Help us keep riding

November 27, 2009

Throughout 2008 safety recalls were abundant for children’s products.  On February 10, 2009 the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 was put into effect. Child safety advocates and parents alike rejoiced at the new confidence in safety provided by this law, but at the same time numerous small business owners struggled to comply with the many new regulations set into place resulting in the closer of many businesses. Even though the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 provides much needed safety to children’s products, it also hurts many small businesses and industries in an already suffering economy, in particular secondhand businesses and the OHV industry.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 provides a more specific form of protection to the people than previous consumer product safety acts with many new services, but it also requires more from manufacturers and businesses. The Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health and Baby News, a league of businesses devoted to child safety, easily explains the new provisions from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) now accredits third party testers to do tests on all children’s (age twelve and under) products and materials to make sure they pass all federal restrictions. The restrictions on lead products greatly increased (Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health; “Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008”). These lead restrictions apply to clothing and all other products, and the testing now required is very expensive. Baby news and the Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health explained more of the details with the law. The product and package must now include location, date of production, batch, run number and other information to help determine the source of the product. The CPSC now maintains a website listing all government approved producers. The amount of funding for the CPSC has will increase from 80 million dollars to 136 million dollars, because of this bill. Civil fines and criminal penalties have been raised immensely and it makes it illegal for anyone to sell a recalled product (Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health; “Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008”). Why did they even need this law to begin with?

Ordinary days have repeatedly turned into a nightmare for parents of children injured or killed from poor quality products. Anyone who has ever stepped into Toys R’ Us has seen the recommended age restriction printed on toy boxes, and we as consumers assume that if the age on the box matches the age of the child then the product will be safe to use. Sadly, however, this is not always true. Sometimes products are manufactured dangerously, both from chemical content and from malfunctions. In an interview for ABC news, with Kate Barrett, Lisa Davis describes one such horror story.  Her 13-month-old daughter was killed when part of the play yard she was napping on fell on to her neck (Barrett). It is hard for anyone to imagine how devastated such an incident must be to a mother, but to prevent events like these from happening in the future the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 was put into effect. Lisa Davis goes on to say that she doesn’t believe this will totally eradicate all accidents but that she guarantees that it will be 90 percent better because of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008(Barrett). From this viewpoint most can agree that the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 will make children’s products safer.   

The majority would not argue that with millions of recalls last year, 2008, something needed to be done to protect children from dangerous products. When the problem was brought before Congress they agreed that action was needed. As a result the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 was presented as a solution. From the house 424 voted for this law while only 1 opposed it, and from the senate 89 voted for it and only 3 opposed it (Middleclass.org). Obviously, they thought this was a excellent proposal.

Congress wasn’t the only ones who thought this bill was a good idea, Francesca T. Grifo of the union of concerned scientists said,

“A stronger inspector General and a website for CPSC employees to anonymously report their concerns, along with whistleblower protections for those who report about unsafe products, will contribute to more transparency and accountability at this agency” (Middleclass.org).

It’s clear that many thought it was a great idea to protect children from dangerous products. How do small businesses feel?

            Even though numerous may feel as though they benefited from this law everyone was affected negatively including smaller companies. Small business cannot always afford to test their products before they sale because it will cost more than they make on the product. Deb Stahl, owner of an artisan craft store targeted for babies and kids says that the current law is so “All- encompassing” smaller businesses have no choice but to go out of business. She goes on to say that many small companies are calling February ten, the day this bill was enacted, “National Bankruptcy Day.” (“Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008”)  Small businesses around the nation are having no choice but to cut their losses and close either their whole business or the child sector of their business.  When this and the current state of the economy (which is really bad for all who have been living in a cave the last couple months) are taken into account we must decide what is more important to us, small business failure, which may result in economy failure, or the complete safety of our children.

This law is taking away from the children as well. Mike from Arkansas builds specialty chairs to provide mobility to children who are in full body casts from hip deformity surgeries.  Due to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 he no longer is able to sell these chairs because, in an already tiny market, the funds are not available to him to have the necessary testing done on the chairs. Possibly, the worst part is that the material he uses to build the chairs has already been tested for lead content, but the completed product must be tested according to the new law (“Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008”).

