When my husband and I launched this blog a couple of weeks ago, we envisioned this as a nice project that would enable us to share what we know about compassionate living, drawing on our combined 22 years of experience living a vegan lifestyle. We looked forward to sharing helpful tips, inspirational humanitarian stories, and our very best vegan recipes.

But now something has happened where we live that has completely absorbed our attention, and Vegan Reader has suddenly taken on a far more urgent and desperate tone as we have set about blogging about the aerial spraying of the light brown apple moth (LBAM) that is currently being enacted on California’s people, animals, plants, land, and water. We are living with daily fear, outrage, and a strange wistful hope that, somehow, this illegal abuse of U.S. citizens can be stopped.

A Quick Summary

  • In September 2007, the Santa Cruz and Monterey region of Central California were aerially sprayed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
  • The sprays used, Checkmate OLR-F and LBAM-F, are labelled as biochemicals that are illegal to introduce into water sources. The labels declare these products to be a contaminant that damages eyes, skin, and the respiratory system. The labels warn that these substances must not be inhaled.
  • The chemicals in the sprays include a synthetic pheromone as well as known carcinogens and dangerous endocrine disrupters.
  • Following the spraying in Central California, more than 600 individuals reported illnesses to their doctors. Symptoms included irritation of eyes and skin, impaired respiratory function, discolored urine, vomiting, and menstrual irregularities.
  • Doctors were neither warned to expect an epidemic of chemical exposure, nor were they trained to treat these conditions. While some patients have attempted to officially register their illnesses, the majority of doctors are not trained to assist them with the process and at least one patient was told he would need to contact a lawyer before being seen by a doctor.
  • Photographs have been taken by Central Californians of the sickening surfactant foam that covered the rivers of the region after the spraying.
  • Along this region’s celebrated coastline, the largest red tide in recent history occurred and an uncounted number of sick and dead birds were found on the beaches.
  • The CDFA intends to resume aerial spraying of the residents of the Santa Cruz/Monterey area in June of 2008.
  • The CDFA intends to begin aerial spraying San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Marin, and much of the greater Bay Area starting in August 2008.
  • Human beings will be sprayed as often as every 30 days for an unlimited number of years. Due to the time-releasing composition of the spray, there will never again be a time when the air or environment is free of the spray for as many years as the spraying continues. There will be no safe water or clean air.
  • The spray is encapsulated in plastic microcapsules, which degrade over time into particulate matter, which is being likened to the substances employed in biochemical warfare.
  • These particles are lodging in the noses and mouths of human beings and animals, where they then enter deeply into the lungs and remain forever.
  • The CDFA has just awarded a $500,000 contract to Porter Novelli, a notorious PR firm with a long history of protecting the interests of chemical corporations. Their job will be to engineer media spins and the wide distribution of dangerous propaganda in order to quell public fear and outrage.
  • The city officials of Santa Cruz and Monterey attempted to halt the spraying of the local people to no avail.
  • City officials of Marin, Berkeley, and Oakland have voted unanimously against the spraying of the people of the Bay Area, and are calling the surrounding cities to join them in their opposition of this illegal abuse.
  • The CDFA has broken two U.S. laws by the aerial spraying of Central California. The first law prohibits performing human testing on various demographics of the public. The second law prohibits pilots from flying airplanes at low altitudes over urban areas. The CDFA is guilty of illegal activity and intends to continue breaking these laws, which were put in place to protect us from abuse.

Why is the CDFA spraying human beings in California?

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) joined forces to declare California in a state of emergency when a small brown insect called the light brown apple moth (LBAM) was discovered in the state. Despite the fact that elsewhere in the world, this moth is not seen as a truly invasive agricultural threat, despite the fact that scientists are stating that LBAM has been in California for as long as 30 years, despite the fact that zero crop damage has been done by this tiny leaf-roller moth, government officials have embarked on this brash and illegal plan for eradicating the light brown apple moth.

By declaring California to be in a state of emergency, these government officials and organizations were able to bypass the normal protocol of conducting research and creating an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prior to taking action. The substance that was sprayed on the human beings, wildlife, pets, and ecosystem of Central California had never before been tested on anyone or anything. Yet, this declaration of emergency enabled the CDFA to immediately begin aerial spraying.

