Climate, Fishing, Sludge, and Health Freedom


#212, February 11, 2010

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

Edited by Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins


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Victory of the Week

USDA Drops "Big Brother" National Animal ID Program


Under pressure from small farmers and organic consumers, the US Department of Agriculture announced on February 5, 2010, that it is suspending its controversial National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and offering a new approach to tracking animal disease and food contamination. This is a major victory for the Organic Consumers Association, our allies, and organic farmers and ranchers, who have complained that the USDA's goal of tagging every farm animal in country wouldn't do anything to prevent disease, would be unnecessary and expensive for small and organic farmers, and couldn't be enforced without violations of privacy and religion.

Already, the implementation of NAIS in Wisconsin has resulted in an Amish farmer and a small-scale cattle rancher being charged and fined for not registering, and in Michigan a cattle farmer's herd was put under quarantine and forcibly tagged when he wouldn't submit to the state's mandatory NAIS program.

Go to OCA's No NAIS campaign page for more information



OCA Needs Your Help to Spread the Organic Revolution


OCA and our international network of organic consumers and farmers understand that we have a positive life-affirming solution for the global food, health, and climate crisis: organic food, farming, and ranching. But to get out our all-important message we need your support. Please send us a tax-deductible donation today.



Take Action

Solidarity is needed now to save family fishermen and fisherwomen!

Policy decisions that have transformed farms into industrial food production machines with grave ecological, health and economic consequences are being mirrored on the marine side. The fishing industry is being industrialized and corporatized with disastrous consequences.  As concerned organic consumers we urge everyone who cares about the nation's small fishermen and fishing communities to stand shoulder to shoulder with us at the US Capitol and noon on February 24th and demand a sea change in fisheries management. Just as dairy farmers are being forced off their land at an alarming rate, large fishing corporations are putting hard working family fishermen out of business, destroying fishing communities and endangering our access to locally caught and sustainably harvested seafood.

On Wednesday, February 24 from noon to 3pm, commercial, recreation and charter fishermen will gather on the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. to protest the current mismanagement of our nation's fisheries. The rally, under the "United We Fish" campaign, will tell Congress that the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery and Conservation Act of 2006, the nation's federal fisheries management legislation, is being manipulated to favor large corporations and punish small producers.

Websites for updates and to learn more include:


Senator John McCain Introduces Bill Attacking Consumer Access to Supplements

This bill would repeal key sections of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which guarantees consumers the right to purchase dietary supplements.

Please contact your senators now to tell them not to so-sponsor this Anti-Consumer, Anti-Health Freedom Bill.

McCain's so-called Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA) would repeal key sections of the popular Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). It would give the FDA unilateral power, with little or no scientific justification, to ban vitamin supplements except for those produced by Big Pharma corporations.

If McCain's bill passes, we can look to Europe for a snapshot of what we may be in for: EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, has sharply reduced the list of available supplements and is in process of reducing potencies to ridiculous levels, such as less beta carotene than can be found in half of a large carrot. Europeans already look to the US to obtain their dietary supplements. If this bill passes, where will we obtain ours?

Please take action immediately. Tell your senators NOT to co-sponsor the McCain's anti-consumer legislation and to do everything in their power to defeat it. Then forward this to your friends and family and ask them to do the same!


Featured Essay of the Week

Climate Catastrophe: Surviving the 21st Century by Ronnie Cummins and Will Allen


The climate, energy, and political catastrophe we are facing is mind-boggling and frightening.  Yet there is still time to save ourselves, to move beyond psychological denial, despair, or false optimism. There is still hope if we are willing to confront the hydra-headed monsters that block our path, and move ahead with a decisive plan of action. The inspirational message we need to deliver is that we're not just talking about drastically reducing fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, but rebuilding society, creating in effect a New Woman and a New Man for the 21st Century. What we are witnessing are the early stages of a mass grassroots consciousness-raising and taking back of power from out-of-control corporations, banks, corporate-controlled media, and politicians. This cultural and political revolution will empower us to carry out a deep and profound retrofitting of industry, government, education, health care, housing, neighborhoods, transportation, food and farming systems, as well as our diets and lifestyles...



Video of the Week

Ross Gelbspan's "The Heat Is Online"

"We are standing at the threshold of runaway climate change and the coming disruptions which most scientists say are inevitable will lead us either into a future of totalitarianism or into a new and unprecedented era of human cooperation."



Alert Update of the Week

Tell San Francisco to Stop Spreading Sewage Sludge and Calling It "Organic Fertilizer"


Thank you to everyone who sent an e-mail to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom asking him to stop San Francisco's sewage sludge giveaway program. His office has been flooded with thousands of e-mails, but the city's not talking to us yet. We need to step up the pressure. This week, we'd like to ask you to make calls to Mayor Newsom's office.

In 2008, Organic Style Magazine called San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom the World's Greenest Mayor. Apparently, Organic Style wasn't aware that the "World's Greenest Mayor" is, in the guise of giving something valuable to its own citizens, giving toxic sewage sludge to city gardeners touting it as "organic biosolids compost."

San Francisco - like many other cities in the country - contracts with a sewage sludge company (Synagro) to "transport and dispose of" its sludge. Since dumping sludge in the oceans was stopped in 1991, dumping sludge on farmland (this is called "land application") became the cheapest way to dispose of sludge.

The thing that distinguishes San Francisco from other cities dumping sludge on farmland is that it has launched an aggressive PR offensive targeting its own citizens to get them to help dispose of toxic sludge in their own gardens.

This campaign involves falsely labeling the sewage sludge as "organic biosolids compost" and holding well-publicized free giveaways of sludge-in-disguise to gardeners who then unwittingly turn their own gardens into hazardous materials dumps.

If the World's Greenest Mayor can get away with this, watch out, because there's no telling what the toxic sludge industry will do in your town!

That's why we're putting out a national call to all of our members and readers to encourage organic consumers across the country to help us stop San Francisco's toxic sewage sludge giveaways. Please take action today!



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