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Fight DR-CAFTA after House passage

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  • Pamela Rice
    [NOTE TO VIVAVEGIE Yahoo! list: Please get involved with this issue. Call Adam Weissman (201-968-0595) to lend him your time and support. - Pamela Rice,
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2005
      [NOTE TO VIVAVEGIE Yahoo! list: Please get involved with this issue.
      Call Adam Weissman (201-968-0595) to lend him your time and support.
      - Pamela Rice, president, VivaVegie Society ........ PS: Thank you,
      Adam for a heroic job putting all of these organizations together for
      this issue.]


      [EXCERPT: Animal advocates denounced the passage of the Dominican
      Republic Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), which
      passed the House of Representatives last night (7/27/05) by a vote of
      217-215 as "a deadly disaster" for farmed animals and wildlife.
      ..... We ask that all members of Congress recognize nonhuman animals
      as stakeholders when weighing the costs of this agreement.]


      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

      This release was sent to the media on Thursday (7/28/05)

      News Release

      For Immediate Release 7/28/05
      Contact: Adam Weissman (201) 968-0595

      ANIMAL PROTECTIONISTS DECRY CONGRESS HOUSE VOTE ON DR-CAFTA

      Letter to Congress Opposing Agreement Signed by Over 100 Organizations

      Animal advocates denounced the passage of the Dominican Republic
      Central America Free Trade Agreement, which passed the House of
      Representatives last night by a vote of 217-215 as "a deadly
      disaster" for farmed animals and wildlife. Prior to the vote, a
      letter signed by over 100 animal organizations, including PETA, In
      Defense of Animals, Friends of Animals, and Farm Sanctuary, was sent
      every member of the House condemning the Dominican Republic-Central
      America Free Trade Agreement.

      Activists charge that that passage of the agreement will lead to
      massive expansion of cruel and unsanitary factory farm agriculture,
      an intensive confinement industrial production system responsible for
      the vast majority of pig, chicken, turkey, and egg products produced
      in the United States, but still uncommon in Central America.
      DR-CAFTA will force CAFTA countries to eliminate tariffs and sanitary
      barriers on US agricultural imports, allowing US agribusiness to
      flood these countries with cheap pork, beef, chicken, eggs, turkey,
      and dairy products. Latin American producers will be driven out of
      business or forced to adopt factory farm methods to remain
      competitive.

      Loss of habitat for terrestrial wildlife and marine life is also a
      concern for activists. The region provides critical habitat to over
      1000 bird species, over 600 species of reptiles, several hundred
      types of mammal, and countless species of insects. Marine life at
      risk includes sea turtles, manatees, fish, crabs, shrimp, and
      mollusks. Even pro-CAFTA US trade negotiators admit the "loss of
      migratory bird habitat" as a side effect of the treaty.

      DR-CAFTA offers strong protections to corporate investors, including
      investors in natural resource projects, including offshore oil
      drilling projects, but mandates no balancing increase in
      environmental protections. If DR-CAFTA passes, private corporations
      will be able to sue nations in international tribunals for tens of
      billions of dollars for refusing to allow ecologically destructive
      natural resource extraction projects that endanger wildlife. Under
      DR-CAFTA's predecessor, NAFTA, deforestation rates in Mexico nearly
      doubled, and DR-CAFTA is expected to have a similar impact in Central
      America.

      According to Adam Weissman of The Activism Center at Wetlands
      Preserve, one of the signing organizations, "As forests are destroyed
      and factory farms are expanded, DR-CAFTA will mean suffering and
      death for literally billions of animals. Congressmembers who voted
      for DR-CAFTA voted against animals."

      Only one animal advocacy organization, The Humane Society of the
      United States, supported the passage of DR-CAFTA. On July 1st, the
      Senate voted in favor of DR-CAFTA by a vote of 54-45. The bill will
      now be sent to President Bush to be signed into law. Websites on
      DR-CAFTA: http://stopcafta.org; http://citizen.org/trade/cafta;
      http://www.sierraclub.org/trade/cafta (text of the letter to congress
      and the complete list of signing organizations are available upon
      request.)

