Thursday, June 17, 2010

Farm animals R US

by Noah Ararat

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is non-threatening disease and yet the government is setting up conditions for an outbreak here which, if it occurred, would entail the slaughter of vast numbers of animals, even healthy.

Farm animals are so important that in destroying them, the government would be destroying local independent farmers, local food economies, safe food, food security, and the very underpinning of a sustainable future for everyone.

To understand the threat, one might begin by looking at what happened when US Agribusiness triggered avian flu in Asia through spreading contaminated waste from their giant unregulated poultry factories onto fields and infecting birds. Projecting avian flu as a terrifying pandemic, they got Asian governments and their military to slaughter small farmers' private poultry stocks across Asia. Once the farmers' biodiversity in poultry was exterminated, Agribusiness/biotech substituted their own patented GE-poultry.

S 510, the Food Modernization Act arranges the same format. If the CDC declares a disease outbreak, DHS and the military would be called into to go onto farms to slaughter US farmers' animals in the millions. S 510 even includes plans for disposing of the carcasses.

The problem is that this is the same CDC which put out false numbers to the public about a mild swine flu. They generated terror in people and billions in sales (for vaccine manufacturers), and blocked a CBS investigation into their suspect claim of a huge numbers of swine flu cases.

So the same agency which got it (or made it) terribly wrong about one animal disease (swine flu), will be the agency to declare an animal disease outbreak here. And the CDC is not alone among "science" agencies with powerful corporate connections having trouble reporting accurately when it comes to disease and "emergencies."

WHO: The H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic: Manipulating the Data to Justify a Worldwide Public Health Emergency

CBS exposes the extremely exaggerated CDC numbers on cases of swine flu.

After H1N1 hype, Gerberding at CDC got a big job at Merck heading their vaccine division

"WHO scandal exposed: Advisors received kickbacks from H1N1 vaccine manufacturers"

Osterhaus - the main person at the WHO promoting SARS, Ebola, avian flu and swine flu as terrifying pandemics that would kill millions, is now under investigation for corruption

Yet Shiv Chopra, microbiologist, veterinarian and Canadian food and drug safety expert says:

The bird and mammalian species took hold on the earth approximately 65 million years ago, i.e. the same time as the dinosaurs went extinct. So did the flu and other viruses of all the surviving species. Since then, all those viruses have been mating and mutating among themselves without the sky caving in due to any infection. Therefore, any talk of a bird or swine flu pandemic with the probability to kill millions of people is either a purposeful or hallucinogenic nonsense to make profit on the backs of the innocent following.

Even so, on the basis of a corporate word from the CDC, millions of animals would be exterminated.

The public needs to know that:

1. Right now, ranchers are worried about what the government is doing, and are trying to stop the USDA from bringing animals into the country from FMD-active countries, as well as to stop them from moving a dangerous lab into the middle of ranching country (it was a lab leak which caused FMD in the UK).

3. Yet, under S 510, DHS and DOD would be authorized to go onto farms and ranches across the country and mass slaughter even healthy cattle, sheep, alpaca, llama, goats, and in the millions.

"The US Department of Agriculture says FMD mortality is usually less than 1% although higher death rates have been reported. The virology chief of the Israel CVO department told me last week that they routinely treat animals with the disease and they usually recover. "Only rarely" do they have to destroy afflicted animals. This is all rather academic actually as the current outbreak in the UK does of course come with 100% mortality for sheep that are even suspected of exposure, whether they have the disease or not. This also applies to Llamas, Alpacas, Bison and pet goats."--Jonathan Miller

4. This would be a bonanza to agribusiness/ biotech which have developed genetically engineered animals they allege are FMD resistant and which they would sell to farmers but "own" through patents (just what they did in Asia with poultry which they can do it to all poultry here as well ... and just as they did to seeds, with devastating effects).

"There are three aspects to the reaction of the FMD epidemic that make me terribly uneasy.

First, while it is clear that globalisation of trade and increased movement of animals has spread the disease, the UK government continues to support increased liberalisation of agricultural trade in the World Trade Organisation. The half million livestock being killed are a ritual sacrifice to the gods of global markets. Shutting the countryside down while keeping borders open to trade will not prevent spread of disease - either coming in through imports or going out through exports.

