John Robbins: Will the Farm Bill Nullify Laws Against Animal Cruelty?
In the last few years, California and several other states have enacted legislation to prevent some of the worst abuse of farm animals. But last week Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) successfully introduced an amendment to the farm bill that would not only jeopardize those laws, but also any laws passed by any other state that might seek to restrict factory farm cruelty.
The current Farm Bill expires at the end of September, so Congress has to cobble together a new one in a hurry. King’s amendment was introduced near midnight at the very end of a marathon session. It was debated for a grand total of 20 minutes, and then passed by the House Committee on Agriculture.
If the Senate follows suit, it will become law.
Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) President Wayne Pacelle says the measure could nullify “any laws to protect animals, and perhaps… laws to protect the environment, workers, or public safety.” The amendment is worded so broadly, he notes, that it could even prevent states from enacting laws that would prevent the sale of food produced by forced labor.
But Congressman King is proud of his amendment because, he says, it “will ensure that radical organizations like the Humane Society of the United States… are prohibited from establishing… restrictive state laws.” King doesn’t want anyone, particularly anyone associated with animal welfare causes, telling America’s farmers how to raise and care for their animals. “My [amendment] language wipes out everything they’ve done [to ban the most cruel practices] with pork and veal.”
King is particularly peeved with California. In 2008, California voters passed a ballot measure requiring that by 2015, no eggs can be sold in the state that come from hens housed in cages so small they can’t begin to lift a single wing. The act was a repudiation of the livestock industry’s practice of keeping animals in conditions that violate their natures and frustrate almost all of their natural instincts. And this month a state law banning foie gras took effect. “Foie gras” literally means “fatty liver.” To produce it, workers ram pipes down male ducks’ or geese’s throats several times a day, pumping otherwise impossible amounts of fat into the animals’ stomachs. Their livers bloat to up to 10 times their normal size, and are then sold as an expensive delicacy.
King doesn’t like these kinds of bans. His amendment, called the “Protect Interstate Commerce Act,” says that states that object to the way a food product is produced in other states cannot ban the sale of that product.
Paradoxically, King is normally an outspoken proponent of states’ rights, so much so that he has expressed strong support for states’ rights to ban contraception. Reporter and blogger Zack Beauchamp points out the irony. Congressman King would permit states to ban birth control, but not foie gras.
Perhaps the contradiction can be explained by the fact that King’s current bid for re-election depends on the financial backing of agribusiness interests in his state, and these interests are vehemently opposed to California’s laws. Bowing to the dictates of industrial agriculture and factory farms, King’s home state of Iowa has virtually no restrictions on the conditions that can be imposed on egg-laying hens or other farm animals. This is one of the reasons the state has been responsible for some of the worst outbreaks of salmonella poisoning in U.S. history.
Congressman King’s views are often extreme. Last year, he said that providing free birth control to women could make us a “dying civilization.” And just in the last few months: He has made headlines by saying there would be no discrimination against gays in the workplace if gays would simply keep their sexual orientation secret. He has compared detention for immigrants to holiday resorts. And he has equated janitors in House office buildings to the East German secret police for installing energy-efficient light-bulbs.
But King’s amendment to the Farm Bill isn’t just outrageous talk. It’s designed not only to block California’s animal safety laws, but also to prevent any state from imposing its own animal welfare standards on producers from other states. And it’s now part of the Farm Bill that has been approved by the House.
Another Republican Congressman, Abraham Lincoln, once said “I care not much for a man’s religion whose dog or cat are not the better for it.” But Steve King takes a different approach.
Neither King nor Lincoln ever graduated from college. But that’s about as far as the likeness goes. For unlike Steve King, Abraham Lincoln understood that how we treat animals says something about the kind of human beings we are.
