Fact or Fiction?

The Bellingham Herald should fact check their guest editors.  On Tuesday Tip Johnson wrote a three column Whatcom View Piece to scare the city folks about new slaughterhouses in Whatcom County. As usual Mr. Johnson began with epidemics of world-wide proportion.1719759

The Truth: Cholera bacterium exist in nature. Outbreaks appear to begin in the regions of India and Africa. The bacteria  can infect any animal, but it is human infection that most often transmits the bacteria to epidemic proportions. We counter this natural occurrence by treating our drinking water , installing good sanitation systems, and practicing good hygiene.

The Truth:  The last cholera outbreak in the United States occurred in 1910-1911. Yes, that is one hundred and two years ago.  This was part of a larger cholera pandemic that began in India in 1899 and eventually spread into Europe.  A steamship brought cholera infected people to New York City from Naples.  Health authorities quarantined the infected.  Eleven people died.

I am not quite sure why anyone with any understanding of history or pandemics would have read any further.  However, if like me you found yourself mesmerized by the lie linking cholera directly to cows, the rest of the article read like a pulp fiction novella.  Evil slaughter houses that flaunt the rules and poison the earth, a recalcitrant petitioner, unimaginable odors wafting over Bellingham, 88,000 acres of pristine farmland taken over by 88,000 slaughterhouses.  But have no fear Mr. Johnson and his league of lawyers have rushed in to save the day.  With absolutely no useful knowledge of today’s agricultural economic and environmental successes or the plethora of laws and agencies that already exist to protect our food and water sources, they have swept in and threatened to sue the County Council.

An even better idea is put forward, let’s pander to the popular idea that elected officials are inept and take it to a vote of the people.  If voters take the time to update themselves from their typical 1930’s Upton Sinclair  view of agriculture we could put this to a county vote. There are many of us in the farm and ranching communities who would love it if the city came out of the bucolic fog they have been blissfully living in. But that takes time and time is money and will keep local food off your table and continue the environmental damage of shipping cattle out of county for slaughter and shipping the meat back in.  It will continue the practice of placing waste in landfills rather than taking a more holistic approach to our use of meat products.

So if you like pulp fiction read the Bellingham Herald’s Whatcom View.  If you want truth, do your own research and urge your county council to move forward to create good jobs and keep our “buy local” community thriving.  BTW; that’s one of the few really good things I believe that Sustainable Connections have done for Whatcom County.

~Lorraine Newman

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