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Promise for Change? Not for U.S. Livestock Producers When It Comes to NAIS

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R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America

 

Fighting for the U.S. Cattle Producer”

 

For Immediate Release                                                                               Contact: Shae Dodson, Communications Coordinator

March 12 2009                                                                                       Phone:  406-672-8969; e-mail: sdodson@r-calfusa.com

 

Washington, D.C. – “It’s business as usual in Washington, D.C., regarding how Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continue to ignore the interests of hard-working U.S. livestock producers,” said R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry, after testifying yesterday on USDA’s proposed National Animal Identification System (NAIS) before the U.S. House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry. 

 

“It is unbelievable, but true, that the new USDA was represented by the very people who already spent over $100 million in taxpayer dollars during the old Administration to coerce U.S. livestock producers into surrendering their private property rights just to appease the international World Trade Organization (WTO), which wants every U.S. farm and ranch and every U.S. farm animal to be registered in a federal database,” Thornsberry said.

 

Also yesterday, Congress passed the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, which awarded USDA an additional $14.5 million so it could continue its pursuit of NAIS.

 

Veterinarian John Clifford, who is the Deputy Administrator of Veterinary Services for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), testified in support of NAIS on the grounds that, “Establishing an internationally recognized system of traceability will enhance the competitiveness of U.S. exports and animal products.” 

 

But Thornsberry testified that imposing costs on U.S. livestock producers and requiring them to surrender their personal and real property to a federal database in order to comply with international edicts is “a wholly inappropriate consideration for the exercise of APHIS’ authority pursuant to the Animal Health Protection Act of 2002…It is clear that USDA decided to conform to international standards and is now working backward to invent the need to impose this burdensome NAIS on U.S. livestock producers.”

 

Thornsberry said he was particularly disheartened by the fact that comments and questions made by members of Congress at the hearing demonstrated a belief that NAIS would miraculously address food safety problems.

 

“NAIS is not a food safety issue,” he emphasized. “If Congress wants to solve the food safety problems associated with the unprecedented recalls involving meat contaminated by pathogens such as E. coli, then it needs to trace these problems to their source: the unsanitary conditions at corporate meatpacking plants, which are not being properly policed by USDA. Holding livestock producers accountable for meat recalls caused by corporate meatpackers is, unfortunately, business as usual.”  

 

Thornsberry also criticized USDA’s continued use of what he called “fear tactics.” 

 

APHIS’ Clifford testified that if foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) were introduced into the U.S., the U.S. would not be able to get ahead of the disease without NAIS. 

 

“This is absurd,” said Thornsberry. “When a fast spreading disease like FMD is found, the way to control the disease is to immediately draw a geographical circle around the outbreak and restrict any livestock movement beyond the circle. You certainly don’t want to waste precious time trying to identify where every individual animal was born.”

 

Clifford also testified that the current U.S. animal disease system has not worked, and NAIS is now needed to protect the U.S. livestock industry from the spread of disease. Thornsberry countered that the current system has worked well to control and eradicate many serious diseases, including brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis (bovine TB). 

 

“If USDA would quit allowing Mexican cattle with bovine TB into the U.S., we could prevent the 75 percent of bovine TB detected in U.S. slaughtering plants that are known to originate in Mexico,” Thornsberry pointed out. 

 

“If Congress and USDA are serious about preventing the spread of animal diseases, they first need to strengthen our border controls to prevent the continued reintroduction of diseases into the United States,” he continued. “There is absolutely no need to require individual producers to register their livestock and their real estate in a federal registry.”

 

Thornsberry testified that Congress and USDA should immediately cease all efforts to implement NAIS and should, instead: 1) prevent the importation of serious cattle diseases and pests from foreign sources; 2) adopt the surveillance and identification components of the preexisting brucellosis program and require all breeding stock to be identified; 3) have States and Tribes maintain databases of breeding stock and allow local veterinarians to decide how best to identify the production unit where animals originate, without requiring federal registration of real property or livestock; 4) require the federal government to assist States and Tribes in maintaining their respective databases and in conducting more disease surveillance; and, 5) focus on eradicating diseases in wildlife populations.

