Saturday, April 13, 2013

Alec: In a state near YOU

From the Heartland, Margot McMillen writes: A new version of Missouri SJR 22 has passed the Senate and is lumbering back to the House for another vote. With the weekend adjournment upon us, I decided to google some of the objectionable, vague language of the bill and see where it comes from. I chose “modern farming practices” which can take in anything from Confined Animal Feeding Operations to wacky new genetic alterations in seeds to robot tractors to unlimited spraying of Agent Orange on the land. I suspected that “modern farming practices” was dreamed up by Alec, the American Legislative Exchange Council, those apologists for big business opposed to individual rights. They are world-class bamboozlers. Couldn’t find “modern farming practices” in Alec’s model bills but there were a lot of interesting bits on the Alec site, where the far-right lawmakers can pick up language to introduce in their statehouses. Here’s a bit to guarantee antibiotic use in CAFOs: WHEREAS, the treatment, prevention and control of animal disease is critically important to the health and welfare of animals and the safety of the food produced; and WHEREAS, the availability of antibiotics is a critical tool for veterinarians, livestock and poultry producers to ensure animal health and the safety of the US food supply; and WHEREAS, the use of antibiotics both therapeutically and sub-therapeutically has a long history of success in improving animal health and welfare; and . . . (there are 8 more “whereas” clauses, each more misleading than the one before) . . . NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that The American Legislative Exchange Council supports the use of science based data to assess whether sub-therapeutic antibiotics cause antibiotic resistance problems. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the American Legislative Exchange Council opposes legislative or regulatory action that may result in unnecessary additional restrictions on the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture that are not based on sound science. Obviously, that resolution could guarantee full employment to a battery of lawyers for lifetime but it doesn’t help ensure public welfare at all. And that’s the point, dear reader. Tomorrow we'll look at the family tree and implications of SJR 22, which has appeared in other states besides Missouri, but that’s enough for today. April 13, 2013.

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