The Common Agricultural Policy has come under increasing criticism as a means of transferring wealth from the taxpayer to wealthy landowners. Today it emerges that a Malaysian tycoon linked to a historic aid scandal is among the largest beneficiaries. CRISPIN DOWLER of ENEGYDESK reports
Along the Rimac River Valley of Peru, local farmers have taken the problem of water security into their own hands and embarked on a combined reforestation and water storage project, which not only provides safe water but has empowered the local community and, thanks to improving the mountainside soil stability, has reduced the risk of devastating landslides. FOREST RAY reports
How do you define a man who has been at the forefront of the environmental movement of America for over 50 years - poet, essayist, environmentalist, farmer, activist, philosopher? Wendell Berry is all these and now his life's work sits at the heart, writes HARRIET GRIFFEY, of Look and See - a newly-released film about his life and philosophy
Contamination of food grade or animal feed supplements with genetically engineered bacteria is illegal in the European Union. A German enforcement laboratory alerted EU officials to illegal genetically engineered bacterial contamination of a riboflavin supplement intended for animal feed.
As the Brexit negotiations begin, a coalition of grassroots food and farming organisations today launch ‘A People's Food Policy' calling for England to develop a more progressive food policy in advance of leaving the EU. Scotland is already in the process of adopting national food policies and is currently developing a ‘Good Food Nation Bill', while England has yet to make any progress
If you live or spend time in the UK countryside it may have been some time since you spotted the native brown hare - if you've ever seen one at all. That's because the hare relies on an increasingly disappearing biodiverse landscape for its food. LAURA BRIGGS talks to the scientists behind a new study investigating what type of planting - including bioenergy crops - will help stop hare populations from continuing to decline
President Donald Trump stunned the world yesterday (June 1, 2017) by announcing his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord - a landmark global agreement to lower greenhouse gas emissions and minimize the harm from climate change. The Conversation has assembled a panel of American academics and scientists to analyse what this dramatic move means for the planet, U.S. businesses and the world's poor...
Thousands of small farmers were forced from their lands and homes by paramilitaries in Colombia's Santa Maria mountains, writes Paula Álvarez. But now as a welcome peace allows their return from involuntary exile, they find a new enemy that has come to stay - huge plantations of oil palm that have obliterated the mixed, patchwork landscape of small fields, villages, and swathes of forest on steep-sided hills that they used to inhabit.
Ecological farming has taken root in the UK, writes Phil Moore: drawing inspiration from the past while employing the latest ideas and techniques from organic, no-dig, permaculture, agroecology and agroforestry methods. But with agricultural fields selling for up to £10,000 an acre, there's a big difficultly for many would-be eco-farmers: access to land. Now, with public support, that's a problem the Ecological Land Cooperative is determined to solve.
A huge raft of environmental reforms is promised in the Labour Party's draft manifesto, writes Oliver Tickell. Among the highlights: a ban on fracking; a clean energy policy based on renewables and efficiency; no commitment to new nuclear power; to meet our Paris Agreement obligations on climate; to give companies a legal obligation to protect the environment; to retain all EU environment laws post-Brexit; and multilateral nuclear disarmament.
Has Monsanto, dubbed the 'world's most evil corporation', turned a new leaf? It has taken the 'probably carcinogenic' glyphosate out of a new version of its market leading 'Roundup' herbicide, and replaced it with vinegar. The bad news is it's only available in Austria. That, and it may still contain toxic 'adjuvants' to increase its effectiveness.
Brazil's extreme right wing government is preparing to open up the rainforest territories of dozens of uncontacted indigenous tribes to 'free for all' development by defunding the protection they currently receive, according to information received by Survival International, which warns: 'The reality is these cuts could sanction genocide.'
Five international judges say Monsanto's activities have negatively affected individuals, communities and biodiversity, writes Claire Robinson. The Monsanto Tribunal's damning ruling denounces the company's harmful impacts on food sovereignty, agricultural production, access to nutrition, the natural environment, seed diversity, climate change, pollution and traditional cultural practices.
The government / NFU badger culling policy is based on a single study, the Randomised Badger Culling Trials (RBCT), which found that area-wide badger killing reduced TB 'breakdowns' in cattle herds. But a robust reanalysis of the RBCT data reveals that culling is entirely ineffective, writes Tom Langton. The only scientifically valid conclusion is that culling badgers has no effect on TB in cattle. Defra and Natural England must think again!
There's only one real faultline in farming, writes David R. Montgomery, and it's not the one between organic and 'conventional'. What really matters is whether farming systems are building, improving and nurturing soils - or exploiting them for short term gain. And if we want to keep humans well fed and healthy for the long term, there's only one choice to make.
The Bovine TB conference in London last week was disrupted by media reporting of scientific conflict over badger culling studies, writes ecologist Tom Langton. But the real story is the collapse of confidence in the Randomised Badger Culling Trials, used to justify the mass killing of badgers; and the emergence of reliable new TB tests. The simple solution: stop the cull, and spend the money on gamma interferon cattle TB testing.
How can we bridge the gap between ‘fast food' living and responsible consumption when mass production and a throw-away mindset still dominate the lifestyles of most people? LAURA BRIGGS has some thoughts...
Advocates claim that synthetic biology and the so-called New Breeding Techniques (NBTs) are distinct from genetic engineering (GE), write Helena Paul, Elisabeth Bücking & Ricarda Steinbrecher. In fact synthetic biology and NBTs carry similar risks to old-style GE, and even create novel hazards. The 'new GE' techniques - as they should be named - and their products deserve regulation at least as strict as those applying to GMOs.
Increasing quantities of 'hidden GMOs' are finding their way into our diet, writes Pat Thomas. They are coming mainly in US imports for supermarkets and caterers, and in animal feeds used for meat, dairy and egg production. It's time for chefs, pubs, takeaways and restaurants to take responsibility for the food chains that supply them - labelling the GMOs in their meals, and better still, cutting them out.
Below-par farm biosecurity should block farmers from participating in England's badger culls, writes Anna Dale. But a large body of evidence of poor and negligent biosecurity by farmers suggests that Natural England, the government's official regulator, is turning a blind eye to this strict requirement - and undermining the purpose of the cull.
In the year 2067, the eating of meat - carnism - will be seen as crime similar to cannibalism today, writes Matthew Adams. That is, in the fertile imagination of Simon Amstell, expressed in his BBC iPlayer film 'Carnage'. With 55 billion animals slaughtered every year for their meat, the vision looks remote. But the world will be a far better place if we begin the transition to plant-based diets - for our health, that of the planet, and not least, the animals themselves.
Abusing animals is no more justifiable than abusing people, writes Peter Tatchell. The moral touchstone is sentience, not species, and the 'humans first' ideology of speciesism is analogous to homophobia, racism & misogyny. Cruelty is barbarism, whether inflicted on humans or on other species. We need to recognise and accept our common animal nature.
We may know that palm oil is wiping out rainforests worldwide, writes Philip Lymbery. But few realise that our factory farmed meat and dairy are contributing to the problem. As revealed in Philip's new book, 'Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were', palm kernels, left after pressing the fruit for oil, is a protein-rich livestock feed of growing importance. And nowhere is the impact greater than Sumatra, home (for now) to its own unique species of elephant.
A vicious cycle of climate change, cattle diet and rising methane has been revealed in a new scientific study: as temperatures rise, forage plants get tougher and harder to digest, and cause more methane to be produced in bovine stomachs. And with cattle numbers rising and methane 85 times more powerful a greenhouse gas over 20 years, that spells trouble.