In Australia, where the light brown apple moth is a native insect, $1,000,000 worth of crop damage is reported to result annually from the presence of the insect. Nonsensically, Australia has spent some $13,000,000 every year for more than a decade in an attempt to eradicate the moth. Rather than simply compensating farmers for what is a very small collective loss of crops, the Australian government has continued to carry out an absurdly expensive and unreasonable eradication program and the moth continues to live.

The fact is, the CDFA’s own scientists admit that aerial spraying not only has no hope of ever eradicating the LBAM, but that it also will put an end to the effectiveness of eradicating the moth via targeted, pheromone-laced sticky traps. According to the latest reports, sticky traps have now killed off 99% of the known LBAMs in California. Yet, government agencies are determined to go after that remaining 1% with the extreme, invasive, and never-before-tested action of aerial spraying? It makes no sense.

What is really going on here?

The short answer is money. As you might have feared, money and special interests are at the bottom of the abuse being enacted on the people of California.

This is what we know:

  • California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been financially supported by the Checkmate spray manufacturer, Suterra, LLC. As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, Suterra owner Stuart Resnick has given some $150,000 to the Governor’s campaign as well as donating to numerous other politicians.
  • One of the Governor’s official acts was to appoint A.G. Kawamura as the Secretary of Food and Agriculture. Prior to being appointed to the Food and Agriculture Department, which is responsible for protecting the environment and public safety, A.G. Kawamura worked as the Chairman of the Western Growers Association. The Western Growers Association is notorious for its opposition to any agricultural or environmental laws designed to protect the health of farm workers, agricultural communities, and the ecosystem. It is despicable that a man with a known history of contempt for the protection of peoples and lands would be put at the top of the Food and Agricultural Department, which is meant to keep us safe. It must be noted that A.G. Kawamura is also a financial supporter of Governor Schwarzenegger. He has contributed $21,200 to the Governor’s campaign.
  • As dedicated reporters and private citizens continue to dig deeper into the truth surrounding Governor Schwarzenegger’s political and corporate alliances and financial supporters, further damning evidence is found that begins to paint a clear picture as to why this elected official will go down in history as the California governor who permitted biochemical experimentation on human beings. The special interests of Governor Schwarzenegger’s financial supporters are being protected rather than the health of the people of California, whom the Governor was elected to serve.
  • Because of current international trade laws and a misclassification of the Light Brown Apple Moth as an agricultural menace, California’s corporate international traders would face some restrictions about what they could ship out of the state. When this is understood, the money trail becomes a bit more clear. However, rather than the USDA taking the simple step of correctly reclassifying LBAM as a minor pest, and relieving corporations of their fear of losing money, the decision has been made to continue spraying any and all regions of California where LBAMs are found, causing catastrophic, irreversible damage to people, animals, water and soil.
  • I have never been one to entertain conspiracy theories, but because of the evident lack of rational science and the abundant evidence of corruption, I feel that the testimony of the medical professionals of Central California deserves a place in this section of this article. The ingredients in the LBAM spray are not only known causes of breast cancer, but they apparently have two noteworthy effects on human reproductive systems. They have been shown to cause sterility in men and disruption of the female reproductive system. This is an extremely dark observation I almost hesitate to write down because of the implications of it, but I listened to a Santa Cruz woman suggest that CheckMate – the spray first used in Central California – may not only permanently impair the reproductive functions of moths, it may also damage these functions in human beings. I would like to say that our government would never be guilty of testing on human beings, but unfortunately, there are numerous documentations of them doing so. I would much prefer to think what is happening here is the victimization of the citizens of a capitalist system purely for profit, but I’m not prepared to give our government any credit at this point when it has shown such a flagrant disregard for U.S. laws and the rights of human beings.

In sum, we’ve got a corrupt governor being paid by chemical manufacturers and using their products to experiment on human beings while at the same time electing environmental and human rights offenders into positions of supreme power. We’ve got a government carrying out the wishes of special interest groups for profit. We’ve got a government that is not protecting its citizens and is willing to break laws to carry out its aims, doubtless confident in the belief that they will be exempt from criminal prosecution.

