A genetically engineered (GE) variety of glyphosate-resistant wheat linked to Monsanto was found growing in an Oregon wheat field. The U.S. Department of Agrigculture announced today that it launched a "formal investigation after being notified by an Oregon State University scientist that initial tests of wheat samples from an Oregon farm indicated the possible presence of GE glyphosate-resistant wheat plants."
The USDA says that "there are no GE wheat varieties approved for sale or in commercial production in the United States or elsewhere at this time."
According to Agripulse.com:
Michael Firko, Acting Deputy Administrator of APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services, said USDA scientists verified results that the discovered plants were resistant to the commonly used weed killer glyphosate. Firko says USDA is “very serious” about the this investigation, which seeks to uncover “the extent of this and how it happened.” It is also confirmed that the glyphosate-resistant plants are the same variety as a wheat strain, or “event,” field tested by Monsanto. Firko said the company had requested to field test GE wheat from 1998-2005, but no other field tests have occurred since 2005. USDA confirmed that field tests did occur in Oregon, but did not say whether the field in question is the same as or near a former field test site.
According to a factsheet on the issue supplied by the USDA:
An Oregon farmer noticed some volunteers, or plants that had germinated and developed in a place where they were not intentionally planted, in his wheat field, were resistant to glyphosate and sent the samples to the OSU scientist. She received the samples on April 30, 2013, and conducted tests on the samples. Based on her preliminary tests, the samples she received tested positive for the glyphosate trait and the farmer was informed of the testing results.
The USDA dispatched investigators onsite to investigate how this situation occurred and collect additional samples from the farm. The agency says that APHIS made the public announcement about this detection as soon as USDA laboratories had absolute confi rmation regarding the GE wheat.
Seattle Folklife Festival 2012, photo by Alex Notman
Our 5-23 issue was jam packed so, unfortunately, we couldn't squeeze in BackBeat this week. Here are some more notes and news to pay attention to this weekend:
I know I got a bad reputation … It’s been almost 20 years since Freedy Johnston’s hit “Bad Reputation” — featured in Noah Baumbach’s Kicking and Screaming (1995) — was saturating the airwaves, and eight albums later, the original indie rocker is touring the West Coast. Catch Johnston at 10 pm Thursday, May 23, at Luckey’s.
Don’t miss this week: Anna Fritz (of Portland Cello Project) takes her solo album on a West Coast tour with a stop at 7 pm Friday, May 24, for a Springfield house concert (see annafritz.com for tickets); Banjo player Kendl Winter (formerly of The Blackberry Bushes) 9:30 pm Friday, May 24, at Sam Bond’s; the twinkling stringed ballads of Kingdom County at 4 pm Saturday, May 25, at Oakshire Public House; Up-and-coming Portland band The Ecstatics plays The Campbell Club's annual "Halloween in Spring" night 7 pm Friday, May 25; $3 with costume, $5 with no costume. Disclosure is back to play its postponed show (originally set for April 17) 9 pm Tuesday, May 28, at WOW Hall.
This weekend is the 42nd annual Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle and many Eugene bands are making the trek north joining the over 6,000 music and dance acts. EW will be following the musical caravan that includes Betty and the Boy, Alder Street All Stars, Conjugal Visitors, Tara Stonecipher and the Tall Grass, Dirty Spoon, Breakers Yard and The Whiskey Chasers. Looks for updates on the EW blog this weekend.
The horse tripping controversy continues as more information arises about the arrest of an activist at the Big Loop Rodeo. And according to an email blast from PETA, Tuesday May 22, is the Oregon House Judiciary Committee's work session on Senate Bill 835.
Over the weekend the group SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness) reported a volunteer, Adam Fahnestock was arrested for videoing at the event. Steve Hindi of SHARK also tangled with the law over videoing the controversial horse tripping event (see the video at bottom).
This is the footage filmed by Fahnestock at the 2013 rodeo, before he was arrested.
And this letter by a woman who attended the rodeo was sent to several legislators:
Hello, I wanted to let you know that I went to the Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo this last weekend, and I would like to tell you what I saw there. As I testified previously I grew up in Eastern Oregon and have gone to rodeos since I was a small child. I am embarrassed to admit I’m from Eastern Oregon after going to Jordan Valley.
1. There were signs prohibiting taking videos, however the announcer said that just applied to “people from Western Oregon, animal rights activists, and the media.” The announcer stated that didn’t apply to the “good folks who want to film their relatives or friends.” There were lots of cameras visible. He also stated that if the people from Western Oregon, animal rights activists, or the media were observed taking video they would be arrested and escorted off the property. They violently arrested a man about 10’ from where I was sitting, took him down in the seats, and took him to the Malheur County Jail where he was booked for Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest. They ejected three other people that I saw, one man who stated he was just taking pictures, not video. I understand that it is private property, and that they have the right to make the rules, but I feel the rules should apply to everyone.
2. They mentioned the bill and that they had made trips to testify. The announcer stated that the bill “looks like it’s going to pass, but that it would not affect their rodeo” at all.
3. The announcer stated that people from Western Oregon should just stay in their cities and leave them alone.
4. The horses used in the” Big Loop” event are thin enough that you can count their ribs, and seem young.
5. Because I was so uncomfortable being there, I did not stay for the entire rodeo. During the first round of the “Big Loop” event, they managed to rope two horses by the neck, one fairly close to the throatlatch, did not rope any horses by the feet, so in the first section all the competitors got “no time”. However, one horse crashed violently into the wall, and they continued trying to rope it after it got up. I did not see them check the horse out by a veterinarian.
6. The horses that were in the “Big Loop” event were completely terrified.
I wanted to share my experience with you. I have never left a rodeo before it was over before. I was uncomfortable there and felt threatened by their general attitude. The crowd cheered when people were arrested and ejected.
