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Oxfam releases satirical video in food aid reform push

By Ben Grossman-Cohen

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Washington, D.C. – As legislators in the US Senate work to craft the 2012 Farm Bill, international relief and development organization Oxfam America released a new satirical online video and TV ad to mobilize support for reform to international food aid programs. International food aid programs are regulated under the Farm Bill, which expires later this year. The video offers a simple message: When kids play with their food it’s cute. When Washington does, it costs lives.

“Washington is playing with our food aid programs, with regulations that protect special interests at the expense of hungry people,” said Eric Munoz, policy advisor for Oxfam America. “It is long past time to cut the red tape that costs taxpayers up to $500 million per year. If we modernize our food aid program in the farm bill we can reach up to 17 million more people with life-saving aid at no additional cost to taxpayers.”

Regulations ripe for reform include rules that prevent food aid from being purchased from the most cost efficient and effective sources, mandates that require food to be shipped from the US on preferred vessels and programs which dump US grown food in developing country markets to pay for aid programs, also known as “monetization”.

The video is a call-to-action for Americans to speak-up and tell their members of Congress that they’re sick of special interest giveaways that cost lives and tax dollars. Thousands have already signed Oxfam’s petition calling for reform to Food Aid programs at www.oxfamamerica.org/foodaid.  

The ad will air during national television programs such as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. It will also be shared online via YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.  A robust social media campaign will encourage supporters to send the video directly to the Twitter accounts of the House and Senate agriculture committees @SenateAg and @HouseAgNews.

The video was created by Hill Holliday under the direction of Chief Creative Officer Lance Jensen. The team partnered with NYC director Timothy Saccenti to concept and shoot a powerful film designed to get people talking about food aid reform.

"We were thrilled to have an opportunity to bring attention to this issue," said Jensen. "We want people to share the video, talk about it, and act.  The goal is to use arresting images to make some real impact for the people who need it most."  

The ad push is part of Oxfam’s GROW campaign to tackle the politics behind hunger. The world grows enough food to ensure everyone has enough to eat, but political obstacles, like unnecessary food aid regulations, get in the way.

“Life-saving food aid represents a tiny fraction, just .05%, of the federal budget,” said Munoz. “Yet every year, hundreds of millions of dollars end up in the pockets of special interest groups instead of helping to feed hungry people. Cutting these costly regulations will save money and lives. It should be a no-brainer.”

Notes to editors:
To view the video go to:
www.oxfamamerica.org/foodaid
or
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MwV0_Lkk4Q

ENDS/