June 1999 Volume 6, Number 5
Pig Suit Suits Club
A stench so strong it made people physically ill was wafting from several Continental Grain Co. hog factories in Missouri. So the neighbors sued - and in April a jury in the St. Louis Circuit Court awarded $100,000 each to 52 farm families, a total of $5.2 million.
The Club - and its Ozark (Missouri) Chapter in particular - is actively fighting these polluting mega-farms, and most recently helped shape the Clinton administration's strategy for regulating them ("Big-Pig Strategy a Mixed Bag," May 1999 Planet).
The Ozark Chapter was not part of the suit, but was supportive of the family farmers who filed it. The Associated Press quoted Scott Dye, the chapter's agricultural coordinator, saying, "Rural America will no longer tolerate the destruction of its clean air, clean water and rural values for the sake of corporate greed."
A week after Earth Day, the Sierra Club joined the 85-member Dolphin Safe/Fair Trade Campaign to denounce the Clinton administration's decision to weaken the standards for the "dolphin safe" label on American tuna cans. The decision was made to avoid a challenge in the World Trade Organization; Mexico, Columbia and Venezuela claim the label program is a trade barrier.
Tuna often swim with dolphins, and some fishermen catch tuna by encircling dolphins in giant nets. Previously, the dolphin-safe tuna label couldn't be used on tuna caught this way.
More than 7 million dolphins have been killed in 40 years by the international tuna fishery, but since the label program began, deaths have dropped by 97 percent.
The new standards allow cans to display the label if ship-board observers do not actually see dolphins killed or injured while using the dolphin-encirclement method. But observers can't possibly see what happens to dolphins that are chased by speedboats over miles of open ocean and encircled in nets up to a mile in length.
The three leading U.S. tuna canners - StarKist, BumbleBee and Chicken of the Sea - have said they will continue to sell only tuna caught without dolphin encirclement.
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