Thorium-Fueled Automobile Engine Needs Refueling Once a Century

There are now over one billion cars traveling roads around the world directly and indirectly costing trillions of dollars in material resources, time and noxious emissions. Imagine all these cars running cleanly for 100 years on just 8 grams of fuel each.

Thanks to This Page Will Blow Your Mind for making this image.

Back in the late 60s and early 70s the US military built Thorium-Fueled reactors and designed them for aircraft and was very successful. These small nuclear reactors would never go critical and blow up due to the design. Now a new concept car has arrived and has great potential for a fuel source. By the way if you actually study Nuclear Physics there is only 3 to 5 pages that cover thorium reactors due to their size and popularity.
Thorium Concept Car - Image Courtesy

Laser Power Systems (LPS) from Connecticut, USA, is developing a new method of automotive propulsion with one of the most dense materials known in nature: thorium. Because thorium is so dense it has the potential to produce tremendous amounts of heat. The company has been experimenting with small bits of thorium, creating a laser that heats water, produces steam and powers a mini turbine.
Current models of the engine weigh 500 pounds, easily fitting into the engine area of a conventionally-designed vehicle. According to CEO Charles Stevens, just one gram of the substance yields more energy than 7,396 gallons (28,000 L) of gasoline and 8 grams would power the typical car for a century.
The idea of using thorium is not new. In 2009, Loren Kulesus designed the Cadillac World Thorium Fuel Concept Car. LPS is developing the technology so it can be mass-produced.


Funny Looking Tower Generates 600% More Electrical Energy Than Traditional Wind Turbines

The Sheerwind wind turbine promises to produce 6 times the electrical power than traditional wind turbines.
This funny looking wind tower acts like a funnel, directing the wind from any angle, down through a tube to a ground based turbine generator. The funneling of the wind through a narrow passage effectively creates a “jet effect” increasing the velocity of the wind, while lowering the pressure. This is called the Venturi Effect. This speeds up the wind turbine mounted inside the narrowest portion and generates electricity.
As such it can capture and generate electricity at a much lower wind speed than current wind power technologies.
The idea is so simple, so elegant, and promises to produce so much more energy at lower cost and more efficiently, that it might just be the answer to many problems with current wind turbine technology. Aside from the lower capital investment to get started, and increased efficiency and power generation, it also might be a solution to the ever growing problem of birds (and bats) being killed by traditional wind farms. (Yes, that is a problem)
This technology is not really new in the science of fluid dynamics, however this is a new way to generate electricity, and if successful, promises to grow the wind energy in a more eco-friendly way than ever thought possible.
Imagine a smaller HOME version on your off grid cabin. Now THAT is cool off grid tech!

Conventional wind turbines use massive turbine generator systems mounted on top of a tower. INVELOX, by contrast, funnels wind energy to ground-based generators. Instead of snatching bits of energy from the wind as it passes through the blades of a rotor, wind is captured with a funnel and directed through a tapering passageway that naturally accelerates its flow. This stream of kinetic energy then drives a generator that is installed safely and economically at ground level. – See more at:

Venturi effect
 Click any of the photos below to see a larger version.



Living off the grid: --

via: Sheerwind

Wikihouse Download and Print Your Own House

Imagine downloading your house online, and “printing” it out on a machine. You don’t have to imagine it. It is a reality. Wikihouse makes it possible to download the blueprint designs for the house, which can then be fed into a CNC machine and the parts (and tools) needed to assemble the shelter simply cut out from sheets of plywood. - This can be great for off grid living or just a fun 'do it yourself' project. This is also a great solution to helping people find homes after natural disasters etc.

The practical applications are far reaching. Not only can your design and download your own home, but the Wikihouse could be used in disaster relief scenarios where natural disasters, war, or political turmoil causes destruction of home and property and displaces many people. SCALABLE: This is scalable and modifiable. Anyone can download and use the plans and modify them for you own use under the terms of the license for free. This means you are free to improve upon the design or make your own. Wikihouse is designed using Sketchup. A free (at the time of this writing) 3D design software application. This is a truly revolutionary idea, and the concept is proven. It works.

