Category: Business

Lidl Recalls Orlando Brand Dog Food

Yet another dog food recall.

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Lidl Recalls Orlando Brand Dog Food

November 9, 2018

Lidl USA is voluntarily recalling specific lots of Orlando brand Grain Free Chicken & Chickpea Superfood Recipe Dog Food because the products may contain elevated levels of Vitamin D.

What’s Recalled?

The recalled Orlando brand products include the following lot numbers manufactured between March 3, 2018 and May 15, 2018:

  • TI1 3 Mar 2019
  • TB2 21 Mar 2019
  • TB3 21 Mar 2019
  • TA2 19 Apr 2019
  • TB1 15 May 2019
  • TB2 15 May 2019

Elevated Vitamin D Levels

Dogs consuming elevated levels of Vitamin D could exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss.

Customers with dogs who have consumed this product and are exhibiting these symptoms should contact their veterinarian as soon as possible.

No other products sold by Lidl are impacted by the recall.

This is a voluntary recall and is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

What to Do?

Customers who have purchased this product with the affected lot codes should stop feeding it to their dogs and discard the product immediately or return it to their nearest Lidl store for a full refund.

Customers who have questions about this recall should call the Lidl US Customer Care Hotline at 844-747-5435, 8 AM to 9 PM Eastern time, 7 days a week.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.

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Please share this amongst all your friends.

Yet more dog food recalls

These are taking priority over the text for yesterday’s Picture Parade.

And there are two of them.

Nutrisca Dog Food Recall | November 2018

November 3, 2018 — Nutrisca, of Saint Louis, MO, is voluntarily recalling one formula of Nutrisca dry dog food because it contains elevated levels of vitamin D.

Nutrisca did not include an image with its FDA news release. So, the following image has been copied from the company’s website and provided in good faith by The Dog Food Advisor.

What’s Recalled?

  • Nutrisca Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food
    Package Size: 4 pounds
    Bag UPC: 8-84244-12495-7
    Best By Dates: February 25, 2020 thru September 13, 2020
  • Nutrisca Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food
    Package Size: 15 pounds
    Bag UPC: 8-84244-12795-8
    Best By Dates: February 25, 2020 thru September 13, 2020
  • Nutrisca Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food
    Package Size: 28 pounds
    Bag UPC: 8-84244-12895-5
    Best By Dates: February 25, 2020 thru September 13, 2020

Bags affected have a Best By Date code of February 25, 2020 through September 13, 2020. The Best By Date code can be found on the back or bottom of each bag.

The products were distributed to retail stores nationwide.

What Caused the Recall?

Nutrisca became aware of the elevated levels of vitamin D after receiving complaints from three pet owners of vitamin D toxicity after consuming the product.

An investigation revealed a formulation error led to the elevated vitamin D in the product.

About Elevated Vitamin D

Dogs ingesting elevated levels of Vitamin D may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss.

Vitamin D when consumed at very high levels can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction.

Consumers with dogs who have consumed any of the products listed above and are exhibiting these symptoms, should contact their veterinarian.

What to Do?

Consumers should stop feeding the products listed above.

Consumers who have purchased any of the products affected by this recall should dispose of it or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Nutrisca at 888-279-9420 from 8 AM to 5 PM Central Standard time, Monday through Friday, or by email at consumerservices@nutrisca.com for more information.

No other Nutrisca products, including Nutrisca Chicken & Chickpea wet dog foods are impacted.

All other Nutrisca dog and cat food products are safe to feed to pets.

According to the company…

“This is a voluntary recall and is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“We genuinely regret that this has occurred as we place the highest priority on the health of pets.”

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

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Natural Life Pet Products Dog Food Recall

November 3, 2018 — Natural Life Pet Products of Saint Louis, MO, is voluntarily recalling its Chicken and Potato dry dog food due to it containing elevated levels of Vitamin D.

What’s Recalled?

No product image was included with the official news release.

  • Natural Life Chicken and Potato Dry Dog Food
    Package Size: 17.5 pounds
    Bag UPC: 0-12344-08175-1

Bags affected have a Best By Date code of May 29, 2020 through August 10, 2020. The Best By Date code can be found on the back or bottom of each bag.

