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Trump’s Proposed Cuts to Food Stamps Will Take School Lunches Away From 500,000 Children

August 20, 2019
Let them eat cake: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest federal nutrition assistance program in the United States, giving low-income individuals and families access to food via an Electronic Benefits Transfer card to make purchases in retail food stores. But now the Trump administration wants to cut “broad-based categorical eligibility” (BBCE), which allows states to expand access to qualified individuals and families. “By eliminating it, the administration is effectively creating a benefits cliff, where a parent’s small raise at work—or a modest amount of savings—could end up disqualifying a family from SNAP entirely,” writes Karen Dolan on Marketwatch. “That leaves them poorer for getting a raise or saving money, or else puts them at risk of their food aid falling through the bureaucratic cracks. … On moral grounds, it’s indefensible.” (Photo credit: Delaware Agriculture/Flickr)

CREDO: SNAP is one of the most effective and efficient ways to reduce poverty and boost the economy from the bottom. Currently, states have the leeway to allow people to access SNAP benefits (i.e., food stamps) while still building up some small savings for the future. But President Trump’s Department of Agriculture has a new proposal that would eliminate that flexibility and rip SNAP benefits away from more than 3 million people who rely on them for food security. In addition to robbing families and single adults of food security, changing who is eligible for SNAP benefits would also take school lunches off the trays of more than 500,000 children. This is unacceptable.
>>>Tell the Department of Agriculture: Don’t cut SNAP benefits.

Humane Society of the United States: Shark populations are in crisis due to the global trade in shark fins. Every year, fins from as many as 73 million sharks are traded throughout the world to satisfy the demand for shark fin soup. To provide these fins, fishermen often engage in shark finning—a horrific practice in which they cut off sharks’ fins, then toss the mutilated animals back into the ocean where they drown, bleed to death, or are eaten alive by other fish. The shark fin trade has also played a major role in the steep decline of shark species worldwide, some populations of which have dropped by as much as 90 percent in recent decades. Although shark finning is prohibited in American waters, the U.S. still has a bustling market for shark fins. Consumers in most states can buy them, and the U.S. is one of the world’s top importers of shark fins as well as a transit point for international shark fin shipments. That means the U.S. contributes to shark finning and dwindling shark populations elsewhere in the world. The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, H.R. 737 and S. 877, will help reduce this trade by prohibiting the import, export, possession, trade and distribution of shark fins and products containing shark fins—saving these animals from a devastating fate.
>>>Urge your representatives and senators to support H.R. 737 and S. 877 to stop the trade of shark fins in the United States.

Care2: Foie gras, which is French for “fatty liver,” involves force-feeding restrained ducks, or geese, by shoving metal pipes down their throats multiple times a day, called gavage, and pumping them full of grain, or corn and fat, which leads to acute hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease. As a result, ducks suffer from malfunctioning livers that are ten times their normal size, among other health problems that leave many unable to even breathe normally, or just stand and move around. Fortunately, the practice is considered so inhumane that it’s already been banned in a dozen countries, while several others have a ban on force-feeding. Now, New York City may be next to act. Following a major win in California with the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the state’s ban, Councilwoman Carlina Rivera has just introduced a bill that would ban the sale of foie gras in New York City over concerns about the cruelty involved in its production. If it’s passed, anyone found breaking the law will be facing fines of up to $1,000, up to a year in jail, or both. 
>>>Urge the NYC Council to ban foie gras.

Cause for concern…

Alarming air: A third of new annual cases of childhood asthma in Europe are caused by air pollution, according to a new study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health. The researchers also concluded that up to 11 percent of those cases could be prevented each year if European countries complied with air guidelines set by the World Health Organization. More than 63 million children across Europe suffer from asthma, the most common chronic disease in children. “Largely, these impacts are preventable and there are numerous policy measures which can reduce the ambient levels of, and children’s exposures to, outdoor air pollution,” said Haneen Khreis, lead author of the study and an associated researcher at the Center for Advancing Research in Transportation Emissions, Energy, and Health at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. “We can and should do something about it.” (Photo credit: Bread for the World/Flickr)

Round of applause…

Soil matters: There are numerous ways that conventional agriculture is destructive, illogical and inhumane. Monoculture reuses the same soil, leading to plant diseases. The indiscriminate use of pesticides poisons the waterways, wildlife and causes brain damage in children. Animals on factory farms are cruelly confined and experience immense suffering. Now a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change unveils the opinion of a panel of 100 scientists: Our broken food system is responsible for 37 percent of greenhouse gas emissions that are causing rampant global warming. Scaling up organic farming should be a part of the solution and can play a bigger role in food production. As EFL contributor Elizabeth Henderson points out in an op-ed in Truthout, “Organic farming has brought environmental benefits—healthier soils, freedom from toxic pesticides and herbicides—to 6.5 million acres in the U.S.,” adding that National Organic Program standards “require outdoor access for livestock, grass for ruminants and dirt for scratching for poultry.” (Photo credit: Brian Boucheron/Flickr)


The EFL article “10 Ways Andrew Wheeler Has Decimated EPA Protections in Just One Year,” by Elliott Negin (Truthout, July 11, 2019), incorrectly stated that “the design improvements automakers have made so far to meet the [fuel efficiency] standards have already saved drivers more than $86 trillion at the pump since 2012.” The correct figure is $86 billion. Sorry. It has been corrected. Thanks to EFL reader RexBC from Dallas for letting us know.

Parting thought…

“Almost every single major environmental problem could be solved by a global shift toward plant-based eating.” —James Cameron, foreword to “Food Is the Solution: What to Eat to Save the World,” by Matthew Prescott (Flatiron Books, 2018)

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