Guest Post by Jerry James Stone
Let’s face it—this presidential election has been quite the three ring circus. From building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to Trump’s tiny little man-hands, I’ve enjoyed the whole show along with a bucket of buttery popcorn. Speaking of popcorn, that’s the one topic this election cycle has skipped. No, not popcorn. Food! For the most part, every presidential hopeful has stated where they stand on such issues as GMOs and labeling, but their views haven’t gained the attention of mainstream media as others have. Well, I’ve noticed and here they are served up.
Speaking of circuses, the GOP frontrunner declared he would stop attending Ringling Brother’s shows because they are phasing out the use of elephants due to animal rights. Plus he also wants to dismantle most government agencies (like the EPA) and even made up ones. It appears that he is anti-GMO, but a lot of his remarks on the technology have been made over Twitter. It’s hard to tell in only 140 characters. The one thing we know for sure about Donald Trump, when it comes to the future of food, is that no one really knows. Not even him.
The Texas Senator is a big supporter of GMOs and has gone on record against GMO labeling. “I don’t think the federal government should be mandating labeling that’s not driven by the sciences,” said Cruz during an interview last year. In fact, Cruz is against most regulation of any sort. He has outwardly opposed OSHA, the EPA and its Clean Water Act. He’s even been quoted as referring to the 2014 Farm Bill as the Food Stamps Bill. Chances are, if Senator Ted Cruz is elected president, we won’t know what’s in our food, where or how it was grown, or who even grew it.
During Clinton’s final years as the Senator of New York, she received a decent score from the Humane Society for her animal advocacy. Unfortunately, the candidate also supports GMOs and has some deep ties to Monsanto. However, her stance on labeling is murky. She was part of the Eggplant Caucus that fought to expand farm bill benefits beyond traditionally backed crops. If elected, she wants more funding for beginning farmers and even farmers markets. She also wants to provide increased benefits to farmers who conserve and improve their own farm’s natural resources.
Senator Sanders has cosponsored several bills on animal welfare with regards to agriculture, and is a strong advocate for their rights, especially when it comes to the treatment of chickens. “It is unacceptable that the top 10% of farms collect 75% of farm subsidies, while the bottom 62% do not receive any subsidies,” says Sanders. But his rural policy is light on details for changing this. He’s not anti-GMO but is a huge supporter of labelling. If elected, I look forward to seeing how the Vermont Senator pulls it all off.
Of course, this is not the first election where the future of food has been grossly ignored. But we are hopeful that once both parties have selected a nominee, food will make its way into the conversation.