It popped into my inbox like any other email. All I had to do to know what to expect was read the subject line: ‘Sign the petition: Test for roundup in our food.’
This email was from Friends of the Earth. Perhaps the only thing farmers and people on this group could agree on is in their tagline: ‘The biggest jobs on earth.’ After that Friends of the Earth and most ag groups go at protecting the earth in directions that are 180 degrees removed from each other.
Here’s an excerpt from the email, addressed to me, personally. “The USDA has been slacking off in protecting our food from toxic pesticides. Strangely while it tests food for many of the common pesticides used in agriculture, it doesn’t test for Monsanto’s Roundup (aka glyphosate)- the most widely used herbicide in the world. This needs to change.”
The email doesn’t end there. Here is perhaps the most blatant, obvious distortion of the truth, play on emotion and loose use of anything resembling facts, all rolled into one.
It continues: “Roundup is terrible for people and the planet. It’s a probable carcinogen. We are likely eating it every day in our food. And its’ massive overuse has destroyed critical habitat, leading to the decline of monarch butterflies.”
Proof? You won’t find any in this email or on the Friends of the Earth Website, at least not any most science-based people would consider credible.
Next there is the emotional tug. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Roundup in my food. Now, I need your help to demand that the USDA start testing for this toxic pesticide in our food supply!”
In this case, ‘help’ isn’t money, although the group will gladly accept it. There is a bright yellow ‘Donate’ tab prominently displayed at the top of their Website. No, they want you to sign a petition to the Secretary of Agriculture asking USDA to test for Roundup. You can click a link and read the petition. I did so, just to see what was there. It’s a real petition, and I hope I didn’t somehow sign it just by clicking on the site.
Dan Arnholt, a Columbus farmer, wrote about the need to contact legislators earlier in the week. Here’s exactly why they need to hear from farmers- because people on the other side definitely are contacting them. Fortunately, as Arnholt points out, legislators pay less attention to petitions and mail-in cards than to personal contacts from voting constituents.
Check out Friends of the Earth for yourself at foe.org. It’s always good to know what you’re up against in every situation.