Do Factory Farms Need a Pooper-Scooper Law?

Pooper-scooper signage in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Credit: Dan Klotz

Pooper-scooper signage in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Credit: Dan Klotz

In 1978, New York embraced a major public health and environmental innovation.  The idea, which became known as the “Pooper-Scooper Law,” was that all dog owners must collect their pets’ waste and deposit it in the trash so that it didn’t muck up the urban environment.

Industrial-scale livestock operations—known as factory farms—annually generate 500 million tons of manure in the United States, more than three times the amount generated by people in the U.S. Should all that manure go directly into our environment? More at National Geographic’s NewsWatch blog,


Schools Will Now Serve Healthy Food and Drink (But I Haven’t Told My Daughter Yet)

As a parent, there are few thing more fruitless than trying to convince your seven-year-old that she really should avoid the chocolate milk and drink the plain no-fat milk at lunch. Well, I haven’t told her yet, but that’s all going to change.

This week, the USDA announced new rules governing the types of food that schools serve outside of the lunch and breakfast plans. A previous rule addressed the nutritional value of the meals, cutting down on fat and sugar content. But kids could bypass the healthy meals and grab potato chips and a soda instead.

I worked on a successful campaign, producing and placing op-eds in the Sacramento Bee and Savanna Morning Newsthat compelled the USDA to issue the stronger standards.

It’s a solid victory in the fight against childhood obesity, even if my daughter won’t understand it for a few years…