Want a side of dioxin with that steak? With the way that meat is managed in the United States today, you don’t have much choice. But as Congress is contemplates better meat management–especially as it relates to antibiotics, currently used more on farms than in hospitals–here are three ways you can make your voice heard.
1. Despite the connection between high meat consumption and health problems like obesity and heart disease, Americans eat more meat per person–about 200 pounds every year–than every other country except Luxembourg. (Who knew?) The USDA recently issued a set of recommendations, which included advice that Americans should eat less meat. But Big Ag lobbyists are fighting hard in Congress to try and strip that recommendation before the official dietary guidelines go into effect. Click here and add your name to a petition asking the USDA, “Don’t cave to the meat industry on sustainability in new dietary guidelines. Move forward with your recommendation that Americans reduce meat consumption as a way to improve health while also achieving environmental sustainability and food security.”
2. “Every day America’s factory farms produce enough crap to fill the Empire State Building.” That’s the water-cooler factoid from Food & Water Watch, which links antibiotic use in animal production to antibiotic-resistant illnesses and polluted drinking water, among other problems. They’ve got a great video currently running in Times Square which you can watch here, then sign to urge Congress to “pass the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (H.R.1552) and the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act (S.621) to stop the use of unnecessary antibiotics in livestock.”
3. Country of origin labels–affectionately called COOL–tell us where our meat, fruits and vegetables come from. But meatpacking and processing companies are fighting to cut out the labels. After the House of Representatives voted to repeal COOL, it’s up to the Senate to stand firm. Food & Water Watch is asking senators to “stand up to foreign corporate interests and to vote against any legislation that would repeal or weaken mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for meat, including any attempt to make these labels voluntary.” Click here to add your name to the petition.
Do these petitions work? I’m not sure. But tweeting certainly does. A recent Congressional poll found that it takes less than 10 comments on Facebook or Twitter to get the attention of lawmakers on Capitol Hill. So once you’ve signed, take a minute to share–you can share this post, too. (Thanks!)
This fight needs all the help it can get. Spinning Food, a new Friends of the Earth report, found that “Big Food and agrochemical corporations are deliberately misleading the public — and reporters — on facts about industrial agriculture and organic and sustainable food production,” using tactics developed by Big Tobacco and hundreds of millions of dollars in funding. Read all about it here.