TV Commercial Exposes Senators’ “Dirty Little Secret” About the Farm Bill
Larry Craig Spoof Spotlights Disturbing Relationship Between Agribusiness Contributions and Lawmakers’ Subsidies for Pork and Other Unhealthy Foods
WASHINGTON— A new television commercial exposing a disturbing relationship between U.S. senators drafting the Farm Bill and huge agribusiness corporations receiving massive federal subsidies makes its debut on CNN today in the District of Columbia, Atlanta, and Minneapolis. A spoof of Sen. Larry Craig men’s room incident, “Dirty Little Secret” features a senator in a bathroom stall tapping his foot to signal that he’s ready to receive political contributions from the pork industry.
The Farm Bill is now up for reauthorization in the Senate. The TV commercial, created by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), throws a spotlight on contributions from agribusiness political action committees, which have given more than $5 million over the past four election cycles to members of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
“The real scandal in Washington is the Farm Bill,” said PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D. “Senators take millions from corporations that produce bacon, burgers, and other fatty foods. Then Congress buys up these unhealthy products and dumps them on our school lunch program. Companies get rich, and kids get fat.”
Between 1995 and 2004, nearly three-quarters of Farm Bill agricultural subsidies for food—more than $51 billion—went to producers of sugar, oil, meat, dairy, alcohol, and feed crops used to fatten cows and other farm animals. Less than half of 1 percent subsidized fruit and vegetable production.
2005 figures show that Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest meat producer, scored $46.6 million in USDA commodity contracts. High-fat, high-cholesterol foods subsidized by the Farm Bill find their way into the National School Lunch Program, where they feed an epidemic of childhood obesity.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.