 

“Rather than listen to the recommendations of actual livestock producers, Congress and USDA are listening to the eartag companies and meatpackers that stand to make millions of dollars, if not billions, off NAIS,” Thornsberry said.

 

“It truly is business as usual in D.C.,” he concluded.

 

Note: A copy of Thornsberry’s written and oral testimony is available under the “Animal Identification” link at             www.r-calfusa.com, or by contacting R-CALF USA Communications Coordinator Shae Dodson at the phone number or e-mail address listed above. Media who need a mug shot of Thornsberry also should contact Dodson.

 

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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on trade and marketin! g issues. Members are located across 47 states and are primarily cow/calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and/or feedlot owners. R-CALF USA directors and committee chairs are extremely active unpaid volunteers. R-CALF USA has dozens of affiliate organizations and various main-street businesses are associate members. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com  or, call 406-252-2516.   

 

Note: To remove yourself from this list, reply to this e-mail and include the word “unsubscribe” in the subject line. 

 

 

Organic Consumers Association: What a difference a day makes

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Imagine my surprise, after promoting this organization on my site, recommending it to so many others and believing this group would be instrumental in the fight against oppressive government regulations and unnecessary legislation that will cause undue hardship on organic farmers, ranchers and anyone devoted to natural food and traditional farming and ranching…..I find this alert from OCA calling the efforts to stop these egregious bills from being passed “internet myths”.  (See Alert below)

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It is apparent NO ONE at OCA has actually read the bills or realizes that the “food Safety” bills are nothing less than pieces of an overall plan. 

This capitulation on the part of OCA occurred less than 24 hours after the Ag committee hearings that occurred yesterday regarding the intents of these bills. 

What a difference a day makes!

OCA also seems to be totally oblivious to the connections between Monsanto and current AG committee members, and individuals who cruise between government appointments and Monsanto on a regular basis along with individuals from other corporations which are just as malignant in their intent.

OCA might be interested in reading this list of who is who in the world of corporate pandering before calling any thing a “myth”. 

Its obvious the only myth any of us fighting this assault on agriculture and the right to farm and ranch without government intrusion is Organic Consumers Association, itself…….which has shown itself more than willing to support the marginalization and diminishment of grass roots efforts to fight back.   

Although OCA certainly has its shortcomings, we can’t count on them to support all the efforts by those of us dedicated to pushing back against government regulations and unnecessary legislation that would adversely affect all of us.

In actuality, OCA knows that HR 875 would cause great hardship to farmers and ranchers and should never support USDA’s new police state regulations and enforcement capabilities which would be granted if these horrible bills pass.

OCA also knows that HR 875 does not address global imports or contamination on any level and is targeted to US producers only.  OCA knows that HR 875 is far from limited in its vision of implementing a total capture of domestic food production and is not intended to make safe, or to protect the supply on any level.  It is simply a system designed to seize control of domestic production of any kind.

Its mythical to think OCA supports you!

As a result of the alert I received this morning, OCA will no longer be advertised or promoted on my site.  We will not recommend any article or information from them.

This alert from OCA makes clear their support is not with us or for us.

From OCA Alerts:

Internet Myth of the Week:

Congress To Pass Bill That Will Outlaw Organic Farming?

This week, we received numerous calls and emails from OCA supporters who came across alarming YouTube videos and emails circulating on the internet that claimed a new food safety bill (HR 875) introduced in Congress would make “organic farming illegal.” Although the Bill certainly has its shortcomings, it is an exaggeration to say that is a secret plot by Monsanto and the USDA to destroy the nation’s alternative food and farming system. In actuality, HR 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, is a limited-vision attempt by moderate Democrats and Republicans to craft food safety legislation to address the out-of-control filth and contamination that are inherent in our industrialized, now globalized, “profit-at-any-cost” food system.

The idea that OCA would send out such an alert when so much is at stake is unforgivable. 

More on this later.

 

Marti

 

 

The Traitors Among Us

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“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly. But the traitor moves among those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not traitor, he speaks in the accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their garments, and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared.” – Cicero, 42 B.C.