The products were distributed to retail stores in:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia

What Caused the Recall?

Natural Life Pet Products became aware of the elevated levels of vitamin D after receiving complaints from three pet owners of vitamin D toxicity after consuming the product.

An investigation revealed a formulation error led to the elevated vitamin D in the product.

About Elevated Vitamin D Levels

Consumers should stop feeding the product listed above.

Dogs ingesting elevated levels of Vitamin D may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss.

Vitamin D when consumed at very high levels can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction.

Consumers with dogs who have consumed the product listed above and are exhibiting these symptoms, should contact their veterinarian.

What to Do?

Consumers who have purchased the product affected by this recall should dispose of it or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Natural Life Pet Products at 888-279-9420 from 8 AM to 5 PM Central Standard time, Monday through Friday, or by email at consumerservices@nutrisca.com for more information.

This is a voluntary recall and is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

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Please, please good people, you take care of your dogs.

Brushing one’s teeth!

A delightful post, and one that had an edge to it.

Brushing one’s teeth is hard enough for us to do, let alone our dogs.

No more from me than to reproduce this item which is a republication of a post that appeared in The Conversation site.

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Why is it such a pain to brush a dog’s teeth?

This ‘magic stick’ claims to provide a solution to the problem.

by MARY JO DILONARDO

August 11, 2018
It’s a toy and a toothbrush rolled into one. (Photo: Bristly)

You eye each other across the room. You’re using your sweetest, most coaxing voice, but behind your back you have a toothbrush covered in chicken-flavored paste. Your pet eyes you warily, knowing something is up. Those teeth haven’t been pearly in a very long time, but it’s not for a lack of trying.

About 80 percent of dogs will have some periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years old. In addition to dental checkups by your vet, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends regularly brushing your dog’s teeth as “the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy.” It may even eliminate the need for occasional dental cleanings by your veterinarian.

In addition (or in place of cleaning, if your dog isn’t a fan), you may have also tried dental chews or dental toys. The hope is that by gnawing on these items, your pet will scrub off the tartar and plaque buildup all by himself.

Personally, I’ve tried them all. My beautiful boy, Brodie, has breath that will make your eyes water. We’ve worked very hard on brushing. Normally he acts like I’m going to torture him when I persuade him to sit in the bathroom for a dental session. He either clamps down on the bristles as hard as he can or performs impressive gymnastics trying to evade my grasp. A few teeth get lightly grazed in the process.

The dental chews are equally unsuccessful. My pup doesn’t understand that he’s supposed to be taking his time with them. Instead, he manages to gulp them down (even frozen) which, I’m pretty sure, defeats the purpose of the exercise.

My friend has offered to scrape Brodie’s teeth with a dental tartar scraper he bought online (and uses on his well-behaved dogs), but I’m pretty sure my anxious boy would never recover.

A glimmer of green hope

If only it were this easy. (Photo: KPG Payless2/Shutterstock

There may be a solution. Years ago, Petros Dertsakyan lost his childhood Pomeranian to dental disease. As an adult and the father of two dogs of his own, Dertsakyan knows the importance of dental care but also knows first-hand the struggles of taking care of a dog’s teeth.

He decided to come up with a solution and, after lots of prototypes and testing, he developed what he calls Bristly, a “magic” toothbrushing stick that dogs hold down with their paws while gnawing on rows of flavored bristles. There’s also a reservoir to dispense toothpaste during the whole process.

Dertsakyan put his invention on Kickstarter, hoping to raise $15,000 to fund his project. He way underestimated how much people want to avoid getting anywhere near their dogs’ teeth. Just hours before the campaign ended, more than $437,000 had been raised from more than 10,000 backers. The products are scheduled to be shipped in October.

Here’s the Bristly in action. I know my dog has high hopes it will work.

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I love these dogs!

Dog and Cat food recall

Steve’s Real Food Recalls Dog and Cat Foods

This came in yesterday and is shared with you as per normal.

Steve’s Real Food Recalls Dog and Cat Foods

September 7, 2018 — Steve’s Real Food of Salt Lake City, Utah is voluntarily recalling limited quantities of its raw frozen dog and cat foods due to possible contamination with Salmonella and Listeria bacteria.

