Jewish World Review Oct. 12, 2001 / 25 Tishrei, 5762
Robert L. Haught
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- THESE are tense times in the nation's capital. The dangers from abroad are ever threatening. Critical decisions are being made that affect the lives of Americans. Nowhere is this more evident than in the chambers of Congress.
Let's look in on a colloquy in the House of Representatives among Reps. Charles Pickering, R-Miss., Marion Berry, D-Ark., and Mike Ross, D-Ark.:
Pickering: In December 2000, the Food and Drug Administration made a unilateral decision to allow the Vietnamese to label basafish as catfish. Now, this is equivalent to allowing water buffalo to be imported into this country under the label of beef. Since that time we have seen false, deceptive and misleading labeling of this product. For example, we have Cajun delight catfish, we have Delta fresh-farm raised catfish, and I can tell my colleagues that we do not have these fish raised in the Mississippi Delta. It is misleading. This amendment will require the labeling of the Vietnamese import to be basa, as it should be.
Berry: The Vietnamese basafish are raised using cages thrown into the Mekong River, one of the most polluted watersheds in the world.
Ross: The truth is, it is not catfish. In fact, American farm-raised catfish and Vietnamese so-called catfish are no more related than a cat is to a cow.
This was followed shortly by a debate on a topic which is foremost in our minds these days: the movement of trained attackers in the nation's transportation system. Participating were Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Larry Combest, R- Texas:
Blumenauer: One area of overwhelming consensus on the part of the American public is for the protection of animals, and there is an almost universal aversion to barbaric sport like dog fighting and cockfighting. We have done our job as it relates to dogs. We have not as it relates to the practice of cockfighting.
Male chickens are bred to display traits of hostility. They are trained to fight, and then they are armed with pikes or knives to maim other roosters.
In the states where the practice is legal, just the three of them, the cockfighting activities, the arenas, the pits have developed around the borders of the state. So like in Texas, people come across the border into Oklahoma and engage in the practice. It is not just the barbaric act on the animals themselves, but there is a great deal of illegal gambling.
We do not allow transportation across state lines of dogs for fighting purposes. We should do the same thing as it relates to cockfighting. Take the federal government out of the business of aiding and abetting this three-century legacy of shame.
Combest: The amendment would have a chilling effect on transportation of other birds. Many poultry breeders, including those breeding game birds, voluntarily participate in the National Poultry Improvement Program. This program's mission is to certify all baby chicks, poults and hatching eggs for interstate and international movement. Criminalizing interstate shipment of game birds may dissuade game breeders from participating in the program, which could have certainly some impact on the industry.
Both of these amendments to the Farm Security Act of 2001 passed last week, as did a provision allowing horse breeders to apply for a government loan if 30 percent or more of their mares fail to produce live, healthy foals. This just goes to show that Congress can support a war and still take care of constituents.
The legislation also revised the farm subsidy program to make the nation's 25,000 peanut producers eligible for an estimated $3.5 billion in government payments. Approval was virtually assured after a lobbyist uttered these immortal words: "The peanut butter and jelly sandwich is as American as apple pie."
Who could argue with such a patriotic
10/05/01: Lincoln had some memorable things to say about war