Checking into the considerable power and influence of Monsanto, I have uncovered the following list of representatives and senators who have been colluding with Monsanto and, thus, endangering our food supply – exactly the opposite of what these members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are supposed to be doing:

House Agriculture Committee members:

Brad Ellsworth, Indiana, who has accepted $2,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Jim Costa, California, who has accepted $500 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Leonard Boswell, Iowa, who has accepted $4,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Collin C. Peterson, Minnesota, the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, who has accepted $3,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Sam Graves, Missouri, who has accepted $5,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Steve King, Iowa, who has accepted $4,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Blaine Luetkemeyer, Missouri, who has accepted $1,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Adrian Smith, Nebraska, who has accepted $1,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

 

Senate Agriculture committee members:

Tom Harkin, Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, who has accepted $6,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Saxby Chambliss, Georgia, who has accepted $14,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Patrick Leahy, Vermont, who has accepted $1,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Max Baucus, Montana, who has accepted $5,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Mitch McConnell, Kentucky, who has accepted $5,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Blanche Lincoln, Arkansas, who has accepted $3,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Pat Roberts, Kansas, who has accepted $3,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Mike Johanns, Nebraska, who has accepted $2,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Ben Nelson, Nebraska, who has accepted $1,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Bob Casey, Pennsylvania, who has accepted $500 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota, who has accepted $1,000 in campaign contributions from Monsanto.

For the relatively small sum of $186,250 Monsanto has bought and paid for nineteen representatives and senators who are supposed to be serving their constituents, not the interests of Monsanto.

For decades, now, we have been allowing criminals to exist in our Congress – men and women who have, beyond accepting bribes on a routine basis, also come and gone through the revolving door that connects big business to government, holding board member positions in large multinational corporations like Monsanto, as well as many others. We have allowed them to come and go from business and industry and government as they please, completely oblivious to the fact that this is illegal and unethical, to say the least.

Among these “revolving door” politicos have been Mike Taylor, former Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 1991-1994, who happens to have been an attorney working for Monsanto’s law firm for seven years prior to his FDA post – a post that was created for him, allegedly to steer the rapid approvals of drugs and food products, such as those made from Monsanto’s bio-engineered grain products.

Former Governor of Iowa Tom Vilsack, who was selected as Secretary of Agriculture in December 2008, is a supporter of genetically modified crops, including those designed to produce pharmaceuticals.

California state Senator Dean Florez is the author of California SB1056, which prevents local governments from legislating against genetically modified crops. This bill has been dubbed “The Monsanto Bill.”

Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense under the Bush administration, was previously the CEO of G.D. Searle, a subsidiary of Monsanto.

Former U.S. Trade Ambassador Mickey Kantor was on the board of directors of Monsanto.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was a Monsanto attorney prior to his appointment to the court by George H.W. Bush.

Linda Fischer, who held a key post at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was head of Monsanto’s lobbying office in Washington, D.C.

Michael Friedman, former Acting Commissioner of the FDA, was later Senior Vice President for Clinical Affairs at G. D. Searle, subsidiary of Monsanto.

Marcia Hale, former Assistant to the President of the United States under Bill Clinton was later Director of International Government Affairs for Monsanto.

Josh King, former Director of Production for White House events, later served as Monsanto’s Director of Global Communications in Washington, D.C.

Margaret Miller, former Chemical Laboratory Supervisor at Monsanto, later became Deputy Director of Human Food Safety and Consultive Services of the New Animal Drug Evaluation Office, Center for Veterinary Medicine at the USDA.

William Ruckelshaus, former Chief Administrator of the EPA later served as a board member at Monsanto.

Needless to say, the interlocking web of money and deceit that ties our government to Monsanto and its interests is quite widespread.

 

Monsanto suing farmers

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According to a 2005 report issued by Center for Food Safety (CFS) Monsanto had filed 90 lawsuits against 147 farmers and 39 small businesses or farm related enterprises, using an annual budget of $10 million and a staff of 75 who are devoted to nothing other than investigating and prosecuting farmers. 

 

In 2007, CFS issued an updated report titled “Monsanto Vs. U.S. Farmers” which included this information:

 

Recorded Judgments (as of October 26, 2007):

 

     • Sums awarded to Monsanto in 57 recorded judgments against farmers totaled $21,583,431.99

 

     • The largest judgment was $3,052,800.00

     • The smallest judgment was $5,595.00

     • The average judgment was $385,418.42

     • The median judgment was $117,440.00.

