Sunday Roundup: Hog Time in Missouri
It’s up to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon now.
The Missouri legislature has passed what the Joplin Globe newspaper calls the CAFO Protection Bill (as in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation). The bill would limit damages done by CAFOs to their neighbors to the appraised value of the property damaged.
So, if the lagoon of waste from a farm with, say, 200,000 hogs damages your water supply and fouls your air, the only settlement available to you is to have your property bought for its appraised value. No damages, no other compensation.
The Joplin Globe writes:
The bill limits the rights of Missouri’s farm families and landowners from protecting their property rights through the court system. It’s really the last protection family farmers have from the concentrated animal feeding operations…
This bill limits the constitutional rights of family farmers and rural landowners from protecting their property rights through the court system from the negative impacts of industrial livestock operations.
It protects a minority of industrial livestock operations while taking away legal protection for the majority.
It’s a bad bill. Nixon should send it back.
Gov. Nixon has until Tuesday to sign the bill or veto it.
•A $680 million settlement between Native American farmers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture was approved by a federal judge. The Indian farmers said they had been denied loans because of discrimination.
• What is “gluten free”? The Food and Drug Administration has been trying to set a standard for seven years. No success yet, according to the Washington Post.
• China has been struck with a new round of tainted food. Rice, pork, noodles and sausages have all been found to be contaminated by everything from heavy metals to fertilizer. Pork was described as “Tron blue” because it glowed in the dark from bacteria.
The Chinese press is reporting that food inspectors could be bribed and that enforcement of food safety laws had been weak to nonexistent.
• Speaking of China, public places in the country will go smoke free today — every bar, restaurant, hospital, any public place.
There are 300 million smokers in China. This ain’t gonna be easy.
• Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser says being a foodie isn’t elitist.
Schlosser made his argument in the Washington Post:
This name-calling is a form of misdirection, an attempt to evade a serious debate about U.S. agricultural policies. And it gets the elitism charge precisely backward. America’s current system of food production — overly centralized and industrialized, overly controlled by a handful of companies, overly reliant on monocultures, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, chemical additives, genetically modified organisms, factory farms, government subsidies and fossil fuels — is profoundly undemocratic. It is one more sign of how the few now rule the many. And it’s inflicting tremendous harm on American farmers, workers and consumers.
• The New York Times visits Ellsinore, Missouri, where the sheriff was arrested last month on charges of distributing methamphetamine.
• New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to ban the use of food stamps to buy sweetened soda. State officials figure that between $75 million and $135 million in food stamps is spent each year on sugar-sweetened drinks.