During an average day there are hundreds of items that flow into my e-mail inbox. Some of these are important news items that become part of the news that Hoosier Ag Today produces each day. A large number end up in my junk folder because they are just that junk. Then there are those items that defy easy classification: some are strange, others are bizarre and some are just plain silly. Here are a few samples from the past few weeks.
In an effort to be on the cutting edge of the NO GMO fad, some companies are making drastic changes and losing customers rather than gaining them. Ben and Jerry’s ice cream has always been a bit over the edge when it came to being socially progressive. I mean, how many other international brands employ a “social mission activism manager?” The ice cream maker has set out to replace 50 different flavors of ice cream with non-GMO ingredients. The problem is they can’t find that many. For example, the Heath Bar was the central part of their Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, but since the Heath Bar is made with products that are (gasp) GMO, the Heath bar had to go. The move however, is not going over well with customers and anti-GMO groups.
Customers are complaining the new formulation does not taste as good as the original. In fact, there is even a social media petition to bring back the old formulation. Anti -GMO groups are also upset because the corporation that owns Ben and Jerry’s, Unilever, is a member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the group that last week sued Vermont over the GMO labeling law. Perhaps the next flavor should be Hippo Hypocrisy, since Ben and Jerry’s was a major force behind the passage of the Vermont GMO labeling law.
Did you know that HSUS is using your donations to buy body armor? According to Humane Watch, HSUS has created “seizure teams” that take the law into their own hands and rush in to rescue animals they say need saving. They even have very official looking badges for these team members. Now they are outfitting these team members with bullet proof body armor. To me this seems a little scary, but Humane Watch suggests I file this in the silly file. “Here’s why this is silly: HSUS does occasionally assist law enforcement in conducting raids on dogfighters. But there’s no way that any law enforcement agency would ever put volunteers in a situation where they might be in the line of fire. The police will make arrests, and HSUS will assist in collecting evidence/seizing dogs afterward. If there really was any danger, law enforcement would not be letting HSUS roam around filming promotional videos, and the other personnel would also be wearing body armor. They aren’t. In other words, this is all about showmanship, just like the phony badges. What next, an AR-15? A tactical shield?”
It is still legal to drink chocolate milk in Connecticut. Connecticut school children who enjoy chocolate milk are being granted a reprieve. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vetoed an education bill last week that included language potentially prohibiting the sale of nonfat chocolate milk in schools. The ban was apparently an inadvertent result of an effort to reduce sodium levels in beverages provided in Connecticut school cafeterias, as required by federal law. But in his veto message, Malloy said all milk producers add some sodium to their nonfat chocolate milk to counteract the bitterness caused by adding cocoa to the milk.
I have been saving the best for last. During an on-line debate over animal care (these occur daily on social media channels), I saw the most incredible statement made by someone opposed to “factory farming”. These so called discussions usually consist of name calling and restating misconceptions. When someone from the ag community attempts to explain what really happens on livestock farms today, they are called liars or employees of Monsanto. This is especially frustrating to farmers since it is obvious from their comments that those opposing modern livestock production have no idea what they are talking about nor have they bothered to find out the truth for themselves. Thus, while I was a bit astonished, I was not really surprised when someone who was bashing “factory farms” said in all sincerity, “I know that those farms are like, I drove past one once.”
I will plan to share a few more of these gems later on this summer. Something tells me I will have no shortage of material from which to choose.
By Gary Truitt