 

CFS reports these statistics:

 

  • As of June 2006, Monsanto had instituted an estimated 2,391 to 4,531 “seed piracy matters” against farmers in 19 states

 Farmers have paid Monsanto an estimated $85,653,601 to $160,594,230  in settlements of these seed piracy matters

 

  • The number of seed piracy matters reported by Monsanto is 20 to 40 times the number of lawsuits we have found in public court records

 The estimated total of settlements paid to Monsanto by farmers ($85.7 to $160.6million) exceeds by four to eight times the total of recorded judgments ($21.6 million)

 

In what Monsanto refers to as [seed piracy matters], it is estimated the actual judgments against farmers is far higher than Monsanto would care to admit. 

 

Imagine.  A bio-piracy company making it’s living from altering natural seed and then patenting it claiming they “created” that seed, then accusing someone else of piracy. 

Monsanto surely does not limit its attempts to eradicate native crops to just the US.  In India, Monsanto tried patenting a strain of wheat known to produce high quality bread and baked goods.  Locating the gene sequences of the wheat, Monsanto then claimed they “invented’ the seed and filed a patent on what was a traditional crop.

Revoked in Total         from:  No Patents on Seeds

The opposition of Greenpeace was supported by one of the biggest farmers organizations in India. The Supreme Court in India also urged the revocation of the patent. After Greenpeace raised the patent, the European farmers organization COPA also filed opposition.

After Greenpeace challenged the patent in beginning 2004, the owner of the patent, US company Monsanto, sold it to a French seed company, R.A.G.T, in April 2004, together with other parts of the European wheat business. The company now stated in a letter that it “accepts that the patent be revoked.” In reaction to this letter the European Patent Office formally revoked the patent in total.

“Monsanto would like nothing more than to be the sole source for staple crop seeds in this country and around the world,” said Joseph Mendelson, CFS legal director. “And it will aggressively overturn centuries-old farming practices and drive its own clients out of business through lawsuits to achieve this goal.”

Monsanto, a corporation whose main business seems to be that of bio-piracy to the detriment of the world’s food supplies and populations seems not to have much regard for anything other than their bottom line.  In my opinion, the activity of Monsanto in its harassment and terrorizing of farmers, its attempts to seize food production around the world, is nothing less than bio-terrorism. 

 (C) 2009 Marti Oakley

 

Response to Brad Mitchell’s (Monsanto’s Director of Public Affairs) Defense of Company Policy

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As usual Barb Peterson goes right to the heart of the issue!

http://farmwars.info/?p=167

Email This Post Email This Post

 This morning I opened my e-mail to find a request from an OpEdNews Editor to please respond to the following post submitted by Brad Mitchell, Monsanto’s Director of Public Affairs. What follows is his post, and my response.

Excerpted:

Seed cleaners are used to clean seeds, nothing more. They remove the lighter material, and get rid of dirt and such. The fact that Monsanto even makes an issue of seed cleaning is proof of the company’s invasive tactics. In the clip below, how do you make the jump from the issue of seed cleaning to farmers moving away from saving seeds? And, if these seeds that Monsanto is producing cannot bear fruit in the second generation, what is the point in even saving them, and/or coming after those that do?

 

Recently there has been a minor buzz in the blogosphere about seed cleaners. The allegations are seed cleaners are being targeted by Monsanto, reportedly because we are trying to “remove access to normal, open pollinated seeds”-presumably so farmers will be forced to buy our patented, biotech seeds. As is often the situation, the truth is far less dramatic than fiction-and this is especially true in this case.

 

First, growers have been moving away from open-pollinated seeds to hybrids for decades. Hybrids often provide distinct advantages, most notably yield. But, you generally can’t save seed from most hybrids because the resulting offspring are genetically inconsistent, and will not offer the same benefits as the parent seed.

 

The issue of Monsanto not wanting to ”remove open pollinated/unpatented seeds from the market” is a moot point. With open-pollination, that cannot be controlled if crops are grown in the open and not in an enclosed space, contamination of surrounding crops by GMO will most definitely occur. The invasive species has the unlimited potential to take over and destroy heritage seeds on a global scale.

