Posted by: “Robert” email@example.com cohensmilk1
Sat Mar 5, 2011 1:01 am (PST)
Blowing Away Whistle Blowers
“Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.”
There are two sides to every story.
I’ll get to that midway into today’s column.
Was Daniel Ellsberg (of Pentagon Papers fame) a
hero or a villain? Was the recent WikiLeaks
scandal good or bad for America? Was my partial
release of the Richard/Odaglia/ Deslex study
(in which every lab animal got cancer when treated
with Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth
hormone) a necessary act of whistle blowing, or an
exercise in Economic Treason (as defined by the
Economic Espionage Act enacted by President Clinton
in Public Law #104-294 which became law while I was
arguing in federal court for the study’s release)?
I was willing to risk jail and test the law by giving
that study to the New York Times back in 1996. The Times
refused to print it after Monsanto exerted pressure.
How do I know for sure? One of my closest high school
friends (Kenny Richieri) is now the chief counsel for
the Times. Kenny told me.
One recent example of whistle blowing are the series
of undercover videos taken by animal rights activists
who got jobs working on farms after deceiving employers
of their true intentions. Having befriended many dairy
producers, and having visited their farm operations,
let me state from experience that dairymen care for
their animals and do not tolerate abuse of their
milking cows. What we often see is the exception to
the rule. It is bad business to kick an animal or prod
a milk producing cow with a pitchfork, as one farm
worker was recently filmed doing. Yet, many people
perceived those films as the standard operating procedure
in the dairy industry. It is not.
Yesterday (March 4, 2010), I learned that Iowa State
Representative Annette Sweeney had introduced a bill to
the Iowa House Agriculture Committee to punish animal
rights activists who gain “illicit employment” on Iowa
farms in order to film abuses. The bill is H.F. 431.
Upon learning of this effort to silence future whistle
blowers, I was outraged.
I was soon on the phone with Representative Sweeney,
who by the way, owns a cattle farm. Annette and her husband
and two sons run a purebred cow and calf operation. Before
she became a state representative, Annette served as the
Executive Director of the Iowa Angus Association.
During our telephone conversation, she listened to my points
and I listened to hers. Where ethics and moral behavior were
concerned, she made her points well. People who lie and
deceive in order to achieve their Machiavellian goals in which
the ends justify the means, are not acting with honor.
We learn in Kindergarten that it’s not nice to tell a lie.
That’s what undercover activists posing as farm workers
Do they sometimes find abuses? Of course they do, but so
far as I am concerned, the abuses are the rare acts of mad men.
It is the standard operating procedures of factory farms
that are more offensive to me than the rare abuses. Three
million cows will be culled from herds this year and each will
be stunned and then have her throat cut and some will gain
consciousness during the procedure. We do not need more films
of the day-to-day process. If you’ve seen one…
Annette Sweeney is my hero. Sure, she’s in a business that
I do not like, but she is an honorable woman. She has that same
spirit which once made America great, and she spent about 30
minutes speaking to me during two phone conversations. Isn’t
that the way our political system is supposed to work?
One of my closest dairy producing friends was Teresa Van Wagner.
While speaking to Annette Sweeney, I was impressed by that same
spirit I found in Teresa, who once wrote this editorial about our
Try to call your own state representative and see what level
of success you might gain for your effort. Annette Sweeney
was easy to reach, and we both enjoyed laughs and came to a
meeting of the minds.
People who lie to achieve their goals should be ready to face
the consequences. There are more honorable ways to conduct
business and politics, and I wish only that politicians
like Annette were the rule in America and not the exception.
Annette Sweeney reads her own email. To reach Iowa’s
assemblywoman with a promising political future: