Center for Food Safety Director Andy Kimbrell

I had the opportunity to interview Andy Kimbrell, the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety, at the recent Justice Begins with Seeds Conference in San Francisco. CFS currently has five cases in the courts to regulate or restrict GM crops. As Kimbrell says, “at CFS we don’t get passive aggressive, we just get aggressive – we just sue.”

Listen to Kimbrell rip the industrial meat system, particularly Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, known as CAFOs, and the e-coli contamination they spread… see the transcript below.

Hear the complete Andy Kimbrell interview here.

For more information about the Center for Food Safety, check out the CFS website.

KIMBRELL: In the name of food safety we’re seeing a lot of unwise policies. We know where all these dangerous e-coli are coming from. It ain’t a secret folks! They’re coming from CAFOs. The major problem we have is seafood – most if it we’re importing that’s not checked by the FDA. This spinach, salad – it’s from CAFOs. It’s not from wild animals wandering on in the Central Valley and going to the bathroom – it’s the silliest concept imaginable.

But it’s a deflection away from the fact this is coming from CAFOs. These poor animals, these 10 billion animals a year that we use, their confinement is so severe they have novel forms of pathogens bacteria and viruses, that form just like crowded human communities have, and they mutate and change.

Sometimes e-coli which is the most beneficial bacteria we all have, thank god for e-coli, but these very dangerous forms develop in these CAFOs and then in their waste and then that waste either through dust or flooding or other things¦ so this is a complete deflection, it’s nonsensical, it will not get rid of any food – let me put it this way.

I do not know of a single food safety, and we’re the Center for Food Safety, I do not know of a single food safety issue that has been documented to come from a wild animal coming into a domestic crop and poisoning it with some kind of contaminant. I do not know of a single instance of that happening.

We know where they came from, it’s from the CAFOs! So let’s get rid of the CAFOs, we should get rid of the CAFOs anyway, they’re one of the great crimes of humanity. And we’ll get safe food and we’ll get rid of one of the most horrifyingly inhumane practices human beings ever indulged in.

Do you think it’s going to happen?

Sure, why not? Human beings created CAFOs, human beings can get rid of CAFOs. We can do it, we just have to organize, say – CAFOs do not comport with what we think a humane society should be.

Nobody in their right mind – if you have been in a CAFO and I have, if you’ve taken pictures in a CAFO and I have because we’re part of a book that just came out called CAFOs – anybody who went there would never ever ever – they would vote to abolish it tomorrow.

You know, McDonalds has their happy meal? If those kids and that families were to walk into a CAFO or a slaughterhouse and see what happens they would run out screaming and traumatized. It’s the least happy meal in the world. We just – whether we’re journalists, whether we’re activists, whether we’re writers – we just have to bring that reality to the American people and they will vote – they will say no, this is unconscionable, we cannot do this – but we have to bring that hidden reality to the consumer so they can see the reality. We have to break this distance.

Right now they have this distance they don’t really think about it and so that’s covering this crime against fellow creatures. So that’s what we have to do – say hey, look how your food is being made, Look at this cruelty, this is unconscionable.

I’m president of something called Certified Humane – Humane Farm Animal Care. I’m president of the board. I do recommend for people who do not want to be a vegetarian god bless you if you are, but look for the Certified Humane label, it is the gold standard out there, independent 3rd party verified – lot of phony labels – or give up meat all together.

Never eat industrial meat, ever ever ever ever – you’re taking part, you’re being complicit in one of the great crimes of our society.

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