Since the 1990’s genetically engineered foods have been on the market, mostly unbeknown to the consumer. The vegetables, fruits, and packaged goods you purchase could contain scientifically modified ingredients. On top of being a little Frankenstein-ish, GMO foods are terrifying because there have been no long term studies done on them, there is a possible genetic effect on humans which is unknown, and doctors have cited it as possible causes of some food allergies and diseases.   Is there a way to know whether you are purchasing a GMO food? Not currently. It’s always a risk, even for items labeled “natural” on the shelves.

 

 

Next week, all of that may change in California. This election, Proposition 37 proposes GMO food be labeled as such for the benefit of the consumers. The law would require any food from plant or animal that contains GMO ingredients to be labeled with a few exemptions. Farm animals fed GMO grain, restaurants, and alcohol are all exempt from this current law as they are regulated differently  It also bars GMO products from labeling themselves as “natural,” which unfortunately is an unregulated marketing word.

Living in California and a huge organic supporter, we are excited for the possibility of this law. Consumers have a right to know what is going in their bodies and it seems the populace agrees. The latest polls are showing over 60% of California voters are in favor of the proposition. Plus one look at who is against it, will make up your mind quickly, Monsanto has been a huge critic, pouring gobs of money into the opposition campaign. They are quite possibly the largest GMO farming corporation that has come under fire for labor violations recently. Would you trust those guys? 

Other than knowing what we are putting into our bodies, passing such a law is so important is that it will set a precedent for other states to follow suit. Organic advocates, parents, and pretty much everyone who buys food will win in the long run if this law is passed. Well, you know that slogan: you are what you eat, and we certainly don’t want to be something made in a lab. Please Vote YES on Prop 37!

 

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Further, and further, proof that California politics is a dazzlingly misleading house of horrifying mirrors: Proposition 23, which suspends State Law AB 32 (requiring greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020) until California’s unemployment drops to 5.5% or less for four consecutive years, is hardly a California Proposition.  When the vast majority of financial backers supporting a proposition are out-of-state corporations, it’s basically laughable that such a bill would be considered to be in the best interests of said state.

What’s more, the largest supporters are, of course, oil companies or those with vested oil interests: Valero and Tesoro, Marathon Oil, the Adam Smith Foundation and the Koch Brothers, from San Antonio, Houston, Wichita and Smithville, Missouri respectively.  That’s just part of the list.  Particularly nefarious are those accursed Koch Brothers, enemies of all things even a smidgen right and good; please read this exhaustively revealing New Yorker article for more.  Also, KQED put together a nifty Google map marking the locations of all major Prop 23 financial supporters and opponents around the States; you’ll notice that the vast majority of opponents are native Californian organizations.  Eureka!

And while the mud gets slung back and forth over the various impacts of 23, from statewide job loss/gain to economic impact on taxpayers to the future of green technology development, there are sound sources that are wading through the muck and exposing it for the scam that it is without even trying. The U.C. Berkeley School of Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment has released an enlightened report outlining all possible impacts of 23 on California’s present hurdles and future goals in setting a national standard for environmentally friendly practices.  Most importantly, the report gives an in-depth explanation of AB 32 as its core, without which Prop 23 wouldn’t exist.

And although the Governator isn’t known to have the most effective environmental track record in California’s history, Schwarzenegger must be given some kudos for throwing his weight behind the defeat of 23, as the signing of AB 32 was a defining moment for his office.  Having recently returned from climate change talks in China, Arnold seems inspired and personally committed to his stance, even hosting a fundraising dinner at his home.  Of course, California usually responds to star power in political situations, even when the Hollywood celebrity and their own governor are one and the same.

Thus far, the close majority of Californians are not letting the oil-soaked wool being pulled down their faces, as the LA Times reports.  But the margin is slim, and as the weeks draw down to voting time the Prop 23 circus will only grow in fervor and deceptiveness.  Lest it be forgotten in the wake of TV ads and hearsay, information is the only defense against mania and hype; do the research and you will not be deceived on election day!

