Friday, September 13, 2013

We're losing...

 The public relations struggle to define commercial farms.  This Chipotle ad is getting rave reviews and could be going viral.

I don't think we have good responses to counter these images. And passing ag-gag laws is really a step in the wrong direction IMHO.

Meanwhile, the GMO battle I declared over seems very much alive.
Four of the world’s largest chemical corporations currently use some of Kauai’s best agricultural lands to test their new pesticide and GMO technologies. Kauai residents are concerned about the impacts of this industry on the island, and through “Right to Know” Bill 2491 are seeking basic information to ensure that the community is protected.Bill 2491 would also establish buffer zones between pesticide application and schools, hospitals, residential areas and waterways, mandate that a health and environmental study be conducted to better understand the impacts of the agro-chemical/GMO industry on the island, and put a temporary halt on expansion of the industry while the study is being conducted. [More]

The real difficulty is the ideological argument here. Farmers want to maximize individual rights, and that's exactly what these GMO opponents are advocating. Forcing others to accept products because "we" or the government know what's good for them would never get a favorable reaction from farmers. It's the climate change position in reverse. 

This is also part and parcel of the devolvement of government action to the local level as state and federal regulation becomes less effective. For a tiny minority like farmers, supporting federal overrides is a really bad strategy. 

We've played fast and loose with science and thus enabled this kind of resistance. Actually, if GM companies and users are successful, I would be troubled by the implications for their own consumer rights. If we can force our views on others do we really thing it won't happen to us?


Gary said...

As a pork producer I'm offended by these webcast. I think most producers strive to take the best care for their animals and market a good product. Not everyone can live in Chipotle's idealistic world where farmers drive old pickups and tractors. I'm reminded of the saying "A well fed society has many problems. A hungry society has only one problem.

John Phipps said...


I can appreciate your objection, but my point was how good the video quality and messaging was - not the content. Also important to note is this message is being used to signal a higher quality to consumers.

We may not like it, but we have to deal with it. Getting angry hasn't been a very productive tactic to date.

From Virginia said...

John, check out this spoof of Chipotle, Funny or Die nails it.

Anonymous said...

After the bill was delayed several times and heavily amended, it passed in mid-October 6-1. The lawyer for the county of Kauai stated the bill was trying to do things that were under the jurisdiction of the state, not county. It has been vetoed. The council only needs a 5-2 super majority to override the veto. It might happen and since Monsanto does not currently have operations on the island, the bill does have a chance of standing.