Food activists are making a difference — the state and industry taking notice

The usual suspects. Book cover via Tagan’s Kitchen blog. Click image to go there.

Maybe YOU are a food activist. Perhaps you blog about food issues. Maybe you go to demonstrations, and come out to support your farmer at court appearances. Maybe you make a point of buying raw milk, even though you could do without, just to cast your vote in the marketplace of dollars. Do you ever wonder whether all that fuss and bother makes a difference? Well, according to Tony Gucciardi, who writes on the Natural Society blog, you and your kind are keeping food processors up at night, and giving them cause to worry about what the future holds for the way they have been doing business. 

From Anthony Gucciardi, on Natural Society:

What keeps processed food producers up at night? Dreaded health activists like you and me, with our pesky knack for exposing the GMO-containing processed junk that mega corporations have pushed on the public. It may come as no surprise to you, but in an open interview of sorts on the massive community website Reddit, one anonymous processed food manufacturing manager explained how the biggest fear of the industry is health activists.

In a response to a question posed by a user regarding new regulations on processed foods, the anonymous manager explained how an increasing effort by consumers to know what’s in their food is the #1 fear of the industry. While the question has to do with calorie contents on the packaging, which is drastically less significant than labeling items like GMO labeling (or imagine labeling products that contain HFCS), it touches on the subject at large. If the mere act of labeling calories and some other minor factors troubles the processed food industry, imagine what GMO labeling means for their CEOs….”

Read more on Natural Society.

And if we needed some evidence to back this up, we need look no further than the following report from Kristina Trites on Global Possibilities, in which those particular types of activists who take it upon themselves to expose the appalling conditions in factory farms are branded as terrorists. Now, from the report, it appears that this proposed sanction is coming from “the state”. But any student of contemporary political science worth their salt will know that there has been a revolving door between industry and the state for some time now, and that in too many cases, the powers of the state are hijacked to serve the interests of industry, rather than to protect people from corporate predations.

From Kristina Trites, on Global Possibilities:

States consider making the reporting of factory farm abuses “an act of terrorism”

“How do you keep consumers in the dark about the horrors of factory farms? By making it an “act of terrorism” for anyone to investigate animal cruelty, food safety or environmental violations on the corporate-controlled farms that produce the bulk of our meat, eggs and dairy products.

And who better to write the Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act, designed to protect Big Ag and Big Energy, than the lawyers on the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force at the corporate-funded and infamous American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

New Hampshire, Wyoming and Nebraska are the latest states to introduce Ag-Gag laws aimed at preventing employees, journalists or activists from exposing illegal or unethical practices on factory farms. Lawmakers in 10 other states introduced similar bills in 2011-2012.  The laws passed in three of those states: Missouri, Iowa and Utah.  But consumer and animal-welfare activists prevented the laws from passing in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York and Tennessee.

In all, six states now have Ag-Gag laws, including North Dakota, Montana and Kansas, all of which passed the laws in 1990-1991, before the term “Ag-Gag” was coined.

Ag-Gag laws passed 20 years ago were focused more on deterring people from destroying property, or from either stealing animals or setting them free. Today’s ALEC-inspired bills take direct aim at anyone who tries to expose horrific acts of animal cruelty, dangerous animal-handling practices that might lead to food safety issues, or blatant disregard for environmental laws designed to protect waterways from animal waste runoff. In the past, most of those exposes have resulted from undercover investigations of exactly the type Big Ag wants to make illegal…..”

Read more on Global Possibilities.


Filed under News

6 responses to “Food activists are making a difference — the state and industry taking notice

  1. Where do the courts sit on these “ag gag” laws? Isn’t this a clear violation of First Amendment rights of free speech?

    Meanwhile, the Supremes have ruled that corporations can lie in their advertising.

    Seems like the US Constitution has been bought and paid for by the corporations!

  2. Ive only just come across your site. This story was forwarded to me by someone else who lives in England. It’s great news that our activism keeps these people awake at night, and it is not difficult to see why.

    All major corporations borrow money to survive, and they survive on the narrowest of margins. A bit of activism takes away a small perecentage of their customers, and they can be in big trouble.

    So we just have to keep doing what we’re doing and we’ll soon reach a tipping point whereby demand for real food topples some of these criminal agri-businesses and brings in some decent fair-minded producers to fill the supply gap. But we all have to help that along by turning our backs on big business and giving our money instead to those whom we trust.

  3. mary schroeder

    They better tremble and lose sleep – people are waking up, realizing that they have been deliberately deceived, duped and stupified with all those toxic food additives!!!


  5. Pingback: Reblogged: Buying in Bulk to by-pass big food corporations | The Urbanette's Farm

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