No Poison Pig - 05 October 2020
Petition: No to poisonous pork, fight for health and democracy
President Tsai Ing-wen recently announced by Executive Order the establishment of a safety margin for the importation of ractopamine from pork and the relaxation of the importation of U.S. beef over 30 months of age. We are very sorry and disturbed that the lifting of the ban, which poses a significant risk to the health of our citizens, is so rash and the basic values of the democratic process are being completely trampled.
Ractopamine has been banned in more than 160 countries, including China and the European Union, and no ractopamine is used in U.S. pork exports to China. Ractopamine is considered to be potentially dangerous for patients with cardiovascular, kidney, liver and metabolic diseases and should be avoided, as well as for infants and children under the age of 18 months and nursing women.
90% of Taiwan’s consumption of pork is domestically produced with high quality. Currently, the price of U.S. pork that does not contain ractopamine is already almost half of the production cost of domestically produced pork. The U.S. pork that contains ractopamine will bring more serious price competition to the high quality domestically produced pork, and hence treat the entire industry. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government must clearly explain to the public why Taiwan needs to open up the importation of pork containing ractopamine.
In addition, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shi-Zhong declared that there is no health concern even if people eat ractopamine-containing pork for hundreds years. The Ministry of Health and Welfare also released a health risk assessment report, stated that even if pregnant women eat all imported beef, pork and offal, the cancer risk is still within an acceptable range. However, at the same time, the Ministry of Education publicly stated that all schools will use domestically produced high-quality pork and beef so that children and parents can have no worry with that. The mayors of counties have also promised that the nutritious lunches in schools will definitely use domestically produced pork and beef rather than U.S. ractopamine-containing pork. We are very puzzled. If ractopamine is so safe, as guaranteed by Mr. Chen, then why it is forbidden in school.?
Moreover, the Agriculture Committee has also issued an order that pigs can use ractopamine, but Chairman Chen Jizhong said he would never allow the domestic industry to apply for it. We do not understand that If the U.S. ractopamine-containing pork can be imported then why the domestic pork cannot have ractopamine in it. The DPP government should make it clear that the importation of ractopamine-containing meat should be suspended until an unanimous understanding of Taiwanese people is reached.
We cannot accept the sacrifice of democratic values, people’s health, and farmers’ interests in exchange for the opportunity of trade negotiations between Taiwan and the United States, and we believe that trade negotiations must also reach a consensus under an open and democratic mechanism.
Even though the people’s voice is small and may not have any influence on the government, those in power should have the heart to love the people. Here we call on President Tsai to rein in before it is too late, not to betray democratic values and the health of the people, and to give up partisan interests in order to seek the greatest welfare of Taiwanese people.
We are not silent, and we will speak out to the ruler together.
Three major demands:
- Begin U.S.-Taiwan trade talks first, then discuss U.S. pork and beef liberalization.
- Conduct health risk analysis and risk communication on ractopamine in accordance with OIE regulations; suspend the opening of ractopamine-containing pork imports until the health risk assessment report is approved by the public.
- The lifting of the ban on ractopamine pork and cattle imports should be subject to congressional review and oversight to uphold basic democratic values.
Sponsoring Organizations: Taiwan Farmers Union, Pingtung Environmental Protection Alliance, Home of Green Farmers, People’s Supervisory Union, Changhua Medical Union
Organizations and individuals that have signed the petition: Taiwan Rural Front, Taiwan Small Farmer Friendly Environment Association, Taiwan Parents for Good Health, Taiwan Land Justice Action Alliance, Dr. Su Weishuo, Dr. Yang Ru-Men, Menon Adhesive Association, New International Theory and Research Center, Taoyuan City Industry Federation, Taoyuan Aquaculture and Fisheries Development Association, Left Wing Alliance, Taiwan Auto Freight Warehousing Union, Yilan County Industry Federation, Taipei Veterans General Association Su Enterprise Union of Macao, Lan-Hsiang Hsu, Taiwan International Family Mutual Aid Association, Kaohsiung Healthy Air Action Coalition, Southern Anti-air Pollution Coalition, Tainan City Environmental Protection Alliance, Taiwan Water Conservation Coalition, People’s Democratic Party, Taiwan Blue East Harbor Stream Conservation Association, Taiwan Electromagnetic Radiation Pest Control Association, Ruiyuan Enterprise Co. New Century Love Home Association, Sun Wen Nan Hospital, Religion and Peace Promotion Association, Taiwan National Aunts, Mothers, Families and Children’s Alliance, Foundation for Sustainable Health Education, Taipei Rishu Chun Caring and Mutual Aid Association, YWCA, Chia Shi Ji Arts and Science Buxiban, Wanbao Station, Taiwan Changchao Yun Association, Legislator Chih-Lu Chang, Dr. Chu-Teh Wang, Dr. Chien-Chien-Wen Chien, Qingzhu Children’s Sustainable Education Center, Citizen’s League of Peaceful Consumers Environmental Protection Alliance of Changhua County, Taiwan Tobacco Tobacco Reduction Association (TTHRA), Chiayi Baixanting Meat Dumplings, Mizuki Culture Business, Infinite Expansive Music Studio, Taiwan Ecological Society, Taiwan Foundation for Education and Culture, Blue Magpie Study Hall, Taiwan Public Health Promotion Association, Media Architects, Chiayi Service Office of Taiwan Civil Party, Tainan Head Office of Taiwan Civil Party. Dvtt Forum, Taiwan Indigenous Youth Industry Federation, Taichung City Physicians Association Mountaineering Club, Taiwan Citizens Party Yunlin Support Group, Surrey City Entertainment, Human Rights Service Association, Teijian Countryside Workshop, Nobel Buxiban, Taipei Traditional Drama Group, Kodai Cello Chamber Orchestra, Central Taiwan Agricultural Base, Wanli Community Care Alliance, Spring River Livestock farms, Citizens’ Supervisory Union, Kaohsiung City Teachers’ Vocational Union, Taitung Citizens’ Supervisory Union, Taitung Chapter of Environmental Protection Alliance, National Union of Education and Security Industries, Hsinchu County Jianfeng Tribe Industry Development Alliance Association (being added in succession).
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
Edited by Chyi-Horng Lu