A controversial drug allowed in meat production in the U.S.—but banned in 160 other countries—is in the news again. This time, it’s because the Trump administration, as part of a trade deal, is trying to force China to allow imports of U.S. pork raised with ractopamine.
Ractopamine is a beta-agonist routinely fed to pigs, cattle and turkey raised in industrial factory farms, or in industry parlance, “concentrated animal feeding farms,” or CAFOs. The drug mimics the effects of adrenaline, and is used to increase muscle tissue and make animals grow faster. It’s manufactured by Elanco Animal Health, until recently a division of drug giant Eli Lilly & Co.
After less than two full days of deliberations, a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay just over $2 billion in punitive and compensatory damages to a married couple who both developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma they say was caused by their many years of using Roundup products.
After listening to 17 days of trial testimony, jurors said Monsanto must pay $1 billion to Alberta Pilliod, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma brain cancer in 2015, and another $1 billion to her husband Alva Pilliod, who was diagnosed in 2011 with non-Hodgkin lymphoma that spread from his bones to his pelvis and spine. The couple, who are both in their 70s, started using Roundup in the 1970s and continued using the herbicide until only a few years ago. The jury also awarded the couple a total of $55 million in damages for past and future medical bills and other losses.
“Cook Organic, not the Planet.” - Banner of the Organic Consumers Association at the mass climate march in New York City, September 21, 2014.
Before we talk about the future of food and farming and the crisis of organic standards, here’s some good news: Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), a leading contender for the White House in 2020, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and several other presidential candidates have just come out strongly against Monsanto and factory farming and in favor of fundamental change in our agricultural policies. (Sign this petition to thank Sanders and Warren for taking on Big Ag).
Sanders and more than 100 members of Congress, supported by millions of Americans--including leading farmers and ranchers— are now calling for a Green New Deal that encompasses both urban and rural America. A Green New Deal that will scale up fundamental change, not only in our energy and economic policies, but also in the food and farming policies that have devastated our landscape, public health and rural communities.
Industrial agriculture, with its factory farms, GMO monculture crops and toxic chemicals, is one of the leading causes of global warming. You can help cool the planet by choosing organic foods, grown using sustainable, regenerative farming practices.