Future Perfect

Future Perfect

Vox
Oct 21, 2020 24 min

How to prevent a factory farmed pandemic

What if the next pandemic comes, not from wet markets overseas, but from our own factory farms? Martha Nelson, who studies viruses at the NIH, says we are playing Russian roulette with potentially dangerous influenza strains on our pig farms. In this episode, we explain what makes these giant farms so likely to breed the next pandemic virus — and spread that virus into the world. And then, we look at solutions — from creating a virus-resistant pig, to developing a universal vaccine, to changing the systems we have for raising meat itself. Further listening and reading: Sigal Samuel wrote an in-depth explainer on the pandemic risks of factory farms earlier this year. She’s also written about “wet markets.” The Vox video team also made an explainer video on the same subject. For more on how viruses can spread in the pig population, Martha Nelson has an excellent paper “When Pigs Fly.” The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations wrote a 2013 report on the health risks of factory farming. Sonia Shah’s book Pandemic is a great primer on how pandemic strains arise. We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to [email protected] Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Byrd Pinkerton (@byrdala), podcast producer, Vox Martha Nelson (@swientist), epidemiologist, National Institutes of Health Juergen Richt (@juergenricht), professor of veterinary medicine, Kansas State University Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 14, 2020 23 min

These bacteria wear chicken shoes

Right now, we can fight off a wide range of bacterial infections using antibiotics. But those antibiotics are becoming increasingly ineffective, and antibiotic use on factory farms is partially to blame. In this episode, Lance Price and Cindy Liu, two public health researchers, explain that we give animals a steady dose of antibiotics in their feed, hoping to stave off disease in cramped, unsanitary conditions. But as a result, the bacteria in these animals develop resistance to antibiotics. But they have some suggestions for how we could make our antibiotics last. Further listening and reading: Sigal Samuel has written in depth about the antibiotic risks posed by our factory farms. Liu and Price’s full study is worth a read, as is this Wired writeup of its findings. The episode mentions some of the work that Canada and Denmark have done to combat this resistance problem. It also digs into the use of the antibiotic Colistin in Chinese farms, and the subsequent spread of resistance. We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to [email protected] Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Byrd Pinkerton (@byrdala), podcast producer, Vox Martha Nelson (@swientist), epidemiologist, National Institutes of Health Juergen Richt (@juergenricht), professor of veterinary medicine, Kansas State University Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 07, 2020 25 min

Life on the fast line

Workers in meatpacking plants already process our pigs and beef and chickens extremely fast, but recently, there’s been a push to make the meatpacking factory line move even faster. Isaac Arnsdorf, a ProPublica reporter, takes us deep into his reporting on why that would be extremely dangerous for workers’ health. Then Jill Mauer, a federal meat inspector, explains why she’s worried that the changes in inspections necessary to make these faster line speeds possible could endanger us all. Further listening and reading: We based the first half of this episode on reporting in Isaac Arnsdorf’s ProPublica piece on changing line speeds. For more on changing line speeds, there are great background pieces from the New York Times’s Julie Creswell and the Washington Post’s Kimberly Kindi. Jill’s full NBC interview, which we excerpted in the episode The Food Integrity Campaign within the Government Accountability Project pulled together this report with affidavits from federal inspectors in pilot plants. We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to [email protected] Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Isaac Arnsdorf (@iarnsdorf), reporter, ProPublica Host: Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt), senior correspondent, Vox More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sep 30, 2020 28 min

Chicken Big

In 1992, Craig Watts got into growing chickens for Perdue Farms because he was told he could turn a good profit. Instead, he found himself hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and unable to bargain for better working conditions because Perdue was the only game in town. Things seemed hopeless, until, in 2010, President Obama’s Department of Justice announced that they were going to look into the relationship between big poultry companies and their growers. In this episode, reporter Leah Douglas tells us how farmers like Craig fought to change the balance of power in chicken growing a decade ago — and what has happened since. Further listening and reading: In his book The Meat Racket, Christopher Leonard outlines the problems with contract poultry growing in much more depth, and goes into the history of the practice. Leah Douglas and Christopher Leonard also did a recent, in-depth investigation into problems with the US chicken industry’s treatment of farmers. You can watch the Department of Justice public workshops for yourself, or read transcripts, all available here. The National Chicken Council has compiled an FAQ that pushes back on claims that poultry growers have problems. We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to [email protected] Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Byrd Pinkerton (@byrdala), podcast producer, Vox Leah Douglas (@leahjdouglas), reporter, Food and Environment Reporting Network Host: Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt), senior correspondent, Vox More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sep 23, 2020 25 min

