Sunday, January 22, 2006

Taxation Without Representation

I had an interesting chat with our accountant's PR guy the other day ...about the Boston Tea Party (how we got on the subject is a long story that I won't get into here).

Since I didn't go to USA schools, I had only a general idea of what the Boston Tea Party was all about. Pat summed it up in 3 simple words:

"taxation without representation"

We've come a long way since those days, right?

...or have we?

When it comes to fighting industry giants in your own back yard, apparently not. Rural communities throughout the USA, not just here in small Jasper County, have been fighting large factory-style farms from coming into their neighborhoods for a long time now -- most without success.

Although the rural residents are the "victims" in each case, they have to go out and hire representation's not provided for them. Yes, these residents pay their taxes, and yet it appears to me they are a prime example of "taxation without representation" since in the majority of cases against these farms, the small taxpaying citizen generally ends up on the losing end of long battles, and surprisingly (or in Indiana at least, maybe not so surprising) most political reps are in favor of the factory farms.

But of course, they don't have to live next to a hog factory farm.

They know they cause problems for residents in areas where these farms spring up. They also know these factories cause harm to the environments and can also be harmful to health and welfare of residents and wildlife.

They know what's happening, and yet choose to stand by while these factories proliferate and pollute the land.

It's like having an elephant in your living room and pretending it isn't there. I'm no expert on USA history or politics, but I would think that sooner or later, even if they refused to see something was wrong, they would have to smell it, wouldn't you agree?

On a brighter note, I noticed pork sales dropped dramatically last month, even though hog slaughter remained seasonally heavy -- fresh ham prices plunged by $29/cwt. We've banned ALL PORK in our home until we can find a farm that produces it using traditional sustainable farming methods. Our neighbors are doing the same. Most all of our friends and family are doing the same.

We also have a personal ban on Hormel Food products, the company that uses PIC genetically engineered hogs from Belstra's operations (although they refused to confirm or deny this when I contacted them by email -- yet Belstra's website clearly indicates they are the buyer).

It's not much, but it feels better just knowing we aren't contributing to the factory farm problem -- that we're part of the solution, instead.

Ah well ...stay tuned as we go to the preliminary hearing coming up in just over a week.

Wish us luck. We're going to need it!


A friend said...

I wish you much luck in your fight against these horrible cafo's. Is there something that other people can do to support your cause? Is there an organization that is set up to help people in your situation? Have you visited the Grace family farm website dedicated to fight CAFO's?

kmyers said...

Thank you for your support. We truly do appreciate it! To answer your questions, I dedicated my next post to you - "Yes you can help stop CAFOs in Indiana" Again, thank you for your support and good wishes.

Chromatius said...

Do you guys have anything like the Farmers Market movement here in the UK? Link: Farmers Markets.

Basically small producers once a week come to town and sell direct. Of course in the UK (and Europe), we're used to buying food in open air markets.

kmyers said...

Great question -- and thank you for posting it. Where I live there isn't a regular farmer's market nearby, other than occassional fairs that breeze through during summer and fall months. However, there are certain States and some larger centers where Farmer's Markets are well established, some of which are open year round. If I could buy nothing but locally grown organic, believe me I most certainly would! Thanks again for your question.