Cory Booker becomes first vegan Senator on the Senate Agriculture Committee
This week Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) was appointed to the Senate Agriculture Committee. He was the first vegan senator to sit on the committee. Booker has been vegan since 2014 and has long been committed to reforming agricultural systems, especially factory farming, to create a more equitable food system for humans and animals. The newly elected Senator Ralph Warnock (D-GA) was also appointed to the Senate’s Agriculture Committee. This was the first time in the history of the committee that two black Americans served as members at the same time.
“Our food system is deeply broken. Family farmers are struggling and their farms are disappearing, while large agricultural conglomerates grow and make higher profits, ”said Booker said. “Meanwhile, healthy, fresh foods are hard to find in rural and urban communities and even harder to afford. In the richest country on earth, over 35 million Americans from all walks of life are food unsafe. “
Booker on factory farms
In 2019, the former presidential candidate proposed the Farm System Reform Act (FSRA), a new law aimed at moving animal husbandry away from factory farming. FSRA prohibits the opening of new large-scale concentrated animal feed operations (CAFOs) and limits the growth of existing CAFOs in the meat and dairy sectors. The bill also aims to phase out the largest CAFOs – as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency – by 2040 and hold large meat packers accountable for the pollution they cause. With his bill, Booker hopes to protect small pet owners, who are often contracted to and exploited by large companies. Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the FSRA received support from other members of Congress, including Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and House Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA), who presented accompanying laws to the FSRA in the House of Representatives.
After slaughterhouses became COVID-19 hotspots last year, Booker also introduced the Safe Line Speed Act under the COVID-19 Act, which aimed to protect workers, animals and consumers from the dangers posed by higher line speeds in Poultry, pig and beef slaughterhouses are established. “The fact is, our current food system is linked to so many issues of justice in America: racial justice, health justice, environmental justice, economic justice,” Booker said in a keynote address at the National Food Policy Conference in July. “And our food system is fundamentally broken. It doesn’t reflect our collective values. And it is not a dramatization to say that the way we produce and consume food in this country is literally a matter of life and death. “
Booker on Racial Justice
Throughout his political career, Booker has spoken about the inequalities black Americans face, including in the agricultural sector. In November, Booker, along with Warren and Senator Krisitin Gillibrand (D-NY), introduced the Justice for Black Farmers Act (JBFA) to end racist practices that have resulted in great land loss and generational wealth for blacks Farmers. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Booker plans to promote a revised version of JBFA through Congress.