I enjoy pretty much everything there is that has to do with the outdoors. Some of my most peaceful moments have been while walking through the forest, sitting on a beach, or boating (minus the loud engine). Accordingly I have a great respect for nature and enjoy learning about the plants and wildlife therein. My plan is to continue that learning process and hopefully enhance it by sharing what I learn. I intend for this blog to serve many purposes, but in the immediate future it will be a place for me, and hopefully others, to share ideas about reducing our individual impact on this planet, protecting wild spaces, and in general just to comment on the things we enjoy most in the great outdoors. I welcome all opinions as otherwise you cannot consider every aspect of a subject. However, I would ask that every opinion be expressed in a respectful way and considered with an open mind. Often there is no single right answer. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why I finally switched to organic milk

Months after writing my Factory Farming: Dairy post our family has finally made the switch to organic milk.  I held off until recently mostly due to price and the feeling that, overall, Island Farms dairy cows were not horribly mistreated.  While we dramatically reduced our consumption of milk in the interim, I did it because of the issues mentioned in my post and did not place much focus on the diet of the cow whose milk we were drinking.

My viewpoint was changed about a month ago after I watched a documentary called Genetic Roulette.  It goes into detail about some of the genetically modified foods that we are eating and that the animals in our food chain are eating.  I will be up front now and say that, as far as I am concerned, chemicals have no place in our food system.  Having said that I am not a chemist, or biologist, or any other kind of scientist, and I cannot backup my opinion with any concrete proof I have discovered independently.  For me, some things do not need to be proven beyond a doubt when the reasoning is within what I consider logical.  If you are predisposed to believe that chemicals in our food system are safe then the documentary may not change your mind.  But it should give you some things to consider.

Genetic Roulette is approximately 1.5 hours in length.   It outlines the possible side effects of directly eating genetically modified foods, which are numerous, as well as the dangers of eating meat or other products from animals who have been fed genetically modified food.  Think food allergies, cancer, reproductive issues, and more.  And before you think that Canada escapes this one, which is what I was kind of hoping, there is a study referencing pregnant women in Canada.  The two main genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that are explained are Bt corn and Roundup ready crops.  The information provided about these GMOs was, at best, eye opening and, at worst, horrifying.

There are interviews with veterinarians, and pediatricians among others.  They share accounts of health and behaviour issues experienced by animals, children and adults when exposed to GMOs and how the issues improved after switching to non-GMO food and, in the case of one farm, deteriorated after switching back.  You will also hear the standard charges of collusion between big business and the government agencies that are supposed to be ensuring the safety of our food supply.

Typically you have to pay a small amount in order to watch Genetic Roulette, however, I noticed on their website tonight that you can watch it for free until the end of October.  Instead of sitting down and watching something crappy on TV, like the latest non-reality show, I would encourage you to check it out.

Also mentioned in the film is the Non-GMO project.  This is a North American project aimed at helping consumers to make informed decisions about food products.  Now that I have looked at the website I do recognize the label with the butterfly perched on the blades of grass.  On their website you will find a huge amount of information including a link to a 122 page document entitled GMO Myths and Truths which, judging by the table of contents, has similar content to the Genetic Roulette documentary. 

As intriguing as the contents seem I will have to save them for another day.  At this point my eyes are about done and I am not digging into a 122 page document on my computer screen.  Suffice it to say that the documentary was enough to induce me to purchase milk at twice the price, and, our family's transition to organic, non-GMO foods has been accelerated.  My guess is that the .pdf document will only cement that decision.

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