Archive for October, 2010

The Role of Animal Protein in Cancer Initiation

October 31, 2010

Cancer proceeds through 3 stages; initiation, promotion, and progression. To use a rough analogy, the cancer process is similar to planting a lawn. Initiation is when you put the seed in the soil, promotion is when the grass starts to grow when conditions of moisture and sun are just right, and progression is when the grass gets completely out of control, invading the driveway, the shrubbery and the sidewalk. Chemicals that initiate the process are called carcinogens. Dr. Campbell’s research discovered 5 ways that an excess of animal protein in the diet can influence each stage.

The carcinogens’ that start the process are often byproducts of industrial processes. The documentary Big River a sequel to King Corn, revealed research by Dr. John Wargo at Yale University which focused on atrazine a chemical spray widely used to kill weeds during June in agricultural areas throughout the Country and is thought to be responsible for the cancer epidemic in Iowa. We also have a high rate of cancer on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Anyone residing in a farming area is exposed to this chemical spray. Anyone traveling down Route 301 to the Eastern Shore or anyone traveling from Washington to Ocean City on Route 50 while farm fields are being sprayed in June is exposed to this chemical. Obviously everyone of the thousands of people exposed to atrazine do not get cancer. Why?

The body has a defense mechanism for exposure to chemicals. There is an enzyme called MFO, which is responsible for metabolizing chemicals, friend or foe, that enter the body. Paradoxically, this enzyme both detoxifies and produces a toxic byproduct called aflatoxin, which attacks the cell DNA and causes irreversible damage to the cell. This research in laboratory rats reported by Dr Campbell in 1976 showed that this enzyme activity was dramatically increased by levels of animal protein common to the level in the diet of Americans today and was not increased by low levels of animal protein or plant protein. In effect the bodies complex defense mechanizism has been co-opted and used against the body when excess animal protein is consumed.

In order to produce the current level of animal protein we are applying 3 times more chemical fertilizer to corn feed than the corn can use in normal rainfall years. In drought years almost all of the applied nitrogen leaches into aquifers and eventually reaches surface water where it is destroying all water species. We are also taking short cuts in crop rotation to produce corn feed, which is destroying our soil carbon, which leads to high levels of erosion. The manure generated by CAFOs is adding to the nitrogen saturation of aquifers and runoff of species destroying phosphorous.    An unanticipated level of animal protein consumption than our creator anticipated causes all of this destruction. In short our addiction to high levels of meat and dairy products is destroying our most important natural resources and our health.



THE CHINA STUDY- Part One Introduction

October 30, 2010

When a leading agronomist read the paper” America’s Failed Food Production System” which initiated our website his comment was “How can we feed a growing population if we were to return to the agriculture that was practiced when I was a kid?” What we both missed is that plant food is still grown the old fashion way and fruit is still grown on trees and vines the old fashioned way except for the chemicals that are used to control weeds and bugs which are also problematic. It is only animal food production that has changed, dominated field production, and resulted in people in the US consuming double the animal protein consumed by most of the world. The corn used to feed the animals dominates field production and along with the animal manure generated by CAFO’s is the greatest source of nutrient pollution of every river and estuary East of the Rockies. Short cuts in tilled farming rotations are causing the US to lose its topsoil which is estimated to be half lost. Corn feed, chicken, hogs and cattle production are particularly destructive to estuaries like Chesapeake Bay which receive river pollution. So the question should not be about most food but only about animal protein production.

Colin Campbell the son of a dairy farmer earned his PhD at Cornell University in biochemistry and nutrition studying ways to produce more animal protein which at the time most people agreed was the answer to malnutrition in many of the world’s children. Curious about the connection between animal protein and cancer found by Indian scientists and his own observations of childhood cancers in affluent children while studying malnutrition of children in the early 70’s, Colin Campbell spent his professional career focused on lab studies and on the largest human epidemiology study ever conducted on the relationship between animal protein and common cancers, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, bone, kidney, eye and autoimmune diseases.

Since animal protein production, CAFO chicken production in our watershed, is so important to our mission to restore LaTrappe Creek we will review The China Study and present other opinions over several posts. We will start with the three stages of cancer, which is where Dr. Campbell’s research started in the early 70’s.


MD. Eastern Shore Candidates Fall Short on Bay

October 29, 2010

The  October 28th Star Democrat Headlines shows that Chesapeake Bay issues are on the mind of voters but of low priority to local candidates. Only one candidate offered a partial Bay water quality solution. Patrice Stanley said that more organic agriculture could help Bay pollution. She is right. Diversity can help. This follows an article on October 16, which proposes grass based animal production as a major solution. Why were there no follow-up questions to a group of politicians who are obviously ill equipped or uninterested in solving our most important issue?

In October the Star Democrat reported on new technology developed by USGS, which allowed for a more accurate assessment of the sources of Chesapeake Bay pollution. USGS went back and reviewed data collected over the last twenty years for 8 rivers on the Western shore including the Susquehanna from Pennsylvania. The Potomac from Virginia and the Pawtuxet which includes Baltimore area polution and concluded that the rate of nitrogen pollution had remained consistent or declined except for the only Eastern Shore River tested. The Choptank, our major Eastern Shore River had shown an increase in the rate of nitrogen pollution of 63% since 2000. The USGS scientists assessing this result said that while the effort to reduce nutrient pollution from waste water treatment plants had been somewhat successful remediation efforts by agriculture over the last 20 years have shown no results to date and that this was an indication that implemented Best Management Practices were not effective. USGS reported in 2000 that 59% of nitrogen pollution on Delmarva came from fertilizer application mostly to corn and 35% came from chicken CAFO manure. Why were several candidates who attempted to shift blame to other States confronted with this evidence?

