Open letter urges Congress to not use COVID-19 relief funds on factory farming
April 16, 2020
On March 26, the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) stimulus package was signed into law, including $23.5 billion for agriculture. On April 15, ProVeg, along with 53 other organizations, urged Congress with an open letter to prevent factory farms from receiving these COVID-19 relief and stimulus funds.
The letter notes that industrial animal agriculture is a major pollution source and a significant contributor to climate change. It also urged Congress to instead direct these funds toward small and mid-size farmers producing fruits, vegetables, and other climate-compatible plant-based foods.
Industrial meat and dairy farmers have benefitted from prior relief efforts, such as the $28 billion in subsidies provided last year. These subsidies, and the lack of equal funding for small farmers, are now being investigated by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
“It’s more clear now than ever before that intensive animal farming is a public health and environmental hazard. We can not squander this moment with ‘more of the same.’ “
Michael Webermann, US Executive Director of ProVeg International.
The letter also called on Congress to not allow industrial agriculture to use the global pandemic as an excuse to loosen existing environmental protection laws like the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act since the Environmental Protection Agency has recently announced it will stop enforcing many environmental protection rules.
We feel strongly that these funds shouldn’t be used to protect factory farming when climate-friendly small and mid-size farmers are struggling. And thanks to our supporters, ProVeg will continue to speak out on these issues and seek dialogue with politicians and stakeholders to improve the political framework for plant-based diets and food production.