“The purpose of the WikiHouse construction set is that the end structure is ready to be made weathertight using cladding, insulation, damp-proof membranes and windows. WikiHouse is still an experiment in its early stages, and these have not yet been prototyped or developed further. All the information shared on is offered as an open invitation to collaborators and co-developers who are interested in putting open source solutions to these problems in the public domain. If you are working on one of these, or would like to know (or do) more, please get in touch.”



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Here's Proof Monsanto's Claims That Their GMOs Increase Crop Yields is a Blatant Lie

A new study shows that the US Midwest staple crop system - predominantly genetically modified (GM) - is falling behind other economically and technologically equivalent regions. Western Europe, matched for latitude, season and crop type as well as economic and technological development, outperforms the US (and Canada) with regards to yields, pesticide use, genetic diversity and crop resilience, as well as farm worker wellbeing.

The study, headed by Jack Heinemann at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, is a damning indictment of the large-scale, monoculture model in the US, the world’s largest producer of maize since the records began in 1961, and is increasingly relied upon to provide more and more of the world’s calorie intake [1]. This serves as a warning to the UK environmental minister Owen Paterson, who proposes to introduce GM crops into the UK [2].

US Midwest and European yields compared

Maize, rapeseed, soybean and cotton yield data were obtained from the United Nations Food and Agriculture organisation (FAO) FAOSTAT database for the United States, Canada and the total group Western Europe (Austrian, Belgium-Luxembourg, France, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland). Records from 1961 to 2010 were used, while 2011 and 2012 data were included through projections and additional statistics. They conducted statistical covariance (ANCOVA) analyses to test whether the yield differed significantly between locations, year, percentage of GM crops used and any other interactions.
First compared was rapeseed and maize, which have similar agroecosystems (latitude, growing seasons and equally developed agriculture systems across the two continents as well as access to biotechnological and intellectual property (IP) rights options, which are legal protection for so-calledcreations of the mind, allowing industry to own GM seeds through claiming them as novel inventions. The major difference between the continents is the near saturation of GM varieties in N. America compared to a virtual absence in W. Europe. Between 1961 and 1986, the US maize yield averaged

5 700 hectogram/hectare (hg/ha) more than W. Europe, totalling 54 379 hg/ha. (A hectogram = 100 g). However, after 1986, there was a significant change in yield between the compared regions. W. Europe averaged 82 899 hg/ha, slightly more than the 82 841 hg/ha in the US (see Table 1).This suggests that GM has offered no benefit whatsoever in the US – contrary to what has been claimed - while the overall increase in yields in both regions were due to improved management and conventional breeding (see Figure 1).
Table 1 Yield data of maize and rapeseed in the US (and Canada) versus Western Europe
AgroecosystemCropAverage yield (hg/ha)
United States 1961 – 1985
Western Europe 1961 – 1985
United States 1986 – 2010
Western Europe 1986 – 2010
Canada 1961 – 1985
Western Europe 1961 – 1985
Canada 1986 – 2010
Western Europe 1986 – 2010

Figure 1   Yield data for maize show more improvement and less variability in Europe compared to the US despite Europe’s lack of GM varieties
Further, the difference between the estimated yield potential and the actual yield, or the ‘yield-gap’ appears smaller in Europe. Over the entire period of 1961 to 2010 the US reached marginally significantly higher yield averages, but when taking into account the interaction between year and location, a steeper increase in European maize yield was found in recent years, as consistent with the actually higher yields in Europe than in the US, despite the latter’s use of GM. Yield data from 2011 and projected yields for 2012 reveal a downward trend in the US compared with Europe. Fluctuations in yield are more severe in the US, a sign of reduced resilience to environmental stressors, which can also spark dramatic price changes in agricultural markets.

