Politicians and Big Ag Kill Rule to Save Children’s Lives
Washington — Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department scuttled a proposed rule that would have saved the lives of 85 children every year and prevented thousands more children from grave injuries requiring hospitalization, by prohibiting corporate farms from assigning them to the most dangerous forms of agribusiness labor. The First Focus Campaign for Children and a coalition of children’s advocates, faith groups, human rights champions, and advocates for working families backed the proposal, which exempted children working on family farms owned by their parents. First Focus Campaign for Children also supports legislation (the CARE Act, H.R. 2234) sponsored by U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal Allard, that includes this protection. But big agribusiness interests and their allies in Congress aggressively opposed it. Leading the opposition were the American Farm Bureau Federation, which is closely linked with corporate agribusiness giants like Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT). In response to the Obama Administration’s decision, First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley issued the following statement.
“Children’s advocates expect better from national leaders than caving to political pressure from special interests and their lobbyists, when the facts are crystal clear and children’s lives are on the line. Members of Congress who are committed to putting children’s lives ahead of politics should overrule this decision by demanding an immediate vote on the CARE Act. And children’s advocates will continue to push to prevent the needless suffering, injury, and death of young workers and hold the Farm Bureau and policymakers accountable for ensuring the safety of all children.”
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