-Jeremy Pearson

So its finally here! November 4th, 2008. We just wanted to remind everyone to please please go out and vote today! This is the most important election of our generation, so please be sure to let your voice be heard! We know the lines are long and in some parts of the country the weather may not be cooperating, but we want to urge you to get out there! Believe us, its worth the wait, worth the soggy shoes, the future of our country depends on it! If you are unsure of where to vote, please type in your address and find your polling place!

We want to also remind you to please help us support Obama, Proposition 2 in California, and Question 3 in Massachusetts. We can bring change for our country, for farmed animals, and racing dogs! Please help us spread hope and prosperity, rather than fear and hate. We have a chance to make real change, so let’s do it! GET OUT AND VOTE TODAY!!!


As our previous post covered an animal rights initiative that would ban greyhound racing in Massachusetts. Today we want to take a look at Proposition 2 in California that would alter the way farm animals are confined. This bill is not the most comprehensive bill for animal abuses in the industry. However, it is a clear step in the right direction. This proposal would ban cages of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs. It will also bans all confinement for egg laying hens, gestation crates for breeding pigs, and veal crates for veal calves. Lastly, it will institute a penalty of $1000 or up to 6 months in jail if anyone is found in violation of the act.

Supporting this proposition would take a step towards banning animal cruelty that is caused by housing farm animals in unsafe and unsanitary situations.  Earlier this year we wrote a blog detailing the cruelty of the egg industry called The Truth About Eggs. In this post we detailed some of the more serious abuses to egg laying hens, including the fact that hens are kept in ultra tight quarters, depending on the factory, but the USDA reports the average floor space provided is somewhere less than a half a foot per hen. So the ban on battery cages would be a huge improvement to the industry, but will not stop all the abuse including the cruel deaths to male chickens and non egg producing hens.

This bill will also ban the crates used for sows. These pigs are used to breed and are kept in cages so tight that they can not turn around and barely larger than the sow itself for their entire life. And the cages are stacked so tightly together that sometimes there are up to 20 pigs stored in tight quarters. These crates are already banned in the UK, Sweden, and by the EU, although they still make up a large part of the US pig breeding industry. But now California has a chance to change that. If Prop 2 passes, this type of cage will be outlawed. It may not completely improve the quality of life of the pigs, but at least it will alleviate some suffering caused by these cages.

Baby cows used for veal will also released from their confinement if this bill passes. Veal calves are kept in what are referred to as veal crates. They are taken immeadiately from their mothers side, kept chained to a crate where they can not turn around, and denied proper nutrition. The calves are often kept in the dark and are left in unsanitary conditions. Many well known veternarians and other scientists believe these practices to be inhumane and support banning these abuses. Prop 2 will ban the crates, but unfortunately not all the abuses.

Beyond animals these abuses harm, there is one more group to think about: the humans who eat the meat and eggs supplied by these malnourished animals. Because the animals are kept in such tight quarters, it increases the possibility for them to contract diseases that could be passed to humans such as salmonella and e. coli. Also, because the animals are confined their entire lives, they do not exercise and enjoy normal activity, bringing down their overall nutrition (thus bringing the nutrition and health down in their meat). In a report published by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, they scientifically explain the spread of disease to humans through confined farm animal meat and they quote the FDA saying that the cases of these diseases in humans is on the rise in the US.

So thanks for reading our view on Prop 2 in California! We know it won’t solve all the problems, because trust us there are many more abuses and practices that threaten the health of humans. But as we said before, it will make a difference in thousands of animals well being and hopefully will be a step towards elminating several other abuses. We are in Massachusetts, but wish we could vote for this bill. If you are a Californian, we urge you to read the facts and get informed on this issue! California has a chance to end this abuse and set and example for the rest of the country!!

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