Rapeseed (or canola) shows a similar pattern when comparing yields from Canada, the next earliest adopter of GM after the US, with W. Europe. The average yield has always been lower in Canada by an average of 11 000 hg/ha during 1961-1985, and an even larger average difference between 1986 and 2010 of 17 300 hg/ha, the period when Canada moved to GM and Europe did not. Wheat yields have consistently increased in both regions, but increasing at a steeper rate in Europe. Neither region grows GM wheat, again highlighting that gains in yields over recent years are not dependent on GM technologies and that the combination of biotechnologies used in Europe is demonstrating greater productivity than in the US.

Low genetic diversity of US crops

Despite its size, the US agro-ecosystem has had very low levels of on-farm genetic diversity, with 80-85 % of maize in the 1980s for example being based on a single innovation – the T cytoplasm. Across the world, the low genetic diversity is a concern, with varieties of many staple crops decreasing in recent years. As FAO pointed out, China went from having 10 000 varieties of wheat in 1949 to 1 000 in the 1970s, while the US has lost 95 % of the cabbage, 91 % of field maize, 94 % of the pea, and 81 % of their tomato varieties in the last century.

Powerful economic and legislative forces continue to drive uniformity. There are two major farming policies in the US that affect sustainability – innovation (through development of licensing and IP rights) and public subsidies. Subsidies increase with higher acreage, promoting monoculture farming. The larger and more uniform the crop, the bigger the cost reduction on pest control, harvesting mechanisation and planting, which has been a major driver of GM crop adoption. With the huge subsidies given to industrial farms, the US is able to sell its staple crops including maize, wheat, sugar and milk at 73, 67, 44 and 61 % of cost price to the world market, which likely undermines the emergence of more sustainable production systems. Historically, low on-farm diversity has led to food production and price uncertainty.

The huge scale of production of staple crops has led to a reduction in seed varieties available to small-scale farmers and poorer farmers, as well as organic farmers. While staple crops are being used on a large-scale for non-food industries, with maize being put into ‘household’ products such as cosmetics and medicines e.g. asparin and deodorant, antibiotics, tobacco, fuel, pastes and adhesives, textiles, building supplies and solvents among other things. The concentrated control of such products by large corporations and companies in these breadbasket regions of the world has far reaching consequences beyond national borders. The US has gone from a system based on public seed saving and exchanges between large and small farmers in the 19th century to one based on strict patents and patent-like protections of varieties, forcing seed saving to disappear. The advent of hybrid varieties in the 1970s which act as a ‘biological patent’, with the next generations seeds not transmitting the commercial traits uniformly, the power of seed control is left in the hands of the commercial breeders, along with the ‘legal patent’ system. This has driven the US industry away from mainly small-scale, specialist breeders to even larger and fewer specialist breeders.  Patents on GM crops are only exaggerating this trend. Seed saving on crops such as soybean was still common until they became available as GM cultivars and came under the control of patents in the 1990s.

Breeder concentration may lead to a loss of agrobiodiversity. The corn leaf blight epidemic of 1970 is a clear example of how the lack of genetic diversity can create a huge risk to food security, revealing the dangers and unsustainability of monoculture practices and genetic uniformity.

What has happened to seed diversity as a result of American agricultural innovations? Using the seed catalogue provided by Monsanto to the US Department of Justice antitrust investigation of the seed industry, Heinemann’s team analysed the number of seed cultivars on offer. They found that the true genetic base of corn was much narrower than the numbers of names and numbers would suggest. One single variety of corn, “Reed Yellow Dent”, contributes to 47 % of the gene pool used for creating hybrid varieties.  The germplasm is limited to around 7 founding inbred lines in the US Maize belt. Similar findings were made for soybean varieties, with a decrease in the number of cultivars by 13 % from the years 2005-2010. A reduction in diversity is consistent with a trend towards reduced yields over the last decade or so, with adverse high temperatures and droughts. Maize and soybean yield predictions for 2012 were the lowest since 2003.

