Dairy Subsidies in US totaled $3.1 billion '95-'04 !! - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-17-2005, 11:36 AM
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Veg*ns in the US should be outraged over the amount of tax money that goes to support factory farming!



If you want access to more stats on how your money is being spent to support something many of us are trying to boycott in our daily lives, please check out the Environmental Working Group's Farm Subsidy database at:



http://www.ewg.org/farm/



It's a real eye-opener... But the good news is that you have an opportunity to let the USDA know that you don't appreciate your money going to support cruelty so some mega agribusiness can turn a profit.



The 2002 Farm Bill authorizes many government agricultural programs, including farm price and income support programs. These subsidies mostly benefit large factory farms. Now the USDA is in the process of drafting legislation to be enacted before the provisions of the 2002 Farm Bill expire in 2007. In developing recommendations for the new legislation, the USDA is soliciting public input on federal agricultural policy. As a result, animal advocates have a chance to voice their disapproval of government assistance to factory farms that routinely abuse animals. There is a wealth of information about this on the Farm Sanctuary website. This is the web address (you need to scroll down a little to get to the Farm Bill stuff):



http://www.farmsanctuary.org/actionalerts/update.htm



I really hope at least some of y'all US citizens will take a moment to comment, if you haven't already. We should let it be known that not all Americans think it's ok that our tax money subsidizes factory farming atrocities, etc. They're used to hearing mostly from farmers (from small, family-run operations up to the mega agribusinesses), but, as veg*ns and taxpayers, they gosh-darn well should be hearing from us, too! The comment period ends in less than 2 weeks (30 December), so we're running out of time (hint, hint).



Here's an exerpt I took from the website, in case you'd like a quick read of some suggested approaches to commenting:



This is a great opportunity to help influence US policy on farmed animals for years to come! You can offer your opinion of US ag policy by logging onto the USDA Farm Bill website and completing a short form. The form asks for contact information and a response to at least one of six questions posed by the USDA. A few of these questions have specific implications for the welfare of animals on US farms.



Completing the form only takes a couple minutes. Responses may be given to one or more of the questions and should be drafted in your own words, using the possible responses below as a guide. Feel free to include references to whichever factory farming practices you find most disturbing.



Question 2: How should farm policy be designed to maximize US competitiveness and our country's ability to compete effectively in global markets?

Response: American and foreign consumers care about how farm animals are treated. But the US has fallen far behind many other countries in setting minimum standards for the welfare of animals on farms, in transport and at slaughter. The USDA should propose eliminating the most egregious factory farming practices, such as crates for pregnant sows and veal calves and battery cages for laying hens.



Question 3: How should farm policy be designed to effectively and fairly distribute assistance to producers?

Response: Current subsidies benefit large producers that subject animals to intensive confinement, mutilations and aversive handling techniques. The USDA should stop providing financial assistance to producers that participate in practices shown by scientific research to be inhumane.



Question 4: How can farm policy best achieve conservation and environmental goals?

Response: Eliminating factory farming practices will benefit both animal welfare and the environment. USDA should propose setting minimum space allowances that provide animals with the freedom to perform natural behaviors and also protect the environment by reducing pollution and waste disposal problems.



Comments on the 2007 Farm Bill may also be submitted by e-mail to [email protected]. Remember, the deadline for submitting comments is December 30, 2005.



***

If you do check out that website above, it also has a link to Farm Sanctuary's own comment letter, which has a lot more detail, if you're interested.



Please take a moment to let your voice be heard about your tax money going to support factory farming. Let them know we're out there, and we're not happy about what's going on!



Thank you for taking action on behalf of animals.
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#2 Old 12-17-2005, 03:09 PM
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We should also encourage the support of local community-based agriculture, because those farmers who are well known by their customers are more likely to engage in more humane practices.
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#3 Old 12-17-2005, 04:48 PM
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I wonder if lobbying/petitions will ultimately end the abuse of dairy cattle?

It really seems to come down to the fact that most of the population has their heads up their a$$ about factory farming, & won't ever, EVER take it out because "milk is a natural" & vegans are sick & weird.



I hope this action helps, but in the end something really radical needs to change people's minds en masse about the fact that milk & meat are actually nutritious, healthful things human beings should be consuming.



Mad cow & avian flu haven't resulted in mass veg*nism, so I'm not holding my breath.
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#4 Old 12-17-2005, 05:30 PM
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Organica, while I'm pretty jaded as well, I do think it's important to take advantage of opportunities like this (and your next window of opportunity to comment on the Farm Bill won't be for another 5 years, which makes it ever more crucial to speak up now). This isn't some petition/letter type thing that can just be ignored. The USDA is actually soliciting input from the public, and your feedback becomes a matter of public record. I think it's extremely important that our community registers its feelings about gov't subsidies to factory farming operations, because honestly, I don't think they even know we (pissed-off veg*ns) exist, and in non-trivial numbers. I have written to a number of animal-rights organizations regarding this matter, and (shockingly) many (not all, thankfully) of them don't seem to have any formal plans for responding to the Farm Bill. Farm Sanctuary is one notable exception, and I would highly recommend that you read their very eloquent and level-headed comment letter (check out that link on the webpage I mentioned in my previous post).



I know we often feel like nothing will ever change, but we are guaranteed never to count, and never to be taken into consideration in policymaking and appropriation decisions, etc. if we don't speak up.
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#5 Old 12-17-2005, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BetF View Post

I know we often feel like nothing will ever change, but we are guaranteed never to count, and never to be taken into consideration in policymaking and appropriation decisions, etc. if we don't speak up.

Too true. However, the language and complexity of the ag subsidy scam is mind-numbingly tedious to navigate. What people see is the ridiculously cheap price of meat, dairy and eggs at the cash register. Broke folks (not unlike myself...) are welcome to disagree, but the reality is that the US consumer spends the least per capita in the developed world for food and consumes the most. And that just doesn't happen in a "free market" economy. Somewhere in between cheap animal-source food and a real understanding of how much more co$tly it actually is lies the public vote. Sadly, the USDA has historically voted with animal-use industry dollars.

Keep on freepin' on

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#6 Old 12-18-2005, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sorrowthepig View Post

the reality is that the US consumer spends the least per capita in the developed world for food and consumes the most



This is exactly the kind of thing that makes me so mad about subsidies, and is exactly the reason why we have such a meat-dependent cultural mindset. We're constantly being force-fed the belief that we need meat & dairy in a "well balanced" diet, and then we go to the store and meat is everywhere, and cheap! School cafeterias have meat/dairy as staple items, so kids get inculcated from the get-go. Animal-based foods are at the very cornerstone of our society. This way of life has to change. My most immediate concern is for the animals, but let's not forget the toll our love affair with meat & dairy is taking on the environment, and the quality of life for humans (ever live near a pig farm or mega dairy?) I really hope people in our community will set aside their despondency long enough to register their comments on the Bill. Like I said, we should make our presence and opinions known. C'mon, guys!
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#7 Old 12-18-2005, 12:13 PM
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Unfortunately I can't respond to the petition, as I am a Canadian, but I wish you Americans success with this.
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#8 Old 12-22-2005, 03:21 PM
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Just a reminder that the deadline is fast approaching, so if you're in the US, want to comment, and haven't already, please do so in the next week. Thanks!!
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