Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
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Dear PCRM Legislative Focus supporter,

This summer, Congress has been focused on passing the Farm Bill, a massive, multiyear piece of legislation that authorizes all farming, conservation, and nutrition programs. The Farm Bill is a $500 billion piece of legislation that has a huge impact on the nation’s food supply. Its commodity programs create incentives for farmers to grow certain foods, while its nutrition programs decides which foods to feed to our children through the National School Lunch Program and low-income families through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

PCRM has been working to incorporate our “Healthy Basics” plan into the Farm Bill, and we will keep you apprised of our efforts, but in the meantime, I wanted to share with you a few developments.

I know you have been following our campaign against the government’s spending of billions of taxpayer dollars on agricultural subsidies that support production of unhealthy meat and dairy products. We have been sharing our report on Capitol Hill that demonstrates how the farm subsidy system overwhelmingly favors meat and dairy production, and it appears that someone has been listening. The Farm Bill has not been finalized—it is at different stages in the legislative process in the House and the Senate—but here is what we know so far:

  • The House and Senate Farm Bills both eliminate the most wasteful form of subsidy—direct payments. So congratulations! In the world of politics, however, there is no such thing as a clean victory. While the Farm Bill has eliminated these subsidies, they have shifted much of the funds toward other programsnew forms of crop insurancethat continue to prop up the meat and dairy industries. Please send your member of Congress an e-mail, urging support for H.R. 6098, the Crop Insurance Subsidy Reduction Act, which will reduce taxpayer subsidies for crop insurance.
  • The House Agriculture Committee passed an amendment offered by Rep. Tim Johnson (R-Ill.) that authorizes $5 million to “provide incentives for consumption of fruits and vegetables among low-income individuals.” We have a different proposal to help low-income families eat more healthfully. Further, $5 million is only a fraction of what the SNAP program costs ($78 billion in 2011), but in this Congress, any increase in funding to support healthy eating is a development worth noting.
  • Lastly and perhaps most urgently, the Agriculture Committee also passed a dangerous amendment by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) that would prohibit any state or local government” from “impos[ing] a standard or condition on the production or manufacture of any agricultural product sold or offered for sale in interstate commerce.” What this means is that a state cannot pass its own laws regarding farming practices (factory farming), food safety (antibiotics overuse), or food usage (California’s foie gras ban). In addition to our concerns regarding this amendment’s impact on our efforts to create healthier school lunches and SNAP choices, this amendment clearly oversteps the bounds of the U.S. Constitution. Please ask your U.S. Representative to strip the King amendment from the Farm Bill today. This one could have far-reaching consequences, and we desperately need your support.

At this time, the Farm Bill is in limbo. The Senate has passed their version, but the House won’t vote on it. Meanwhile, the version that came out of the House Agriculture Committee is being criticized from both the right and the left. It is impossible to predict how this will play out, so all of the developments listed above are still tentative. As always, we promise to keep you updated on these and all our other campaigns, which you can read about below. Thanks you for all that you do.

Sincerely,
Elizabeth Kucinich
Elizabeth Kucinich
Director of Government and Public Affairs


Major Progress for Animals and Troops

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Our efforts to convince the Department of Defense to improve its medical training and stop using live animals for military medical training is picking up steam. As a reminder, more than 7,500 goats and pigs are usedand killedevery year in these courses, some of them in particularly gruesome ways. In some courses, the animals are shot in the face or have their legs cut off with tree trimmerswhile trainees are instructed to simply keep them alive as long as possible.

Using animals in this way is not only cruel but also bad training. Can you imagine learning how to perform an emergency airway on a goat and then having to save a soldier’s life with that training? 98 percent of civilian trauma training courses have switched to using only superior medical simulation, and it is time for the Department of Defense to do the same.

Following the momentum in the House of Representatives, now the Senate is taking action. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has introduced a Senate companion bill. We need you to urge your senators to support the bill, so we can pass it before the end of the year. Please call your senators today and urge them co-sponsor S. 3814, the BEST Practices Act.


Making History for Chimpanzees–Sign our Petition!

Chimpanzee

When the 112th Congress began last January, we made a decision to make passage of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act our top legislative priority. After amassing more than 165 co-sponsors in the last Congress, it felt like this bill’s time had come. The bill is based on science and ethics, but it would also save American taxpayers around $25 million a yeara crucial element to getting a bill passed in this political climate.

We are seeing some definite progress. In April, the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) held a hearing on the bill. In fact, Dr. Martin Wasserman, a member of PCRM’s Physician Steering Committee, was one of the key witnesses. And last month, the bill was officially reported favorably out of that committee, and it is currently awaiting action on the Senate floor.

When working on this issue, it’s important to remind ourselves that there are individual humans and chimpanzees whose lives are at stake herepeople and animals who feel and suffer. Last month, I toured the BIOQUAL laboratory in Rockville, Md., which held 15 young chimpanzees recently used in experiments. While the NIH continues to waste $25 million per year warehousing chimpanzees in U.S. laboratories, necessary and effective research goes unfunded.

Now that their experiments are finished, BIOQUAL is shipping these youngsters to New Iberia, a research lab in Louisiana that has been cited numerous times for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. At New Iberia, the “Rockville 15” will be housed in cages for as long as chimpanzee experimentation is legal. With the scientific community saying we don’t need to use chimpanzees, there is no reason why New Iberia should keep them. They should be retired now.

Please sign this petition to NIH Director Francis Collins that asks him to free the Rockville 15. While we are working to end chimpanzee experimentation for all, these 15 need our help today. When you have signed, please share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere!


PCRM Announces 112th Congress Scorecard

PCRM Scorecard

At the end of the 112th Congress, PCRM will be issuing its 112th Congress Legislative Scorecard, in which we compile votes and co-sponsorship of bills that accurately represent PCRM’s mission. We will score bills on nutrition, research, and education in the hopes of holding Congress accountable for the thousands of calls and e-mails sent by PCRM members.

How do you get a copy of the scorecard? According to our reading of IRS rules, we can only distribute the scorecard to members who have contributed at least $20 to PCRM in the last year (from when it goes out). To make sure you will be eligible to receive the scorecard, please make a contribution today, and then look for the scorecard in January!


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The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine's effective policy work on behalf of members of the medical and scientific community and concerned citizens has established us as leaders in promoting responsible food policies, modernizing research methods, and elevating ethical research standards.

PCRM • 5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W. • Suite 400 • Washington, D.C. 20016

Contact: 202-686-2210 • info@pcrm.org


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Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Ste.400, Washington DC, 20016
Phone: 202-686-2210 Email: pcrm@pcrm.org

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