Episode 875: Why Did The Cow Cross The Border? – NPR

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Cattle crossing.

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Jason Beaubien/NPR

Lately, we’ve been nerding out about cattle. Specifically, about this one particular set of facts. Every year, the United States exports 500 million tons of beef to Mexico. But every year, the United States imports 500 million tons of beef from Mexico.

We heard this, and thought: How is that possible? Why are we trotting all these cows back and forth across the border? We sent a reporter to the border to find out. The answers to those questions explain a lot about how trade works.

Music: “Nighttime Cruisin'”

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The lion bought in Harrods who prowled the Kings Road in an open-top Bentley: Story of London's unlikeliest pet … – Daily Mail

The lion bought in Harrods who prowled the Kings Road in an open-top Bentley: Story of London’s unlikeliest pet revealed in stunning pictures that chronicle life of cub purchased in 1969 when department store sold host of exotic beasts

John Rendall For The Daily Mail

Almost half a century ago, John Rendall and Ace Bourke bought a lion cub at Harrods, named him Christian and raised him on London’s King’s Road, before returning him to the African wild.

A new book illustrated with stunning photographs taken by Derek Cattani, one of Christian’s ‘human pride’, retells the moving story of London’s unlikeliest pet, his new life in Africa and the heart-warming reunion between man and lion that has become one of the world’s most watched and loved videos.

Though he was just a tiny cub, there was something about the self-assured expression in his eyes that made him irresistible. It implied a strength of character that belied his cuddly teddy bear appearance.

As we gazed at him in his small cage, I blurted the words that would change my life for ever. ‘Why don’t we buy him?’ I said to my mate Ace Bourke.

Christian the lion having lunch with model Emma Breeze and friends at the Casserole restaurant on King's Road, London. the lion cub was bought in Harrods’ pet department  in November 1969

Christian the lion having lunch with model Emma Breeze and friends at the Casserole restaurant on King's Road, London. the lion cub was bought in Harrods’ pet department  in November 1969

Christian the lion having lunch with model Emma Breeze and friends at the Casserole restaurant on King’s Road, London. the lion cub was bought in Harrods’ pet department in November 1969

‘I’ve already named him,’ replied Ace, nodding in agreement. ‘He’s called Christian.’

Our visit to Harrods’ pet department that fateful day in November 1969 had been prompted by simple curiosity.

As two young Australians newly arrived in the UK, we’d heard crazy tales about a London store where you could buy not just the usual clothes and household goods, but tapirs, snakes, monkeys and even pumas and lions as well.

It sounded incredible, but when I saw the beautiful lion cub for sale that day — alert, trusting and magnificent — I was smitten. 

(These were the days before the Endangered Species Act of 1976, when it was legal for exotic creatures to be sold to the public.)

And so began our wonderful, rollercoaster life with Christian.

Day after day, after the Christmas shoppers had gone home, we’d turn up at Harrods to play with our new pet as we tried to convince his keepers that we’d be suitable owners.

Already weighing 2st, he was more than a handful as he leapt around and wrestled with us — an enchanting ball of energy with razor-sharp teeth.

Anthony Bourke and John Rendall take Christian for s spin in their convertible  on the King's Road. The pair would take the lion in a ride in the car to the churchyard to get exercise and to play

Anthony Bourke and John Rendall take Christian for s spin in their convertible  on the King's Road. The pair would take the lion in a ride in the car to the churchyard to get exercise and to play

Anthony Bourke and John Rendall take Christian for s spin in their convertible on the King’s Road. The pair would take the lion in a ride in the car to the churchyard to get exercise and to play

Patiently, the staff answered our excited but naïve questions before asking their own: where, exactly, did we think an energetic three-month-old lion cub might actually live?

It was a problem. But, as luck would have it, I’d newly started a job in a pine furniture store, Sophisto-Cat, on the King’s Road, whose owner had grown up in Africa. How might he feel about having a lion on the premises?

It was an outrageous request, but I didn’t have any better ideas. Surely, I argued, a lion was the ultimate ‘sophistocat’ — the perfect mascot?

There was a huge basement which Christian could have to himself, and we’d be on hand to look after him, as Ace and I were living in the flat above the store. 

