By Richard Ram
Due to several last-minute scheduling conflicts, our September club meeting has been moved to Wednesday, Sept. 29th, at 6:30 p.m. As always, our on-line check-in will begin at 6:15 p.m.
Join us on Zoom to hear our panel of special guest speakers discuss the Farm System Reform Act, as well as local efforts to mitigate the traffic and pollution impacts from development, along with reports on wildlife and climate action.
General club meetings are always open to both members and guests, but we encourage you to join if you're not a member, or two renew if your membership has lapsed. You can join or renew your membership via our club's Wild Apricot page.
Impacts of Industrial Agriculture
Over the last 50 years, our nation's agricultural system has transformed from one based primarily on smaller farms and pastures, to one increasingly consolidated under the control of titanic corporations like Smithfield, Tyson, Cargill, and Perdue. The emergence of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs (commonly referred to as "factory farms"), has brought 99 percent of farm animals in the U.S. – some 10 billion animals overall – under the hooves of these large-scale industrial agricultural facilities, whose focus is solely on producing the most products at the lowest cost.
With the decline of small farms that had maintained some connection with the animals and the land, we've seen the rise of horrific animal cruelty, resultant pollution in our waterways, and rural landscapes defiled by animal waste, increased Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs), exploitation of factory workers, zoonotic diseases such as the avian and swine influenza viruses, and widespread blanket use of antibiotics and growth hormones.
The Farm System Reform Act
The Farm System Reform Act, introduced into the U.S. Senate by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), with co-sponsoring Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and introduced in the House by Representative Ro Khanna of California (D–Fremont) would overhaul our broken agricultural system by moving us toward one that is more humane with higher standards for animal welfare, worker safety, and addressing industry consolidation and unfair practices – the first step being a moratorium on factory farms.
To better inform us and spark action on this critical legislation, our featured speaker will be Rebecca Wolf, senior organizer with Food and Water Watch, who will give a presentation on the impact of factory farms and the promise that this bill holds to put an end to dangerous practices that causes harm to our environment, animals kept in this system, farm workers, and consumers who are often kept in the dark about how their food is raised and what's in it.
Click here for a current list of organizations endorsing the Farm System Reform Act.
We'll also get a presentation on how local leaders are implementing measures designed to mitigate impacts of development upon traffic and pollution, discuss the outcome of the recall election, and updates on President Biden's broken pledge to protect wolves by maintaining a Trump administration decision keeping them off the Endangered Species List, the student strike for climate action, and the groundbreaking decision by the city of Berkeley to divest from animal agriculture.
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