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January 2001
Vegetarian Advocate
: Secretary of Agriculture Nominee Promotes Genetically Engineered Food
By Jack Vegetarianberger


President-elect George “Wienerboy” Bush has nominated Ann Veneman, a lawyer and former California secretary of agriculture, for U.S. secretary of agriculture. Bush’s choice of Veneman is especially disconcerting for several reasons.

Veneman is a proponent of genetically engineered food. In a profile of Veneman, the Associated Press (AP) quoted her as recently saying, “We simply will not be able to feed the world without biotechnology.” Forget about feeding the world, isn’t Veneman aware that the U.S. is unable to feed millions of its own citizens? Specifically, I’m thinking of the ungodly number of American children who go to school each day hungry. Exactly how Veneman expects the good old U.S., with or without biotechnology, to feed the entire world is beyond my intellectual capacity.

Of course, if Veneman were serious about feeding the world, she would advocate a vegetarian diet. Which brings me to another Veneman quote, courtesy of the AP: “The big problem is children simply do not know where food comes from. They go to the grocery store and think milk just comes out of a carton, or fruit and vegetables just appear on that shelf.” I doubt Veneman (who, by the way, has no children) wants children to really know where Big Macs or any meat product comes from. Most parents, and the meat industry, “protect” children from learning too much about the lives of chickens and cows before they’re chopped into little pieces. Perhaps with Veneman at the helm, the USDA will encourage schoolchildren to visit factory farms, feedlots, and slaughterhouses. And while Veneman’s “big problem” quote may make her appear as a supporter of family farms, she isn’t. By all appearances, Veneman has sided with the concerns of big agribusiness.

Nor does Veneman appear to be an environmentalist. Mining and timber groups have cheered her nomination, and Laura Skaer, executive director of the Northwest Mining Association, has said, “We expect she’ll be more friendly to natural resource development.” In short, friendly toward clearcutting and strip mining.

Personally, I blame Al Gore for the current presidential mess. America wouldn’t be confronted with four more years of Republican-orchestrated environmental rape if Al Gore had resigned from the presidential race (ha!) and urged everyone to vote for the Green Party’s Ralph Nader, a near-vegetarian who advocated the teaching of vegetarianism in public schools.

Please write Veneman and encourage her to, among other things, promote a vegetarian diet. (If nothing else, it’s always somewhat amusing to read an official response from a faceless bureaucrat at the Department of Agriculture who isn’t supportive of your particular cause, but tries to appear terribly sympathetic and understanding.) Contact: Ann Veneman, Secretary of Agriculture nominee, USDA, 14 St. and Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250.

Vote Chicken?
The award for “most offensive election-year advertisement” goes to Chick-fil-A which ran a print ad in USA Today featuring a cow standing on his or her hind legs and holding a “Vote Chikin” sign and a “Itz Not Right Wing or Left” placard. The ad, joked Chick-fil-A, was “Paid 4 By the Comittee 2 Eat Mor Chikin.” For more info, log onto To protest the ad, contact: Jacki Kelley, Senior Vice President of Marketing, USA Today, 1000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22229; Tel: 800-USA-0001.


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