Thank you for considering this statement. I urge you to pass this bill and protect those that have no voice in this event, the horses.
Steve Hindi of SHARK, which videoed the events last year, leading to the current legislative actions says of the video below that is was "a bogus police stop on Sunday, the last day of the rodeo, after I was ejected for having a camera at the rodeo." He adds, "Of course, lots of people had cameras, and virtually everyone had phones capable of video. The traffics stop appears to be illegitimate, as we can find no law allowing a traffic stop for not providing ID on private property — the stated reason for the stop."
SHARK alleges in a press release that the Malheur County Sheriff has "deep ties" to the Big Loop Rodeo:
Fearing that this new footage would cause similar outrage, on Saturday, May 18, Malheur County Sheriff’s officers swept in, arrested Fahnestock and ordered another activist to leave.
On Sunday, May 19, they repeated their misconduct by ordering SHARK President Steve Hindi to leave the rodeo as well.
SHARK has initiated an investigation into the existing connections between the rodeo and the Malheur County Sheriff's Department who the group accuses of violations of free speech, and using intimidation tactics. The following is part of the report. The full report is available upon request.
• The Malheur County Sheriff’s Department also has direct ties to the Big Loop Rodeo through their deputies. In his testimony before the above-mentioned Senate committee, Jordan Valley Mayor Jake Roe stated, “The Sheriff’s posse sells food at the park to raise money…” Jerry Raburn, an official with the Jordan Valley Rodeo Association, told the Senate Committee that “Not only is the rodeo a boost for the businesses here, but also for volunteer groups, service organizations, schools and churches,” including the “Malheur County Sheriff’s Deputies.”
• According to Malheur County Sheriff Sergeant Richard Harriman, who, along with Bob Wroten forced one of SHARK's activists to leave the rodeo, that Wroten himself was not only a Malheur County Deputy, but also held a dual position on the "rodeo board."
• Malheur County Sheriff Brian E. Wolfe defended the Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo and horse tripping in a letter sent to the Oregon State Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, which recently held a hearing on a bill to ban “horse tripping.” Wolfe misused his official county stationary and position as Sheriff to made a political statement when he said “I personally oppose any and all legislation, laws, or rules prohibiting Rodeo events including Horse Roping.”
"We now know that the Malheur County Sheriff Officers, the same men who violated the rights of our activists, have deep ties to the rodeo," states SHARK President Steve Hindi. "When they saw the cruelty that was documented on the first day, they abused their power on the second and third day to make sure that no more video would make it to public view. That's outrageous, and the Sheriff's office needs to be held accountable for acting like thugs protecting a good old boys network of animal abuse and cruelty."
According to SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness) an activist was "violently arrested" while filming events at the Big Loop Rodeo in Jordan Valley, Ore., on Saturday May 18. Big Loop has come under fire for its horse tripping event in which horses are roped by the neck and legs while galloping, causing them to fall.
The bill has passed out of Senate and testimony was heard in the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month.
The full press release is below, with links to video of last year's horse tripping and a video of a horse breaking its leg in another event.
SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness)
PO Box 28 • Geneva, IL 60134 • 630-557-0176
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sunday May 19, 2013
ACTIVIST VIOLENTLY ARRESTED FOR FILMING AT OREGON RODEO
Jordan Valley, OR – On Saturday May 18th, 2013, SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) volunteer Adam Fahnestock was peacefully sitting monitoring the Big Loop Rodeo when rodeo personnel and a Malheur County Sheriff’s Deputy approached him. After a very brief conversation, the deputy suddenly grabbed Fahnestock and threw him violently to the ground where rodeo personnel then also set upon him. Fahnestock was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He is currently being held in Malheur County Jail, Vale, OR on a $1000 bail.
Big Loop Rodeo has been under fire from SHARK recently after documentation of a bucking horse breaking its leg in the arena and numerous horses were filmed crashing to the ground was released after the 2012 rodeo. Filming is permitted at the rodeo and many spectators film the events. It is believed Fahnestock was singled out for attack because Big Loop Rodeo officials are upset over the video of a horse breaking its leg being released, and disturbing footage of the horse-tripping event went viral creating massive public outcry to ban the event.
SHARK president, Steve Hindi said, “This is clearly an abuse of the law and an example of the “good old-boy network" that exists in the rodeo world. We will fight these false and retaliatory charges vigorously and continue to expose animal abuse at rodeos.”
SHARK’S video of horse tripping at the 2012 Big Loop Rodeo inspired Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton to introduce a horse-tripping ban. Senate Bill 835 is currently being considered after a public hearing was held on Monday May 13th, 2013.
Graphic footage of the incident of the horse breaking its leg can be seen here:
Decolonize This! is the 2013 Annual Environmental Justice Conference on Saturday May 18 at the UO. Topics will highlight food justice, decolonization, and free trade vs free, prior and informed consent of indigenous nations concerning fossil fuels. The conference is free and donations are welcomed, organizers say.
Speaker Jewell Praying Wolf James is a master carver of totems or healing poles displayed around the world, more of his work can be seen here.
The event will also feature a performance by Kayla Godowa-Tufti, activist, performer and columnist for EW. Here she is, performing as Tribal Thought:
If you haven't read this week's BackBeat, than maybe you have no idea that there's a new festival coming to town this August. The first Kaleidoscope Music Festival will be hosted at Mt. Pisgah with onsite camping, and they just released their lineup via viral video. Headliners include Bassnectar, Paper Diamond and Blue Scholars. Watch the video to find out the rest. We have to give Kaleidoscope producers OneEleven props, this is one hell of a creative press release.