Target: Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture
Goal: Prohibit the use of chlorine on meat and poultry
Poultry and meat are disinfected with chlorine baths before arriving on your dinner plate. Because of the overcrowded and inhumane conditions in which chickens and livestock are raised and slaughtered, transfer of bacteria from one animal to another is common. To solve this problem, Big Agriculture decided that instead of caring for sick animals, giving animals more room, and maintaining clean living conditions, that in addition to pumping animals full of hormones and antibiotics, the best solution is to spray and dip slaughtered animals in chlorine and other chemicals. Chlorine, it’s what’s for dinner.
A number of countries, especially those in the European Union (EU), have banned the import and sale of U.S. raised meat and poultry due to the use of chlorine in addition to other unsafe practices. The EU is often several steps ahead of the United States in terms of food safety regulations. In fact, there has been a ban on the import of U.S. poultry since 1997 due to the use of chlorine baths on chicken carcasses. Naturally, this ban hurts U.S. Agriculture, but instead of fighting to change the laws and practices concerning how animals are raised and slaughtered, U.S. Big Food lobbyists are searching for ways around the EU bans.
American citizens are just as likely as European citizens to be disgusted by the practices of Big Agriculture. Honestly, who wants to eat chemicals along with their dinner? The USDA needs to know that American citizens are equally repulsed by the use of chlorine on American poultry and meat. The answer is not to increase the use of chemicals and antibiotics, the answer is to change farming and slaughter house conditions. Tell the USDA to ban the use of chlorine and other chemicals to protect Americans’ health and promote overseas trade.
Dear Mr. Vilsack,
The American people are just as disgusted by U.S. slaughterhouse practices as the European Union. The use of chlorine and other chemicals to clean slaughtered animals is repulsive. You have claimed an interest in creating new markets for U.S. agriculture and have fought to improve the health of American families. You can make great strides in both of these areas by eliminating the use of chlorine as a disinfectant used on animal carcasses. The EU has banned the import of U.S. poultry since 1997. You could easily reopen that market by changing the standard practices used in U.S. slaughter houses. Additionally, prohibiting the use of dangerous chemicals on the U.S. food supply would do nothing but improve the health of American citizens.
It is time to make a change, and you are in a position to do it. Countries such as Denmark and Sweden are great examples of how to improve the health of populations by reducing the presence of harmful bacteria on poultry. Both of these countries made tremendous reductions in instances of salmonella. Their strategies of improving living and slaughter conditions — without the use of antibiotics, hormones, or chemical cleaners — have spread to the EU, where instances of salmonella have been as low as 1 percent contamination, down from 65 percent in certain locations. It is possible to reduce outbreaks of food borne illnesses and stop the use of chemical cleaning agents. Protect the health of America, improve trade relations, and stop the use of chlorine in slaughter houses.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Tomás Castelazo via Wikipedia