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Moscow Babylon July 25, 2002
Chicken McShitlets
Would You Like Salmonella Sauce With That, Russia? By Mark Ames Browse author Email
Page 3 of 3
The chicken industry is also the single most hazardous industry for workers. One in six workers become injured. A large number are immigrants, legal and otherwise, who are grossly underpaid. There are constant lawsuits, even today, against the large producers to force them to pay workers for forced overtime. Horror stories of employees gaining little or no compensation from workplace accidents abound, but OSHA inspectors are all but banned.

Among the proposals that the Russians are making are to provide federal, and not industry-hired, inspectors; provide complete lists of antibiotics in the chicken feed, and ban those deemed harmful to humans; and prepare a new forge-proof health certificate for the meat (Kouznetsov said that the Russians found numerous forged documents from American shippers).

Reaching an agreement has been difficult. "In the evening, we'll come to an understanding, and in the morning the Americans will return and reverse their positions," Kouznetsov said.

This is incredible: a supposedly barbarian country, Russia, imposing stricter, and saner, inspections on its meat, and demanding that America do the same.

In other words... WHEN IT COMES TO POULTRY, RUSSIA IS MORE CIVILIZED, AND MORE CONCERNED FOR ITS CITIZENS' WELFARE, THAN AMERICA! Doesn't that go against the stereotype Americans have of Russia, and of themselves? Not only that -- isn't anyone pissed off that the reason people get more ill more often is because the government has colluded with the food industry to put us all at risk? And now Russia is being asked to do the same?

Russia isn't the only country afraid of American poultry. US chicken meat is essentially banned from most of the First World for exactly these reasons. Half of all US poultry exports, some $800 million, went to Russia before the ban. Other major consumers are Mexico, Hong Kong, Eastern Europe "and other assorted scalawags," as Chopper said.

Only Americans seem to be okay with this. That's because, in large part, the media and the government are in the meat producers' pockets. Investigative pieces into the workings of the meat and agriculture industry are usually met with shareholder-frightening lawsuits. There have been several cases of journalists' careers destroyed for investigating the likes of Monsanto.

Over the past decade, the agro-industry pushed through "veggie libel laws" in thirteen states. According to Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation, "These laws make it illegal to criticize agricultural commodities in a manner inconsistent with 'reasonable' scientific evidence. The whole concept of 'veggie libel' is probably unconstitutional; nevertheless, these laws remain on the books. Oprah Winfrey, among others, has been sued for making disparaging remarks about food. In Texas, a man was sued by a sod company for criticizing the quality of its lawns. In Georgia and Alabama, the veggie libel laws have been framed in imitation of British libel law, placing the burden of proof upon the defendant. In Colorado, violating the veggie libel law is now a criminal, not a civil, offense. Criticizing the ground beef produced at the Greeley slaughterhouse could put you behind bars."

This might explain why Americans aren't bothered -- they don't know about it. Indeed, a PCRM survey last year found that 84% of Americans didn't know that foodborne pathogens are passed through feces on the food. In fact, they don't even know that the chicken they buy at the store is literally swimming in shit, pus and vomit.

The agriculture industry succeeded in subverting the American Constitution and put Americans' lives in danger in order to boost profits. Why, they must be thinking, can't we do the same in Russia? If they can do it in America, surely, they can do it anywhere they please.

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