Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on Aug 12, 2021 in Stuff You Should Know

Higher Pork Prices Coming?

In 2018, voters in California overwhelmingly approved an animal rights proposition (Proposition 12, the Farm Animal Confinement Proposition). It required more space for breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens, and calves. The law applies not only to California farmers, but to any products imported by California from other states. Only 4 percent of hog farms across the U.S. meet the new standards. That means that unless the state intervenes before the new law takes effect on January 1, 2022, California could lose almost all of its pork supply. That is not great news for restaurant owners and pork farmers. Currently, California purchases about 15 percent of the country’s total pork supply. Without that, the effect on the market could be devastating.

In response, the National Pork Producers Council has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture for funding to help farmers meet the new conditions. It is estimated that meeting the new standards will cost about 15 percent more per animal. Restaurant owners in California will also be greatly impacted, especially those that sell a lot of pork products. This can affect restaurants that specialize in breakfast food as well as Asian and Hispanic restaurants that use a large amount of pork in its recipes. In California, consumers might prepare to pay about twice as much per package at the grocery store. But the rest of the country isn’t likely to see much of a change at all.

What Do You Think? Do you think that California’s Farm Animal Confinement Proposition is a good idea? Why or why not?

Taliban Makes Gains in Afghanistan

The deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan is approaching on September 11, 2021. Recently, the Taliban has resumed the offensive to regain control. While initially the Taliban was active in more rural and remote areas, in recent weeks the group has begun to try to take control of important cities as well.

Since August 6, 2021, the Taliban has gained control of five capital cities: Kunduz, Sar-e-Pul, and Taluqan, as well as Sheberghan and Nimruz. In Kunduz, the Taliban flag is flying and the Taliban has taken over the offices of the police chief and the election commission.

Another city targeted by the Taliban includes Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern province of Helmand. Intense fighting there between Taliban and Afghan forces has already killed more than 40 civilians. Now, the Afghan government is urging residents to flee before more lives are lost.

Lashkar Gah is strategically important because it was an important part of the U.S. and British military campaign against the Taliban. While the Taliban has already captured most of the city, the leader of the Afghan forces, General Sami Sadat, says he is confident that the government will be able to regain control. Though U.S. ground troops have been removed, the U.S. continues to provide air support.

Dig Deeper Use internet resources to find a map of Afghanistan. Then use it to identify the important cities mentioned in this story: Kunduz, Sar-e-Pul, Taluqan, Sheberghan, Nimruz, and Lashkar Gah.

Southeastern Europe Battles Deadly Fires

Southern Europe is facing widespread and deadly fires. Leaders blame climate change: the fires are the result of a weeklong heat wave where temperatures soared above 107 degrees Fahrenheit. This dries the area and creates lots of fuel for sparks to ignite into fires. Combined with strong, unpredictable winds, conditions are making it very challenging to control the fire’s spread. Greece is battling at least 55 dangerous wildfires in the suburbs north of Athens, the capital city, where thousands have been evacuated. Dozens of homes have been destroyed and dozens of people have been injured. At least two people were killed, including a firefighter. The same thing is happening on the Greek island of Evia, where the entire village of Kourkoloi has burned to the ground. Firefighters and water-bombing aircraft have been sent from many countries including the United Kingdom, France, and the United States to help get the situation under control.

Meanwhile, southwestern Turkey is facing the worst wildfires in the country’s history. More than 55,000 hectares of forest have been lost to these fires. Eight people have died and hundreds have been injured. Several thousand more Turkish people have been forced to evacuate the blazes. More than 220 wildfires have broken out in Turkey in the past two weeks alone.

Dangerous wildfires are also raging right now in Albania, Bulgaria, and North Macedonia, which has declared a state of emergency.

Dig Deeper Visit this website that tracks fires around the globe. Move around the map’s location to see the locations of current wildfires around the world. What areas are most affected right now, based on your interpretation of the map data?