With this worrying trend of reduced yields comes a global increasing dependence on cereal crops for our calorie intake. Though the world produces more calories for food than it did in 1970, the proportion of calories derived from maize grew from 4 % in 1970 to 5 % in 2007. This heavy reliance on a crop that shows the large variability in losses due to biotic and abiotic stresses as highlighted by the authors is a sign of instability and not sustainability. This is in clear contrast to the agro-ecological advances made based on increased on-farm diversity that has seen significant increases in rice yields, reduced pesticide use as well as higher farmer incomes. Intercropping of maize with tobacco, maize with sugarcane, maize with potatoes and wheat with broad beans have all been shown to increase yields of at least one of the crops, or even overall yields as well as reduced disease [3].

Pesticide use higher in US

Pesticide use has increased overall since the introduction of GM crops (see [4] Study Confirms GM Crops Increase Pesticide UseSiS 56), largely a result of the most common GM trait providing tolerance to Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. Insecticide use has officially gone down slightly, though dwarfed by the increases in herbicide use. This coincides with the introduction of Bt crops genetically engineered to produce an insecticide (which is not included in official ‘pesticides applied’ when insecticide use is analysed). However, Europe also showed a reduction in pesticide use during the same period. In the US in 2007, herbicide use was up by 108 % from 1995 levels, while insecticide use dropped to 85 % of 1995 levels. In Europe however, more impressive reductions were found, with France reducing herbicide use to 94% of 1995 levels and chemical insecticide levels to 24% of 1995 levels. By 2009, herbicide and pesticide use was down to 82 % and 12 % of 1995 levels respectively. Similar trends were seen in Switzerland and Germany.

Farm workers role sacrificed for monoculture farming

Another symptom of the American monoculture farming system is the sacrifice of farm workers. The number of farms has decreased since its peak in 1935, with the loss of 2 million farms by 2007 despite the acreage of the agroecosystem remaining the same to this day. For corn, 69 % is grown by Large or Very Large Farms as defined by the USDA, i.e., having sales in excess of $250 000 and $500 000 respectively. This comes with the inability of farmers to innovate and breed new varieties due to the monopolisation of the seed market and IP patent agreements which have all but abolished public breeding programmes. As the authors state [1]: “Loss of farmer experimentation will likely reduce resilience and adaptation to climate change, natural disasters or as an outcome of conflict.” The GM crop system, with its strict IP patent agreements and commercial development, contributes to the concentration of the seed market, as exemplified by the soybean varieties planted today: 0.5 % of soybean varieties were developed by the public sector in 2007, compared to 70 % in 1980. Seed prices have risen as a result, climbing by 140 % since 1994. With climate change affecting the global yields since the 1980s and 1990s for soybean, there is no evidence that strict IP instruments or biological patents have increased resilience so far.

A warning to the US and the rest of the world

The lessons of the 1972 epidemic of ‘corn leaf blight’ have still not been learnt. The Committee on Genetic Vulnerability of Major Crops at the US National Research Council at the time posed the question: “How uniform genetically are other crops upon which the nation depends, and how vulnerable, therefore, are they to epidemics? The answer is that most major crops are ‘impressively genetically uniform and thus vulnerable and results from government legislative and economic policy’.

The authors recommend important strategies that need to be employed to bring the US back to being one of the largest seed saving and exchange cultures, instead of the current undemocratic and unsustainable system they currently force on farmers in the US and the rest of the world.

Three main suggestions include collection of annual statistics on on-farm genetic diversity along with environmental stress events, to see get a picture of performance resilience. Second, on-farm diversity should be encouraged through policies such as subsidies. Lastly, instead of looking to peak yields of crops, the goal should be to select crops with long-term sustainable yields.

GM crop cultivation, which is an extreme version of industrial farming, is obstructing a shift to more sustainable methods of food production and in addition to reducing yields, is now associated with a plethora of negative human health and environmental impacts as documented in Ban GMOs Now - Special ISIS Report [5]. To increase crop yields, protect the environment and protect the health of citizens across the world, GM crops need to be banned.


