October 8th, 2020 Newsletter

Fighting Back for Health & Environmental Justice

🚫 Tories plan to ignore Lords ban on substandard imports

Even though the Lords voted in favour of  amendments to the Agriculture Bill that would protect UK farmers from low-standard imports, Defra Secretary George Eustice has declared that the UK government has no intention of accepting any amendments when it returns to the House of Commons on 12 October. So, pre the Commons vote, please write to your Conservative MP to press them to ignore the party whip and vote according to their constituents’ wishes, to listen to the pleas from 30 unions and NGOs, as well as Labour and Lib Dem MPs and Lords, who are all demanding amendments to the Agriculture Bill to ban the import of food produced below UK food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection standards. A recent survey by Which? found that 94% of consumers want food standards to be upheld in any future trade deal, revealing an out of touch Tory Government’s determination to act against the wishes of a huge majority of the British people.

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🌱 Corrupt Monsanto

Despite being sued countless times, Monsanto continues to produce its glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup. This toxic product is now in our food chain, our livestock feed and it is still for sale in shops as it remains legal to spray in gardens and public playgrounds where children play. Two new class actions against Monsanto for damages worth $1.2 billion have been filed in Canada by people suffering from Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer caused by glyphosate. This follows Monsanto’s offer last June to settle 100,000 similar cases in the US for $10.9 billion which was refused as inadequate. Monsanto has been exposed for hiding the truth from the public by persuading governments and academic bodies to de-fund research that revealed the health impacts of glyphosate on people and animals.

Among the huge number of Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2011 that support those fighting for health and environmental justice, were cables that revealed that US diplomats around the world were working directly for GM companies such as Monsanto, using bribes and threats to push GM crops on unwilling countries as a strategic US government policy. Governments allow massive corporations to carry on poisoning us while whistleblowers and their publishers have to hide and if found, could be punished for the rest of their lives – for Julian Assange this means solitary confinement in a high security jail, for telling the truth. Assange’s freedom equates to press freedom.

⏰ Why we need whistleblowers

There are two sides to every argument and the world particularly needs whistleblowers to help navigate the contradictory arguments around how we deal with Covid – the elephant in the room affecting us all. On the release of Diplomatic cables regarding vaccines, Wikileaks commented, “The compilation of documents shows the influence of ‘Big Pharma’ on the policy making decisions of the WHO.” The global response to Covid is damaging the world’s health, killing 10s of millions from starvation, lack of medical care and suicide, it is making millions homeless, and forcing innumerable small and medium sized businesses, not least farmers, into bankruptcy.

🙅 An alternative narrative to lockdown?

An increasing number of people, such as Robert Kennedy Jr are objecting, to the increasingly authoritarian narrative threatening another lockdown and mandatory vaccination. Of the many scientists demanding an alternative approach is an international network of lawyers who plan to bring a class action on behalf of all those who have been harmed by lockdowns to receive full compensation for their losses. The lawsuit will pursue not only government officials and the WHO, but specifically the manufacturers of the PCR test which, according to virologists all over the world, is unsuitable for covid-19 testing. Germany’s leading coronavirus expert Christian Drosten said, “the PCR tests are not reliable as all of them have problems with false positives”.

A ‘Big Pharma’, insider, Dr Mike Yeaden, a former Vice President and chief science officer at Pfizer, and his scientist co-authors say, “We are basing our government policy, our economic policy, and the policy for restricting fundamental rights, presumably on completely wrong data and assumptions about the coronavirus. If it wasn’t for the test results that are constantly reported in the media, the pandemic would be over because nothing really happened.” Recognition of the collateral damage from the global lockdown, nearly 6,000 experts are calling for “protection to be focused on the vulnerable, while healthy people get on with their lives”.

🐷 Cheap meat is the problem, not high welfare farms

Though the livestock industry likes to blame ‘backyard’ pig farming for spreading diseases, they are not the problem. The culprit is the quest for cheap pork and resulting poor quality feed and conditions in animal factories where stressed and immuno-compromised animals are extremely susceptible to disease and viruses that mutate to become zoonotic. “Covid-19 has shown clearly that we cannot keep pushing animals to the limit of their endurance and expect to remain isolated from the effects. The food strategy must robustly challenge our love affair with cheap meat, and rapidly chart a course towards plant-centric diets as the new norm.” Eating less but better meat will close factory farms.

As we have constantly reported, when small scale high welfare farmers are selling locally, they have thrived during lockdown. Most of the footage from brave activists secretly filming atrocious cruelty on UK pig farms, that often supply supermarkets under the Red Tractor label, proves that the Red Tractor label is not a guarantee that the farm has complied with even the minimum UK legal welfare standards. The appointment of Guy Poppy, ex director of the Food Standards Agency, to the Red Tractor board lays bare Whitehall’s tolerance of despicable and cruel farm practices.

Even the animal welfare standards of Red Tractor are high compared to those in the US. Smithfield Foods is the subject of a report by whistleblowers, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), which found that Smithfield, and its contract farmers, continue to raise pigs in appalling conditions, overcrowding them in filthy, barren steel pens and dosing them with antibiotics at a rate three times higher than in the UK. DxE is calling for a moratorium on building new factory farms which is what US politicians were calling for in 2009 when we were filming Pig Business.

👍 Solutions

So, what can we do? I can only ask you to follow the common sense of the little girl in our #LovePigs video released this week. She says that we must only buy meat from happy pig farms and recommends that we also ask for pork raised to these standards in school or when eating out.

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📅 Reminder

I will be speaking at the Slow Food zoom event on 9th of October 5-6pm, with Anthony Davison from BigBarn, talking about how we can fix the food industry. “How can we all get good, slow, food and enlighten consumers to make better, healthier, more sustainable, high animal welfare, food buying choices?”. Book FREE online, by visiting terramadrefringe.com.

Forgive me for pointing out that, while we receive some one-off donations, I am funding Farms Not Factories myself, and if we are to continue to fight the cruel, antibiotic-led factory farm system, we will need some regular donations from like-minded people. Please consider a monthly subscription of £2/month and help us support a network of smaller scale, humane and healthy UK pig farms, local abattoirs and butchers.

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