Change IS possible: Faced with the news that a class of antibiotics previously banned by the US government for poultry production is still in use, farmers and ranchers will now need a prescription from a veterinarian before feeding antibiotics to their farm animals. The FDA finally put this rule in place after trying for over 35 years to stop this practice, which helps the animals grow larger, but leads–over time–to the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the humans that eat this meat.

In the March 12th edition of the New York Times, Gardiner Harris quotes the FDA’s Michael Taylor as saying, "We’re confident that it will result in significant reductions in agricultural antibiotic use." This means that unless a farmer can convince a veterinarian who resembles the doctor who treated Michael Jackson to write him a prescription, the regular feeding of antibiotics to cattle, pigs and chickens may finally be over.

But that doesn’t mean that cruelty to farm animals has ended. In the March 12th edition of the New York Times, Nicholas D. Kristof quotes an undercover investigator who looked into a major factory farm that produces 4.5 million eggs each day for supermarkets as saying that "it’s physically hard to breathe" in the older barns "because of the ammonia" wafting up from manure pits below the areas where the hens are laying eggs. In some cases, 11 hens were jammed into a cage about 2 feet by 2 feet.

He writes: "Mice sometimes ran down egg conveyer belts, barns were thick with flies and manure in three barns tested positive for salmonella, he said. (Actually, salmonella isn’t as rare as you might think, turning up in 3 percent of egg factory farms tested by the Food and Drug Administration last year.)

"Somehow, fried eggs don’t taste so good if you imagine the fetid barn in which they were laid."

After reading this story, you may have lost (or regained) your appetite, but we want to assure you that you won’t go hungry at our wonderful Dreamland Festival in May, because we sell you a meal ticket that gives you three healthy squares a day, eaten at communal tables where you can make new friends and meet and talk with your favorite Dreamland hosts, who will be eating there too. We keep our festival small so that we can meet EVERYONE personally (and you can hoist a beer with our favorite Texan, Jim Marrs, at a nearby pub–NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show and they get 10% off Festival tickets) but our tickets are selling out fast, so don’t delay: Get yours today!

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