Second, the export obsession that is an intrinsic part of globalisation also leads to a blindness to the welfare of animals and farmers. Thousands of livestock can be annihilated, hundreds of farmers ruined to maintain the "vaccine free" status of exports. Neither the farmers nor farm animals count in the calculus of free trade. That is why farmers are committing suicide in thousands in India, and animals are being killed in thousands in the UK.

Third, the same agencies that refuse to act in the public interest on issues of food safety related to GMOs are willing to cull farm animals infected by a non-fatal disease. These are double standards. On the basis of the precautionary principle, the UK government should ban GMOs instead of killing harmless animals if it is concerned about safety of food and agriculture.
"---Dr Vandana Shiva

5. Corporate "food safety" bills include "traceability" requirements using electronic surveillance which infuriate farmers because they makes no ostensible economic sense.

"USDA Listening Sessions on their attempts at a National Animal ID and Tracking System have been packed with vocal opponents to this Orwellian plan. In city after city, the NAIS has been roundly condemned by those farmers and ranchers and even consumers who will ultimately pay the price for an ill-conceived boondoggle. With America struggling for economic recovery, why does our government try to implement an expensive plan that will hurt our domestic economy and drive meat prices up?"

But such a traceability system does makes economic sense for Agribusiness. It makes it possible for the US government to locate every single US farm animal and use military force in order to slaughter them on behalf of Agribusiness, farmers's corporate competitors. Such an absolute agricultural "monopoly" is hard to fathom. Hidden under a disease justification, this radically new farming "monopoly" is accomplished through animal assassination.

6. The USDA is supportive of research into genetically engineered allegedly "FMD-resistant" animals. Such GE-"FMD-resistant" animals are worthless to those investing in them without

a). an FMD outbreak in the US and
b). if normal animals are still available (alive).

6. The USDA would be causing the destruction of a central part of the US food supply (with BP having destroyed seafood) while the government says it is concerned about shortages.

7. The USDA would end sustainable agriculture for which animals are crucial.

The public reacts strongly against animal abuse.

How would the public feel about the mass slaughter of millions of innocent animals, set off on purpose by the government, entailing the end of sustainable agriculture and the absolute corporate control of the US food supply, with corporate "ownership" of all farm animals, for then limitless corporate profit, and for the life and death corporate power this would mean over this nation?

This is something beyond animal abuse. Is it animal genocide?

The impact is something far beyond competition, far beyond monopoly, far beyond corruption.

What would one call it?

From the Organic Consumers Association: MAD SHEEP (A book review.)

Warning: reading this riveting tale of good and evil will make you angry. After a few chapters, you will likely suffer from a deep sense of disillusionment and an uncontrollable urge to speak out or strike back. As this twisted and wicked pastoral unfolds, outrage after outrage, it will become increasingly clear that this is not just a tragic case of administrative bungling or faulty science on the part of the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).

What we are confronted with in Mad Sheep is a government conspiracy. A politically inspired ritual of fabricated charges, manipulated science, and doctored evidence. A modern witch-hunt to sacrifice the innocent in order to protect the massive profits and scandalous practices of the guilty. A diabolically orchestrated, media-scripted search and destroy operation in the Vermont countryside, designed not just to murder some innocent sheep and thereby exorcize mounting consumer fears about food safety and mad cow disease, but also to turn us all into sheep, to fan the flames of fear and ignorance, and to foster our continued dependence on an abusive Big Brother government that has promised to protect us from the contemporary terrors that lurk, well, nearly everywhere. ....

The mad sheep battle described in these pages is not an isolated case. Armed with $90 billion in taxpayer money each year, the USDA is waging war against all of us‹consumers, family farmers, farm animals, and the environment. The direct and collateral damage of this war includes rampant water, air, and food pollution; an epidemic of cancer, birth defects, obesity, and hormone disruption; pollution by genetically engineered crops; an unsustainable, massive venting of climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases; pesticide and antibiotic contamination; proliferation of junk food; systematic exploitation of small farmers, farm workers, and slaughterhouse workers; and the dumping of millions of tons of subsidized crops and meat at below the cost of production on developing nations, thereby destroying the livelihoods of millions of small farmers and rural communities. It's time to follow the example of the Faillace family. It's time to stand up and fight, not only for ourselves, but also for future generations.

Venceremos! We Shall Overcome! Ronnie Cummins Organic Consumers Association July 2006

Everyone cares about farm animals. And farm animals are inseparable from farming and ranching.