What’s Recalled?

The affected products were nationally distributed and are identified with the following UPC codes and “Best by” dates located on the front of the bag.

  • Steve’s Real Food Turducken Recipe
    Package size: 5-pounds
    Lot number: J155
    Best By Date: 6/4/19
    UPC: 6-91730-15304-5
  • Quest Emu Diet
    Package size: 2-pounds
    Lot number: B138
    Best By Date: 5/18/19
    UPC: 6-91730-17103-2
  • Quest Beef Diet
    Package size: 2-pounds
    Lot number: A138
    Best By Date: 5/18/19
    UPC: 6-91730-17101-8

About Salmonella and Listeria

Salmonella and L. mono can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products.

Symptoms of infection in people include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella and/or L. mono infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting.

Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

Infected, but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans.

If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

What Caused the Recall?

This recall is being initiated after the firm was notified by the Washington Department of Agriculture when sample was collected and tested positive for Salmonella and/or Listeria.

The firm did conduct its own test which produced a negative result for both Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

However, because of the company’s commitment to overall safety and quality, Steve’s Real Food is conducting a voluntary recall of these products.

Consumers should also follow the safe handling tips published on the Steve’s Real Food packaging, when disposing of the affected product.

No pet or human illnesses from this product have been reported to date.

This recall is being made with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

What to Do?

Consumers are encouraged to check the lot code and best buy date of the affected pet foods.

Any product with the noted lot code and best buy dates should be returned to the specialty retailer where product was purchased for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Steve’s Real Food at 888-526-1900, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm MT.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.

Again, as I usually say, do share this with all the dog and cat lovers you know/

Thanks.

The burning of our forests!

But it is not a total wall-to-wall disaster.

The latest news is that our Klondike Fire is now burning an area larger than 100,000 acres. Or to use the words from the incident webpage(my emphasis):

The Taylor Creek and Klondike Fires were split into zones on Saturday, Aug. 18. The fires are now referred to as “Taylor Creek Fire” and “Klondike Fire East,” managed by the Northwest Incident Management Team 12 out of Lake Selmac, and “Klondike Fire West” managed by California Interagency Incident Management Team 4 out of Gold Beach. A transfer of command of the Klondike West Zone will occur at 6:00 AM Friday when the Southern Area Red Team who arrived on Wednesday will take over.

As of the morning of Aug. 30, the Taylor Creek Fire is estimated 52,839 acres and is 95 percent contained. The Klondike Fire is estimated at 100,996 acres and is 40 percent contained. There are 1,214 personnel working on the Klondike Fire and 126 personnel assigned to the Taylor Creek Fire.

Courtesy Jeffersen Public Radio

Then just over a week ago, The Conversation blogsite published a reminder that I wanted to share  with you today, under the permissions offered by The Conversation site.

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Many native animals and birds thrive in burned forests, research shows

By

Associate Research Professor of Biology, Pennsylvania State University

August 22nd, 2018

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is blaming this summer’s large-scale wildfires on environmentalists, who he contends oppose “active management” in forests.

But the idea that wildfires should be suppressed by logging the forest is far too simplistic. Most scientists agree that large hot wildfires produce many benefits for North American forests. Notably, they create essential habitat for many native species.

Fifteen years of research on Spotted Owls – a species that has played an oversized role in shaping U.S. forest management policies and practices for the past several decades – directly contradicts the argument that logging is needed to protect wildlife from fires. Wildlife biologists, including me, have shown in a string of peer-reviewed studies, that wildfires have little to no effect on Spotted Owls’ occupancy, reproduction or foraging, and even provide benefits to the owls.

Nonetheless, despite this steadily accumulating evidence, the U.S. Forest Service advocates logging in old-growth forest reserves and Spotted Owl critical habitat in the name of protecting Spotted Owls from forest fires. Zinke’s recent statements are just the latest and broadest iteration of the false viewpoint that logging benefits wildlife and their forest habitats.

Protecting Spotted Owl habitat

Spotted Owls are birds of prey that range from the Pacific Northwest to central Mexico. Because they nest in large old-growth trees and are sensitive to logging, in the 1980s they became symbols of the exceptional biodiversity found in old-growth forests.

