Vegan senator Cory Booker has revealed legislation which aims to resign factory farming to the history books.
The presidential candidate has revealed a policy which would impose an immediate moratorium on the US’s biggest factory farms and ban them entirely by 2040.
The legislation is seen as the most ambitious assault of factory farming in the meat and dairy industries in US history, and aims to make animal agriculture more humane towards animals while protecting the environment.
“We need to fix the broken system,” Booker said of the legislation. “That means protecting family farmers and ranchers and holding corporate integrators responsible for the harm they are causing.”
The Farm System Reform Act of 2019 aims to revitalize independent family farm agriculture and ensure a level playing field for all farmers and ranchers.
It also hopes to ‘crack down on the monopolistic practices of multi-national meatpackers and corporate integrators, place a moratorium on large industrial animal operation…and restore mandatory country-of-origin labeling requirements’.
Booker explained as he launched the groundbreaking bill that a handful of firms have come to dominate the processing of livestock and poultry in the US.
These large companies own and control many stages of the food chain, but leave most farmers in the US to absorb the risks and costs involved with raising animals – leading to large amounts of debt – while independent farmers are increasingly forced to sell up, leading to lower wages for farmers.
The USDA also allows products which are shipped to the US and repackaged to be labelled as ‘product of the USA’ – “further eroding fair competition and preventing shoppers from supporting local rural communities”, Booker writes.
“Our independent family farmers and ranchers are continuing to be squeezed by large, multinational corporations that, because of their buying power and size, run roughshod over the marketplace,” said Senator Booker.
“Large factory farms are harmful to rural communities, public health, and the environment and we must immediately begin to transition to a more sustainable and humane system.”
The bill has been celebrated by animal rights activists and even some farming communities.
“I have seen first-hand how hard it is to challenge the multinational corporations who control the meat industry,” said Mike Callicrate, Kansas Rancher.
“Farmers and ranchers need a marketplace that compensates them fairly and Senator Booker’s Farm System Reform Act is a big step in the right direction. Things like country of origin labeling on meat, updates to the Packers and Stockyards Act, and resources to get folks out of a system that is bankrupting them will make a big difference.”
Large factory farms also produce huge amounts of waste and harmful pollution, which the bill explains are directly linked to environmental and health problems for farming communities across the country.
The factory farms create runoff pollution that can contaminate waterways and drinking water, the bill states.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, large CAFOs produce as much as 1.4 billion tons of waste each year and are not required to maintain a treatment facility for livestock waste.
The number of CAFOs has dramatically increased over the years and the steady growth ‘makes rural communities vulnerable to environmental hazards and threaten the economic prosperity of family farms’.
“The overuse of medically important antibiotics by large CAFOs has led to the generation and spread of dangerous antibiotic resistant bacteria,” Booker writes.
Last month, the American Public Health Association urged federal, state, and local governments and public health agencies to impose a moratorium on all new and expanding CAFOs.
“Senator Booker’s Farm System Reform Act pushes back on the concentration of animal production and the devastating impact that has had on our rural communities,” said Randy Dugger, Indiana Farmers Union Vice President.
“Independent family farmers deserve an opportunity to be prosperous again. By providing fairness and transparency in the market, along with a significant investment to help those trapped in a broken system to get out, this bill can make a huge difference.”
- Read: Cory Booker at Democratic Presidential Debate: “Factory farming is destroying our environment”
What do you think of Booker’s new factory farming bill? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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