  1. Heinemann JA , Massaro M, Coray DS, Agapito-Tenfen SZ, Wen JD. Sustainability and innovation in staple crop production in the US Midwest.International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 2013,
  2. “Owen Paterson: UK must become global leader on GM crops”, 26th June 2013-06-26
  3. Lee EA & Tracy WF. Modern maize breeding. In: J. Bennetzen and S. Hake, eds. Handbook of maize: genetics and genomics. New York, NY: Springer, 141–160
  4. Sirinathsinghji E. Study Confirms GM crops lead to increased Pesticide Use.Science in Society 56, 8-10, 2012
  5. Ho MW & Sirinathsinghji E. Ban GMOs NowHealth and Environmental Hazards Especially in Light of the New Genetics. ISIS Special Report, 2013.

Everything We've Been Told About GMOs Has Been a Lie

Tom Laskawy |

What if the agricultural revolution has already happened and we didn’t realize it? Essentially, that’s the idea in this report from the Guardian about a group of poverty-stricken Indian rice and potato farmers who harvested confirmed world-record yields of rice and potatoes. Best of all: They did it completely sans-GMOs or even chemicals of any kind.
"[Sumant] Kumar, a shy young farmer in Nalanda district of India’s poorest state Bihar, had — using only farmyard manure and without any herbicides — grown an astonishing 22.4 tonnes of rice on one hectare [~2.5 acres] of land. This was a world record and with rice the staple food of more than half the world’s population of seven billion, big news.
It beat not just the 19.4 tonnes achieved by the “father of rice”, the Chinese agricultural scientist Yuan Longping, but the World Bank-funded scientists at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, and anything achieved by the biggest European and American seed and GM companies. And it was not just Sumant Kumar. Krishna, Nitish, Sanjay and Bijay, his friends and rivals in Darveshpura, all recorded over 17 tonnes, and many others in the villages around claimed to have more than doubled their usual yields."
Another Bihar farmer broke India’s wheat-growing record the same year. They accomplished all this without GMOs or advanced seed hybrids, artificial fertilizer or herbicide. Instead, they used a technique called System of Rice [or root] Intensification (SRI). It’s a technique developed in Madagascar in the 1980s by a French Jesuit and then identified and promulgated by Cornell political scientist and international development specialist Norman Uphoff.

RELATED: Here's Proof Monsanto's Claims That Their GMOs Increase Crop Yields is a Blatant Lie

SRI for rice involves starting with fewer, more widely spaced plants; using less water; actively aerating the soil; and applying lots of organic fertilizer. According to Uphoff’s SRI Institute website [PDF], the farmers who use synthetic fertilizer with the technique get lower yields than those who farm organically. How’s that for pleasant irony? Brothers Mohen Singh and Raj Narayin Singh in their wheat field in Bihar. Petr Kosina / CIMMYTBrothers Mohen Singh and Raj Narayin Singh in their wheat field in Bihar.

International Attention

The breadth of the results in Bihar have gotten international attention. The Guardian reports that economist Joseph Stieglitz, a Nobel laureate and international development aficionado, visited the area last month. After seeing their amazing results, he declared the farmers “better than scientists.”

High praise aside, the technique is not without its detractors. Most western governments and agricultural scientists remain skeptical of the practice: Many challenge that the reported yields aren’t verified, there’s insufficient science behind the technique, and they worry it can’t scale to larger farms.

Achim Dobermann, deputy director of worldwide standard-bearers the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), dismissed the technique in comments to the Guardian:
"SRI is a set of management practices and nothing else, many of which have been known for a long time and are best recommended practice … Scientifically speaking I don’t believe there is any miracle. When people independently have evaluated SRI principles then the result has usually been quite different from what has been reported on farm evaluations conducted by NGOs and others who are promoting it. Most scientists have had difficulty replicating the observations."

