I was asked to do an op ed piece on Amendment for a Missouri newspaper, it is copied below. Please feel free to spread it about and re-post at your will. We need to stop this change to our Constitution!
by Doreen Hannes
Amendment 1, on the Aug. 5 ballot in Missouri, is deceptive right from the first sentence. The amendment was supposed to be on the ballot in November but has been moved up to the August primary election, likely to minimize opportunity for those who see the danger of the amendment to educate voters on the issue.
Originally, the proposed amendment specifically protected “modern practices and agricultural technology.” That means factory-style farming of livestock and biotech, particularly genetically modified plants and animals. Yes, animals. Today there are pigs crossed with mice, spider genes inserted into goats and human genes inserted into cattle. They are all patented, and just as you cannot tell GMO corn from heirloom corn by looking at it, you cannot tell genetically modified animals have other species of DNA in them.
The entities pushing amendment 1 are large agri-biz and biotech companies, including Monsanto, owner of patents on genetically modified life forms, which is experienced in destroying farmers’ livelihoods by taking them to court over crops contaminated by Monsanto’s seed, and Cargill, who helped bring even more illegal immigration by dumping cheap GMO corn into Mexico’s market and destroying the small Mexican farmer’s ability to make a living. Another biotech organization that supports the amendment is Syngenta, which looks to secure more ground for its patented life forms. Farm Bureau (even though it has among its membership some of the best people in the world) is arguably the biggest proponent of free-trade agreements, which destroy the ability of American farmers to sell their products in an open and honest market at a livable price.
Several of us who fought in the legislature to stop this wrong-headed proposal from becoming a constitutional amendment offered a substitute that would actually benefit Missouri family farmers. The proponents of amendment 1 would not hear of it. They said it wouldn’t protect their “constituents.” Here is the substitute offered:
“That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in direct trade with consumers shall be forever guaranteed in this state. No law shall be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural practices that secure independent family farm’s ability to save seed, preserve livestock bloodlines, or impede their access to market.”
The supposed “right to farm” amendment is being sold as a way to mitigate the effects on agriculture of “radical animal rights activists.” While the radical animal rights movement is dangerous, its proponents have not consolidated agriculture and negotiated away the family farm in order to line the pockets of multi-national corporations, bureaucrats and lobbyists. The major pushers for Amendment 1 have certainly done so.
Should this change to our constitution pass, courts, lawyers and bureaucrats must define “farming” and “ranching.” If you’re harmed by a factory-farm, you won’t have much recourse to sue. GMOs, which are increasingly being outlawed in other countries, will be unstoppable, and vertical integration (quite possibly under Chinese ownership) will take over Missouri’s family farms and reduce them to a fond memory.
If you want to save the family farm, vote NO on Amendment 1.