The paradox on our plates

In the US, we spend billions of dollars a year pampering our pets. We have laws to protect them from harm and to punish those who inflict it on them. And yet, we routinely abuse pigs and chickens on farms, cutting off their beaks and tails without anesthesia, and cramming them into cages. In this episode, neuroscientist Lori Marino helps us understand how arbitrarily we draw the lines between animals as pets and animals as food, and how we might redraw those lines. Further listening and reading: Lori Marino has done in-depth round-ups of all the research on chicken cognition and pig cognition. You might also enjoy this study, where students who worked with chickens were surprised by their intelligence In the piece, we used clips from this BBC Earth segment on how pig intelligence compares to toddler intelligence, and a Compassion in World Farming piece on pigs and video games Dylan Matthews has written in depth about unnecessarily painful pig castration. He’s also written about the practice of mass-culling male chicks. For more on what labels like “wild caught,” “organic,” and “grass-fed” actually mean for the food you eat, Rachel Krantz wrote a comprehensive guide. We also have more information on what it means for eggs to be “cage-free.” We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to [email protected] Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Lori Marino, Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy Hosts: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sep 16, 2020 29 min

Pig poop lagoon

North Carolina is home to around 9 million pigs. Many of those pigs live in big factory farms, and all of those pigs produce a lot of waste. On these factory farms, that waste is collected in big outdoor lagoons, and then sprayed out across fields as fertilizer. People living in communities nearby complain their daily lives are disrupted by the stench, and they fear that it’s affecting their health. On this episode, three North Carolinians team up with a lawyer to try and fight back against these lagoon and sprayfield systems. Further listening and reading: ProPublica’s Talia Buford has done in-depth reporting on the problems of overflowing pig waste lagoons in North Carolina, and you can see images of the aftermath of lagoon flooding from Hurricane Florence collected here. Pig waste from factory farms is not just a problem in North Carolina. You can read about issues in Iowa, Minnesota, and Ohio. A profile of the late epidemiologist Steve Wing, whose research into hog waste deeply informs this episode The Natural Resources Defense Council’s 2019 report on CAFOs Marianne Engelman Lado directs the Environmental Justice Clinic at Vermont Law School, which digs into a wide range of similar environmental justice issues We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to [email protected] Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Marianne Engleman Lado, Environmental Justice Clinic, Vermont Law School Hosts: Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt), senior correspondent, Vox More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sep 09, 2020 2 min

Season 3: The beef with meat

The meat we eat affects us all. It affects non-human animals, but also the farmers and factory workers who raise those animals and slaughter them. It affects the communities living around those farms and slaughterhouses. It affects our health care system and our ability to treat infections. And it affects our environment. On this season of the Future Perfect podcast, we bring you stories about all those effects. And we’ll tell you about some potential changes, big and small, that could make the food we eat more sustainable and more humane. If you haven’t already, subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. Hosts: Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt), senior correspondent, Vox Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sep 07, 2020 58 min

What the housing crisis means for the climate

Dylan Matthews sits down with housing policy experts and advocates Leonora Camner and Annie Fryman to discuss California’s housing crisis, climate catastrophe, and how more sustainable land use policy could help both. Featuring: Leonora Camner (@CamnerLeonora), executive director, Abundant Housing LA Annie Fryman (@anniefryman), housing policy lead for California State Senator Scott Wiener Host: Dylan Matthews, senior correspondent, Vox More to explore: Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down the big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Credits: Producer/Editor: Jackson Bierfeldt Executive Producer: Liz Nelson About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts. Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Aug 19, 2020 1 hr 14 min

What MLK and Malcolm X would do today

Co-host Sean Illing talks to Peniel Joseph, a University of Texas at Austin historian of Black Power movements Relevant resources: The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. by Peniel Joseph Featuring: Peniel Joseph, a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), interviews writer, Vox More to explore: Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down the big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Credits: Producer/Editor: Jackson Bierfeldt Editor: Elbert Ventura Executive Producer: Liz Nelson About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts. Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Aug 12, 2020 59 min

The benefits of contemplating death

Co-host Sigal Samuel talks to Nikki Mirghafori, a Buddhist meditation teacher and AI researcher, about how to practice mindfulness of death Relevant resources: “Our calm is contagious”: How to use mindfulness in a pandemic, by Sigal Samuel It’s okay to be doing okay during the pandemic, by Sigal Samuel Are we morally obligated to meditate? by Sigal Samuel Featuring: Nikki Mirghafori, a Buddhist meditation teacher and AI researcher Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox More to explore: Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down the big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Credits: Producer/Editor: Jackson Bierfeldt Editor: Elbert Ventura Executive Producer: Liz Nelson About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts. Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Future Perfect
Genre
Society & Culture
Episodes
36
Frequency
Weekly podcast
Prediction
Next episode Wednesday, October 28
Website
vox.com/future-perfect-podcast
Hosted on
Megaphone
Creators
Social
Creators and Ratings from
Podchaser