Given the paucity — or total absence — of independent testing done on GMOs and pesticides developed by companies like Monsanto and Syngenta, it’s galling to read of scientists complaining “there is not enough peer-reviewed evidence around SRI” and that “it is impossible to get such returns.”

Here’s where the potential conflicts of interest crop up: The IRRI is currently involved in developing GMO rice as a core component of a campaign to increase yields worldwide. This doesn’t entirely invalidate its position on SRI, but it points to the ideological divide in agriculture between those who believe in technology as the only solution to “feeding the world” and those who put faith in non-technological, agro-ecological techniques to accomplish the same.

(It’s also worth noting that the regions in India that invested heavily in Monsanto’s GMO RoundUp Ready cotton seeds are seeing yields collapse; Monsanto blames the crop failure on farmers. Grist reported recently on the even deeper tragedy many of these farmers are experiencing.)

Much of this divide comes from a belief among many scientists and most western governments that the developing world must adopt western-style industrial ag techniques in order to produce enough food. But that view is a fantasy: Even today, as the Guardian article observes, 93 percent of Bihar’s 100 million residents are subsistence farmers.

It’s delusional to expect that Bihar and the vast populations of Africa, Indonesia, and China will transform into western-style economies with western-style population distributions. Billions of people across the globe will remain subsistence farmers far into the future; what they require are farming techniques that can improve yields even modestly. Forcing regions that don’t have passable roads (much less electrification) to rely on the grace of multinational organizations to supply seeds, fertilizers, and chemicals seems borderline criminal.

SRI As An Alternative

SRI appears to offer an acceptable alternative for a variety of crops, including rice, potatoes, wheat, corn, beans, eggplant, onions, carrots, sugar cane, and even tomatoes.
For many westerners, including many western journalists, it’s difficult to separate the concept of “progress” from its inevitable modifier, “technological.” SRI may not be technology-based, but it’s science-based and sophisticated. It’s also continually field tested and improved through farmers’ own feedback. It’s exactly the kind of flexible, responsive system you’d demand from any truly sustainable agriculture — as opposed to the regimented, top-down application of chemical- and biotech-based approaches.

Plain old western snobbery shouldn’t be discounted, either. As agronomist Anil Verma put it in the Guardian article:
"If any scientist or a company came up with a technology that almost guaranteed a 50% increase in yields at no extra cost they would get a Nobel prize. But when young Biharian farmers do that they get nothing."
Does SRI need more research? Absolutely. Can it be adapted to large-scale monocrop agriculture? Probably not. But that’s exactly the kind of agriculture that’s failing us and needs to be reassessed entirely.

Where does SRI go from here? In India, at least, Bihar alone is investing $50 million in expanding adoption. However, the Guardian reports that “Western governments and foundations are holding back, preferring to invest in hi-tech research.”

Meanwhile, Monsanto shows no signs of slowing down: Indications are that it will win its patent case before the Supreme Court and gain virtual total control of its seeds. This will enable it to continue charging inflated prices for a technology that provides modest yield increases, if any, and certainly nothing close to the 30-percent increase many agronomists are praying for.

It’s always possible we’ll wake up to the successes being pioneered by the unlikeliest of subjects — subsistence farmers in the far east. Until then, Monsanto’s technology-driven vision of agriculture is winning here in the west.


Are You Poisoning Your Pet? Things You Need To Know About The Pet Food Industry

“One of the dirty little secrets kept by the pet food industry is that some by-products also contain substances such as abscesses and cancerous material. In my opinion, feeding slaughterhouse waste to animals increases their chances of getting cancer and other degenerative diseases. Some meat, especially glandular tissue, may contain high levels of hormones, which may also cause serious health problems including cancer. Unlike bacteria and viruses, these hormones are not destroyed by the high temperatures or pressure cooking used in the manufacture of pet food. Cats seem to be most adversely affected by high hormone levels." -Healing Pets With Nature’s Miracle Cures By Henry Pasternak DVM CVA, page 11.

