USTR's Pig Politics

A USTR factsheet on "U.S. Pork Industry & Trade" cheers America's annual export of over 700 thousand metric tons of pork, valued at more than $1.5 billion. This, claims USTR, generates "wealth and create[s] good paying jobs that contribute significantly to the economic well-being of rural America." But American family farmers don't benefit; it's the corporate agribusinesses that dominate the domestic and foreign markets, subjecting pigs to intensive confinement.

"Free" trade isn't free for small-scale
 family farmers. Reducing trade barriers
facilitates the flow of cheap
 pork products from animal factories.

USTR is brazenly using the Central America Free Trade Agreement to eliminate the "sanitary barriers" that contribute to American pork exports from being restricted in the region. "Sanitary" measures are rules on food safety to prevent the spread of diseases and toxins, through the food supply.

USTR is also trying to undermine "China's zero tolerance on pathogens (listeria and salmonella) in raw meat."

"Opening the Australian market for U.S. pork exports is a priority for the Bush Administration," says USTR. The U.S. won't let food safety issues interfere with our ability to flood a market with cheap hog factory pork: "Australia has sanitary/animal health barriers that keep imported pork out. USTR is pushing the Australian government to develop a new, science-based pork import policy." Rather than improve our food safety, the U.S. wants to force other nations to lower their standards. When scientific findings are not suitable to USTR, we simply challenge those findings as not being based on sound science.