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Another Child Dead

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Yet another reason why Obama needed to stand up to agribusiness and eliminate child labor on farms. Which of course he did not.

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  • James E. Powell

    In an election year, the only people who Obama is going to stand up to are hippies, environmentalists, unions, and Keynesians.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    My immediate response to this post:

    ….or else what?

    * crickets *

    Guess he didn’t need to stand up to agribusiness after all!

    • That is all too painfully true.

  • c u n d gulag

    FSM, what a horrible way to die!

    If I remember right, this reminds me of the scene in “Seven Beauties,” where this guy committed suicide by drowning himself in the communal latrine.

    Yeah, no investigation on farm practices needed…

    • PhoenixRising

      That was my first thought as well. Followed by, Why is the existence of a 2 million gallon open latrine not the lead story on the evening news in Philly?

      • Nuclear war breaks out in Central Asia, earthquakes and tsunamis engulf the Japanese archipelago, and the Arctic ice cap has disappeared completely, but the big story tonight is the weather. We have a correspondent live in front of our studios on Independence Mall to report on today’s freak humidity. Jennifer?

  • Cmm

    I agree that child labor on big corporate agribusiness farms and/or by hired, probably immigrant labor is a blight that needs to be addressed. However a 200 acre farm sounds more like a family business and 14 does not seem to be too young to help out with it. It is a horrible tragedy and perhaps the dad and older brother had the younger doing a chore he could not yet handle but they paid the ultimate price for it, whether it was simple misjudgment or abuse. What a horrible way to die, and a horrible loss for the family. But blaming agribusiness for this incident would be like blaming the insurance industry if I had died in a fire at my dad’s insurance agency when I worked there in the summer when I was fourteen.

    • Except that agribusiness lobbied against regulations that would have protected this child.

      • elm

        Are you sure about that? My understanding was that the regulations exempted children working on their own parents’ farms, which it seems was the case here.

        • elm

          See, for instance, the Dept. of Labor’s press release when they announced the rules: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20111250.htm

          The key line is at the end of the second paragraph: “The proposed regulations would not apply to children working on farms owned by their parents.”

          • elm

            To further spam the thread: re-reading your linked story, it seems that the death did not occur on the family farm, but at a different farm. The family didn’t report the three were missing until they failed to show up at their own farm to milk the cows. It’s a little unclear, though. If this reading is correct, then the DoL rules do seem like they would have applied.

            • Yes, it was not a family farm. The DoL rules absolutely would have applied.

              My own opinion is that family farm or not, the rules should be applied.

              • rea

                Heaven forbid that the government should interfere in any way with the fundamental right of parents to get their kids killed in grisly fashion.

            • In all likelihood, the father and sons were probably in the business of emptying the lagoons for family farm type operations which, I’m 90% certain, would get them classified as a family farm operation themselves under current rules.

      • No they didn’t, no package of regulations has ever been seriously proposed that would have prohibited and 18 year old and a 14 year old from working with their father on the family farm. Whether they should not not might be a matter worth debating, but there is literally no proposed rule that would have made this illegal.

    • GNR

      The idea that 14 year olds should be allowed to operate machinery in a 2 million gallon lagoon of untreated animal waste just because that lagoon happens to be located on a “family farm” is simply bizarre. Working in a manure pit is not like working in an insurance office. Manure pits are extremely hazardous work environments even when they are on “family farms” (See http://bo.st/JtHk5L). Insurance offices are not. People will say some pretty ridiculous things in deference to the hazy ideal of the family farm.

      But, yeah, like yawl said up-thread there, this was not a family farm. And the regs might have saved this 14 year old’s life.

      • elm

        We probably should be regulating what goes on on family farms as well as agribusiness, but it would take a major change in DoL rules (and the law.) Right now, working on your parents’ farm exempts you from all Fair Labor Standards Act regulations.

  • Tcaalaw

    I support the regulations at issue, but from having read several stories about the incident, I don’t think it would have done anything to prevent three people from dying in this particular case. There’s no indication that the age of the youngest victim played any role in causing the accident. If he had been prohibited from working at this particular farm it just would have meant the third victim would have been over the age of 18.

    • Right. If nothing else, 2/3 of the people who died in the accident were legal adults who would have been completely unaffected by any child labor rule.

      So I guess we can take this as more proof that Erik isn’t concerned about the safety of agricultural workers over the age of 17 then?

      • Are you just stupid?

        Seriously?

        Obviously I don’t care about workers over the age of 17!!!

        You improve working conditions with the tools you have. In this case, child labor laws.

        Or are you also OK with 10 year olds working in coal mines?

        • You improve working conditions with the tools you have. In this case, child labor laws.

          Well, okay, then what’s the point of talking about this? Because a rule that would have prevented a 14 year old from working with his father’s operation in this capacity would be so politically toxic as to have a snowball’s chance in hell of going anywhere, so this falls apart under your own logic.

          And anyway, I’m being facetious, but I’m not sure it’s unfairly so when your response to three people dying in an accident is to default to a “told you so” posture because one of them was a minor.

    • PhoenixRising

      Um, have you ever met a 14 year old boy in your life?

      Having some work experience with teens myself, I’m guessing that the age of the child involved did have a bit to do with the outcome.

      If nothing else, the reason the 18 year old and his father died from drowning was that the 14 year old (who was sucked into the machinery, per MEs report) got hisself hurt. They both died trying to save him. Had he been an 18 year old from a neighboring farm, odds are they would be alive to tell the tragic tale.

      • Incidentally, I was a 14 year old who worked on a family farm, so…yeah.

      • ajay

        the reason the 18 year old and his father died from drowning was that the 14 year old (who was sucked into the machinery, per MEs report) got hisself hurt. They both died trying to save him. Had he been an 18 year old from a neighboring farm, odds are they would be alive to tell the tragic tale.

        Because in that case the other two would simply have stood back and laughed as he drowned? “You know, son, three years ago I’d have dived right in there myself and tried to drag you to safety. But since it was your eighteenth birthday last month… sucks to be you!”

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