Through our shared and deep love of animals, this country can come together to save farm animals from the corporations, thus saving US farming, and our country.

It seems, then, that our gentle farm animals are not just central to farming, but are central to our very democracy.

What is needed:

1. A No Slaughter policy for animal outbreaks with decisions made on a case by case basis by farmers and their veterinarians.
2. Exposing the reality that FMD as not dangerous at all to people and a minor disease in animals.
3. The removal of DHS and the military from any power over the US food supply.
4. Rejection of corporate-driven electronic "traceability" which make it possible to locate every singe farm animal for slaughter.
4. Exposure of how avian flu outbreak (caused by the big poultry companies) was used by agribusiness to wipe out small farmers' diverse stocks of poultry across Asia and how genetically engineered chickens were substituted.
5. Exposure of the USDA collusion with biotech corporations on genetically engineered patented animals, animals which have no value if normal animals are still alive.
6. Alerting the environmental, anti-global warming, anti-GMO movement to take note, since extermination of millions of farm animals means agribusiness, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, oil-based fertilizers, and genetic engineering take over.
7. Stopping S 510 and any other food safety bill, which are corporate bills arranging the take over of the US food supply and thus, our nation.

"If accepted [S 510] would preclude the public's right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes. It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one's choice. It will be unconstitutional and contrary to natural law or, if you like, the will of God." ~Dr. Shiv Chopra, Canada Health whistleblower

To stop Agribusiness and save our country, protecting our farm animals is key.

Please, stop that bill.

1 comment:

  1. 8 years ago in S Florida the USDACS (don't forget the "& Consumer Services" part), in cahoots with "big citrus" and the FL state government, hyped up un-founded citrus canker fears (a cosmetic disease that doesn't affect fruit safety or quality) to justify removing all citrus trees within a certain radius of an infected tree. They entered our private properties (without permission) to monitor our trees (so that they could later declare them either infected or within a certain radius of an infected tree), they sent 1st-generation immigrant girls door-to-door trying to get people to voluntarily sign a waiver giving permission for their trees to be cut down, and in the cases where that didn't work, they served residents with warrants and showed up at doorsteps with Sheriffs protecting the Asplundh workers (most of whom didn't even speak English) while they cut down people's trees against their will (despite the alleged nature of the disease, they would chip up the trees on-site, theoretically spewing the airborne disease all over the place - further evidence that the disease itself was not what they were interested in eradicating). In at-least one case, the operation came within inches of cutting through a natural gas line, endangering everyone (including children) in the home. Some homeowners had as many as 10 trees removed from their property without their consent, leaving their beautiful South Florida property looking like a war zone! The fact that the trees were food-producers made the whole thing even more of an insult and an assault to our civil liberties. "Big citrus" farms, by the way, were exempt from the "all trees within a certain radius" rule (because that would have affected too many of their trees) - instead they were allowed to follow a different practice of "isolating" (with cardboard/foil barriers) and burning just the infected tree. At the same time this program was happening in Florida, there was a similar program in California related to pet birds harboring diseases that allegedly threatened the commercial poultry industry - the USDA(&CS) somehow got US Postal workers to report to them the addresses of anyone they suspected of owning a pet bird - then they visited those homes and convinced owners that the birds needed to be euthanized immediately - for the protection of the commercial poultry industry. For those of us who were involved in the citrus war, it was hard not to see and feel the parallels. Apparently the USDA (&CS!), in the name of trade and consumer protection, can come onto your property (legally or otherwise) and kill whatever living thing they want, food-producing or otherwise. Ultimately, the citrus canker eradication program ended when a class-action lawsuit finally made its way to the FL Supreme Court, who said that residents were entitled to be compensated up to $2k per murdered tree (the fact that the whole program was based on sham science, illegal trespass, and other crimes was never addressed by the court). But in the end, most residents never received their $2k per tree (if they did it would have bankrupted the state), and the financial burden of the payout by the state was of-course funded by the very same taxpayers who had been assaulted by the program in the first place. They won and we lost. I am sad to read this article and I am even sadder that my personal gut-reaction to it is "where were you when they were cutting down the food trees in my yard? Where were you when they were euthanizing people's pet parakeets in CA?" I know that reaction isn't productive or helpful to your cause but I can't help feeling that I've already "been there, done that" and nobody cared. Welcome to my world.