Thank God for PBS, I often say. On Sunday, April 25th, 2010, a PBS expose', "Food, Inc. " unpleasantly reminded me yet again of the constant battering The Constitution of The United States continues to take. This time a key issue was Agricultural Product Disparagement Laws, enacted by some 13 states, which forbid public criticism of food products. In some cases,
(remember the TV star sued by the beef cattlemen?) even if the criticism comes from outside
of those 13 states, agribusinesses from any
of these 13 feel free to sue. These are attempts (nothing new) of ignorant states' righters to ignore/weaken the federal constitution, exert control favoring their interests nationwide. (If you missed this important program you can find it on pbs.org.)
The agribusiness industry, taken as a whole, currently acts like the trusts and monopolies of yesteryear.
Some of the biggest players have:
(1) Stifled books about to be published warning of unsafe foods, cruel treatment of farm animals, and filthy food factory practices;
(2) Cowed whistleblowers into not even publicly stating what foods they themselves do and do not consume;
(3) Sued small farmers not agreeing to buy and plant the agribusiness' patented seeds on specious grounds that the farmers' own private seeds have been "stolen from the corporation".
Since most of us are aware of recurring food recalls and
warnings to dispose of edible products, the risk of illness and even, though (thankfully) more rarely, death, is certainly real....but hey! the profits and pride of U.S. agribusiness uber alles.
What is more basic than the need to eat uncontaminated food or speaking out to warn others of the danger? These rights (which most of us take for granted) are being seriously compromised by, as usual, big money. The USDA itself is limited in what it can legally do, although there has been movement to increase its power significantly.
Every adult should contact their state and federal representatives to strenuously object to these
and other outrageous practices by agribusinesses. If nobody does, we will eventually have to change our national anthem.
After all, we will no longer be the home of the brave in the land of the free.