Amazingly, the owner enthusiastically agreed. To our delight, the Harrods staff approved; we would collect Christian in three weeks’ time.

A few days later, we had a call. ‘Can you collect Christian tomorrow?’ It transpired that our new acquisition had escaped the night before and all but destroyed a display of goat-skin rugs in the carpet department, whose manager was less than pleased. What had we let ourselves in for?

It was a thrilling time to be in London. Among Sophisto-Cat’s close neighbours were Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, whose boutique later became the birthplace of the punk movement, and opposite was ultra-fashionable clothes store Granny Takes A Trip, where The Beatles, Who, Cream and Jimi Hendrix were customers. 

Pampered: Christian gets a blow dry. The lion lived in a huge basement in a pine furniture store, Sophisto-Cat, which Christian had to himself

Pampered: Christian gets a blow dry. The lion lived in a huge basement in a pine furniture store, Sophisto-Cat, which Christian had to himself

Pampered: Christian gets a blow dry. The lion lived in a huge basement in a pine furniture store, Sophisto-Cat, which Christian had to himself

Perhaps it wasn’t totally outrageous that a lion should be living among such a bohemian set.

Christian’s new home was everything we had hoped for: airy, with plenty of natural light and lots of space for a little cub to race around in, often dragging his favourite plastic pig.

With bedding, bones, toys and a large litter tray which he used assiduously after only a few days of encouragement, it was the perfect lion’s den.

Harrods supplied a detailed diet sheet: a liquid meal with raw egg and vitamins for breakfast, then raw meat — usually chopped beef or rabbit — for lunch and supper, and, as a special treat, a delicious marrow-filled bone at night.

Local restaurants and butchers offered steaks that were past their sell-by date, and cut-price meat.

Exercise soon became a concern. But where could we take him? The problem was solved by the vicar of the nearby church, who agreed to let us use its grounds just a few hundred yards from the shop. 

This sanctuary made an ideal playground, with a high entrance gate and brick walls. Residents of the flats that overlooked it would watch from their balconies and shout encouragement, waving and cheering as Christian raced around chasing footballs and — if we allowed him — us. We never received a complaint.

Friends would often come to join in. If Christian ever became too rough, we would just stand still and stop the game, and he quickly got the message.

Fleet Street photographer Derek Cattani became a regular visitor, and documented Christian’s Chelsea life.

We soon settled into a regular routine. The shop opened at 10am. By then Christian had been fed, enjoyed a ride in the car to the churchyard and returned home for a nap, leaving us to get on with running the shop.

At lunchtime he would be wide awake again and ready for his first meat meal. Then it was playtime in the den with anybody who was free to spend time with him. By the end of the afternoon Christian was ready for tea.

Christian attracts young admirers as he heads out in the Bentley. Celebrities began turning up. Diana Rigg had no qualms cuddling Christian, but her co-star in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Australian George Lazenby, did not live up to his 007 image and refused to enter the shop

Christian attracts young admirers as he heads out in the Bentley. Celebrities began turning up. Diana Rigg had no qualms cuddling Christian, but her co-star in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Australian George Lazenby, did not live up to his 007 image and refused to enter the shop

Christian attracts young admirers as he heads out in the Bentley. Celebrities began turning up. Diana Rigg had no qualms cuddling Christian, but her co-star in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Australian George Lazenby, did not live up to his 007 image and refused to enter the shop

He would then come up into the shop and wander happily around, often opting to sit on a table or chest of drawers in the window where he had a good view.

Celebrities began turning up. Diana Rigg had no qualms cuddling Christian, but her co-star in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Australian George Lazenby, did not live up to his 007 image and refused to enter the shop.

We were bombarded with requests to hire him for parties, premieres, publicity shots. To most of these we said no, though we did agree to a photoshoot with Vanity Fair, and one with racing driver James Hunt.

It was an invitation to appear on Blue Peter that brought an end to Christian’s career as a model. During a rehearsal, he behaved impeccably but by the time of the live appearance, he was bored.

Instead of a nice calm chat on the sofa with Valerie Singleton, the whole thing turned into a wrestling match as we tried to stop Christian from running off.