The Northern Spotted Owl in the Pacific Northwest was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1990. At that point, about 90 percent of U.S. old-growth forest had already been lost to logging. Every year in the 1980s the U.S. Forest Service sold about 7 to 12 billion board feet of public lands timber.

Figure 1. National forest timber sales (1905–2017). FY 1905-2017 National Summary Cut and Sold Data USDA Forest Service

Listing the owl drew attention to the dramatic decline of old-growth forest ecosystems due to 50 years of unsustainable logging practices. In response the U.S. Forest Service adopted new regulations that included fewer clearcuts, less cutting of trees over 30 inches in diameter and fewer cuts that opened up too much of the forest canopy. These policies, along with vast depletion of old-growth forests, reduced logging on Forest Service lands to about 2 billion board feet per year.

During the 1990s, national forest management policy for the Northern Spotted Owl included creating old-growth reserves and designating critical habitat where logging was restricted – mostly within half a mile of a Spotted Owl nest. In spite of these protections, populations of Northern Spotted Owls, as well as California and Mexican Spotted Owls, continued to decline on forest lands outside national parks. This was most likely due to ongoing logging outside of their protected nesting areas in the owls’ much larger year-round home ranges.

Fire and owls

Over the years the Forest Service shifted away from treating Spotted Owls as symbols of old-

Historical range (burgundy) of the Northern Spotted Owl, which also extended north into British Columbia. One hundred fifty years of logging, agriculture and urbanization have reduced the amount of old growth forest (potential Spotted Owl habitat) in this zone by 85-90 percent. NASA Earth Observatory

growth forest biodiversity, and instead started to cite them as an excuse for more logging. The idea that forest fires were a threat to Spotted Owls was first proposed in 1992 by agency biologists and contract researchers. In a status assessment of the California Spotted Owl, these scientists speculated that fires might be as damaging as clearcuts to the owls.

This perspective gained popularity within the Forest Service over the next 10 years and led to increased logging on public lands that degraded old-growth habitat for Spotted Owls.

Academic scientists, including some with Forest Service funding, published peer-reviewed studies of Spotted Owls and fire in 2002, 2009, 2011 and 2012. All four studies showed either no effects from fire or positive benefits from fire for Spotted Owls. Subsequent research on Spotted Owls in fire-affected forests has showed repeatedly that the owls can persist and thrive in burned landscapes.

 

 

(The U.S. Forest Service says wildfires harm wildlife habitat, but wildfires actually create rare and important habitat.)

Many wild species thrive in burned landscapes

I recently conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis that summarized all available scientific research on the effects of wildfires on Spotted Owl ecology. It found that Spotted Owls are usually not significantly affected by mixed-severity forest fire. Mixed-severity forest fire, which includes large patches with 100 percent tree mortality, is how wildfires in western forests naturally burn. The preponderance of evidence indicated that mixed-severity wildfire has more benefits than costs for Spotted Owls.

In 2017 I submitted an early version of this analysis with the same conclusions to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during the agency’s peer-review process for its Conservation Objectives Report for the California Spotted Owl. My conclusions were not included in the final report.

Decades of science have shown that forest fires – including large hot fires – are an essential part of western U.S. forest ecosystems and create highly biodiverse wildlife habitat. Many native animals thrive in the years and decades after large intense fires, including deer, bats, woodpeckers and songbirds as well as Spotted Owls. Additionally, many native species are only found in the snag forest habitat of dead and dying trees created by high-severity wildfire.

Pileated woodpeckers excavate nests within snags, bringing life to charred forests in Oregon. NASA/S. Russell, CC BY-ND

Wildfires threaten homes, but wildlife and water supplies benefit

Studies have shown that wildfires are strongly influenced by a warming climate, and that logging to reduce fuels doesn’t stop the biggest, hottest fires. In my view, federal and state agencies that manage wildfires should devote significant resources towards making structures ignition-resistant and creating defensible space around homes to protect communities, rather than promoting ecologically damaging logging.

It is also time to reform Forest Service management goals to emphasize carbon capture, biodiversity, outdoor recreation and water supply as the most important ecosystem services provided by national forest lands. These services are enhanced by wildfires, not by logging.