      -30-

      Sign on Letter for Animal Rights, Animal Welfare, and Vegetarian
      Organizations Opposed to DR-CAFTA


      Dear Member of Congress:

      We, the undersigned animal rights, animal welfare, and vegetarian
      organizations, are writing to express our opposition to the Dominican
      Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement.

      This agreement poses a serious threat to the welfare of billions of
      nonhuman animals, including farmed animals, marine animals, and
      terrestrial wildlife, as well as to human health and the environment.

      Expansion of Factory Farming

      Under DR-CAFTA, animal agribusiness interests view the elimination of
      import tariffs as an opportunity to dramatically increase exports of
      beef, pork, dairy, and poultry products and to undercut small farmers
      in Latin America using traditional agriculture methods. US
      agribusiness will flood Latin American markets with cheaply produced
      meat and dairy products created with cruel, industrial scale methods,
      including factory farm agriculture.

      Latin American producers using traditional methods fear that these
      cheap imports will force them to shift to a US-style intensive
      confinement factory farm systems to remain competitive. The high
      volumes of water used to clean these factory farms will be a serious
      concern for the environment and public health in areas lacking
      adequate water treatment facilities. Beyond absorbing market share
      from Dominican and Central American producers, agribusiness interests
      also view DR-CAFTA as an opportunity to dramatically increase
      consumption of animal products in Latin America by making cheap meat
      products more available. While this may be profitable, it will be a
      public health disaster for Latin America.

      Already, increased consumption of meat and dairy products in the
      Caribbean and Latin America have led to dramatic increases in
      diabetes and heart disease rates, with experts predicting that 62% of
      global diabetes will be in these regions by 2025.

      This increase in consumption will also mean increased production.
      This will guarantee more animal suffering and environmental
      degradation. Factory farm poultry and pork production are two of the
      most severe causes of water pollution in the US. Increased beef
      production will lead to the further degradation of rangelands,
      including taxpayer subsidized public lands.

      Marine Life Threatened by Expanded Fishing

      As commercial zones are increasing and regulatory controls are
      undermined, larger enterprises will move into areas previously zoned
      solely for small fisherman and their use of larger nets. This
      destructive practice not only catches more of the fish, it also
      sweeps up other species that have been left alone by small fisherman,
      like sea turtles. This is just one example of the ways in which plant
      and marine biodiversity is gravely threatened by CAFTA-DR.

      Weak Environmental Protections Endanger Wildlife

      According to the Sierra Club, "While [CAFTA countries (excluding the
      US)] account for less than one percent of the earth's land area, 8%
      of all the planet's biodiversity is found in this region, including
      some 24,000 plant species, over 1000 bird species, over 600 species
      of reptiles and several hundred types of mammals. Three out of four
      migratory bird routes in the Western Hemisphere pass through the
      CAFTA countries. Of the 836 migratory bird species that are listed in
      the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act, some 350 neo-tropical migratory
      species (mainly songbirds) migrate through or are winter residents of
      the CAFTA countries. Even the U.S. trade negotiators admit that CAFTA
      could contribute to the "loss of migratory bird habitat" through
      investments in the agricultural sector." Loss of habitat means
      starvation and death for their resident animals, making environmental
      preservation an animal rights issue as well as a conservation issue.

      DR-CAFTA's weak environmental protections, contrasted with its strong
      protections for corporate investors, provisions for corporations to
      sue countries over natural resource agreements, and ability for
      corporations to sue nations in international tribunals severely
      imperils protection of critical wildlife habitat areas. The
      agreement's sole environmental provision merely requires simply that
      countries enforce their existing environmental law, and even this is
      undermined by language that gives countries discretion on which laws
      they prioritize in allocating enforcement resources. DR-CAFTA
      requires that international enterprises be subjected to rules no more
      strict than those for national enterprise, despite the ongoing
      problem of flagrant abuse the law and environment national
      enterprises. Environmental enforcement is already lax in Central
      America and will not be up to the task of policing added
      environmental pressure from new investments under DR-CAFTA.