Ace and I decided such events were too stressful for him. He was not comfortable away from Sophisto-Cat or his churchyard. Christian was also now a year old and growing rapidly. Heartbreakingly, he would need a new home.

We began considering Longleat Safari Park. This was where some of the lions used in the hit movie Born Free — which told the story of how conservationists George and Joy Adamson had reintroduced Elsa, a hand-reared cub, into the wild in Africa — had been relocated.

Then a totally unexpected alternative arose. Actors Bill Travers and his wife Virginia McKenna, who had played George and Joy Adamson in the film, were visiting Virginia’s dressmaker, a neighbour of ours in Chelsea.

Christian tackles John during a game of football in the Moravian Close. Residents of the flats that overlooked it would watch from their balconies and shout encouragement, waving and cheering as Christian raced around chasing footballs 

Christian tackles John during a game of football in the Moravian Close. Residents of the flats that overlooked it would watch from their balconies and shout encouragement, waving and cheering as Christian raced around chasing footballs 

Christian tackles John during a game of football in the Moravian Close. Residents of the flats that overlooked it would watch from their balconies and shout encouragement, waving and cheering as Christian raced around chasing footballs 

They came to meet Christian, and asked what we were planning to do with him. We admitted we were still searching for the best solution.

A few days later, Bill rang with an idea. He had contacted George Adamson in Kenya to ask whether he would consider rehabilitating Christian there. The great lion guru had provisionally agreed.

It was a wonderful opportunity, but a challenge too. Take a fifth-generation captivity-bred lion, born in a zoo in Devon and then sold to us in a department store, to Africa? Could he adapt? And if he did, would he survive?

On August 12, 1970, Christian marked his first and last birthday in England. Two weeks later, with photographer Derek Cattani who had come to document the first stage of Christian’s rehabilitation, we touched down in Nairobi, on African soil. His ancestral homeland.

George Adamson was there to meet us. This was the man in whose hands Christian’s destiny now lay.

Together we set off in George’s jeep for the Kora reserve 250 miles away — Christian’s new home. When we stopped en route at a camp and took Christian for his first walk in Africa, an event of overwhelming significance occurred.

Christian spotted a lost cow in the bush and immediately crouched and froze. We watched as Christian stalked his prey — creeping slowly forward and using the low bushes to conceal himself. George was worried, though: the beast’s substantial horns could be lethal. 

We tried to grab Christian and, for the first time ever, he snarled at us. The episode shook us, but George was hugely impressed at his stalking instincts.

That night in camp Christian was wonderfully affectionate. Perhaps it was the excitement of his first stalking, or perhaps he was trying to make up for his earlier aggression. Either way, he dozed off with his head on a pillow and his paw on my face.

But we had learned what we most needed to know: our young lion was wild at heart. Everything would be all right.

In the summer of 1971, a year after Christian had become a wild animal, Ace and I returned to Kora to see George and, we hoped, glimpse our beloved lion.

When we called George from Nairobi he told us not to get our hopes up. Christian was now the head of a small pride — three females and a young male. George hadn’t seen them for weeks.

But when he met us at Kora he was grinning. 

‘The lions turned up this morning,’ he said. ‘Christian must have known you were coming.’

At his camp, George identified a spot for a reunion. He told us he would lead the lions to the brow of a rock, from where they could see me, Ace and a cameraman friend, Simon Trevor, who had been making a film about our story. After that, nobody knew what might happen.

As Christian crested the brow he stopped and stared at us. After a few minutes, he walked slowly down towards us, staring the whole time. He looked superb: taller, leaner and less thickly coated, but strong and confident.

His body language was self-assured as he approached. 

‘Call him,’ George said, unable to wait any longer.

And that did it: the moment he heard our voices Christian began to run down the rocky hillside, grunting with excitement. 

A 300lb lion was now bounding towards us at about 20 miles an hour. We braced ourselves for the impact and suddenly there he was, jumping up to greet us, rubbing our heads, moaning with pleasure and running backwards and forwards between us as he tried to embrace us both at the same time.