John Robbins is the author of many bestsellers including The Food Revolution, No Happy Cows: Dispatches From The Frontlines of The Food Revolution and Diet For A New America. He and his son, Ocean Robbins, are co-hosts of the 32,000 member Food Revolution Network. He is the recipient of the Rachel Carson Award, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, the Peace Abbey’s Courage of Conscience Award, and Green America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. To learn more about his work, visit JohnRobbins.info
Inside the strange world of 'green energy' politics and how it's ruining the US
The United States is leading the world in reducing its emissions of carbon dioxide. And it's doing so by a wide margin. Yes, you read that right. The United States – the country that is routinely vilified by the Green/Left for refusing to sign the …
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Two minute video clip promoting green energy strategy for western australia
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(PRWEB) July 20, 2012
San Diego State Universitys College of Extended Studies will offer four online certificate programs during the fall semester in the green industry arena, a sector that includes 3.1 million jobs in America according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This report noted that manufacturing jobs in the green economy account for nearly 500,000 jobs, the most among any private sector industry, according to BLS. For those concerned about the role of the federal government in the green economy, only 5% of the jobs in this sector were with the federal government.
The BLS added that California had the highest amount of green jobs with 338,400. It is followed by New York (248,500), Texas (229,700), Pennsylvania (182,000), Illinois (139,800), and Ohio (126,900).
SDSUs College of Extended Studies continues to be both a local and national leader in creating job training and education for the green workforce with its four green-related online certificate programs. They include Green Building Construction, Green Energy Management, Residential and Commercial Sustainable Practices, and Water Management and Landscape Sustainability.
All of these programs offer possible tuition assistance through Military Spouse, Military and Veteran Tuition, and Workforce Partnership Career Centers.
SDSUs College of Extended Studies has been a key factor in becoming a leader in the green movement by educating hundreds of adult learners through its online professional certificate programs in the green industry. Zacharie Mondel, CEO of ggec.org (Global Green Energy Consortium), noted that SDSU was the first college in the nation offering professional certificates in the green industry.
San Diego is at the end of the water pipeline. Across the nation, the East Coast has had a hard time holding onto its abundant water supply. The West Coast is arid and has limited water resources, said Wendy Evers, executive director of new initiatives and outreach for SDSUs College of Extended Studies. With new areas of development including desalination, water purification plants, evolving legislation and new trends, job growth is on the rise. The new Online Professional Certificate in Water Management and Landscape Sustainability will offer skills needed in this growing industry.
Each of these certificate programs have led to numerous students landing a job within the green industry. As an example, John Davis completed the Professional Certificate in Green Energy Management Online program and is now the vice president of Solare Energy Inc. in San Diego.
The San Diego State certificate program is the only program I could find that provided the toolbox to do the breadth of auditing it takes to be needed in the workplace, Davis said. I felt it was do-or-die at the time I took the program. When I came out on the other side, I had something to bring which was a certificate that I held and showed everybody.
It was a real validation for me, he concluded.
Recently, SDSUs College of Extended Studies received an E.A.R.T.H. (Environmental Action and Restoration That Helps) Award from the San Diego Very Important Planet Reception and E.A.R.T.H. Awards event.
“I was very proud to have been able to accept the Earth Award from the City of San Diego for Innovative Online Green Programs on behalf of SDSU, Evers said. Creating Education to Career programs for future jobs is wonderfully rewarding.
Just what are the possibilities within the green industry?
The New York Times recently reported the following:
Suddenly, sustainability seems to resonate with the sex appeal of dot com or start-up, appealing to droves of ambitious young innovators. Amelia Byers, operations director for Idealist.org, a website that lists paid and unpaid opportunities for nonprofit groups and social enterprise companies some 5,000 of which are environmental organizations said the number of jobs related to environmental work has roughly tripled in the last three years.
Since each of the green certificate programs offered by SDSUs College of Extended Studies are online, students have 24/7 access to the curriculum whenever and wherever they have a computer. Each of the instructors is an expert in the field bringing a wealth of real-life experiences into their courses.