Our pets can bring us so much joy and peace amidst the chaos of our busy lives. They give us nothing more than their total attention and unconditional love and ask for minimal in return. However we’ve become consumed in learning about human nutrition and wellness and yet we seem to neglect the same consideration for our pets. We see a pet food label at the super market which reads “natural” and we immediately feel better about what we are feeding our animals. Unfortunately marketing most often leaves ethics at the door when promoting pet food products, and the term “natural” is often exploited to disturbing extremes.

The challenge comes in a society where the cost of living pressures us to save money wherever we can. Organic and nutritious food is expensive, processed foods are cheap. This reasoning often influences the majority, especially lower-middle class families, to invest in pre-packaged, frozen, and “convenient” foods. This logic is also applied when purchasing pet food. Considering the average 10 kg bag of “natural” pet food costs around $50 a CAN, it is understandable how one could stray away from buying organic pet food which costs more and usually comes in smaller bags. Buying “natural” usually strokes our cognitive dissonance and keeps us at ease.

The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and the FDA supply us with no official definition of the term “natural.” One would naturally infer that this term would confirm that the pet food we are buying contains no miscelaneous chemicals, dyes, preservatives, etc., however this is not the case. Advertising is our generation’s greatest enemy. We see an image of a happy and healthy looking cat or dog and we immediately associate this with how our animals will be when they eat the particular food. Perhaps we see images of steak, fish, or poultry on the bag which helps make our decisions. The reality is that companies can label pet food as containing “natural meat” when in fact there is not a single bit of real meat in the mix. Harmful chemicals are not required to be labeled either, which creates trouble for the more conscious brands which actually contain quality ingredients.

Natural News released an article which detailed gruesome information about the pet food industry,

“Let’s start with what usually appears as the protein source and the primary ingredient in pet food: Meat byproducts or meat meal. Both are euphemisms for the parts of animals that wouldn’t be considered meat by any smart consumer. The well-known phrase “meat byproducts” is a misnomer since these byproducts contain little, if any meat at all. These are the parts of the animal left over after the meat has been stripped away from the bone. “Chicken by-products include head, feet, entrails, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, liver, stomach, bones, blood, intestines, and any other parts of the carcass not fit for human consumption,” writes Henry Pasternak in Healing Animals with Nature’s Cures.

Meat meal can contain the boiled down flesh of animals we would find unacceptable for consumption. This can include zoo animals, road kill, and 4-D (dead, diseased, disabled, dying) livestock. Most shockingly, this can also include dogs and cats. That’s right, your pets could be cannibals. Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser writes, “Although leading American manufacturers promise never to put rendered pets into their pet food, it is still legal to do so. A Canadian company, Sanimal Inc., was putting 40,000 pounds of dead dogs and dead cats into its dog and cat food every week, until discontinuing the practice in June 2001. “This food is healthy and good,” said the company’s vice president of procurement, responding to critics, ”but some people don’t like to see meat meal that contains any pets.”

The process of how dead animals become food for our pets is even more disturbing. After all, it takes a lot to turn roadkill into something owners feel good about pouring into their pets’ bowls. Ann M. Martin describes the process in Food Pets Die For: “At the rendering plant a machine slowly grinds the entire mess in huge vats. Then this product is cooked at temperatures between 220 degrees Fahrenheit and 270 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes to one hour. The mixture is centrifuged (spun at a high speed) and the grease (or tallow) rises to the top and it is removed from the mixture. The grease becomes the source of animal fat in most pet foods. Oftentimes, when you open a standard can of dog food, you will see a top layer of fat. The centrifuged product is the source of that fat, which is meant to entice a hungry dog or cat. After the grease is removed in the rendering process, the remaining material is dried. Meat meal, and meat and bone meal are the end product of this process. This dried material is usually found in dry pet food.”

