Saturday, February 27, 2010

"I have not yet begun to fight"

The last few weeks have been an education. On the 12th of Feb we received notice from the Farm to Consumer Legal Defence Fund, an organization "For Farmers and Consumers Defending the Right to Buy and Protecting the Right to Sell Nutritious Food Directly from the Farm", that the Wyoming Food Freedom Act was being considered by our State Legislature. The bill would exempt from all government inspection, licensing and other interference, any food as long as there was only one transaction between the producer and the final consumer. Basically it would allow those of us wanting to opt out of the industrial food system to do so. We contacted Frank Wallis of E Z Rocking Ranch to see how we could help. On Tuesday the 16th, the State House Ag Committee was going to hear public input before voting on whether to send the bill to the whole house, so off to Cheyenne we went. I learned at the meeting that my opinion of politicians was going to have to be adjusted. There are actually elected representatives who aren't just there to see how much power they can amass. Of particular note was Sue Wallis, the State Representative who introduced the bill. The bureacrats however exceeded even my worst expectations. The Fuehrer, oops I mean Director, of the State Health Department and three of his minions contrived to use up as much of the allotted time as they could. They explained to the committee that we lowly subjects weren't nearly bright enough to make our own food decisions and must be protected from ourselves.
The committee thwarted the Fascist Coaliton by scheduling a second day for input so on Thursday we made another trip across the state in the name of Liberty. This time we were able to put in our two cents worth and ultimately prevailed. The committee voted to send the bill to the House and there it passed by a nearly 3 to 1 margin. Next it went to the Senate Ag committee for consideration. When we travelled to Cheyenne for a third time we discovered that The Senate was generally opposed to the bill because they had been lobbied hard by the Wyoming Meat Processors Association. It seems that someone in the State Department of Agriculture had called all the meat processors in the state and told them that the USDA was threatening to shut them all down if this bill passed. When asked to produce the communication from the USDA making that threat, our State Ag people where unable to do so but it was too late. The bill died in Senate committee. The battle rages on. Next year will see another attempt to restore the Right to What's for Dinner to the people of Wyoming. In the mean time we will try to gather grass roots support for our efforts and to educate more people about the sorry state of both their food and their government.

1 comment:

  1. Keep fIghting the good fight or food fight if you rather! Good job! -Brooke