To the editor:
An open letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue:
I urge you to work against relief funding for industrial production of our meat supply.
Factory farms not only produce zoonotic disease that can turn pandemic but also affect people through decreased ability to treat everyday diseases due to antibiotic-resistance, pollution of air and water, and the victimization of the farmers who enter this vertically integrated system.
We need to take care of our communities, not send our tax money overseas to enrich multinational corporations who see only profits, not pain of communities.
We need sustainable systems to increase soil health, keep our water supplies safe and abundant and entice our young to return to their rural communities, while keeping our precious antibiotics for people, not animals.
This pandemic shows how important these values are. The propping up of unsustainable food production via crammed barns of livestock is not.
Secretary Purdue, look beyond the powerful glow of large agribusiness corporations and see the eyes of the folks who walk the fields, handle the manure of animals responsibly and pick the crops while watching their finances drop.
Small- and mid-sized farmers who are on the cusp of demise, even without this latest crisis, are doing essential work for the benefit of people, not profit-centers in other countries.
Please support taxpayer-funded relief to those who do the work, not those who reap the cream off the top and leave us with the dregs!