Saturday, March 16, 2013

We MUST prevent bad behavior from the U.S. Senate

From the Heartland, Margot McMillen writes: Kathy Ozer, from the National Family Farm Coalition, wrote that “The votes on the Senate amendments will be no earlier than Monday as they didn’t reach an agreement last night.” She was talking about votes on The Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill, which should have nothing in it except items pertaining to spending. Instead, it contains two bad riders that would protect bad corporate behavior and hurt independent farmers, environmentalists and consumers. One of these riders would actually encourage corporate concentration in the livestock industry, and eliminate competition. For an idea of what that would mean, see the article in the Atlantic that follows the chicken industry, which was the first to become dangerously concentrated. Nowadays, there are few inspectors and regulations, because the corporations can pass any stupid laws they want. People are getting sick and the epidemic of urinary tract infections has been traced to bacteria on chickens. How stupid can we get? The “biotech rider” (section 735) would protect biotech companies from any kind of regulation if they want to try out some new kind of genetically modified crop on the land. Now that 50% of farmland in the U.S. has “superweeds” that cannot be killed with an ordinary herbicide like Roundup, there’s no telling what the biotech companies are cooking up to plant and then spray with who-knows-what. It’s a scary situation, for sure. If the rider passes, federal courts, who have occasionally stopped the planting of illegal crops, would have no authority to stop the planting of these illegal crops. The rider was originally part of the Farm Bill that didn’t pass last year, and then it was attached to a house appropriations bill and now has appeared from the senate side. There will be a vote very soon, maybe tomorrow, rushed through to get it approved before planting season. These biotech companies, with their bins of experimental seeds, are just itching to get more income streams going and they want to plant them this year. Senator Tester is leading on the challenge to these riders and he needs us to give him cover. RAFI is working on a petition regarding the GIPSA rider and the Center for Food Safety has the biotech rider. Go to those websites and help them out. Here are the links:

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