Don’t expect the Chesapeake Bay to improve without major reductions in fertilizer application, chicken manure management and adopting minimal USDA standards for soil management. Other severely polluted areas of corn and CAFO agriculture have a choice. People in Iowa have an opportunity to elect a grass based organic dairy farmer as Secretary of Agriculture this election cycle. He is an underdog and may not win but at least in Iowa another severely polluted area people who want clean water have a choice, which is lacking here on Delmarva with these weak candidates who pander to very strong large agricultural interests.

Pyrolysis- A Chance for Current Ag Survival?

October 16, 2010

Francis Thicke in his book A New Vision for Iowa Food and Agriculture has a chapter on Pyrolysis, which he defines as a process of heating biomass without oxygen to produce combustible fuel and a product called Blochar, a soil amendment, which increases soil fertilitory while sequestering soil carbon. You will recall our reference #52, a study by the University of Illinois, which found that every Midwestern State except one was losing soil carbon. If you look at the photos from Rodale Institute our reference #53 you will see visually that our widely used two crop agricultural system using chemical fertilizer causes depletion of carbon ie. organic matter/fertility and becomes highly erodible over time. In addition the only two studies ever done on manure spillage around chicken CAFOs in Maryland showed that spillage of manure after 20 years of operation caused aquifer nitrogen levels 200 times the normal background level of 0.3 mg/l which USGS has found to be 35% of nitrogen contamination in Delmarva aquifers. Pyrolysis of CAFO manure helps solve many of these problems and is the minimum that must be done if the CAFO concept for animal protein production is to survive. If the industry will not support this essential minimal first step it will accelerate its demise into the dustbin of history as predicted recently by a leading scientist. Note that the highlighted post provides a way to contribute to the Francis Thicke campaign in Iowa. A vote for Iowa is a vote for Delmarva which has a similar land use profile.

Francis Thicke- Grass Farmer Runs for AG Sec.

October 15, 2010

Francis Thicke is a grass based dairy farmer and also certified organic farmer. He has written an excellent book on sustainable agriculture which includes a detailed technical explanation of the pyrolysis of animal manure and many other sustainable practices that must be adopted if industrial agriculture is ever to be compatible with air quality, water quality and human health. This in itself is not unusual because many farmers have reached the same conclusions as Francis Thicke. What is unusual is that Mr. Thicke is running for Agricultural Secretary in the State of Iowa, which many of us look at as the flagship of unsustainable agriculture. There are many interesting tapes on this post including a debate between Mr. Thicke and his opponent the current Secretary of Agriculture and a corn and soybean farmer. Sustainable agricultural advocates Michael Pollan, and farmer Joel Salatin are also taped. Iowans are just beginning to become aware of the destruction caused by industrial agriculture despite the fact that their water treatment plant in DesMoines was forced to install the worlds largest nitrate treatment plant years ago. Many other wells and water supplies are severely affected not only by nitrate but also by pathogens, antibiotics, arsenic, growth hormones and etc. The nitrate level at this plant is 5 times that of our Choptank River in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. However we are on our way to catching Iowa with nitrogen pollution up 63% in the last 8 years. I did have the opportunity to speak to Mrs. Vilsack at a recent Red Cross fund raiser and expressed my admiration for Mr. Thicke a fellow Democrat. Her husband Tom is US. Secretary of Agriculture and former Governor of Iowa. You will recall that he opposed the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force fertilizer reduction recommendation in 2000. She said that Mr. Thicke would not win. I sent him another donation when I heard that. Nothing could be more positive for the future of food and agriculture than a Thicke win or even a close election in Iowa.

CHINA STUDY-Cancer Cell Promotion Plus

October 8, 2010

This book takes a three-pronged look at the cause of major US. diseases. The first part starts in 1967 and describes Colin Campbell PhD’s 27 years of work in laboratory studies at MIT, Cornell and VA Tech working with laboratory rats where he demonstrated that he could promote or retard the growth of induced cancerous liver tumors in rats by increasing or decreasing the amount of ingested animal protein including the casein found in milk. He also found that high levels of plant protein did not stimulate the growth of liver tumors. He then expanded his lab studies to other cancers and other diseases including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, alzheimers and eye diseases. He reached the same conclusion that high animal protein diets practiced by most Americans were the likely major cause of the high incidence of all major diseases.

But these conclusions were based on animal studies in laboratories. While studies in rats are generally recognized to be highly predictable of results in humans, Campbell realized that his work would generate a lot of skeptics and would not be accepted without extensive human research leading to the second phase of his study, the China phase. In 1970 Chou EnLai was dying of cancer and ordered a study of 12 different kinds of cancer in 2400 Chinese counties. A Chinese scientist came to the US in the early 80s to work in Campbell’s lab. This led to collaboration with the Chinese, which led to the largest human study ever conducted which confirmed Campbell’s laboratory conclusions.

The third phase of the book is devoted to other scientific work, which supports the China Study conclusions. Americans on average eat 70 grams of animal protein per day, twice as much as other developed countries and 3 times more than their health need. In order to produce this level of animal protein we are over applying fertilizer and other chemicals many carcinogenic that are being ingested in the food we eat and are in the air we breathe. We are the most obese country in the World with the highest health care cost. We are polluting every river and estuary East of the Rockies with the excess nutrient and the sediment from farm fields mostly to produce animal feed. We are taking unacceptable short cuts in tilled soil management and have lost half our topsoil nationally. Ten billion animals are being abused yearly in CAFOs. To add insult to injury our tax dollars are being used to support the whole mess rather than having addicted consumer’s pay the real cost, as we now do with addicted cigarette smokers. Does this make any sense at all?

Posted by Donald R. Kerstetter