We Know Who You Are: 71 Senators Reject States’ Rights to Label GMOs
On the eve of a worldwide protest against Monsanto, 71 U.S. senators voted against an amendment to the Senate version of the 2013 Farm Bill that would have guaranteed states the right to enact mandatory GMO (genetically modified organism) labeling laws.
Seventy-one Senators voted against you, the 90 percent of consumers who have said that you want labels on foods containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.
Seventy-one Senators – including 43 Republican so-called defenders of states’ rights - voted against your state’s Constitutional Tenth Amendment right to protect the health, safety and welfare of its citizens and local businesses.
We know who those Senators are. And we plan to make certain that everyone who cares about food safety and food sovereignty knows who they are, too.
With 71 senators on record opposing state labeling laws, the potential for a rider or amendment to the Farm Bill that would wipe out states’ rights to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) looms even larger.
On Wednesday, May 15, the House Ag Committee passed the King Amendment, a measure some say could take away states’ rights to label GMOs. If the King Amendment survives to the final version of the Farm Bill 2013, and is passed by Congress, some say it could preempt states’ rights to label GMOs. And if it doesn’t, will another rider or amendment be introduced into the final bill that would threaten state labeling laws?
Some in Congress would have us believe that state labeling laws are too messy – we must reject them in favor of a federal labeling law. But that’s just stonewalling. We all know that a federal law is unlikely, given the revolving door between biotech and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). And any law signed off on by Congress and the FDA would be a flimsy, loophole-ridden measure written by biotech and Big Food.
The OCA is calling on consumers to tell their Congress members to reject any rider or amendment that would preempt state’s rights to label GMOs.
We’re also hosting a Twitter Rally to generate buzz and let Congress know that we expect them to uphold states’ rights to label GMOs! Join us on Thursday, June 6 at 5 p.m. PST under the hashtag #LabelGMOs. Login to twitter and type #LabelGMOs into your twitter search browser. From there you can follow the rally conversation and join in by adding #LabelGMOs to the end of your tweet.
Good Ole’ Boys Block Repeal of Monsanto Protection Act
Surprise. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo), with a little help from his friend, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss, pictured), last week blocked an amendment to the Senate version of the Farm Bill that would have repealed the Monsanto Protection Act. (Sen. Blunt helped write the Monsanto Protection Act, and then slipped it into the Continuing Resolution, an emergency spending bill passed by Congress in March.)
Fortunately, the author of the amendment, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore) isn’t giving up. Neither are we. What to do? You can start by calling Sens. Blunt (202-224-5721) and Cochran (202-224-5054). Tell them you want a full debate and vote on the Merkley amendment.
It raises profound questions about the constitutional separation of powers and the ability of our courts to hold agencies accountable to the law and their responsibilities. I can tell you that this process and this policy has provoked outrage across the country.
Please call Senators Cochran (202-224-5054) and Blunt (202-224-5721) today!
It was one of those weeks. Last week, Senators voted overwhelmingly against an amendment to the Farm Bill that would have guaranteed states’ rights to label GMOs. Two senators blocked an amendment to the Farm Bill that would have repealed the Monsanto Protection Act.
Two steps back.
But there was good news, too. More than two million people across the globe marched against Monsanto. And the New York Times reported that food companies big and small are struggling to replace genetically modified ingredients with conventional ones – that’s good news, because it means that food companies are responding to consumers’ demands for non-GMO foods.
There will always be setbacks. Whether we’re fighting for GMO labeling laws, or the preservation of organic standards. Whether we’re fighting against fracking and factory farms, or for stricter regulations on pesticides. The victories, large and small, inspire us. The setbacks reignite our passions, sharpen our focus. And propel us forward. With your help, it’s full speed ahead. Thank you!
‘Broken’ Food Safety System: One More Reason to Avoid Meat from Factory Farms
Cockroaches on the floor where hogs are slaughtered. Fecal material on the carcasses of hogs allegedly already cleaned. Still-conscious hogs plunged into scalding water.
You would think an agency whose tagline is “Protecting Public Health through Food Safety and Defense” wouldn’t tolerate any of the above. But according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of the Inspector General, the agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has allowed all of the above, and more. Repeatedly. In hundreds of slaughterhouses.
Bruce Friedrich, Senior Director for Strategic Initiatives at Farm Sanctuary, said this in an article about the report:
Every year according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), there are tens of millions of cases of food poisoning, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and thousands of deaths. The agency charged with reducing these numbers is doing, according to its Office of the Inspector General, a pathetically bad job.
Whether you’re concerned about your health, or the wellbeing of the animals killed for your food – or both – this report underscores why eating meat that comes from factory farms is risky. And it’s just another example of how the USDA places the interest of Big Ag over public health.
The goal was numbers. The object was attention and education. By all measures, the March against Monsanto was a success.
On Saturday, May 25, an estimated two million protesters from 436 cities, 58 countries and six continents hit the streets in protest of the world’s most hated corporation. The message from seniors, Vietnam vets, mothers, grandmothers, farmers and consumer activists, from nearly every corner of the globe, was clear: Monsanto’s control of the global food system threatens food safety, biodiversity and food sovereignty.
The list of participating cities included: New York, Miami, Florida, Portland (on both coasts), Philadelphia, Detroit, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Des Moines, Tokyo, Japan, Barcelona, Spain, Cincinnati, Denver, San Francisco, Albuquerque, Brussels, Las Vegas, Vienna, Austria, Seattle, Cairo, Egypt, and hundreds of others, large and small, representing every region of the world.
It was enough to make mainstream media stand up and take note. Stories ran in major newspapers. The Associated Press reported on the march. CNN ran a full seven-minute segment.
What’s next? On July 4th, Moms Across America (MAA) will march in Independence Day parades across the country in support of GMO labeling. And March against Monsanto 2.0 has already been scheduled for May 24, 2014. Congratulations to all the organizers and thanks to all of you who marched!
“The film makes a powerfully persuasive case for the benefits of small, grass-based organic farms and local sourcing…. it presents its arguments forcefully but without strident didacticism.” – Fred Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
Ever wonder what it’s like to run a huge feedlot or a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO)? Curious about the alternatives to factory farms, and whether alternative models can really feed the world’s growing population?
American Meat, a documentary produced primarily by farmers, explores these questions and more. The DVD won’t be released to the public until later this year. But you can purchase a limited edition DVD now for $20. And when you do, the documentary’s producers will donate $2 to the OCA.
'Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth' is now available from Chelsea Green Publishing
“In Cows Save the Planet, Judith Schwartz takes us on a fascinating, John McPhee-style journey into the world of soil rehabilitation. The eclectic group of farmers, ranchers, researchers, and environmentalists she visits have one thing in common: they all believe in the importance of organic matter in the soil for solving our most pressing environmental issues. Some of the innovative techniques they use to increase the vitality of their soil include no-tillage, using deep-rooted perennial grasses, cover crops, mulching, and, surprisingly, grazing large herds of animals according to a program called ‘holistic management.’ Imagine, a book about soil that’s a real page turner!”
— Larry Korn, editor of The One-Straw Revolution and Sowing Seeds in the Desert, by Masanobu Fukuoka