… People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wanted to bring 3,500 1-gallon buckets of pig manure and urine to the Ohio Statehouse for a recent protest. Oh, and fans, too, so the activists could direct the wafting smells into bystanders’ faces.
Um, no, the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board wisely said. The board did, however, allow an exhibit by the animal rights activists, who wanted to protest “how factory farms are breeding grounds for diseases such as swine flu.”
A PETA news release quoted Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman as saying, “… the stressful and filthy conditions on factory farms are what spawn the disease.”
Reiman better check the facts. Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about the H1N1 flu virus: “… this new virus is very different from what normally circulates in North American pigs. It has two genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia and avian genes and human genes.”
But Reiman’s true colors show in her next statement: “The best way to protect animals and our own health is to go vegetarian.”
Wrong. The best way to protect your own health is to cover your mouth when you sneeze and to wash your hands, not swear off steak.
… Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein whined last month that agriculture is always getting special treatment and it’s time to do away with the House and Senate ag committees. After all, he opines, “We don’t have a House Committee on Dollar Stores.”
It’s time to cut the special interest pandering, Klein writes, agriculture’s heyday is long gone. There’s no need for an industry to have its own committee, let alone its own executive branch agency.
What Klein and his full stomach seem to forget, as one individual who commented on his ridiculous column pointed out, “If Dollar Stores go out of business, no one dies. …But if the agricultural industry as a whole goes under, or doesn’t produce enough food, people starve.”
If there’s no one on Capitol Hill or in the Oval Office to fight for agriculture, then domestic food production, food availability and food security become tenuous. And, in case Mr. Klein didn’t know it, the often-maligned farm bill is actually called the Food, Conservation and Energy Act, which illustrates the breadth of agriculture’s importance. Lose the farm bill, and you lose a vehicle that is 70 percent geared toward nutrition (i.e. food stamps and school lunch programs).
… The Ohio Farmer received some farm love from an unexpected place: the U.S. Women’s Open.
Ohio Farmer Editor Tim White dropped his pen to tote a golf bag for his daughter, amateur Allie White, during the Open. And, ever the sharp-thinker, Papa White stocked up on hats with a big “Ohio” over smaller lettering of “Farmer.” Even the fans got into it and Allie had her own Ohio Farmer hat-wearing gallery following her to her first LPGA major finish of 5-over-par.
(This version has been corrected from the printed column, which indicated that Allie White was still a student at UNC.)