Organic Bytes #121: 11/1/2007
IN THIS ISSUE
- Alert of the Week:
Senate Prepares to Rubber Stamp "Business as Usual" Farm Bill
- Related Dumb Quote
of the Week
- Lord of the Flies: "Organic" Dairy Feedlot Draws Heat Over Bumper Crop of Insects
- Health News of the Week: Sunlight Cuts Risk of Many Cancers, Especially Breast Cancer
- Quick Tidbits: Carnivorous or Not? - and - France Bans Frankencrops
- Monsanto Tries Once Again to Force-Feed Consumers rBGH
- How Did We Get Here:
A Brief History of Monsanto and the US Government
- Web Video of the Week: Fascism - It Could Happen Here
- Find out What's Happening in Your State
- Answer the "OCA Challenge" From the Backbone Campaign
Health, Justice and Sustainability News Tidbits with an Edge!
Written and edited by Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins
Senate Prepares to Rubber Stamp Business-as-Usual Farm Bill
The 2007 Farm Bill will continue to spend billions of dollars of taxpayer money funding "farms" like this.
The Senate Agriculture Committee approved its draft of the $300 billion 2007-2012 Farm Bill last week.
The 1300-page bill, now headed to the main Senate floor, includes, as usual, billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies for chemical and energy�intensive crops, factory farms, and junk food purveyors, while "nickel and dime-ing" organic agriculture, conservation, nutrition, and alternative energy programs.
Let your Senators know you want to eliminate all taxpayer subsidies, other than those designed to make our food and farming system healthier and more sustainable, and specifically you want a "Fair Share" for organics commensurate with our current 3% market share.
Besides billions in corporate subsidies, this version of the Farm Bill includes implementation of the controversial National Animal Identification System (NAIS). NAIS would require that all farmers, even those with just one cow, horse, or chicken, to implant their animals with an electronic tracking device and permanently report their movements to the USDA. This expensive Big Brother procedure, which lobbyists crafted so as to exempt factory farms, could put many small family farms out of business.
Please contact your Senators to cut corporate subsidies, eliminate NAIS, and support increases in funding in the Farm Bill for for conservation, organic agriculture, healthy food and beginning farmer programs.
Take Action: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_7765.cfm
Congress Ag Chair Collin Peterson:
"Paying More for Organic
or Local Food is Dumb"
-From an MSNBC.com Financial Times Oct. 17, 2007 www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21349573/
Collin Peterson, chairman of the House of Representatives agricultural committee, says the farm sector that raises organic produce and grass-fed beef for local consumers needs little federal help. "It is growing, and it has nothing to do with the government, and that is good," he told the FT. "For whatever reason, people are willing to pay two or three times as much for something that says 'organic' or 'local'. Far be it from me to understand what that's about, but that's reality. And if people are dumb enough to pay that much then hallelujah."
To send a message to Collin Peterson (Democrat, MN) congratulating him for getting the Organic Consumers Association award for the dumbest quote of the week: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_8104.cfm
Reminder: Aurora's "organic" milk is sold under the following private labels:
O organics brand
The recent class action lawsuit launched by organic consumers in 27 states against Aurora "Organic" Dairy isn't all the controversial dairy giant has to contend with.
Last week, one of Aurora's 4,500-head "organic" dairy feedlots came under scrutiny by the Weld County, Colorado board of commissioners. It seems that Aurora's malodorous operation has generated a literal bumper crop of cow manure along with millions of flies. "I would like this dairy to disappear," said Wendy Rogers, who owns a farm next to the dairy. "The dairy is too big to manage naturally." In a four-hour hearing, County Commissioners threatened to revoke Aurora's permit or limit the number of cattle allowed on the feedlot..
According to Aurora's CEO, Marc Peperzak, reducing the thousands of cows on the factory farm would be "impossible," costing Aurora "millions."County Commissioners cast a split vote offering the factory farm a second chance. If the fly problem is not mitigated by August 2008, Aurora will lose its organic dairy farm permit.
Sunlight Cuts Risk of Many Cancers, Especially Breast Cancer
Two new studies indicate exposure to the sun may actually be beneficial in regards to fighting cancer. Researchers from Stanford University reported their findings in the American Journal of Epidemiology last week indicating that women who had higher sun exposure had their risk of advanced breast cancer reduced by almost half.
According to a second research team who studied more than four million people in 11 countries, the risk of internal cancers except for skin cancers was lower among people living in sunny countries. According to the researchers, "Vitamin D production in the skin seems to decrease the risk of several solid cancers, especially stomach, colorectal, liver and gall- bladder, pancreas, lung, female breast, prostate, bladder and kidney cancers."
Although food provides some vitamin D, nearly 90 per cent comes from exposure to sunlight.
Carnivorous or Not?
In the last issue of Organic Bytes, we invited readers to take part in an online poll to find out where our readers stand on the issue of meat-eating. Thousands of you have read the poll, dozens have posted comments, and many have taken the quick poll. The current results indicate that 25% of you are vegan, 12% are vegetarian, 57% endorse eating humanely raised meats, while the rest apparently eat any and all meats. If you haven't already done so, post your thoughts and take the poll (you will need to register for the OCA forum if you haven't already done so):
France Bans Frankencrops
France has announced a ban on the planting of genetically engineered crops until the safety of the crops can be further assessed. French President Nicolas Sarkozy indicted that the decision was based on the desire to err on the side of safety. "I don't want to be in contradiction with EU laws, but I have to make a choice. In line of the precautionary principle, I wish that the commercial cultivation of genetically modified pesticide GMOs be suspended," he said.