Wild at heart: A 300lb lion was now bounding towards us at about 20 miles an hour. We braced ourselves for the impact and suddenly there he was, jumping up to greet us, rubbing our heads, moaning with pleasure and running backwards and forwards between us as he tried to embrace us both at the same time

Wild at heart: A 300lb lion was now bounding towards us at about 20 miles an hour. We braced ourselves for the impact and suddenly there he was, jumping up to greet us, rubbing our heads, moaning with pleasure and running backwards and forwards between us as he tried to embrace us both at the same time

Wild at heart: A 300lb lion was now bounding towards us at about 20 miles an hour. We braced ourselves for the impact and suddenly there he was, jumping up to greet us, rubbing our heads, moaning with pleasure and running backwards and forwards between us as he tried to embrace us both at the same time

Today I look at the photos of that meeting and realise how overwhelmed I was by the powerful emotion. At that moment, the gulf between humans and lions had been blurred by sheer euphoria.

But that was not the end of the story. In 2006, the film of our reunion was spotted by an English actor named Marc Bolton, who was inspired to add a written narrative and a soundtrack using the Whitney Houston song I Will Always Love You.

Today there have been a staggering 100 million YouTube viewings of that brief clip, with interest showing no signs of abating. Christian is one of the most famous lions there has ever been.

It’s 45 years since, in 1973, Christian disappeared into the wild for ever, but some time later George heard him mating and was confident that he had established his own pride. 

Philip Mason, manager of a safari lodge near the Adamsons’ camp, often sees big-maned individuals that strongly resemble Christian. Could these be his descendants? Philip thinks so.

When Ace and I took Christian to Kenya in 1970, there were 400,000 lions in Africa. Today there are fewer than 20,000.

As the threat to Africa’s lions increases, we have much to be grateful to Christian for. 

The video gains him ever more fans and I pray it will continue to help raise awareness among new viewers, and the fight to save Christian’s descendants will gain momentum.

There could be no better legacy from a remarkable animal who continues to hold a unique place in our hearts.

Adapted from Christian The Lion: The Illustrated Legacy by John Rendall and Derek Cattani (Bradt, £14.99). © John Rendall & Derek Cattani 2018. 

To order a copy for £11.99 (offer valid to November 15, 2018, p&p free on orders over £15), visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640. To donate to the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust visit georgeadamson.org/donate

 

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Ohio girl brings cow to class to highlight struggling dairy farmers – WKBN.com





CARROLLTON, Ohio (WKBN) – An Ohio girl surprised her school when she brought a cow to class on Friday — all to highlight a growing problem for dairy farmers.

Macey Stevens is a junior at Carrollton High School, southwest of Columbiana County.

When her government teacher assigned the class a project about interest groups, Macey knew exactly which one she wanted to talk about.

She and her partner, Shelby Rhodes, both work on dairy farms.

"The farm is my second home and I love spending time with the cows — it's never a dull moment," Macey said.

Her dad grew up on a dairy farm, too.

"It's become more than a job — it's a lifestyle," she said.

Macey and Shelby know firsthand how the decrease in milk prices affects local farmers. She said people switching over to almond, soy and other nondairy "milks" also hurts the industry.

She and Shelby named their group project "We Farm You Drink" and explained the issues dairy farmers face.

Macey hoped by bringing a cow to class with her, she could bring attention to how much local dairy farmers need support from their communities.

She said her classmates lit up when they saw Buckwheat the cow. The kids, teachers and staff got to pet Buckwheat and take pictures with him.

Even though Buckwheat is a boy and can't be milked, she said he's still a dairy cow and symbolizes the hard work farmers do every day.

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Quality in the Cow Herd – Drovers Magazine

When you think of a “quality” cow herd, I suspect you see easy-fleshing cows with 500- to 600-pound (lb.) calves, each born unassisted in a 60-day window. A dream to handle, docile in every case, never a stray missing the gate. Calves top the market and feeders fight over who will own them every year.

That’s a pretty good picture, but let’s widen the view to a quality survey reported by McKensie Harris and others in the 2106 Market Cow Report of the National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA). It does not conjure picturesque or pastoral scenes, but there are some interesting quality trends to take in.

Market cows, the culls you sell, are a key source of lean trimmings to the beef supply chain and often represent 15% to 25% of gross income. However, the decision to sell a cow is not an active management choice in most operations. Commercial cattlemen “market” cows as a byproduct of the cow’s inability to remain productive, not because they want to increase income from cull cows.

