “broken.”
But wait! China’s hogs were wiped out by swine flu last year, and we’ve got trade deals, after all, so we’ve got to keep our factory farms up and running so we can ship pork to China.
And then we have the scientists pointing out that while COVID-19 didn’t originate in a factory farm, other viruses have, and it’s only a matter of time before another one does.
And this: If we don’t want viruses jumping from wildlife to humans, we better stop ripping down forests and tearing up grasslands to plant monoculture corn and soy crops to feed the miserable animals imprisoned in factory farms.
All of which is to say that never have the media focused this much attention on an issue we've been begging them, for decades, to cover.
Never have we had such an opportunity to say enough . . . it’s time to end the production of “cheap” meat that comes at the expense of slave labor, the environment, human health and animal torture.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to bring down the powerful corporations that are literally going to kill us.
Please make a generous donation at this time, if you are able. And please stay safe.
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Scientists are legitimately concerned about viruses like the coronavirus jumping from animals to humans. But how, and where, they conduct research on these viruses deserves scrutiny, according to Jonathan Latham, Ph.D., an expert in plant ecology, plant virology, genetics and genetic engineering.
In this interview with Pacifica Radio, Latham asks why scientists would want to take a bat coronavirus that has been manipulated to penetrate human cells and replicate the virus, essentially providing an “evolutionary opportunity for the virus to jump to humans”—and conduct that research in a lab with a "terrible" safety record?
Latham offers one of the best explanations we’ve heard for why COVID-19 probably originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and why the “gain-of-function” research that created the virus should never have been undertaken in the first place.
Latham also raises important questions about the role of agribusiness and palm oil production in pandemics.
Latham is co-founder and executive director of the Bioscience Resource Project, editor of Independent Science News and director of the Poison Papers project which publicizes documents of the chemical industry and its regulators.
Listen to the Pacifica Radio interview with Jonathan Latham
Droughts, fires, floods . . . climate instability is forcing U.S. farmers and ranchers to face increasingly frequent and intensifying natural disasters that threaten their land and their livelihoods—and increase food insecurity for everyone.
A growing number of farmers and ranchers understand that the more organic and regenerative farming and grazing practices they deploy, the more climate-resilient their operations become.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) knows it, too.
But instead of increasing funding for programs to help farmers adapt to climate change—and help them become part of the climate solution—the Trump administration is proposing drastic cuts to those programs.
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), an organic farmer and a member of the Congressional Advisory Committee for the national coalition of U.S. Farmers & Ranchers for a Green New Deal has a different plan. In a press release Pingree said:
“We need to empower farmers with the best available science and provide a range of conservation tools, because what works for one farmer in Maine may not work for another in Iowa or Georgia. I have set an ambitious but achievable goal: to reduce agricultural emissions by 50% before 2030 and make this segment of our economy net-zero by 2040. Challenges of this scale demand bold solutions and, unlike other industries, agriculture has a unique opportunity to draw down massive amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil.”
Pingree’s plan is called the Agriculture Resilience Act, a bill that needs public support, and support from your Representatives and Senators.
TAKE ACTION: Ask your members of Congress to help organic farmers by supporting the Agriculture Resilience Act!
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