Many say that giving a gift is the greatest gift of all, but under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 only tested gifts are accepted. A group of quilters made crib quilts for the hospital nursery only to be turned away due to the fact that the hospital could not afford to have the 400 to 2000 dollar lead testing done (“Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008”). Those homemade sweaters Aunt Mable always gives at Christmas better have gone through the correct testing, or else she is looking at a big fine.  

Seconded hand stores such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army are suffering immensely from this law. These stores can only sell baby and children goods if they can afford to have them go through the testing process. Even if the testing is done the price of the items is sure to increase. In turn the American people are also suffering as it is becoming harder to find cheap clothing for their because of increasing regulations. Shauna Sloan, founder of a 75 store used children’s clothing franchise Kid to Kid says, “We will have to lock our doors and file for bankruptcy” (Semuels). It seems ridiculous to have to test every item under the sun for lead when everybody can think of many things that do not contain lead without even trying too hard.  Alana Seumuels, a reporter for the L.A.Times points out that many clothing and thrift stores say the problem with the law was that it went through Congress to quickly and that all scenarios were not considered (Semuels). Clothing that could be sold February 9th became unsellable overnight on February 10th. It’s not just second hand stores that are finding this law as troublesome, other industries are fighting to stop this new law also.

            In the OHV (off highway vehicles) industry including motorcycles, ATVs, clothing, and replacement parts, no items intended for a child age 12 or under can be sold. This industry is already hurting because of the economy and environmental issues, and this law is an unnecessary hurdle for the industry. There are several problems with this law being so all inclusive that OHV’s are involved as Glen Koffler owner of Power Yamaha discusses. First on a motorcycle for instance, any part of a motorcycle that would possible contain lead would be an internal mechanism, and if a child is chewing on any part of a motorcycle it can be determined he or she is much too young to ride.  Second, as has been said previously this law is targeted for product of children 12 or younger, but all motorcycles with wheels less than 24 inches are off the market (Koffler). This is totally ridiculous because many women and smaller men ride bikes with wheels smaller than 24 inches. As Chuck Steahly, President of Steahly Off Road says, “ Many adults ride minibikes, there is a whole section of the motorcycle industry, including power conversion kits, magazines, thousands of parts, and the bikes themselves devoted to adults who enjoy riding minibikes. With the enactment of this law all these companies are endanger of going out of business” (Steahly). Therefore this law is not just affecting those it was targeted for.

It seems clear that this law has included industries that should not be included. Lousie Simeth for OSET a company that produces and sells electric motorcycles for kids says, that they design many safety features into their bikes to provide children with a safe enjoyable activity for children, but now they can’t even sell their product due to this new law (Koffler). As a movie from Racer X, a motorcycle magazine points out, it has been shown repeatedly that children who ride OHV’s have better relationships with their parents (Stop the Ban!).

 Travis Pastrana, a pro motocross racer says, “I think this ban is one of the most ridiculous thing I ever heard… riding is definitely a family sport.” Mike Aressie a pro motocross racer says, “Most of us rode minibikes when we were younger and without that I don’t think most of us would be here today.” He was referring to the pro circuit of motocross racing. He went on to say, “It’s definitely kept me out of trouble…it kept me in a family aspect and away from that kind of stuff”  (Meaning drugs, alcohol, and parties). As Bubba Stewart, a pro motocross racer explains, any kid who loves motorcycles is going to keep riding and if that means they get on a bigger bike then they will do it. The problem with that is causes danger for the child because a bigger bike comes with more power and weight which the child won’t be able to control safely. Therefore this law will make children more unsafe within the motorcycle industry. Josh Tourney, a child racer who won 6 championships last year, with cystic fibrous spoke out against the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. He pled with anyone to help stop the ban to protect his dream of becoming the next big motorcycle star, and not to take away the bikes he loves (Stop the Ban). A calling from the motorcycle industry is going out to exclude motorcycles from this law, but will anyone listen.