      The potential threat to the environment of this Chapter 11 expansion
      can be seen in the Harken Oil Case.As reported in the online
      environmental journal Grist, "Harken Costa Rica Holdings, a
      transnational corporation with close ties to Harken Energy of Texas,
      obtained an agreement to drill off the coast of Costa Rica,
      contingent on the outcome of an environmental assessment. When it was
      found that the drilling would pose a serious threat to the rich
      marine ecosystems of the Talamanca region, the Costa Rican government
      decided the drilling was contrary to its environmental law, and
      Harken was denied the right to drill. In response, Harken tried to
      bring an international suit against Costa Rica. It demanded the
      outrageous sum of $57[.5] billion to compensate for profits Harken
      would have made from the drilling. A stipulation in the contract
      forced the company to taken their suit to domestic courts in Costa
      Rica, but had CAFTA's investor rules been in place, Harken could have
      bypassed the domestic court system and taken the case straight to a
      NAFTA-style tribunal."

      With a GDP of only $38 billion, the threat alone would have forced
      Costa Rica to concede and settle, regardless of whether Harken would
      have been able to substantiate their case in the end. If the project
      had proceeded as intended, sea turtle nesting beaches, rare manatees,
      and over 100 species of fish would have suffered.

      Forests at Risk

      Forest ecosystems in Central America, including rainforests and
      coastal mangroves, represent critical and irreplaceable wildlife
      habitat. Already experiencing an unprecedented rate of destruction,
      DR-CAFTA will hasten the logging of these forests. Oxfam
      International has warned that DR-CAFTA may replicate the increased
      deforestation that came as a result of US corn dumping on Mexico.
      1.5 million small farmers were driven off their land. This led to an
      upsurge in tree clearing for farming and fuel. Subsequent to NAFTA"
      implementation, the annual rate of deforestation in Mexico rose to
      1.1 million hectares, practically doubling the pr-NAFTA rate of 600
      thousand hectares per year was practically doubled. Under DR-CAFTA
      this phenomenon is likely to be repeated with Central America's rice
      farmers. This will also hasten a trend already seen in El
      Salvador"as farmers are forced out of business by cheap agriculture
      imports, they move to the cities for work. Forested rural areas are
      cleared to open to roads and logged for development. DR-CAFTA will
      allow large-scale dumping of imported shrimp on the US, resulting in
      increased logging of Central American mangrove forests to create
      shrimp farms, destroying refuge and nursery grounds for juvenile
      fish, crabs, shrimp, and mollusks, and shelter for birds.

      We ask that all members of Congress recognize nonhuman animals as
      stakeholders when weighing the costs of this agreement. Mahatma
      Gandhi once said that, "The greatness of a nation and its moral
      progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Our
      nation must apply this principle to matters of international trade as
      well as domestic policy and members of Congress must vote "NO!" to
      this inhumane agreement.



      Signers

      National/International Organizations
      AESOP-Project [Allied Effort to Save Other Primates], San Antonio, TX
      American Anti-Vivisection Society, Jenkintown, PA
      Animal Protection Institute, Larkspur, CA
      Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, Davis, CA
      Catholic Concern for Animals-USA, Wayne, NJ
      Cetacean Society International, Georgetown, CT
      CIVITAS-USA, Swain, NY
      Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting, New Paltz, NY
      EarthSave International, New York, NY
      FARM (Farm Animal Reform Movement), Bethesda, MD
      Farm Sanctuary, Watkins Glen, NY
      Friends of Animals, Darien, CT
      God's Creatures Ministry, Wayne, NJ
      GourmetCruelty.com, Washington, DC
      In Defense of Animals, Mill Valley, CA
      Jews for Animal Rights, Marblehead, MA
      JVNA (Jewish Vegetarians of North America, Federalsburg, MD
      League of Humane Voters USA, New Paltz, NY
      National Humane Education Society, Charles Town, WV
      New England Anti-Vivisection Society, Boston, MA
      North American Vegetarian Society, Dolgeville, NY
      People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Norfolk, VA
      Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Washington, DC
      Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc., Glenside, PA
      Sled Dog Action Coalition, Miami, FL
      Society of Ethical And Religious Vegetarians, Staten Island, NY
      Student Animal Rights Alliance, New York, NY
      The Humane Farming Association, San Rafael, CA
      United Poultry Concerns, Machipongo, VA
      Vegan Research Institute, Jamaica Plain, MA
      Veggie Jews, San Francisco, CA
      VIVA! USA, Davis, CA
      Voice for A Viable Future, Alexandria, VA
      Wildlife Watch, New Paltz, NY