That’s certainly different from the feeder and fed cattle scene. For one thing, those cows reflect delayed genetic trends in the herd, assuming the culls are older than average. The previous market cow NBQA was in 2007, conducted prior to the significant drought and culling across the U.S. in the next several years. The 2016 report offers insight as to how genetics within the commercial herd have changed relative to type and carcass characteristics, due to management and drought-induced culling.

Today, the percentage of Angus-type fed cattle hovers around 67%, a comparable number to the 2016 market cow report that suggests 68% of cows and 67% of bulls were Angus type. That’s a sizable increase in Angus influence, considering the 2007 report from John Nicholson and others indicated 44% of market cows and 52% of market bulls were predominately black hided—just 9 years earlier.

The genetic trend for marbling has increased for most breeds regardless of hide color. While neither market cows nor bulls are managed to express genetic potential for marbling, the 30-unit increase in average marbling score (about 1/3 of a quality grade) from 2007 to 2016 confirms the commercial cow herd has improved in quality potential. Besides that 30-unit marbling increase, distribution of marbling scores also improved, moving a greater percentage of cows toward higher scores.

While skewed toward quality, cows fit every marbling category. There were 2.8% with enough to grade Prime, between slightly abundant to abundant marbling. It’s hard to argue the Prime target is too lofty a goal for fed cattle when nearly 3% of cull market cows achieved that level of marbling for prime. Remember, they likely represented a delayed genetic trend, and the report is already two years old. Market cows cannot qualify for Prime due to advanced maturity, but today’s overall genetics and herd management signal the potential for continued increases in average quality grade. NBQA herd changes were not limited to marbling potential. Market cow carcass weights increased by 50 lb. over the 9 years, with ribeyes increased by 0.45 square inches. That’s a product of the larger carcass rather than more heavily muscled cows.

Cows can still get better, obviously: 21% of them were marketed at a light muscle score, reducing beef yield and increasing the chance of harvest lameness. The fall season offers benefits for a short-term feeding period in which cows can put on weight quickly and generally move to a more favorable marketing window. Keep in mind, feed efficiency tends to worsen with the older cows and the longer they are fed, so have a marketing plan in place.

Before entertaining a cow-feeding enterprise, check two things: 14% of the market cows in the NBQA had worn or broken teeth, which makes them poor feeding candidates. Better candidates but perhaps wrongly classified were the 17% of cows pregnant when sold. A short feeding period may not only improve cull-cow quality, but also offer a chance for one more pregnancy check before marketing. If these late-discovery bred cows don’t fit your ideal 60-day calving window, they certainly have more value for somebody as bred rather than thin, open cows.

Cull cows can serve as a good indicator, given the NBQA data, of where the beef community has improved and what challenges remain. In your herd, cull cows are a reflection of what doesn’t work in your system. Understanding how she got there offers a path to a higher quality cow herd.

Related Links:

Cull Cow Marketing Decisions

Marketing: Don’t Forget Your Cull Cows

Market Highlights: Cull Cow and Bull Prices Seasonally Falling

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Rankin's best photograph: a supermodel in a cow mask – The Guardian

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The Guardian

Rankin's best photograph: a supermodel in a cow mask
The Guardian
We used a cow barn, a pigsty, and a sheep field. This one is from the barn, where we also set up a white studio. I shot the cow with Polaroids, both sides, to make it look hyperrealistic. But I also used the Mamiya RZ67 I had back then. I do that

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Taking a Look at Fall Cattle and Beef Markets – Drovers Magazine

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Drovers Magazine

Taking a Look at Fall Cattle and Beef Markets
Drovers Magazine
Unusual weather in Oklahoma this fall has created many challenges for cattle and crop producers but there has been one positive outcome: brilliant fall colors. The exceptional red and yellow leaves this fall are the most impressive I have seen in a

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Filmmaker Says, 'It's Not the Cow's Fault' and 'Millennials Are Our Only Hope' – Forbes

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes or Google Play.