Thanks to motorcycle enthusiast’s hard work and fast action the CPSC chairman Nancy Ford lifted the ban April 3, 2009 for one year. During this year period the CPSC and congress will work together to fine tune this law to provide the best protection to children while still keeping the effects their decisions have on small businesses and the economy in mind. The main reason Nancy decided on the lift of the ban is because she realized “ A bigger safety concern than lead exposure is the elimination of  youth ATV sales will most likely increase the number of adult ATV’s purchased to be used by younger children: therefore increasing their risk of injury or death” (It’s over!).  Just because it’s over for the OHV industry at the moment it doesn’t mean that the ban is over forever, and other industries are still suffering. The country still needs your support in overturning some of the areas of the Consumer product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. Everyone needs to take action today to protect our nation for tomorrow.

It is time that we as a nation stand together and tell the government that our economies small business sector cannot withstand the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. We as a nation need reform and reasonable restrictions for child safety. Nobody wants any child to be in any danger, but congress should think of the consequences of a law before passing it. A new effort has started to exclude certain industries from this bill representatives Rehberg, Burgess, Pomeroy and Simpson have are working on correcting their mistakes with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (Blue Ribbon Coalition). Our support is more important than ever so let your voice be heard today. Every person can help by contacting his or her state senators and members of the House of Representatives, and explaining how this law is hurting small business, and in effect our economy, and every American. So please do your part and help our nation become a safer stronger place!

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Baby News. “Comsumer Product Safety Act of 2008.” Sep. 25.

<http://www.babynews.com/index.php/2008/09/25/consumer-products-safety-improvement-act-of-2008/#more-192.&gt; Mar. 4,2009.

Blue Ribbon Coalition. “House Bill to Overturn Ban on Youth ATV’s and Dirt Bikes

Introduced!” E-mail to Sarah Steahly

“Consumer product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.” The Middle Class. ( Feb 6, 2009)

<http.themiddleclass.org/bill/consumer-product-safety-improvement-act-2008.>

Gannon, Virginia. “Reauthorization is passed by Congress. ” WWD.  160.n82 (Oct 26,

1990): 16(1). Academic OneFile. Gale. Southern Adventist University. Library Collegedale, Tn. 24 Feb. 2009 
<http://find.galegroup.com/itx/infomark.do?&contentSet=IAC-Documents&type=retrieve&tabID=T003&prodId=AONE&docId=A9063444&source=gale&userGroupName=tel_a_sau&version=1.0&gt;.

Kate Barrett. New Toy Safety Standards Become Law.  Aug. 14 2008. <Abcnews.go.com/id=5565216.>

Feb. 27 2009.

Koffler, Glen. “Consumer Product Safty Act of 2008.” E-mail to Sarah Steahly. Feb. 13 2009. 

Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health. “U.S. Comsumer Product Safety Improvement

Act of 2008.” <Mnceh.org/documents/cpscfactsheet> \Mar. 4, 2009

Motocross Action Magazine. “It’s Over! The Lead Law Boondoggle Ends (For Now)” 1 Apr.

2009. 7 Apr. 2009.

<http://www.motocrossactionmag.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=news&mod=News&mid=9A02E3B96F2A415ABC72CB5F516B4C10&tier=3&nid=8619FE8E41BE417B9E6D929942C275B5&gt;

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC). Stop the Ban! 2009.  Stoptheban.com 2009. Mar. 4

2009.<http://www.mic.org/stoptheban.cfm&gt;

Semuels Alana.“New Saftey Rules for Children’s Clothes have Stores in a Fit.” Los Angeles Times.. (Jan 2, 

2009). <LAtimes.com.> jan 19,2009.

Steahly, Chuck. Personal Interview. 4 Apr. 2009.

Wozney, Matt, dir. Let the Kids Ride. 2009.  Mar. 4 2009            <http://www.motoxposure.com/tv/video/letthekidsride.htm&gt; video

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why im a vegetiarian

November 27, 2009

As a child I used to go watch my neighbors cows grazing in the fields.  When I reached the field one morning I noticed a truck parked in the middle of the field with the back end opened toward the road. As I got closer I noticed a cow was tied one foot to the ceiling of the truck, and a man dressed in white was reaching down with a knife. With a shriek of agony and a spurt of blood the cow began to die. This memory will haunt me forever! Many Americans don’t know where the meat they love so much comes from or how the animal is treated before it becomes their dinner. Every day animals are being abused by humans for food consumption. This animal abuse is both inhuman and unnecessary; therefore, we should all make an effort to change, both to save animals lives, and to protect them from needless torture.  

