(Chicago) A recent investigation led by graduate students from Northwestern University revealed that Pabst Blue Ribbon, as well as many other mass produced, low-cost beers, have a production process that is considered cruel to animals.
It is the filtration process that is being closely scrutinized because of the controversial substance known as Diatomaceous earth (DE). DE is a chalky rock found close to water and its fine powder is used to sterilize the beer during the final stages of production.
This powder already caused problems during the 80's because of its effects on the human respiratory system which led to the new work laws requiring all handlers of the substance to be wearing gloves and masks.
The graduate students think that these breweries have a larger responsibility that goes beyond their employees alone.
After taking samples from the air, water, and plant life around many Miller breweries (Miller has a contract with Pabst to brew Pabst Blue Ribbon) the grad students found high percentages of DE in all of the samples and also noted the health of the animals around the breweries was "undesirable"(Smith, 2008). In their field notes Podcast they explained that "the animals were slower in their movement and many of the squirrels were coughing"(Smith, 2008).
After their investigation, they contacted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the boycott of several brewing companies was set in motion. A list of all animal friendly brewing companies can be found on PETA's website.
Public, (2008, June ). Diatomaceous earth. Retrieved June 9, 2008, from Wikipedia Web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatomaceous_earth
Smith, George (2008, May 18). [Podcast] Bad beer. Grad Students Have More Fun. Retrieved May 20, 2008, from http://www.apple.com/itunes/store/podcasts.html
Follow-up: In an investigation led by a team of independent Veterinarians, it was found that no animals tested had any known health problems.
In other news:
Local bars losing business.
Vegan numbers waning.