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These last two paragraphs are key lessons: 1. Logging does not stop the biggest, hottest fires, and, 2. It is time to change the goals under which our forests are managed emphasising carbon capture, biodiversity, recreation and water supplies!

I won’t hold my breath!

Rattlesnake Aversion Training

Following on from yesterday’s post.

In yesterday’s post that was about Dan’s dog, Lexi, Dan offered:

She had Rattlesnake aversion training last year in Palm Springs and did very well. She ran a gauntlet of four snakes to learn sound, site and smell.

The company that Dan used was Natural Solutions in Palm Springs.

I haven’t had the time yet to contact them to see if they can provide material of general interest to you.

But I did find the following video on YouTube that seemed to be interesting. (But note that I have no knowledge good or bad about the company and there are many other companies offering aversion training.)

Raw Dog and Cat Food recall

This was received yesterday afternoon regarding G and C Raw Dog and Cat Food Recall

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G and C Raw Dog and Cat Food Recall

August 3, 2018 — G & C Raw of Versailles, OH is recalling 30 1–pound containers of Pat’s Cat Turkey Cat Food and 40 2-pound containers of Ground Lamb Dog Food because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

About Listeria Infections

Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in animals eating the products.

Furthermore, there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Listeria monocytogenes should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, aches, fever, and diarrhea.

Listeria monocytogenes infections can also spread through the bloodstream to the nervous system (including the brain), resulting in meningitis and other potentially fatal problems.

Pregnant women are especially susceptible to Listeria infection, which can result in abortion.

The young, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems also are more vulnerable.

Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Listeria monocytogenes infections are rare, and pets may display symptoms such as mild to severe diarrhea, anorexia, fever, nervous, muscular and respiratory signs, abortion, depression, shock, and death.

In addition to the possibility of becoming sick, such infected animals can shed Listeria monocytogenes through their feces onto their coats and into the home environment and thus serve as sources of infection to humans and other animals in the household.

If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Where Was the Product Sold?

Pat’s Cat Turkey and Ground Lamb Dog Food products were distributed in OH, MI, IN, PAN, KY, NC, and GA.

They were also distributed by direct delivery by G & C Raw, LLC.

What’s Being Recalled?

The Pat’s Cat Turkey is sold in 1-pound clear plastic containers with the Lot number WWPKTF051618.

The Ground Lamb product is sold in a 2-pound plastic container with the Lot number MFF022718.

The Lot number codes are listed on the bottom right corner of the label.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

About the Recall

The recall was as the result of a routine sampling program by the Ohio Department of Agriculture which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria

The company has ceased the production and distribution of the product as the company continues its investigation as to what caused the problem.

What to Do?

Consumers who have purchased Pat’s Cat Turkey Cat Food with the lot number, WWPKTF051618, OR Ground Lamb Dog Food with the lot number MFF022718 are urged to return it to G & C Raw, 225 N. West Street, Versailles, OH, for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact: G & C Raw, LLC at 937-827-0010 ET, or by email at gcrawdogfood@yahoo.com.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.

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Sincerely hope that no-one out there has a dog or cat that has eaten this potentially suspect food.

 

The slippery food slope.

The second in this three-part focus on food; both for us and our dogs!

A republication, within the terms of The Conversation site, of an article that was originally published on June 26th, 2018.

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Why it’s time to curb widespread use of neonicotinoid pesticides

By  Associate Professor of Entomology and Extension Specialist, Pennsylvania State University

Planting season for corn and soybeans across the U.S. corn belt is drawing to a close. As they plant, farmers are participating in what is likely to be one of the largest deployments of insecticides in United States history.

Almost every field corn seed planted this year in the United States – approximately 90 million acres’ worth – will be coated with neonicotinoid insecticides, the most widely used class of insecticides in the world. The same is true for seeds in about half of U.S. soybeans – roughly 45 million acres and nearly all cotton – about 14 million acres. In total, by my estimate, these insecticides will be used across at least 150 million acres of cropland, an area about the size the Texas.

Neonicotinoids are very good at killing insects. In many cases they require only parts per billion, equivalent to a few drops of insecticide in a swimming pool of water.

