Don’t Let Iowa Agribusiness Dictate Your State’s Health and Safety Standards!

Posted by Chris Green, ALDF's Legislative Affairs Director on May 23, 2013

Please call your U.S. Senators right away and urge them to vote NO on the "Grassley CAFO Amendment" to the 2013 Farm Bill. Then call your U.S. Representative and demand that Steve King’s "Protect Interstate Commerce Amendment" be stripped from the House’s version of the 2013 Farm Bill.

Grassley’s Farm Bill Amendment

Yesterday Senator Charles Grassley R-IA, offered a harmful amendment to the Farm Bill in the U.S. Senate. Taking Ag-Gag to a federal agency level, Grassley’s language would directly prevent the EPA from collecting the vital data & information it needs about CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) in order to fulfill its mandate to protect our nation’s water supply. CAFOs are massive point sources of water contamination due to the roughly 500 million tons of manure they generate each year (more than triple the amount of annual U.S. human waste)!

CAFOs remain largely unregulated in this country, as exposed by an alarming GAO report entitled "Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations: US EPA Needs More Information and a Clearly Defined Strategy to Protect Air and Water Quality from Pollutants of Concern." In fact, no governmental entity even knows how many CAFOs exist or where they all are located. This information is also crucial to ensuring that such facilities are complying with animal welfare standards. Preferring to let CAFOs operate hidden from the view of agencies that enforce our public safety laws, Grassley even wants to prevent the EPA from using aircraft to investigate dangerous Ag-related pollution spills! While the language of the Grassley amendment is intentionally vague enough to mask its full, potential effect, experts have determined that it further could prevent the EPA from sharing key data with other federal agencies, such as the USDA, FDA, or the Department of Justice during law enforcement investigations.

Ag(ency) gag indeed!

King’s Farm Bill Amendment

Last Wednesday, just days before Sen. Grassley offered his CAFO amendment, his Iowa counterpart in the U.S. House, Rep. Steve King R-IA, added another devastating amendment to its version of the Farm Bill–one that would outrageously prevent states from setting their own animal welfare & food safety standards! By forbidding states from applying their domestic safety & welfare regulations to ANY agricultural product that originates elsewhere, the King amendment would immediately end the California Foie Gras ban, jeopardize state nutritional requirements, and nullify CA’s Prop 2 & other such ballot initiatives where voters have spoken to demand better treatment for the animals whose products are sold within their own state borders.

The King amendment inevitably would create a "race to the bottom" whereby the most abusive and dangerous rules in the country would become de facto national standards–since producers "doing it on the cheap" in one state always would undercut the prices of domestic producers in those states that care more about public health and animal welfare.

Don’t let these Iowa Agribusiness apologists allow their special-interest, industry funders to dictate the health, safety & welfare standards of your own state. Call your Congressional delegates today!

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