The good news is that a critical mass of dairies and supermarket chains are banning Monsanto's Bovine Growth Hormone, bowing to to consumer pressure. The genetically engineered cow hormone is banned in most industrialized nations, due to its negative health impacts on cows and cancer risks to humans, but Monsanto Corporation, the manufacturer of the drug, is apparently still determined to force-feed rBGH to U.S. consumers.
Under pressure from Monsanto, the notoriously pro-agribusiness Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has recently announced new regulations outlawing the labeling of dairy products as rBGH-free.
The twisted rationale for the ruling is that truthfully labeling dairy products as rBGH-free is "making it hard for consumers to make informed decisions." In other words allowing consumers freedom of choice is bad for Monsanto's profits, and the profits of Pennsylvania's factory style dairy feedlots who continue to inject their animals with the drug.
PDA listed 16 companies that will be required to remove rBGH-free labels by December 31, 2007. In the meantime, Monsanto is working to pass similar anti-consumer laws in other states. The OCA plans to join our allies and stop this latest episode of biotech bullying.
"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism
because it is
a merger of state and corporate power."
- 1991: Margaret Miller was appointed Deputy Director of FDA by George Bush Sr. She oversaw the approval of the genetically engineered growth hormone rBGH. Prior to the appointment, she was one of Monsanto's top scientists developing rBGH. At the FDA, she approved the same rBGH studies she previously led at Monsanto.
- 1991: A right-wing extremist, Clarence Thomas, was appointed to the Supreme Court, despite nationwide opposition. Prior to his appointment, Thomas was a lawyer for Monsanto, a notorious chemical polluter and ag biotech promoter. Thomas would later cast the decisive vote in 2000 on the Supreme Court, ratifying the stolen election that put George Bush Jr. into office.
- 1992: Michael Taylor was appointed FDA's Deputy Commissioner for Policy, a role created to expedite the approval process of genetically engineered foods. Prior to his appointment, Taylor was an attorney for Monsanto. Taylor went on to become Monsanto's Vice-President.
- 1993: Rufus Yerxa was nominated as U.S. deputy to the World Trade Organization. Prior to his appointment as one of the most powerful bureaucrats in the world regarding international trade policies, Rufus was Monsanto's Chief Counsel.
- 1996: Michael Kantor was appointed U.S. Secretary of Commerce. At that time, Kantor was also on the Board of Directors of Monsanto.
- 2000: The White House appoints Carol Tucker Foreman as the sole "consumer advocate" on an international committee assessing genetically modified foods. Prior to her appointment, Foreman was a lobbyist for Monsanto.
- 2001: Anne Veneman was appointed head of the USDA, in charge of regulating, among other things, genetically engineered crops. Veneman previously served on the Board of Directors of Calgene, a Monsanto biotech subsidiary.
- 2001: Donald Rumsfeld was sworn in as Secretary or Defense. Rumsfeld was previously the CEO of the Searle pharmaceutical corporation, acquired by Monsanto.
- 2001: Linda Fisher was appointed Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Her regulatory chores included "enforcing" pesticide regulations, such as Monsanto's herbicide, Roundup, commonly sprayed on GE crops. Fisher was previously Monsanto's Vice-President of Government Affairs. Previously Fisher served as a high-level staffer for another biotech cheerleader, President Bill Clinton.
- 2002: George Poste was appointed head the bioterrorism division of Homeland Security. Previously, Poste was a Monsanto animal specialist.
Learn more: www.organicconsumers.org/monlink.cfm
Fascism - It Could Happen Here
author, Naomi Wolf, delivers a riveting and alarming lecture at the
University of Washington on October 11. Wolf reviews the tell-tale
signs of fascism in modern history. Wolf analyzes ten fundamental manifestations
of Fascism institutionalized in Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy,
and Stalinist Russia, that are unfortunately rearing their ugly head
again today in the USA. Watch the video and share your comments here:
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The Backbone Campaign is inviting you to help them make the "Procession for the Future" a reality. Since the Organic Consumer's Association is a leader in ecological stewardship and fair trade, we hope that you'll pitch-in to commission those images from one of our nation's leading Puppetistas - Chris Lutter, of the Minneapolis Puppet Farm.
Please help them hire Chris to build the Giant Polar bear and a pair of Bigger-than-Life Organic Farmers making a fair trade of their organic harvest. The cost to build both is approximately $5,000. There's a lot of us, and only a few of them, please lend a helping hand today.
Contribute now to
set the Procession for the Future into motion, animating the future we
all want to hand our children. And don't forget to check out their plans
for the Procession for the Future. Consider hosting it in your town!
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Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps Helps Lead Way in Organic Body Care
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If You’re Eating Pure Foods, Shouldn’t Your Vitamins and Supplements Be Completely Plant or Food-Based, and Free of Synthetic Chemicals?
- Botani Vitamins & Supplements invites you to experience the difference between a synthetic based vitamin and a vitamin made of ingredients you can only find in nature.
- Botani supplement category represents a truly pure, food inherent, supplement with assayed vitamin, mineral and nutrient potencies derived only and directly from food and botanical extract sources.
- No synthetic vitamins (USP), minerals or nutrients have been added to these supplements (either directly or indirectly).