One Vegan’s Position on LBAM Spraying in California

As a vegan, I am finding myself outraged at every turn by what I am witnessing here in beautiful California. The epidemic sickness of the infants, growing children, men and women of Central California horrifies me. Santa Cruz and Monterey are known for a laid-back, tolerant atmosphere and the wise, logical protests and objections of the region’s doctors, professors, and scientists are truly heart-rending to listen to. It is with a sort of suspenseful agony that I have listened to their attempts to be heard and to reason with the robotic phalanx of unresponsive ‘official’ people. In my lifetime, I have never personally encountered a more inhuman disregard for human rights than the one I am experiencing right now in California.

Being human, we are, of course, incapable of translating the horror of the wildlife and domestic animals which call California home. Like us, every one of them is being force-fed particulate biochemicals. In the 18 years I have lived as a vegan, I have often felt so keenly the unspoken agony and suffering of animals who are without a human voice to protest abuses inflicted on them. It was this startling awareness of suffering that drove me to attempt to begin living a life which harmed no other to the best of my ability. Right now, I am seeing all of the victimized, panicked and abused people of California as I have always seen the animals. For the first time, many thousands of these people are experiencing the despair of having no voice.

Taking the vegan path quickly led me to electing to eat organic foods whenever possible. Conventional farmers are without respect for the dignity of the land and the plants and creatures that inhabit the land. By opting to support organic farmers, I hoped to support a kinder and more sustainable civilization which would put ecological and human health before chemically-derived profits. With the statewide spraying of California, there will be no more organic land, organic farms, or organic produce for us to eat. My entire way of life is being taken away from me, and I am being left with the knowledge that every breath I take, every sip of water I drink, every bite of food I eat will be laden with plastic and toxins.

Only a vegan would add what I am about to say. It is morally wrong to exterminate the light brown apple moth. It is an act of unpardonable violence against a living creature. Rather than enabling nature to find the correct balance between insects and plants, human beings are willfully choosing the poisoning of the Earth and all of its inhabitants. The power of nature to manage populations and protect ecosystems is unsurpassed. We need only step aside, desist from monoculture agribusiness practices which throw environments into imbalance, halt the destruction of fragile natural partnerships between insects, plants, and animals and nature will take care of us.

It is hard to find time to reflect on the fate of the moth, which is being used as the scapegoat for the immoral actions of a few corrupt men. In our panic, in our fear for our own lives, we may not be able to make much room for sorrow over the attempted extermination of these small creatures who flit through the nighttime breezes whilst we are asleep in our beds. Like my own way of life, the light brown apple moth’s is ending.

The negligent absurdity of it all is almost overwhelming. What we do to the moth, we do to ourselves. What Arnold Schwarzenegger, A.G. Kawamura, and their partners are doing to us, they are doing to themselves. Their air, their drinking water, the food they depend on for life, will be toxic and doubtless the results will be seen in the health of their loved ones just as it will be in ours.

What can you do?

Though history has taught us that our government is capable of committing atrocities against the registered will of the people, there is still a chance to triumph over this injustice. Rather than simply repeating information that is available on other websites, please allow me to provide you with some links for taking action.

This article at Natural News provides in-depth coverage of the LBAM aerial spraying and has a list of preventative bills you can support.

This is the most frequently updated anti-spray website covering news and events surrounding the aerial spraying in Central California. This is the most comprehensive website on the LBAM crisis that I have found.

This is an extremely important website detailing the health effects of LBAM spraying, as well as actions you can take.

This page features a collection of YouTube videos published by LBAMspray.com, documenting expert and civic opinion on the dangers of the spray. These videos are essential watching. Please try to make time to watch them to educate yourself.

This site has links to the Care2 Petition, a forum, and regularly updated news for the SF Bay Area LBAM aerial spraying disaster.

If you are running an LBAM spraying protest site, I invite you to leave a link in the comments portion of this post. I want to continue updating this resource.