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John Block Reports from Washington

RSS By: John Block,

John Block has dedicated his professional career to the fields of agriculture, food and health.

Controversial Issues in Agriculture

Dec 08, 2011


I am sometimes asked if I receive any critique on my radio commentaries. The answer is “yes.” The program is aired on more than 500 radio stations in 30 states. Some listeners agree and some disagree. The one issue where I have taken the most flack has been on immigration. I just don’t believe it is practical to suggest that we can uproot 12 million illegals and ship them back to where they came from.
Another issue that has been bouncing around Washington and the World Trade Organization for more than five years is country of origin labeling. We got into trouble because we passed a law which required that beef and pork shipped into the U.S. has to be labeled with the country where it comes from. I never believed that law was good for American agriculture. We export 30 percent of what we produce. We don’t want other countries to label our product going into their country. It’s just another useless regulation. A lot of my listeners were never happy with my position on that issue. Just last week, the World Trade Organization ruled that our labeling law violates WTO rules. Maybe we can get rid of the law now.
Another subject where I have pretty strong support in rural America is the horse slaughter issue. I believe that horses are personal property – like cows or pigs. If there is a market for the meat, you should be able to sell your horses to a processing plant. We can export the meat. The French and Italians and Japanese can’t get enough horse meat.
Through the efforts of the animal rights organizations, the Humane Society, etc., we lost this right six years ago. The consequence has been more suffering for the unwanted horses. Last year, more than 160,000 head were shipped to Mexico and Canada where slaughter is legal. That meant that the owners got about half as much money for their horses. They weren’t all sent to Mexico and Canada. Some were just turned loose. Some were euthanized. Some were just shot and buried in the back 40. Do the animal rights groups think that is humane?
It looks like now the U.S. Congress may open the door for our own processing plants in the U.S. However, the question now is whether the states will allow a horse processing plant. Some states already have laws against it.
This is an issue that is not going away any time soon. With all the concern about feeding the world, here we are willing to waste a food supply because we can’t stand to send Trigger to the processing plant. We don’t have any trouble processing our beef and pork.
In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to
Until next week, I am John Block in Washington.


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