Congressional Agriculture Committee Seeks to Breeze Through Farm Bill

The congressional agriculture committee says it wants to write up the federal farm bill, that comes up only once every five years, in two week’s time. This kind of reform usually takes 1 to 1 1/2 years worth of work and research to accomplish – and they want to ‘get ‘er done’ in two weeks. Who do you think will suffer for this inattention? Who do you think will profit? (Yes, you and yours will suffer, and yes, food industry conglomerates with high-paid lobbyists will profit.)

Ever experience food poisoning from a restaurant or by ingesting foods bought at a grocery store? Do you struggle with weight? Do you feel confident that food purchased at any fast food establishment has enough nutritional value, is, indeed, actually what is advertises that it is?

Did you know that hamburgers and tacos at places such as McDonald’s and Taco Bell are more ‘filler’ than beef? What is ‘filler’, anyway? Is it good for you or bad? For your information and edification, I can tell you that ‘fillers’ come from sweepings on the slaughterhouse floor, (fat, gristle, the parts one would throw away) “which are notoriously rife with pathogens like E. coli 0157 and antibiotic-resistant salmonella.” This slop is ground down into a paste, the fat separated out, and then ammonia; yes, the very stuff you clean your windows with and are warned NEVER to ingest and is half the ingredient for Mustard Gas, is added to the mix to try and kill the pathogens. This mix is purchased by hamburger-selling businesses all over the U.S. who add it to their hamburgers (so they can use less beef while charging you for 100% beef), and serve it up on a bun. You actually pay good money for this disgusting compilation of non-food.

Would you agree that our food industry needs reform? How about the high number of instances of food recalled this past year alone for various contaminants; Listeria, E. coli, Salmonella, etc.? All of these resulted not only in food borne illnesses, but in deaths. Scared yet by the short span of time the Ag Committee wishes to give the federal farm bill? You should be. (2011 Food Recalls)

But don’t complain unless you act.
It’s easy. All you have to do is either call your representatives or send them a quick email by clicking these links.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

It just takes a minute to call:
• First check if your Senator and/or Representative sits on the Senate Agriculture or House Agriculture Committee.
If they DON’T SIT on these committees – you can still take action, but click here instead.
• If your Senator or Representative sits on either of these three committees: call the Capitol Switchboard and ask to be directly connected to your Senators’ and Member of Congress’s office: 202-224-3121. Or go to and type in your zip code, then click on your Senators and Member of Congress’s name and the contact tab for their phone number.
• If the line is busy, please leave a brief message on the voicemail.

Facts to consider: As it stands now without your input – “This proposal* would wipe out over 40 percent of the funding increases for conservation and environmental initiatives achieved in the 2002 and 2008 food and farm bills, setting the clock back and “un-greening” the farm bill. Moreover, it is unclear what the proposal would do to the fair and healthy farm and food system programs won in 2008 with your help, but in need of being renewed in the new farm bill. It could potentially wipe out all of those gains as well.”

Below is a copy of the message I sent out to my Texas representatives. You can use this and modify according to your state, but please add your own words, also.

I am a constituent. I have heard the Agriculture Committees are trying to write the farm bill this week, behind closed doors. Why are leaders/experts in the field not being consulted, and openly?

There are unbelievable problems with our food and farming industry, all of which lead to four major problems; contamination that sickens our population, substandard foods that lack nutritional value and cause obesity in America, a monopoly among the top 4 major food manufacturing conglomerates that effectively kill the possibility for competition by smaller new businesses, and lastly, a horrific inhumanity to the livestock who live at feedlots in filth, with diseases and injuries that are not addressed.

The first two problems contribute to the high cost of health care in America, Medicare being one such, and should be a priority so we can begin to reduce those costs, balance the budget, and start reducing the deficit.

Such problems cannot be tackled by one small committee behind closed doors, in a two week period, and without input from national leaders such as Farm Sanctuary, Dr. Temple Grandin, and ranking nutritionists.

I urge my district 21 (Texas) representative (Lamar Smith), and my Texas senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison to speak out and oppose any farm bill deal that makes big cuts to conservation and nutrition programs, fails to restore funding for local food and beginning farmer programs, or keeps subsidizing commodity production without strict per farm limits.

This is no joke, and please understand that as a national animal rights columnist, I can rally a great deal of attention to this bill. Failing to address the need for reform in our farming and food industry by not giving it proper attention and action (and by caving in to demands from those monopolizing food lobbies because they shove money at your individual campaigns and causes) will result in problems for re-election for those officials who make light of this serious situation.

The American people are out in the streets demanding better of their elected officials. The status quo can no longer prevail. Please act in good conscience with the health and welfare of the people who have elected you to office in mind. You are there to represent our best interests. The key word is “OUR” best interests.

Make a difference. Act now. It only takes a few minutes to make a big difference.

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