As readers of my blog appreciate, I have addressed the importance of scientists better communicating with the public. In the recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education there is a superb article about this. Please read and share your perspectives (by comment).
By Dennis Meredith
The Chronicle of Higher Education
May 16, 2010
When it comes to persuading the American public about some of the most controversial issues of our time, today’s scientists too often get failing grades. Gallup polls show that only 39 percent of Americans believe in evolution, for example, while 48 percent say global warming is exaggerated and 46 percent say temperature increases are not due to human activity. And despite many recent court rulings asserting that there is no scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism, far too many parents still cling to that dangerous belief and refuse to have their children vaccinated. Read the rest of this entry »
Terry D. Etherton
Many U.S. farmers who grow genetically engineered (GE) crops are realizing substantial economic and environmental benefits — such as lower production costs, fewer pest problems, reduced use of pesticides, and better yields — compared with conventional crops, says a new report, Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops on Farm Sustainability in the United States, from the National Research Council. However, GE crops resistant to the herbicide glyphosate — a main component in Roundup and other commercial weed killers — could develop more weed problems as weeds evolve their own resistance to glyphosate. GE crops could lose their effectiveness unless farmers also use other proven weed and insect management practices. Read the rest of this entry »
Volume 327;1554, 2010
Published 26 March 2010
THERE ARE AT LEAST 1 BILLION POOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH CHRONIC UNDERNOURISHMENT, and the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goal of substantially reducing the world’s hungry by 2015 will not be met. The developing world’s poor are experiencing the effects of higher commodity prices, and declining agricultural productivity growth is exacerbating the problem. Next week, leaders in science and society will convene in Montpellier, France, for the first Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD 2010) to organize sweeping changes in global agricultural research. The meeting follows major reforms of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), endorsed in December 2009. CGIAR’s new business model is meant to more effectively address food security, focusing on people, results, and efficiency. “Mega Programs” (now called “Themes”) will deliver research outputs to achieve scaled-up impacts on poverty, and a new fund will harmonize donor contributions to support CGIAR’s 15 research centers. But the total global investment in public-sector agricultural research is 20 times greater than that of CGIAR. How to better harness this critical resource (along with private-sector investments) for worldwide poverty reduction will be a major focus for GCARD. Read the rest of this entry »
Farm Press Editorial Staff
Posted, March 16, 2010
When surveys don’t give you the overwhelming result you’re looking for, there’s only one thing left to do — cook your numbers. This was the tactic employed by the Consumers Union (CU), the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports, after it conducted a poll recently on genetically engineered crops. Read the rest of this entry »
The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) released their annual report on global adoption of genetically modified (GM) on February 23, 2010.
An executive summary of Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2009 – The first fourteen years, 1996 to 2009 presents highlights of the amazing growth in the global adoption of GM crops. Impressively, GM crops are being readily adopted by developing and developed countries. Read the rest of this entry »
Associate Professor, Dairy Cattle Genetics
Department of Dairy and Animal Science
The Pennsylvania State University
“Instead of redesigning the factory farm to suit the animals, they are redesigning the animals to suit the factory farm”
Matthew Scully. The American Conservative, May 23, 2005.
My most memorably painful experience occurred when I was a teenage farm kid that stomped on the end of a pitchfork. My intent was for the handle to swing up and whack my sister in the hand. Alas, she was not the embarrassed teenager who left for our family vacation the next day with a well deserved set of stitches. In the seconds after the handle did its damage, I knew where I was hurting, I knew that it was a rather intense sensation, and I knew that it was not at all pleasant. What I did not know was that these experiences where the result of two different sensory pathways. The first pathway told me that my chin hurt, and badly; the second told me that it was not pleasant (for me at least – my sister was on the ground laughing). Read the rest of this entry »
Terry D. Etherton
The Opinion-Editorial published in the New York Times was passed along to me earlier today. As readers of Terry Etherton Blog on Biotechnology appreciate, I have written about a variety of topics across the landscape of science and agriculture; defending science, as well as attempting to counter attacks on, and misrepresentations of production agriculture .
In the article below, Mr. Shriver paints a picture of animal agriculture that presents some perspectives that don’t reflect the reality of practices used in contemporary animal production. Moreover, a paradox is presented about science – use transgenic farm animals that have been engineered so they can tolerate “pain and suffering” that he asserts is caused by “factory farming”.
My experiment, you ask? Rather than my writing an initial blog about this Op-Ed piece, I am opening up comments, and wish to moderate the discussion of your opinions and knowledge about animal agriculture and science as framed in the story by Mr. Shriver. I will share my perspectives after I “gather” your comments. Read the rest of this entry »
FASS Shares AVMA’s Concerns Regarding Pew Report on Industrial Farm Animal Production
Posted January 5, 2010
The Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS) has analyzed the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production’s report Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America as well as the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) response to the report. After a review by FASS’ Scientific Advisory Committees, FASS agrees with AVMA that there are significant flaws in the Pew Report. Read the rest of this entry »