Beast Banner April 2007
ISSUE #115
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Features

ArrowPresident Rubber vs. Speaker Glue
Pelosiís scarf and GOP barf

Allan Uthman

ArrowIn Defense of Ann Coulter?
Conservatives have a right to be assholes, just like real people

Paul Fallon

ArrowWithdrawal Symptoms
Iraq timetable’s a political fix

Matt Taibbi

ArrowJesus Christ!
People will believe anything

Ian Murphy

ArrowWhat, Me Worry?
Iranians aren’t scared of a U.S. attack

Russ Wellen

ArrowLandslide of Failure
The battle for election integrity is led by... the Governor of Florida?

Brad Friedman

ArrowDeregulation Killed my Cat
Food contamination: the Bush legacy

Allan Uthman

ArrowThe Whining Minority
Republican congressman turns from bully to baby

Matt Taibbi

ArrowIt's tax time again and I want to maul you
A.Rabid Dog

ArrowContradictum
Self-refuting quotations from the world of politics

ArrowBonobos vs. Chimps
A Debate for Lemur Philosophers

A. Monkey

Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 3
Censored Chocolate Jesus

ArrowKino Korner: Movies
Are We Done Yet?, Grindhouse, Blades of Glory, Pride, Reign Over Me, The Lookout, The Reaping, Perfect Stranger, Vacancy, Fracture

ArrowBEAST-O-Scopes
As divined by your ethereal guide

Arrow[sic] - Letters
A Very Thin Hope, Classy, Mile High Club, Equal Rights Harassment, Kiwi Fruit and more

  Deregulation Killed my Cat
Food contamination: the Bush legacy
Allan Uthman

dead catLast November’s mid-term election gains for Democrats, we were told repeatedly at the time, were all about the war. Just the war, and nothing domestic. But while all eyes are supposedly focused overseas, the Bush administration has all along been quietly destroying the regulatory systems put in place by better men to protect Americans from the ravages of capitalist extremism.

Virtually every department, from the FDA to the EPA, is a shameless mockery of its former self. The Labor Department invites the eradication of whistleblower protections. The EPA lobbies against its own obligation to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The FDA approves drugs against its own advice. The USDA’s lax inspection practices allow tainted produce and Mad Cow meat to enter our food supply. And now they’re killing our pets.

In every way during this pet food debacle, the FDA has served not to inform or protect consumers, but to withhold and obfuscate information, and to protect the corporations involved. At every turn, while people scrambled for information, the FDA’s stance was a cowardly defensive crouch, releasing data in drips and drabs, only when forced to by external reports.

For one, while news agencies have dutifully reported that the FDA could only confirm 14 or so deaths, those deaths were only the ones that occurred in Menu foods’ test labs after the contamination was discovered. Menu started testing the food a week after the first reported death, on February 20th, according to the FDA. It was March 16th when the recall started. Since then, the FDA has stuck to its “only 14 confirmed deaths” hokum. In fact, veterinary chain Banfield estimates that about 39,000 pets have died so far. Some of these deaths might have been averted if the FDA wasn’t consciously dragging its feet at every turn—in identifying the companies and products involved, in portraying the threat realistically rather than diminishing it, and in doing these things in a timely manner.

The big problem here is that the tainted wheat gluten was listed as “food grade”—that is, suitable for human consumption, and shipped to plants that make products for humans as well. Of course, the FDA says, of course, it has “nothing to indicate” that the stuff is in our food supply, but how can anyone believe that now, when they have been so slow to acknowledge the scale of the scandal so far?

This is the result of year after year of the Bush administration doing everything possible to cripple its own regulatory bodies—we are not safe from our own food, and the government is moving to obscure, not address, that fact. That sandwich you ate for lunch may be poisoning you, and you may never find out about it. You surely won’t if the FDA has any say in the matter.

This is deregulation. Sleeping pills that cause people to cook and drive while unconscious. Usurious interest rates that force careless youths into a lifetime of debt. An EPA that is illegally shutting down and dismantling its own libraries. Fish that give you brain damage. Pet food that kills pets. Spinach that kills people. This is the magic of the free market. This is the Reagan revolution in full ascendance. Massive multi-merged companies are in the clear. You and me? We’re on our own.

 

 

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