In a wide-ranging conversation with author and filmmaker Josh Tickell, 43, he shared two key observations. First, he said that cows get a bad rap for their contribution to global warming. Second, he says millennials are key to solving climate change.

Tickell, a self-described environmentalist, is the author Kiss the Ground and The Revolution Generation. Films by the same titles are also pending release. Tickell’s first film, Fuel, still available on Netflix, won him a Sundance Film Festival award.

As a social entrepreneur, co-founder of Big Picture Ranch, his production company, he says his four-person team operates the business on a break-even basis. You can watch my full interview with Tickell in the video player at the top of this article.

Josh TickellCredit: Big Picture Ranch

In Kiss the Ground, Tickell looks at soil’s potential to sequester carbon. He notes that each acre of agricultural land has the potential to store up to 10 tons of carbon. Extending that across 10 billion acres of farmland, there is tremendous potential to store carbon there.

Two surprising keys to carbon sequestration in the soil include tilling—actually, not tilling—and running cows over the land.

Tilling is a great way, Tickell says, to release stored carbon into the atmosphere and damage the soil. Modern farming tools and techniques allow for no-till farming methods, where a slice is cut in the ground, seeds are inserted and the open wound in the land is immediately sealed in a fully mechanized way. This isn’t 19th-century farming.

He notes in his book that it isn’t enough to be an organic farmer. Organic farmers who are tilling their land are failing to sequester carbon and build healthy soils just like traditional farmers.

Much has been said in recent years about the methane production of cows and their impact on global warming. Tickell says the problem is in the concentrated animal feeding operations or CAFOs, where about 78% of beef cattle are raised. These factory farm operations do produce tremendous amounts of carbon.

That said, when cows graze in a pasture as a mob, moving from place to place, most of their emissions are stored in the soil–they are constantly converting grass into compost. Not only do they help, but Tickell says, “that’s the only way to really create the soil regeneration that’s necessary.”

“Not only is it not the cow’s fault but for better or worse we can’t really build the kind of soil carbon we need without them,” he says.

In The Revolution Generation, Tickell takes a look at millennials and their politics.

“Most people don’t realize this, but the millennial generation has the largest voting bloc in U.S. history,” he says.

With respect to solving climate change, Tickell says, “Not only are they the only potential solution. They’re our only potential hope.”

He notes that millennials are over 50% independent and that they don’t feel like there is anywhere for them to vote. “The Revolution Generation looks at how can we create new systems that are going to empower young people to make a difference,” Tickell says.

Generation X and the Baby Boomers and become “ideologically infatuated,” he says. “So, if our party believes XYZ we believe XYZ even if that is scientifically not true. So, we have become a party before science society and that’s what happens to empires before they fall.”

There is something different about millennials, however. “Regardless of whether they’re Republican Democrat or Independent the majority, vast majority, 70 to 80 percent believe that climate change is human-made.” Simply understanding the nature of the problem is critical to solving it, Tickell argues.

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Tailored Brands: A Stable And Misunderstood Cash Cow – Seeking Alpha

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The Cardinal Weekly

Tailored Brands: A Stable And Misunderstood Cash Cow
Seeking Alpha
Tailored Brands Inc. is a growing and stable business with only moderate leverage, yet its stock has a free cash flow yield in excess of 16%. Since 2016, TLRD has reduced its leverage from 5x to 3x EBITDA, and it has paid down $460 million of debt.
Factors of Influence in 2018, Key Indicators and Opportunity within StoneMor Partners, Catalyst Biosciences …GlobeNewswire
Men's Wearhouse Grows Custom ProgramsPR Newswire

