Friday, April 27, 2012

Conservative Dogma Compromises Safety of Farm Children

Child Labor Farm Rules Scrapped By White House Under Political Pressure
By Dave Jamieson

WASHINGTON -- Facing political pressure from Republicans and farming groups, the White House has decided to scrap rules proposed last year that would have prevented minors [who are actually employed on a farm other than their family farm] from performing certain agricultural work deemed too dangerous for children. 

The Labor Department announced the decision late Thursday, saying it was withdrawing the rules due to concern from the public over how they could affect family farms. [snip]

While the move is destined to please the many conservatives and agricultural groups who came out in opposition to the rules, it was quickly criticized by workplace and child safety advocates who say the White House is caving to anti-regulatory politics.

[snip] Mary Miller, a clinical professor at the University of Washington School of Nursing and a proponent of the rules [said], "Anyone who's anti-regulation, this was an easy thing to latch on to."

Although family farms were actually exempted from the proposed rules, many opponents cast them as an assault on family farms and rural traditions, saying the White House wanted to keep children from doing even small chores. In fact, the rules would only have affected minors who were formally employed and on farm payrolls, preventing them from operating heavy machinery, handling tobacco crops, working in grain silos or performing other jobs considered potentially dangerous.

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