In recent years, concerns have been raised about the influence of neonicotinoids on bee populations. As an applied insect ecologist and extension specialist who works with farmers on pest control, I believe the focus on bees has obscured larger concerns. In my view, U.S. farmers are using these pesticides far more heavily than necessary, with potential negative impacts on ecosystems that are poorly understood.

Pesticides on seeds 

Most neonicotinoids in the United States are used to coat field crop seeds. Their role is to protect against a relatively small suite of secondary insect pests – that is, not the main pests that tend to cause yield loss. National companies or seed suppliers apply these coatings, so that when farmers buy seed, they just have to plant it.

The percentage of corn and soybean acreage planted with neonicotinoid seed coatings has increased dramatically since 2004. By 2011, over 90 percent of field corn and 40 percent of soybeans planted were treated with a neonicotinoid. Between 2011 and 2014, the area treated crept toward 100 percent for corn and 50 percent for soybeans. And the mass of neonicotinoids deployed in each crop doubled, indicating that seed suppliers applied about twice as much insecticide per seed. Unfortunately, many farmers are unaware of what is coated on their seeds, while others like the peace of mind that comes from an apparently better protected seed.

Unlike most insecticides, neonicotinoids are water soluble. This means that when a seedling grows from a treated seed, its roots can absorb some of the insecticide that coated the seed. This can protect the seedling for a limited time from insects. But only a small fraction of the insecticide applied to seeds is actually taken up by seedlings. For example, corn seedlings only take up about 2 percent, and it only persists in the plant for two to three weeks. The critical question is where the rest goes.

Clothianidin is a neonicotinoid used almost exclusively as a coating on seed corn. Maps from USGS.

Pervading the environment

Because neonicotinoids are water soluble, the leftover insecticide not taken up by plants can easily wash into nearby waterways. Neonicotinoids from seed coatings are now routinely found polluting streams and rivers around the country.

Here it is likely that they are poisoning and killing off some of the aquatic insects that are vital food sources for fishes, birds and other wildlife. In the Netherlands, neonicotinoids in surface waters have been associated with widespread declines in insectivorous bird populations – a sign that concentrations of these insecticides are having strong effects on food webs.

Neonicotinoids also can strongly influence pest and predator populations in crop fields. My lab’s research has revealed that use of coated seeds can indirectly reduce crop yield by poisoning insect predators that usually kill slugs, which are important crop pests in mid-Atlantic corn and soybeans fields.

More broadly, planting coated seeds generally decreases populations of insect predators in crop fields by 15 to 20 percent. These predatory insects can eat insect pests, such as black cutworm and armyworm, that can reduce yield. Crop fields with fewer resident predators are more vulnerable to pest infestations.

Slugs, shown here on a soybean plant, are unaffected by neonicotinoids, but can transmit the insecticides to beetles that are important slug predators. Nick Sloff/Penn State University, CC BY-ND

An exaggerated need

Neonicotinoid advocates point to reports – often funded by industry – which argue that these products provide value to field crop agriculture and farmers. However, these sources typically assume that insecticides of some type are needed on every acre of corn and soybeans. Therefore, their value calculations rest on comparing neonicotinoid seed coatings to the cost of other available insecticides.

History shows that this assumption is clearly faulty. In the decade before neonicotinoid seed coatings entered the market, only about 35 percent of U.S. corn acres and 5 percent of soybean acres were treated with insecticides. In other words, pest populations did not cause economically significant harm very often.

Importantly, the pest complex attacking corn today is more or less the same as it was in the 1990s. This suggests that it is not necessary to treat hundreds of millions of acres of crops with neonicotinoid seed coatings.

Neonicotinoids can harm birds via multiple pathways, sometimes in very small quantities.

From overkill to moderation

Should the United States follow the European Union’s lead and pass a broad ban on neonicotinoids? In my view, action this drastic is not necessary. Neonicotinoids provide good value in controlling critical pest species, particularly in vegetable and fruit production. However, their use on field crops needs to be reined in.

In the Canadian province of Ontario, growers can only use neonicotinoid seed treatments on 20 percent of their acres. This seems like a good start, but does not accommodate farmers’ needs very well.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a control strategy based on using pesticides only when they are economically justified, offers valuable guidelines. It was introduced in the late 1950s in response to issues stemming from overuse of insecticides, including environmental damage and pest populations that had evolved resistance. Field-crop growers have a good history of using IPM, but current use of neonicotinoids ignores pest risk and conflicts with this approach.