Rendering practices aren’t just gross; they’re also dangerous for your pets. The chemicals used to euthanize zoo animals, dogs and cats can survive the cooking process, which means these chemicals end up in pet food, and ultimately, in your pet. Martin writes, “Euthanized cats and dogs often end up in rendering vats along with other questionable material to make meat meal, and meat and bone meal. This can be problematic because sodium pentobarbital can withstand the heat from rendering. For years, some veterinarians and animal advocates have known about the potential danger of sodium pentobarbital residue in commercial pet food, yet the danger has not been alleviated.” In short, that means the poisons designed to kill pets are the same ones being fed to them.

Now that you know pet food manufacturers will seemingly go to any length to fill their foods with the cheapest sources of protein they can find, you probably won’t be surprised to find out that the other ingredients in pet foods aren’t much better. Cheap grain fillers, cellulose to bulk up the food, preservatives and poorly monitored vitamin and mineral supplements round out the recipe. In Healing Pets with Nature’s Miracle Cures, Henry Pasternak writes, “Remember, pet foods are primarily processed, grain-based diets. These foods are ‘fortified’ with synthetic B vitamins, which can cause a subclinical B vitamin deficiency.” Martin mentions in Food Pets Die For that one bag of dog food was overloaded with so much zinc that she had to take her dog to the vet because he became ill. She took the bag of food to an independent lab to verify that the zinc content of the food was 20 times the recommended daily allowance for dogs.

Preservatives in dog and cat foods keep them seemingly fresh for long periods of time: “Unfortunately, harmful chemical preservatives and other artificial additives are the norm in most pet foods. Some are intentionally added by the manufacturer, while others come from the herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides used by farmers to boost crop yields,” Pasternak writes. While some pet food companies have decided to use less harmful preservatives and natural preservatives, most pet food companies don’t find these ingredients to be cost effective.

What Can You Do Right Now?

Become informed today

This information can be difficult to take in, especially considering the amount of love we have for our animals. Shouldn’t the same love and consideration that we give to ourselves be taken into account with our pets? We have the ability to change all of this. The first step is to become as informed as possible. Susan Thixton is the creator of “The Truth About Pet Food”, a website dedicated to pet food awareness. It is an excellent source for any information regarding the ingredients contained in your pet’s food as well as the regulations surrounding the pet food industry today. She also offers recipes for easy and nutritious homemade pet food. “PetsumerReport” is another site which offers detailed information about pet food ingredients.







You Will Not Believe How These Russians Get This Car Out Of A Frozen Lake

You got to hand it to them, they got the job done.

How to Make Your Own Mason Jar Herb Garden

What you will need:
6 mason jars (I used 3 quart sized and 3 pint sized, just for fun)enough potting soil to fill all your jarsvarious herb seeds (choose your favorites!)

window sill herb garden

window sill herb garden
Fill the mason jars almost to the top with soil, leaving enough room to add just enough additional soil to lightly cover the seeds.

window sill herb garden
window sill herb garden
Add seeds to each jar following planting instructions on the seed packet. (Or just sprinkle some in each jar like I did.)

window sill herb garden
Cover lightly with more soil. You don’t want to plant them too deep because they need the sun (and water) to germinate. Add just enough water to each jar to wet the soil and the seeds. I used a condiment-style squeeze bottle to control the water flow so I didn’t dislodge the seeds.

window sill herb garden
window sill herb garden
Affix some sort of tag to your jars to aid in identifying them as they sprout. (In hindsight, this would have been smarter to do BEFORE I added the seeds because it’s pretty hard to tell what seeds are in what jar AFTER you plant them! lol)

window sill herb garden
I planted my herb garden on June 13th and took these pictures 2 days ago. Coming along quite nicely don’t you think? I haven’t actually used any in cooking yet, but just as soon as they’re a little farther along, herb butter is at the top of the list!

window sill herb garden
Now when I have a recipe that calls for fresh herbs, my “supply” is a short walk to my window sill. :-)