Mar 312015
 

Sexual assault, a longtime problem on college and university campuses, has recently become a national issue. Advocates say schools, fearing negative publicity, are not proactive in investigating or prosecuting those responsible for these violent crimes, the vast number of which are not reported to authorities. A recent survey of 440 colleges showed that many schools ignore provisions of Title IX, which requires them to prevent and investigate sexual assaults, and the 1990 Clery Act, which orders colleges to report violent incidents to authorities. Estimates have put the occurrence of campus rape at about one of every five women during their college career. This estimate corroborates a recent finding that 19% of all American women have been raped during their lifetimes. Some advocates say campus rape is so prevalent that schools which do not report this problem are likely avoiding efforts to address it.

A 2012 study found that 55% of 1,570 colleges and universities with 1,000 or more students received at least one report of a forcible sex offense on campus, including forcible rape, forcible sodomy, forcible fondling and sexual assault with an object. In 2012, there were at least 3,900 reports of forcible sex offenses on campuses nationwide. Of the undergraduate women who are sexually assaulted in college, 34% are physically forced, 57% are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and 4% are given drugs without their knowledge. Only about 12% of all campus rapes are reported to authorities and only 1% of all assailants are ever disciplined by the school. Even so, about 78% of college presidents polled in one survey disagreed that sexual assault was prevalent on their campus, and 75% of presidents believed their institutions were doing a good job protecting women from sexual assault.

Advocates say the first point of contact is crucial for women who have been sexually assaulted. Some schools require victim advisors to publically report rape cases brought to their attention, which may discourage students from seeking help. Others assign a confidential adviser, who explains the reporting process while ensuring services are made available for her. This approach has helped increase the number of victims who decide to report their abuse to the police. Advocates say colleges need to provide safe and supportive environments where students feel comfortable reporting these crimes.

Pending Legislation:
S.706 – SOS Campus Act
H.R.1310 – Campus Accountability and Safety Act

 Posted by at 2:10 am
Jan 152015
 

Escapes are common when hundreds of thousands of tilapia, catfish, sea bass, steelhead, carp and salmon are held in open pens, farms and ponds. Storms, equipment malfunctions and predators cause significant releases of these farmed fish. In 2008, the U.S. market for farmed salmon, aquaculture’s principal product, was an estimated $45 million. Most of these salmon have been genetically-modified for commercial purposes and biologists are worried about the effects these altered fish will have on wild populations. In 1997, at least 350,000 farmed salmon escaped from aquafarms on the West Coast and many were later found thousands of miles away. Farmed fish that have been genetically modified or selectively bred are more aggressive, grow faster, have smaller fins and larger bodies. When they escape and interbreed frequently enough with wild salmon populations, the genetic make up of these wild stocks are altered and this can lead to a loss of fitness, productivity, diversity and the eventual extinction of some populations. Farmed salmon can also transmit infections and parasites to wild salmon.

Pending Legislation:

S.246 & H.R 1667 – Prevention of Escapement of Genetically Altered Salmon in the United States Act

I oppose reforming current Aquaculture escape policy and wish to defeat S.246 & H.R.1667

I support prohibiting the sale of genetically modified salmon by prohibiting a person from: shipping, transporting, offering for sale, selling, or purchasing a genetically modified fish, or a food product containing such fish, in interstate commerce; having custody, control, or possession of, with the intent to ship, transport, offer for sale, sell, or purchase such fish or food products, in interstate or foreign commerce; engaging in net-pen aquaculture of such fish; releasing such fish into a natural environment; or having custody, control, or possession of such fish with the intent to release it into a natural environment, and wish to pass S.246 & H.R.1667

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Factory aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry that produces most of the seafood products we eat. Most of the shrimp, shellfish, trout and salmon currently consumed by Americans are raised either in large enclosed pens or land-based fish farms. Both of these systems often discharge large amounts of nutrients, chemicals and waste into our local waterways. These discharges may cause algal blooms which reduce oxygen in the water and kill marine life. Opponents of large fish farming operations warn of significant damage to coastal environments from large volumes of wastewater that is constantly released from these operations. It has been estimated that a farm with 20,000 salmon creates more waste than a city of 60,000 people.

Pending Legislation:

S.1254 – Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current aquaculture waste policy and wish to defeat S.1254

I support developing a national strategy to monitor, predict, prevent, control, mitigate, and respond to marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia events, and wish to pass S.1254

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

For each of the past 30 years, our aquaculture industry has grown at an 8% rate. It is anticipated that by 2018, we will consume more farmed fish than wild fish. Some types of fish such as catfish and tilapia can be raised in aquafarms on grain-based, soybean-meal diets. However, most farmed fish are carnivorous and need to be fed large amounts of fishmeal or fish-oil pellets, both of which are produced from wild fish. It is estimated that 4 pounds of wild fish are needed to produce a single pound of farmed fish. Worldwide, one of every three fish that is caught is processed into fishmeal or fish oil used in aquaculture or agricultural fertilizers. As the aquaculture industry grows, so does the need for anchovies, sardines, herring and other whitebait fish. Aquaculture supporters claim their industry helps satisfy consumer demand for some seafood species, thereby protecting their wild counterparts. Opponents say aquafarming puts great pressure on the food supply upon which this industry and many species depend. Environmentalists claim our aquaculture industry’s methods are not sustainable for themselves, wild fish food stocks, or wild species that prey upon these stocks including birds, mammals and other fish.

Pending Legislations: None

I oppose reforming current salmon toxicity policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill requiring the EPA to uniformly regulate the PCB levels in farmed salmon and wild salmon

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Salmon farms produce great quantities of fish that are much cheaper than wild salmon. However, studies of salmon purchased in our grocery stores found that 70% of Atlantic farmed salmon raised in Canada, the U.S. and Iceland were contaminated with unsafe levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Banned in 1976, PCBs are persistent, cancer-causing chemicals which also cause birth defects. Studies have shown that farmed salmon may be a consumer’s single largest source of toxic dietary pollutants. It may take decades for one’s body to clear toxicants ingested from a single meal. Health advocates also say a clear link exists between PCBs and diabetes and obesity -diseases that have increased along with the consumption of farmed salmon over the past few decades. On average, farmed salmon are found to have more than 8 times the dioxin-like PCBs that are found in wild Pacific salmon. PCBs concentrate in the oils and fats contained in the fishmeal fed to farmed salmon. The aquaculture industry says salmon is an excellent source of high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids which protects people against heart disease and other medical problems. They also claim FDA standards allow farmed salmon to be safely consumed more than once a week. However, critics call the FDA’s standards inadequate because they were formulated in 1984, before PCBs were known to be as harmful as they are now recognized to be. The EPA does not regulate PCB levels in farmed salmon as it does in wild fish. If the levels of PCBs found in farmed salmon were present in wild salmon, the EPA would restrict consumption of wild salmon to no more than one meal per month. More than 23 million Americans eat farmed salmon more than once a month and this rate of consumption is increasing.

Pending Legislations: None

I oppose reforming current salmon toxicity policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill requiring the EPA to uniformly regulate the PCB levels in farmed salmon and wild salmon

 Posted by at 12:00 am