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TR-COW-DEB – THE WEEK

Tripura govt to give 10,000 cows to farmers thru bank loans:CM
Agartala, Nov 5 (PTI) Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar
Deb has said that his government will soon launch a project to
provide 10,000 cows to 5,000 farmer families through bank
loans to generate employment and meet the demand of milk in
the state.
Under the project, farmers will have to buy cows with the
help of bank loans, interest of which will be paid by the
state government, Deb told a meeting of BJP’s peasant wing
‘Tripura Pradesh Krishak Morcha’ here Sunday.
Villages will be identified and beneficiaries selected
from those villages, he was quoted to have said in the
meeting, a statement issued by state BJP spokesperson Nabendu
Bhattacharya said.
"The government will provide 10,000 cows to 5000 farmer
families .. to help solve unemployment problem to some
extent, fulfil the demand of milk and help crushing
malnutrition," the chief minister said.
The government will also take measures to procure milk
and arrange marketing, he said adding that the project would
be operational by December this year.
The chief minister also said that the Food Corporation of
India (FCI) would soon buy paddy directly from farmers.
He alleged that the previous Left Front government did
not pay any heed to the problems of the farmers and many
cultivators indulged in producing cannabis in the state.
"We have stopped it and now they are cultivating pulses,"
he said. PTI JOY PR
PR PR

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Claim that fermented dairy products reduce heart attacks leaves us feeling sour – HealthNewsReview.org

Our Review Summary

dairy productsThe study described in this news release is a 20-year observational analysis of a very specific subgroup: Men from Eastern Finland, ages 42-60. The research question is: how do fermented dairy products (like yogurt, kefir, sour milk, cottage cheese, and quark) compare with non-fermented dairy (mostly milk) when it comes to the risk of heart attacks?

The authors of this study of just under 2,000 men report that men who consumed more low-fat/fermented dairy had lower rates of heart attack compared with men who consumed less of those products.

But we get no sense of just how much difference there was between the groups, the volumes of dairy that had to be consumed, or what limitations of the study might make the findings debatable. Further, the release engages in some cause-and-effect language when describing fermented dairy products’ potential affect on cardiovascular health but these kinds of claims can’t be supported by an observational study.

Fortunately, the news release does not use unjustifiable language, and does make it clear that the mechanisms of action behind the study’s findings are not completely understood.

Why This Matters

There is an emerging assumption that fermented dairy products might be “pro-biotic” and, therefore, “heart-friendly.” But, at this time, that remains purely speculative.  There’s currently no proof that any alleged pre-biotic or pro-biotic — or dairy product, for that matter —  protects against heart disease.

Because CHD is a key cause of sickness and death, it is important to understand dietary patterns that might prevent or postpone the disease.  Although this research is interesting, it is not conclusive because of issues discussed below.

Criteria

Does the news release adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

Main findings mentioned include:

  • Men who ate more fermented dairy products had lower rates of CHD.
  • Men who ate more non-fermented dairy had a higher rates of CHD.
  • However, consuming high-fat/fermented dairy products (ie. cheese) was not associated with CHD.

Readers are given no sense of just how much the risk is increased or decreased in these groups.

The only data provided from the study is this:

The risk of CHD was 26% lower in those men who consumed the highest amount of low fat (<3.5%) fermented dairy (compared to the lowest consumption group).

It would be difficult for many readers to put that number into context without knowing how much low-fat/fermented dairy was consumed.

Some data contained in the study might have helped put the numbers in context. According to the tables in the published manuscript, there is a modest reduction from 14 CHD events per 1,000 person years in the low intake group (of fermented dairy) to 10 CHD events per 1,000 person years in the high intake group (of fermented dairy).

Does the news release seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

There are three major limitations of this study that aren’t mentioned.

First, this is a prospective cohort study that can’t completely control for other health variables in the subjects being responsible for some of the changes observed.

Second, the use of a food questionnaire (even with some supervision by nutritionists) is not a completely reliable way to document dairy intake; especially when trying to pinpoint amounts and subtypes of dairy.

Finally, the cohort studied (Eastern Finnish men, ages 42-60) is a very specific subgroup. This limits the generalizability of the results.

The news release addresses none of this.  In the published manuscript the authors describe differences in smoking rates and other dietary patterns in the men who consumed more or less of the dairy types.  These other differences could have accounted for all of the differences in this observational study.

Does the news release establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

The news release claims that the new research gives more weight to earlier study findings. It states:

“earlier studies have shown that fermented dairy products have more positive effects on blood lipid profiles and on the risk of heart disease than other dairy products.”

And that

“The new study provides further evidence on the health benefits that fermented dairy products may have over non-fermented ones.”

Links to the earlier studies would have been helpful. As yet, it’s still speculative to claim that fermented dairy products lower the risk of CHD.

Total Score: 3 of 8 Satisfactory

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