Many Americans are unaware of the mistreatment and cruelty that takes place in factory farms. Others just do not care about the feelings of animals, which according to Peter Singer a author and leader advocating animal rights, who was interviewed for the book For the Prevention of Cruelty, says that ignoring the abuse that takes place in factory farms is nothing short of spiecesism, which means favoring one’s own species, and being against another. He goes on to say that the abuse we put animals through would in no way be expectable in our minds for the treatment of humans (Beers 173). As Paul Vitello, a columnist from The New York Times says, “Animals are for petting, not killing. Meat, unrelated, is for eating.”(Vitello, New York Times). This mentally is the same for many Americans making it extremely hard for them to see any problem with the meat industry, even though something is horribly wrong.

Factory farms include slaughter houses, stock yards, or anywhere where animals are grown only for consumption purposes, in a factory style. These places are no holiday for the animals. They are crammed into tiny cages, which in most cases they cannot even move around in, many are: beaten and drugged, they are killed in horrible ways and subjected in some cases to torture. In Amy Achor’s book Animal Rights: A Beginners Guide she exposes the life of a factory farm chicken.  From the birth of a chicken in a hen farm they go through a process known as sexing which means they literally throw away the males. All of the male chicks are thrown into a garbage sack and left to suffocate or be crushed to death.  If they were female therefore surviving the process, they are debeaked, thrown into a cage so small that some have to get their wings broken so they fit inside. Next, they lay eggs for two years until they are no longer as fertile at which point they are shipped to a slaughter house. Chickens raised to be eaten are only two months old when shipped to a slaughter house (Achor 81).

Pigs if possible are treated worse. In the book Animal Rights: A Begginers Guide author Amy Achor explains the abuse of pigs in a factory farm. They are strapped to the floor to be impregnated by a machine while they struggle and scream out. When the babies are born they are sometimes taken from their mother in a matter of days causeing the  deaths of many of the babies. Many pigs get disease and sickness from the smell and exposure to their own droppings, because their cages are so tight and not well ventilated. (Achor 82). In a video indorsed by PETA, an animal rights group, it was seen that when a pig does not respond to its keeper they are sometimes beaten until they have broken bones or they die. Sometimes weapons like hatchets, crowbars, and other horrible items are used to discipline the animals. When it becomes time to slaughter the animals they are strapped down and they are cut down the body and neck while they are still screaming. (Goldfinger, PETAtv)

Cannibalism, self mutilation, drugging, debeaking, and tight cages are a short list of what an animal raised for food might endure in its short lifetime. Animals are consistently mistreated during their lifetime at factory farms.  For this reason I choose to be vegetarian. I believe it is important to be vegetarian to protect animals from abuse of factory farms. Not everyone needs to turn vegetarian today, but everyone should make an effort to reduce their meat intake. Another great way to protect animals from abuse is to eat only meat and dairy products from free range and organic farms. This will insure a better quality of life to the animals before they are slaughtered for our own consumption. Next time you are at a restaurant, try ordering pasta or salad, instead of steak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Achor, Amy Blout. Animal Rights: A Beginners Guide. Yellow Springs: WriteWare, Inc, 1996.

Adams J. Ronald. “Fast Food and Animal Rights: An Examination and Assessment of the

Industry’s Response to Social Pressure.”Business and Society Review 113 (2008): 301-328.

Beers L. Diane, For the Prevention of Cruelty, Athens, Oh: Shallow Press/ Ohio UP, 2006.

Goldfinger. Free Me. 1999. Petatv.com. 3 Feb. 2009.

<www.petatv.com/tvpopup/video.asp?video=free_me>.

Vitello, Paul. “Being Nice to the Bacon, Before You Bring It Home.” The New York Times. 1

April, 2007. Final ed., sect. 4: 1.

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