The monthly recap below appeared in FIC's February e-Newsletter (first Tuesday of the month). If you would like to receive monthly updates and other urgent alerts via email, please sign up here.
New Hampshire Ag Gag Bill Fails Despite New Industry Strategy
Big Ag has revamped its legislative strategy to pass Ag Gag laws in 2014 with language focusing on mandatory reporting provisions rather than undercover video. The endgame, however, remains the same: silence whistleblowers.
New Hampshire's Ag Gag bill, for example, included a provision that would criminalize individuals who don't immediately report wrongdoing, keeping whistleblowers from safely compiling information that could more effectively lead to accountability. Case in point: Recently released video compiled at a New Jersey veal plant unveiled humane slaughter violations, causing the plant’s shutdown. Similarly, it was undercover video that validated our client, USDA veterinarian and whistleblower Dr. Dean Wyatt, who immediately reported wrongdoing he witnessed at a Vermont slaughterhouse but was punished for speaking up. Fortunately, a 329-15 vote in the New Hampshire House passed last month to table the bill, an indication that the public won't accept the industry’s new tactic in assaulting transparency.
Let's hope this win in New Hampshire starts a wave of defeat in all other would-be Ag Gag states. Follow us as we follow these anti-whistleblower bills!
Pesticide Companies Sue Kauai to Stop Disclosure Law
Once again, the biotech industry has dismissed the health concerns of communities impacted by chemical sprayings. Three of the world's largest biotech/pesticide companies – Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer and Agrigenetics (a Dow Chemical subsidiary) – have filed a lawsuit against the County of Kauai to block implementation of the recently passed pesticide disclosure bill (now Ordinance 960).
FIC has been in support of the ordinance, having launched an investigation into biotech’s influence on Hawaii government officials. This latest news is very disappointing (albeit unsurprising).
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FIC Sends Joint Letter to Congress Urging Rejection of USDA Poultry Rule
Last month, FIC and our coalition partners sent a letter to Congress urging the rejection of a budget proposal for USDA’s proposed changes to poultry inspection. FIC has fought this proposal for years, as several government employees revealed to us that the pilot program is problematic and should not be initiated nationwide.
Meanwhile, the front-page story of the latest Consumer Reports (CR), "The High Cost of Cheap Chicken," is all about the chicken industry and its threats to consumer health. One section highlights USDA's poultry plan and the concerns of its own federal inspectors. Among many concerns, the CR article explains that inspectors "allege that they were pressured to overlook possible food safety concerns to keep the lines running."
Stay tuned for ways you can help stop the implementation of the poultry plan!
Eye on Monsanto
What has biotechnology behemoth (and consistent violator of food integrity) Monsanto been up to recently? Here's the latest Monsanto news: