Friday, 31 August 2018

How animal waste is helping turn China's lakes green


The Guardian
Animal husbandry is contaminating China's water and has been linked to bright-green lakes, a phenomenon know as eutrophication. More here. 
Lest we North Americans feel smug, this image shows one of countless
"eutrophied" sloughs in Manitoba, on the Canadian prairies
. A PinP photo.



Thursday, 30 August 2018

Bad News for Crops! Global Warming = More & Hungrier Bugs!


PHYS ORG
A corn rootworm. Public Domain.
Crop losses for critical food grains will increase substantially as the climate warms, as rising temperatures increase the metabolic rate and population growth of insect pests, according to new research. More here.
Most harm will befall crops in the temperate zone (shown in green). 



Wednesday, 29 August 2018

The more pesticides bees eat, the more they like them


PHYS  ORG
Bumblebees forage on organic chives.
Another PinP photo.
Bumblebees acquire a taste for pesticide-laced food as they become more exposed to it, a behaviour showing possible symptoms of addiction. More here.



How does agriculture affect vulnerable insect-eating birds?

The American Ornithological Society
A tree swallow. A PinP photo.
Aerial insectivores--birds that hunt for insect prey on the wing--are declining across North America as agricultural intensification leads to diminishing insect abundance and diversity in many areas. A new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications looks at how Tree Swallows' diets are affected by agriculture and finds that while birds living in cropland can still find their preferred prey, they may be working harder to get it. More here.





Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Officials Worry Yet Another Lethal Pig Disease May be Coming to Canada


by Larry Powell
The Manager of the "Canada West Swine Health Intelligence Network" warns, now that African Swine Fever (ASF) has been confirmed in China, the risk of it spreading to North America, has increased. 
Dr. Jette Christensen, veterinary epidemeologist.
Dr. Jette Christensen (above) describes ASF as "a serious and trade-limiting viral infection." Speaking on the industry-sponsored radio program, "Farmscape," she assured listeners, if  the Canadian industry follows import regulations, "they should be safe." But she also warns that the virus can survive for months outside the host in pork products.

The swelling around the kidneys and the muscle hemorrhages shown here are 
typical of pigs with African swine fever. Karen Apicelli USDA
Dr. Christensen warns Canadian producers, that workers they hire, could bring the disease home with them after vacationing in China or Eastern Europe. And they should even be careful when bringing in exchange students, for the same reason.

AFS does not affect humans, so is not considered a food safety concern. But it is described as one of the deadliest diseases of pigs.

The World Health Organization warns that crowded, confined and intensive livestock"factories" (used widely in Canada and around the world), increase the risk of such infectious diseases. 
Delia Grace Randolph, veterinary epidemiologist.
And, in the words of Delia Grace Randolph of the International Livestock Research Institute (above), "The evidence seems quite clear that intensification, especially of pigs and poultry, is associated with emerging infectious zoonotic disease, foodborn disease and antimicrobial resistant pathogens."





Monday, 27 August 2018

Livestock Producers Temporarily Allowed to Cut Hay & Graze Animals on Crown Land


News release - Gov't. of Manitoba
Cattle graze on parched pasture. A PinP photo.
Livestock producers will temporarily be allowed to cut hay and allow animals to graze on Crown land not normally designated for agricultural use due to dry conditions across parts of the province, Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler announced today. More here.


Sunday, 26 August 2018

'No grass': Europe's livestock sector stricken by drought


PHYS.ORG
A parched crop in the Netherlands. Photo by Rasbak

"Our cows hav been living off hay cut in June, there isn't any grass," says a French farmer who, like his counterparts across much of northern Europe, is wondering how he will feed his animals this winter.  More here.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Effective fisheries management can reduce extinction risk of marine fish stocks


Science News - University of British Columbia
Fishing boats docked in Canada's Bay of Fundy.   
Dillon Kereluk from White Rock, Canada.
Effective fisheries management plans, coupled with actions to limit greenhouse gas emissions, both separately, but especially in tandem, would have an immediate effect on the number of marine species that face extinction. More here.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Global warming will expose millions more to floods


Phys.Org

East Village in Calgary during epic flooding in Alberta in 2013. Ryan L. C. Quan

Global warning is expected to unleash more rain, exposing millions more people to river flooding particularly in the US and parts of Asia, Africa and Central Europe. Read more here.

Rural Americans’ struggles against factory farm pollution find traction in court. Will it happen in Canada, too?


THE CONVERSATION
A Manitoba animal factory. Photo credit - Mercy for Animals, Canada.

As U.S. livestock farming becomes more industrial, it is changing rural life. More here.

RELATED:
"In Hogs We Trust."  
A critique of Manitoba’s runaway hog industry.







Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Arctic’s strongest sea ice breaks up for first time on record



 The Guardian
Image Credit: NASA/Operation IceBridge
Usually frozen waters open up twice this year in phenomenon scientists described as scary. More here.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Deadly African swine fever arrives in China, the world’s largest producer of pigs

International Livestock Research Institute
A piglet, one of countless who died of Porcine Epidemic 
Diarrhea in Manitoba over the past 18 months. (A Manitoba Pork photo.) 
Diseases deadly to hogs, some of which can also spread to humans, are legion.
Long feared, it's now finally happened. African Swine Fever (ASF), an infectious and highly-lethal viral disease of pigs has, for the first time, reared its head in China. Story here.

Sources say pesticides linked to bee deaths will be phased out in Canada

Canada's National Observer
A honeybee forages on a flower. A PinP photo.

The federal government will begin phasing out the outdoor use of nicotine-based pesticides beginning in 2021, part of an effort to stop the mysterious decline of honey bee colonies around the world. More here.

Monday, 13 August 2018

A call for seagrass protection


Science Magazine
Sanc0209 - Flickr - NOAA Photo Library.jpg
By Heather Dine. - NOAA Photo Library
Seagrass meadows - one of the most widespread coastal habitats on Earth - are in decline. Human coastal development and poor water quality are threatening the meadows - home to a wide array of marine plants and animals. More here.

Scourge of superbugs killing Malawi’s babies


The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Babies are dying in their thousands in Malawi because drugs to treat common infections no longer work. We went to investigate. 








Saturday, 11 August 2018

Why Is Glyphosate Sprayed on Crops Right Before Harvest?


EcoWatch
Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, is recognized as the world's most widely used weed killer. What is not so well known is that farmers also use glyphosate on crops such as wheat, oats, edible beans and other crops right before harvest, raising concerns that the herbicide could get into food products. Story here.

Friday, 10 August 2018

EPA ordered to ban pesticide linked to learning disabilities

The Guardian
A "crop-duster" sprays a pesticide on a canola crop in Manitoba. 
A PinP photo.
A federal court said the US agency must prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos after seven states and DC backed the case against it. Story here.

In 2,006, I told the story of  a farmer in the Swan Valley of Manitoba. He said he and his family were sickened when the same chemical, chlorpyrifos (brand name, Lorsban) drifted onto his property from a field across the road. Read the terrifying tale of the Burqharts here. And listen to my report on CBC Radio (with images), below.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

A Third Smithfield Lawsuit Verdict Creates Alarm Among Producers


FarmJournal’s PORK

A Smithfield operation in Missouri. A Wikimedia photo. 
A third lawsuit against Smithfield Foods had found the company guilty for “unreasonable nuisances they suffered from odors, flies and rumbling trucks.” A federal jury placed the fine at $473.5 million to six neighbors of pig farms. STORY HERE.

Related: 

  •                                                                            "In Hogs We Trust"  

                                           A critique of hog industry expansion in Manitoba.








Monday, 6 August 2018

Earth's Carbon Concentrations Have Soared to Levels Not Seen in 800,000 Years


ComonDreams
Sunset on the Canadian prairies. A PinP photo.

One NOAA oceanographer warns that even if humanity "stopped the greenhouse gases at their current concentrations today, the atmosphere would still continue to warm for next couple decades to maybe a century." Story here.

University of Saskatchewan (USK) is taken to Court


The Battles - DISCUSSIONS BY SANDRA FINLEY

USK refuses to disclose Right to Know symposium proceedings. More here.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

With one island’s losses, the king penguin species shrinks by a third










It’s unclear what has happened to what was the largest of king penguin colonies in the 1980sStory here.

When the EPA sided with factory farms, she quit. (Video)

Back in 2001, Michele Merkel worked for the EPA.

One of her first cases was with farmers who were suing mega-hog factory farms for polluting the community's air and water. When the EPA sided with the giant corporations, she quit.

Now Michele works at Food & Water Watch, fighting for laws and legislation that force our government and the EPA to protect your water, air and food from factory farms — as they are mandated to do.

Check out Michele's TEDx Talk to hear her story and how you can fight with Michele against factory farms.

Friday, 3 August 2018

State of the Climate Report Confirms Planet Has Entered 'New Neighborhood' of Global Temperatures


EcoWatch
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released the results of what it calls the "annual checkup for the planet" Wednesday, and the patient is not doing well. More here.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Canada, U.S. governments watching, but not intervening, in coal mine pollution controversy


The Narwhal
U.S. officials accused Canada of omitting information on selenium pollution flowing from B.C.’s Elk Valley into Montana waters. Story here.

For Marine Life, New Threats from a Fast-Tracked Canadian Pipeline


Yale Environment 360
A new Canadian government-backed pipeline that will triple the amount of thick Alberta tar sands oil flowing to a British Columbia port poses significant risks for a threatened population of killer whales and other coastal marine life. Story here.