Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
28 May 2000 Issue

Water Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink
By [email protected]

Well, sure, Bill Clinton's recent moves to establish more national parks, monuments and preserves to protect wilderness and coastal areas may be partially motivated by helping Gore in the election, but at least the effort is being made. A few days ago Clinton announced the planned creation of protected areas for beaches in the continental states and the coral reefs of Hawaii, and strengthening of the EPA's regulations on water quality.

This is a small step, but an important move in the right direction. However, a major problem with the implementation of these measures is funding. Congressional republicans have attached riders to the annual appropriations bills which would prevent federal agencies from receiving the money to create and maintain these new preserves. The major exploiter of our natural resources, the meat industry, continues to exert more influence on Congress than those who are concerned about a clean and healthy environment.

The livestock industry is responsible for half of all water used in the US and taxpayers are paying the price so that farmers can receive water subsidies and bailouts to grow crops for livestock. It seems easy to sympathize with farmers and agree that they get price supports and bailouts, that is until you realize that over 75% of all US soybeans, corn and grains is being grown to feed livestock.

The other half of our fresh water supply, the half not used to maintain a supply of dead animal flesh, is being used as a toilet to flush away the billions of tons of animal wastes. Animal manure from spills, direct dumping and runoffs from factory farms has become the major source of pollution in our nations rivers.

On May 19th, a report was released by the Sierra Club and Consumers Union (publishers of Consumer Reports) that found that Texas was the nation's leader in producing animal waste. (I will resist the urge to say I've long realized that Texas was full of ....) Texas Governor George Bush, Jr. is an industry puppet who, through weak regulations and nonexistent enforcement, has allowed my state's water and air to be terribly compromised. If Bush is elected president, at least Americans will have plenty of guns to defend their supplies of bottled water.

The report went on to find that Texas is producing 280 billion tons of manure per year which amounts to 40 pounds of manure per Texas resident per day. "Howdy, Neighbor. Say, I'd like to give you my share of this crap. I'm a vegan and didn't help make it so I figure I don't deserve to keep it."

The deadly bacteria E-coli 0157, which was responsible for the tragic deaths and illnesses in Ontario last week, lives in the guts of cattle. It leaks into water supplies. This occurrence, which mirrors the same event that happened in upstate New York not long ago, will become more and more commonplace in the future. Don't participate in the environmentally irresponsible act of eating animal products.

I was somewhat amazed by Clinton's weekly radio address of May 27th in which he proposed the mandatory labeling of meat with the amount of fat, cholesterol and nutritional information now found on most food labels. Wow. His recommendation that all Americans cut back on fat and eat more grains, fruits and vegetables sounded like the rap from my fellow vegetarian advocates. We should write Clinton, and send a copy to Secretary Glickman of the USDA, thanking Bill and suggesting that one step to achieve this would be that less federal money be spent buying hamburger, cheese and hogs to feed our children in the federal school lunch program.

Go Vegan!

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