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09 April 2016 - You’re Not Farming Alone

You have heard me say this before on Samuelson Sez. If you or your family own your farm or ranch, you are no longer farming it alone. A lot of other people want to join you in determining how you produce food, fiber and energy.

There are many government agencies that now get involved in your business, from OSHA to EPA, to USDA, to the Bureau of Land Management. There are many other groups like Animal rights and Environmental groups that get involved. The latest has me really shaking my head to the point that I am going to quote verbatim the story that appeared on my Reuters News Service a few weeks ago.

The headline - Whole Foods Changes the Chicken Game.

“Whole Foods Market, Inc. Is changing the chicken game with its most recent move to replace its fast-growing chicken breeds with slower-growing breeds, although this change is not expected to be completed until 2024. Whole Foods is the first major food company to make this change.

The company is working with the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) in this collaboration. In a separate release, GAP announced its intention over the next eight years to replace 100% of fast-growing chicken breeds with slower-growing breeds for all levels of its 5-Step Rating Program.

Over 600 chicken farms currently use the GAP standard, affecting the lives of 277-million chickens annually and making it the most significant higher welfare farm animal standard in the country.”

Anne Malleau, Executive Director for GAP commented...At GAP , our goal is to improve the welfare of farm animals. By addressing fast growth we will be getting to the root of the welfare problem facing chickens today. Implementing this transition will require significant work, but we are confident we can get there.

Currently, fast-growing chicken breeds represent 98% of all commercially available chicken meat in North America. Modern chickens have been genetically selected for their fast, efficient growth and higher yield of breast meat. However, this has had detrimental impacts on the welfare of broiler chickens, including immune and musculoskeletal problems, resulting in limitations to the bird’s ability to express natural behaviors like perching, flying and even walking.” My personal comment...I wonder if poultry farms will now be forced to have a psychiatrist on staff.

Of course , one of the first groups to applaud the move was the Humane Society of the United States whose President has publically stated that its goal is to eliminate animal agriculture from the U.S. food system and turn us all into vegetarians.

Give me a break!

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