To implement IPM in field crops with neonicotinoids, seed companies need to acknowledge that the current approach is overkill and poses serious environmental hazards. Extension entomologists will then need to provide growers with unbiased information on strengths and limitations of neonicotinoids, and help farmers identify crop acres that will benefit from their use. Finally, the agricultural industry needs to eliminate practices that encourage unnecessary use of seed coatings, such as bundling together various seed-based pest management products, and provide more uncoated seeds in their catalogs.

These steps could end the ongoing escalation of neonicotinoid use and change the goal from “wherever possible” to “just enough.”

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It’s enough to make one give up!!

On plant-based diets!

Serendipity!

Last Friday I published a post under the title of On Veganism. Earlier that same day I opened up an email promoting the latest essay from George Monbiot. It had been published in The Guardian newspaper two days previously.

I am delighted to republish it here with George Monbiot’s kind permission.

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Butchery of the Planet

Defending the living world and its people requires a shift from meat to a plant-based diet

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 8th June 2018

Whether human beings survive this century and the next, whether other lifeforms can live alongside us: above all this depends on the way we eat. We can cut our consumption of everything else close to zero and still drive living systems to collapse, unless we change our diets.

All the evidence now points in one direction: the crucial shift is from an animal to a plant-based diet. A paper published last week in Science reveals that while some kinds of meat and dairy production are more damaging than others, all are more harmful to the living world than growing plant protein. It shows that animal farming takes up 83% of the world’s agricultural land, but delivers only 18% of our calories. A plant-based diet cuts the use of land by 76% and halves the greenhouse gases and other pollution caused by food production.

Part of the reason is the extreme inefficiency of feeding livestock on grain: most of its nutritional value is lost in conversion from plant protein to animal protein. This reinforces my contention that if you want to eat less soya, you should eat soya: most of the world’s production of this crop, and the accompanying destruction of forest, savannah and marshland, is driven by the wasteful practice of feeding animals on food that humans can eat.

More damaging still is free range meat: the environmental impacts of converting grass into flesh, the paper remarks, “are immense under any production method practiced today”. This is because so much land is required to produce every grass-fed steak or lamb chop. Though roughly twice as much land is used for grazing worldwide than for crop production, it provides just 1.2% of the protein we eat. While much of this pastureland cannot be used to grow crops, it can be used for rewilding: allowing the many rich ecosystems destroyed by livestock farming to recover, absorbing carbon from the atmosphere, protecting watersheds and halting the sixth great extinction in its tracks. The land that should be devoted to the preservation of human life and the rest of the living world is used instead to produce a tiny amount of meat.

Whenever I raise the crucial issue of yield per hectare, I receive a barrage of vituperation and abuse. But I’m not having a go at farmers, just pointing out that the figures don’t add up. We can neither feed the world’s growing population nor protect its living systems through animal farming. Meat and dairy are an extravagance we can no longer afford.

There is no way out of this. Those who claim that “regenerative” or “holistic” ranching mimics nature deceive themselves. It relies on fencing, while in nature wild herbivores roam freely, often across vast distances. It excludes or eradicates predators, crucial to the healthy functioning of all living systems. It tends to eliminate tree seedlings, ensuring that the complex mosaics of woody vegetation found in many natural systems – essential to support a wide range of wildlife – are absent.

The animal industry demands ever greater assaults on the living world. Witness the badger slaughter in the UK, now spreading across the country in response to the misguided requests of dairy farmers. People ask how I would justify the return of wolves, knowing that they will kill some sheep. I ask how they justify the eradication of wolves and a vast range of other wildlife to make way for sheep. The most important environmental action we can take is to reduce the amount of land used by farming.

Unless you can cook well – and many people have neither the skills nor the space – a plant-based diet can be either boring or expensive. We need better and cheaper vegan ready meals and quick and easy meat substitutes. The big shift will come with the mass production of cultured meat. There are three main objections. The first is that the idea of artificial meat is disgusting. If you feel this way, I invite you to look at how your sausages, burgers and chicken nuggets are currently raised, slaughtered and processed. Having worked on an intensive pig farm, I’m more aware than most of what disgusting looks like.

