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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Organic Bytes -- July 5

Stop Monsanto's Sneak Attack!

As we reported last week, a controversial rider has been attached to the U.S. House of Representative's 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would make it impossible for organic and non-GMO consumers and farmers to fight Monsanto in court (as we did on GMO alfalfa and sugar beets) when the US Department of Agriculture illegally approves new genetically engineered crops that could, as the courts have ruled, eliminate "a farmer's choice to grow non-genetically engineered crops, or a consumer's choice to eat non-genetically engineered food."
The vote we expected last week has been delayed until after the July 4th recess. Already, more than 15,000 of you have taken action, along with over 50,000 of our allies in other organizations. Please join together as we raise our voices loud and clear.

There's still time to stop Monsanto's sneak attack!
Take Action via Email
Call Your Member of Congress

Who's Monsanto's Best Friend in Congress?

Tom Philpott reported this week in Mother Jones that Jack Kingston (R-GA) is the Congressman responsible for inserting this "pro-industry provision that that has nothing to do with agriculture appropriations."
Kingston had already established himself as a friend of the industry. In April, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, whose members include ag-biotech giants Monsanto and DuPont, named him its "legislator of the year for 2011-2012." BIO declared Kingston a "champion of America's biotechnology industry" who has "helped to protect funding for programs essential to the survival of biotechnology companies across the United States."
Are there any Members of Congress tough enough to stand up to Monsanto?
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) will sponsor an amendment to the ag appropriations bill that would nullify Kingston's Monsanto-friendly provision.
Ask your Member of Congress to support the DeFazio amendment!
Take Action via Email
Call Your Member of Congress

Support OCA and OCF

Worth Fighting For? Your Donation Keeps the Fight Alive

"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." - Ansel Adams
The photographer Ansel Adams had a keen eye for nature’s beauty – and a keen sense of how our government was allowing its slow destruction.
It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. But we do. These past few weeks the OCA has been educating and mobilizing our members – and anyone else who will listen – on the many threats to our environment that are contained in the latest Farm Bill and, now, the agricultural appropriations bill, which contains an amendment that has been renamed the “Monsanto Protection Act.”
Our staff has worked relentlessly to create and circulate action alerts and petitions, spread the word on our social media networks, and provide the most up-to-date information on our website.
We believe the environment is worth fighting for. But we need your help to do this important work. Please donate today to continue funding the fight for the environment. Thank you!
Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)
Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in California and other states)

Health Care Decision a Death Blow to Single-Payer

Last week, news broke on the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act just as we were sending out our newsletter. We decided to wait on some commentary from OCA allies. Author Raj Patel's take on the decision pretty much sums it up:
“Now that the insurance industry knows it'll have a multi-billion-dollar market of mandatory customers, the industry won't have to spend all that money to buy a different political decision, and it never has to worry about single-payer health care again. And that's the tragedy of the debate around the health-care plan. In all the noise around this ruling, we can't hear the voices demanding a cheaper, better system that dispenses with insurance corporations. The U.S. already spends more per capita than any other country for worse care. The ruling entrenches a bad system. The media circus drowns out discussion of a better one.”
OCA’s ally, the Alliance for Natural Health, has written an excellent overview of what the decision means for integrative medicine.
Another OCA ally, Mike Adams, of Natural News, weighs in here.

Get Antibiotic Residues Out of the U.S Food Supply!

When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released new guidelines in April on the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture, they had the opportunity to take long overdue steps to end the overuse of these drugs in the feed and water of animals that are not sick. Unfortunately, they missed that opportunity. The FDA guidance speaks of “judicious use,” yet does not restrict the everyday use of antibiotics to prevent — not treat — animal disease, a common practice employed by CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) to compensate for overcrowded, unsanitary conditions. And although the FDA has spoken out against the sale of antibiotics for growth promotion, the approach they laid out to end this practice is completely voluntary and lacking in transparency. The use of antibiotics are banned in organic agriculture, which is one of the reasons why millions of Americans are shunning factory farmed meat, eggs, and dairy products and turning to organic products instead.
The good news is that it’s not too late for the FDA to try again. The FDA is accepting public comments on these guidelines until July 12th, and we plan to send them thousands of letters from OCA members. Join us in urging Dr. Hamburg, the FDA Commissioner, to get dangerous antibiotic residues out of the U.S. food supply.
Together, we’ll let the FDA know that we expect better from them.
Take Action

Democracy at Risk in Washington State

Could Spell Disaster for Local Ballot Initiatives
From Paul Cienfuegos:
As many of you already know, there is a movement growing across this country of municipalities and counties exploring more effective ways to protect themselves from unwanted corporate harms, and to roll back corporate constitutional so-called "rights" at the local level. About 150 communities in seven states have already passed such laws.
Over the past five months, residents of Bellingham, WA, have gathered almost 10,000 signatures to successfully place on the ballot this November a legally-binding initiative that would ban coal trains from passing through their city. Unlike the conventional regulatory and zoning laws which municipalities try to pass, and which are always struck down as violating corporate "rights", this new rights-based approach is much more complicated to challenge, and is therefore a much greater threat to those in government and corporations who want to maintain the status quo situation where We The People are powerless to defend our communities.
Last week, the quite liberal city council of Bellingham voted unanimously to file a lawsuit to legally challenge the right of Bellingham residents to even get an opportunity to vote on this initiative in November.
Organizers of the Coal Free Bellingham campaign are outraged that their own City Council would have the gall to pre-empt local residents from exercising their right to govern themselves at the local level. They are calling on people throughout the country to stand up for the right of Bellingham voters, and asking YOU to contact the Bellingham City Council ASAP and tell them to let the voters have their say.
Take Action

Video of the Week

Stop Monsanto from Poisoning Hawai'i

In a recent Organic Bytes, we shared a 43 minute film from Hawaii GMO Justice on “evicting Monsanto”. Now you can watch and share a 2 1/2 minute trailer for the film.

Little Bytes

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