Did you know that a Supreme Court ruling on the beef checkoff program concluded that "Beef, It's What's for Dinner," has effectively become government speech?
Checkoff programs are a form of generic (or "brand-free") advertising funded by a collective agricultural industry such as dairy. Well-known advertisements such as "Got Milk?" or "Beef, It's What's for Dinner" are the result of these programs.
Current U.S. law makes it compulsory for agricultural producers to fund federal checkoff programs, and because it's compulsory, the government has a say in administering, overseeing, and approving the programs. This however, is the problem.
For decades, the government has had a vested interest in marketing the consumption of animal products, while also maintaining the responsibility of writing public health policies (such as U.S. dietary guidelines) and enforcing animal welfare laws. Even the agriculture industry points to the "collusive and illegal relationships between checkoff boards and lobbying organizations" and "conflicts of interest, misspending, and other abuses rampant in our beef checkoff program."
Checkoff programs spend a whopping $557 million each year to encourage us to eat animals and animal products. The price of this massive marketing program is passed onto customers, completing a never-ending cycle funded by its victims.
This conflict of interest has been allowed to continue for far too long.
We have not one but two golden opportunities to break the strangle-hold of multi-million dollar programs that encourage people to eat animals and animal products, and end a cycle of harm that is rampant with abuse.
Two new bipartisan bills have been introduced to stop this: the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act (H.R. 1753/S. 741) and the Voluntary Checkoff Program Participation Act (H.R. 1752/S. 740).
Together, these two bills have the power to enforce much needed transparency and abolish compulsorily funding However, neither of these reforms will stand a chance unless we act now and vocalize our support!
1) Calling is the one of the most effective actions you can do. Law makers may be able to filter or ignore emailed letters, but they can't avoid phone calls as easily. Please make a quick and polite phone call your U.S. Representative and your two U.S. Senators. Click on the link below to find the telephone numbers of your three federal legislators by clicking on the link below and choosing the Federal tab.
You can say: "As your constituent, I urge you to co-sponsor the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act, and the Voluntary Checkoff Program Participation Act. Reforming checkoff programs is a bipartisan measure that will please both fiscal conservatives and those who prioritize animal welfare. Please support these bills and do all that you can to push for their passage."
2) After your calls, please submit our letter.
Personalize and submit the letter below to email your comments to:
(Valid for U.S. addresses only - P.O. Boxes cannot be used*)
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Please Co-Sponsor the OFF Act & the Voluntary Checkoff Program Participation Act
Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
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