By Mike Callicrate
Iowa State University Animal Science students helped organize a “Beef is Beef” rally this week supporting Beef Products Inc. and touting the benefits of BPI’s Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB – Pink Slime). This was an impressive display of corporate toadyism. Industrial Ag cheerleaders and Pink Slime advocates, from Governor Branstad and his Lieutenant, to Congressman Steve King, recited lines from BPI’s PR script. Big Meat cheerleaders from the University, to the American Meat Institute, and Iowa Beef Council all parroted – “Beef is Beef!”
Jim Dickson, ISU Animal Science and Meat Science professor, speaking at the rally. He conducted studies for BPI on the ground beef additive, LFTB. He said the ammonia that was injected into the meat was a gas, but refused to acknowledge it was anhydrous ammonia. Professor Dickson, as well as other speakers, failed to mention the many pathogen problems experienced with LFTB.
And Bread is Bread
“Briefly summarized, the steel roller mill, monocrop agriculture, failure to conserve the soil or replenish it with humus, the combine, cyanogas treatment separation of grains and cereals into several fractions which are used and sold separately, the centralization of the milling industry, etc., have dangerously altered our food economy and culture with respect to breadstuffs.
“Sadly enough, instead of the consumer receiving nutritious bread products at a cheaper price, he buys a starch product of dubious and unproved nutritive value, which has to be enriched before it is considered fit to eat, and pays an exorbitant price for it.”
– The Church and Farming, 1953 – Dr. Phillip Norman, Lecture on the Fundamentals of Nutrition for Physicians and Dentists.
Like Rainbow and Wonder Bread, LFTB is a highly processed, chemically treated, nutritionally deficient derivative of beef, NOT the real thing. Why are our institutions, politicians and media providing false cover for BPI?
What happened to President Lincoln’s vision for the Land-Grant College system that he hoped would promote domestic agriculture and rural communities in teaching the skills of farming, livestock production and food processing? Have Land-Grants suffered the same fate as the USDA, which President Lincoln’s administration and Congress founded at the same time in 1862?
Last November, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, in acknowledging the 150 year anniversary of the USDA , said, “Through our work on food, agriculture, economic development, science, natural resource conservation and a host of issues, USDA still fulfills President Lincoln’s vision as “The People’s Department” – touching the lives of every American, every day.” Despite what Secretary Vilsack says, USDA is no longer the agency President Lincoln envisioned as the “People’s Department”. The Ames rally was a glaring example of how both the Land-Grant College system and the USDA’s “People’s” mission have been stolen by industry, for industry, in which the people serve rather than being served, and family farms producing good food for local communities become a thing of the past.
Animal Husbandry – Out of Sight and Out of Favor
April 10, 2012 – Animal Husbandry is only a faint memory on the backside of the old horse barn. In 1959, the college was officially renamed Iowa State University of Science and Technology.
Many years ago humans domesticated food, work and companion animals to serve their needs. Like good land stewardship, animal husbandry is a mutually beneficial relationship based on respect for the animal. Animal Husbandry without ethics, morals, animal welfare, and family farms is now called Animal Science.
Instead of providing our companion animals a healthy diet of real meat we feed them the same highly processed, fake food we eat. 50% of dogs are obese and are suffering the same degenerative diseases we are.
Pets for Real Food
Tonka, from Denver, Colorado, wonders, “Where’s the beef?” Sorry Tonka, it’s in the Pink Slime.
I graduated from Colorado State University (a Land-Grant institution) with a degree in Animal Science in 1975. The corporate-industrial model of agriculture was already deeply imbedded in the curriculum. We were advised that agriculture was not a way of life; it’s a business! Forget why your grandfather farmed. Family farm agriculture is a thing of the past. It’s now agribusiness. We have to feed the world, and it’s time to think and act like businessmen – economies of scale, efficiencies, thru-put, leverage, return on investment, get big or get out! I later realized I was being prepared to work for the industrial farming and food wealth-extraction machine – where the biggest cheater wins, and the big lie provides cover – a fool’s game.
The bright young Animal Science students at Iowa State University this week, like me 37 years ago, are ready to get out and go to work, except their chances of being in business for themselves will be far less. Conditioned to be willing serfs for industry, like our politicians, Secretaries of Agriculture and college professors, their future will most likely be in doing the work of multinational corporations, producing the food like substances described by Dr. Phillip Norman.
These students will fight their classmates for jobs with companies like BPI, Tyson, Cargill, Smithfield, JBS and Monsanto, where profit comes before people and community. In addition to becoming a slave for today’s corporate monopoly food machine, they will be expected to tout the same big lies as this week’s rally. They will have to be mercenary defenders of an industrial food system that searches the globe for the cheapest of everything; commodities grown and processed by the hungriest people that will work the cheapest, for sale in the highest consuming world markets.
Or, what is the chance these bright minds and able bodies can be part of something better? A food system that serves the people, protects the land, while showing respect for animals; a food system that builds communities, while producing abundant healthy local food. Perhaps they aren’t completely convinced; maybe they still have the curiosity and courage to look behind the corporate curtain, to work for better government policy. What if these students could be the job creators instead of the job seekers? What if they could believe in President Lincoln’s vision of 150 years ago, and return agriculture to healthy soils and a clean environment? What if these students had a new vision that provided real opportunities for family farmers and ranchers to live prosperous, happy lives in thriving rural communities while feeding all?