The second objection is that cultured meat undermines local food production. Perhaps those who make this claim are unaware of where animal feed comes from. Passing Argentinian soya through a nearby pig before it reaches you does not make it any more local than turning it directly into food for humans. The third objection has greater merit: cultured meat lends itself to corporate concentration. Again, the animal feed industry (and, increasingly, livestock production) has been captured by giant conglomerates. But we should fight to ensure that cultured meat does not go the same way: in this sector as in all others, we need strong anti-trust laws.

This could also be a chance to break our complete dependence on artificial nitrogen. Traditionally, animal and plant farming were integrated through the use of manure. Losses from this system led to a gradual decline in soil fertility. The development of industrial fertilisers saved us from starvation, but at a high environmental cost. Today, the link between livestock and crops has mostly been broken: crops are grown with industrial chemicals while animal slurry stacks up, unused, in stinking lagoons, wipes out rivers and creates dead zones at sea. When it is applied to the land, it threatens to accelerate antibiotic resistance.

In switching to a plant-based diet, we could make use of a neat synergy. Most protein crops – peas and beans – capture nitrogen from the air, fertilising themselves and raising nitrate levels in the soil that subsequent crops, such as cereals and oilseeds, can use. While the transition to plant protein is unlikely to eliminate the global system’s need for artificial fertiliser, the pioneering work of vegan organic growers, using only plant-based composts and importing as little fertility as possible from elsewhere, should be supported by research, that governments have so far conspicuously failed to fund.

Understandably, the livestock industry will resist all this, using the bucolic images and pastoral fantasies that have beguiled us for so long. But they can’t force us to eat meat. The shift is ours to make. It becomes easier every year.

http://www.monbiot.com

ooOOoo

Thus, along with the argument presented last Friday that a vegan diet is critically important for one’s health and long-term fitness, Mr. Monbiot presents another argument: “Whether human beings survive this century and the next, whether other lifeforms can live alongside us: above all this depends on the way we eat.

Back in business!

Of trees and internet services!

The weather at 6am didn’t bode well with a brisk wind blowing clouds across the summit of Mt. Sexton.

Lyman from Liberty Tree Enterprises arrived bright and early on Wednesday morning to set about felling the dead fir close to the North-East corner of our rear deck.

It was this dead fir, pictured to the left, that had had the wireless antenna installed on it soon after we moved in to Merlin, OR, back in 2012.

How the day would go was a bit of a guessing game: Would we need a new antenna because it would be broken when the tree hit the ground?; Would Outreach be out to see us reasonably soon after we called them to say that the tree was down?; Would there be complications that were unforeseen at this early stage of the ‘project’?

Well we wouldn’t have long to find out.

Lyman and his assistant were very careful in ensuring that the face of the cut, that would direct exactly where the tree fell, was aligned perfectly. I was very impressed with the care and attention put into this aspect of the felling process.

Then it was time to make the cut on the other side of the trunk and hammer in the wedges that would cause the tree to fall. At one point there was a gust of wind that had the tall trunk rocking on the base. We all held our breath.

But at 09:33 down it came!

Down it came perfectly. (Later I counted the rings to discover that the tree was 65 years old!)

Then it was a case of cutting off all the limbs and shredding them up on site. Inevitably the dogs took an interest!

Here’s Cleo making friends with Lyman.

On to stage two.

Outreach had been called and to our great relief we were told that Doug and Jennifer, the Outreach rigging crew, should be along later in the afternoon.

The two of them arrived and quickly established that the existing antenna had survived the drop!

Therefore, it wasn’t long before Doug was climbing another fir also conveniently close to the deck.

Doug earning his living big time!

And within the hour it was time to power up the router, switch on my iMAC and test for a signal!

The old antenna installed in its new home!

Yes!

All was working and working well.

As you good people will understand it was too late in the day to sort out a post for yesterday.

Plus I needed a few hours to catch up on emails and stuff and then sort out the photographs that I had taken that day.

Then, yesterday afternoon, I sat down and ‘penned’ today’s post for you all.

 

Well done Liberty Tree and well done Outreach!