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Monsanto’s assault on agriculture

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Monsanto is a corporation reviled for its genetic tampering and attempts to seize control of agriculture around the world.  While trying to change its public persona into one of benevolence towards the public, the history of Monsanto is littered with continuous efforts to not only seize control of food production, but also supply.   Monsanto’s history also includes lives destroyed either financially and/or physically as the result of its activities.

 

Here in the US, Monsanto goon squads  routinely trespass onto privately owned land, take samples of privately owned crops and then claim Monsanto’s frankenseed crops are being grown illegally…their patents have been violated.  According to Monsanto, these are “unauthorized seeds”.  Those two words are a harbinger of things to come and should give you an idea where all of this is headed.

 

Courts have ruled that if Monsanto’s seeds sprout in a ditch near the uncontaminated natural crops of a farmer who refuses to grow gmo, the crop belongs to Monsanto along with fines and penalties. 

 

Monsanto attempts to minimize their harassment of non-participating farmers by saying that out of about 250,000 farmers they have only sued about 120.  Monsanto goes on to say that farmers will report other farmers who save seed, and that many of the tips they get about seed saving are from other farmers in the community.  I think the probability of this actually happening is slight and would tend to think more along the lines of the Goon Squads illegally trespassing and reporting; after all, that’s what they get paid for.

 

On top of this, Monsanto came up with a new in-house rule after the fact, claiming they had not sold the seeds to the farmers but had merely leased the seeds to the farmer.   This was a de facto legal maneuver.  After all, if you SELL something, how it is used is no longer your business, it doesn’t belong to you.  If you lease the same product, you now have continued interest in the use. 

 

Monsanto knows that genetic traits can be passed between grains or other plants either during handling and processing or as a result of pollination and that gmo transfers more readily than traditional seed.  As a result, they also know that genetic traits and makeup indicating the purity of any seed at this point in time is not achievable as a result of the contamination of traditional crops resulting from genetically altered crops being totally uncontrolled and uncontrollable.

 

Knowing that wind drift, bird droppings and other natural happenings would by necessity cause the contamination and cross pollination of natural crops with the genetically modified crops, Monsanto continued to push its malignant creations onto farmers who believed the hype that Monsanto’s “authorized seeds” would increase productivity and increase profits.  The passing of time and the analysis of these claims tells a different story.

 

In the case of soybeans:

Roundup Ready Soybeans Use 2-5 times more Herbicides than non-GE Varieties.  When you add royalties, fees and other costs the resulting profit for the farmer is $0.  The increase in production is negligible and usually less than a traditional crop.  These crops also require 2 to 3 times more water to grow.

 

Then there’s that problem with cotton:

(Excerpted from the original article at Global Research):  

The cotton’s agronomic performance is also erratic. When Monsanto’s GM cotton varieties were first introduced in the US, tens of thousands of acres suffered deformed roots and other unexpected problems. Monsanto paid out millions in settlements.

  • [4] When Bt cotton was tested in Indonesia, widespread pest infestation and drought damage forced withdrawal of the crop, despite the fact that Monsanto had been bribing at least 140 individuals for years, trying to gain approval.
  • [5] In India, inconsistent performance has resulted in more than $80 million dollars in losses in each of two states.
  • [6] Thousands of indebted Bt cotton farmers have committed suicide. In Vidarbha, in north east Maharashtra, from June through August 2006, farmers committed suicide at a rate of about one every eight hours.
  • [7] (The list of adverse reactions reported from other GM crops, in lab animals, livestock and humans, is considerably longer.) (end excerpt)

These are just two of the crops being devastated by genetic tampering and the attempts to lay claim to crops traditionally grown successfully without patents, tampering or alteration.

 

Wherever Monsanto has inserted itself in agriculture, food supplies dwindle, become unaffordable or have devastating affects on human health.  Traditional and proven seed stocks are destroyed or forever contaminated with genetically altered material that can include everything from human dna to that of numerous animals or many times unidentified genetic material.

 

And about that Artic Seed Vault…….as I asked before, if what Monsanto produces is so beneficial, if it in fact is far superior to traditional seeds…..why was none of their mutated stock included in the Vault? 

Maybe because it isn’t fit for human consumption?

 

 (C) 2009 Marti Oakley

 

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