      Publications/Websites
      No Compromise, San Francisco , CA
      Satya, Brooklyn, NY
      Veg News Magazine, San Francisco, CA
      Vegan.com, Ithaca, NY

      Local Organizations
      Action for Animals Network, Alexandria, VA
      Activism Center at Wetlands Preserve, New York, NY
      Alliance for Animals, Milwaukee, WI
      Animal Acres, Acton, CA
      Animal Advocates of the Inland NW, Liberty Lake, WA
      Animal Defense League-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
      Animal Legislative Action Network, Los Angeles, CA
      Animal Protection and Rescue League, San Diego, CA
      Animal Protection of New Mexico, Albequerque, NM
      Animal Protection PAC, Manalapan, NJ
      Animal Rights and Rescue Coalition, Los Angeles, CA
      AOK (Animal Outreach of Kansas), McLouth, KS
      ARK (Animal Rights Kansas City), Olatha, KS
      Baltimore Animal Rights Coalition, Baltimore, MD
      Bleating Hearts Farmed Animal Sanctuary, Boulder, CO
      Boston Vegetarian Society, Cambridge, MA
      California Animal Defense & Anti-Vivisection League, Inc., Gardena, CA
      Cape Cod Coalition for Animal Rights, Centerville, MA
      Center on Animal Liberation Affairs, Syracuse, NY
      Central New York Earth First!, Syracuse, NY
      Cincinnati Animal Defense League, Cincinnati, OH
      Community Animal Project, Syracuse, NY
      Compassion Over Killing, Washington, DC
      Delaware Action for Animals, Wilmington, DE
      Division of Animal Welfare, Studio City, CA
      Earthsave New York City, New York, NY
      Eastern Shore Sanctuary and Education Center. Princess Anne, MD
      Feral Cat Caretakers Coalition, Los Angeles, CA
      Hacienda De Los Milagros, Inc., Chino Valley, AZ
      Houston Animal Rights Team, Houston, TX
      Ithaca Voices for Animals, Ithaca, NY
      John Marshall Animal Law Society, Chicago, IL
      League for Earth and Animal Protection, Sherman Oaks, CA
      League of Humane Voters of New York City, New York, NY
      League of Humane Voters of Ohio, Mayfield Heights, OH
      Liberation Collective, Portland, OR
      Live Oak Alliance
      Long Island Animal Defense League, Huntington, NY
      Mercy for Animals, Columbus, OH
      Michigan Animal Rights Society, Ann Arbor, MI
      Northern Ohio Wellness Connection, Walton Hts, OH
      Orlando Animal Rights Alliance, Orlando, FL
      PAWS (Progressive Animal Welfare Society), Lynnwood,. WA
      People for Animal Rights, Syracuse, NY
      Petstorecruelty.com, Annandale, VA
      Rattle the Cage Productions, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
      ROAR-USA, Cape May, NJ
      S.P.E.A.K., Chicago, IL
      San Diego Animal Advocates, San Diego, CA
      Showing Animal Respect and Kindness, Geneva, IL
      Sonoma People for Animal Rights, Sebastopol, CA
      Southern California Vegetarians, Los Angeles, CA
      Syracuse Animal Rights Organization, Syracuse, NY
      The Coalition for New York City Animals, Inc., New York, NY
      The Empathy Project, San Francisco, CA
      The Trixie Foundation, Webbville, KY
      Uconn Animal Rights Club, Storrs, CT
      Unitarian Universalists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals " Los Angeles,
      Los Angeles, CA
      United Federation of Teachers Humane Education Committee, New York, NY
      Veggies In Motion, Madison Heights, MI
      VivaVegie Society, New York, NY
      Voice for Animals, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
      Voices for Animals, Charlottesville, VA
      Woodstock Animal Rights Movement, Woodstock, NY
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