Since the White House launched the “We the People” petition website in September 2011, it has been steadily growing in terms of submissions and users. In its first year, a total of 50,348 petitions were created, attracting over 3.4 million signatures.
At first, the White House set the threshold at only 5,000 signatures to trigger an official reply, but a month into the initiative, that was increased to 25,000.
In the flood of appeals to the federal government, it can be hard to sift through and find ones of interest. In this 30-day period there are a number of important ones. Here is a look at five you should know about.
Investigate and Condemn Live Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China
Since 1999, when the Chinese regime began its suppression of the Falun Gong meditation practice, it has been estimated that tens of thousands of practitioners and other prisoners of conscience have had their organs harvested, carried out against their will and even while they were still alive.
According to the petition, there have been two Congressional hearings covering the topic, the State Department cited the allegations in its 2011 Human Rights Report, and in October, 106 Congress members wrote to Secretary Clinton requesting further information about it.
One of the initiators of the petition, Dr. Arthur Caplan, who heads the Division of Bioethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, spoke to The Epoch Times two weeks ago.
“This kind of pressure will lead to change. … I urge [people] to sign it. It’s an important petition because they can make a difference,” he said.
The White House petition says: “As a world leader in protecting human rights, the U.S. has a moral obligation to expose these crimes, stop them, and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.” As of Dec. 21, the petition had 16,711 signatures; it closes on January 1, 2013.
Increase NASA’s Budget
According to the petition’s creator, the budget of U.S. space agency NASA should be expanding, rather than contracting.
Between 2011 and 2013, the overall budget of NASA is slated to decrease by around $700 million, according to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. In previous years, the space agency’s budget has essentially grown over its existence until 2012.
“Instead of cutting NASA’s budget, we should be growing it. Not doubling or tripling, but at least keeping its funding at the levels it has been or greater. Compared to other federal agencies, NASA receives a microscopic amount of money,” the petition reads.
“In the words of Neil deGrasse Tyson, ‘We stopped dreaming.’ We need to start dreaming again, and that starts with funding NASA adequately. By investing in NASA, we are investing in the U.S. economy,” it continues.
As of Dec. 21, the petition had 12,248 signatures; it closes on January 4, 2013
Ban Killing Beagles for Medical, Scientific, and Consumer Research
Beagles are used heavily in research procedures and are the dog breed most often used in animal testing due to their size and passivity. According to U.K. government statistics, of the 8,018 dogs used for testing in the country, more 97 percent, or 7,799, were beagles.
A report last year said that more than 70,000 beagles in the United States are used for testing purposes. Los Angeles journalist Lu Parker by way of the Huffington Post found the dogs are sometimes used in surgical experiments, while its common for the dog’s vocal chords to be removed.
The creator of the White House petition seeks to end what they described as “cruel and a violation of animal rights.”
As of December 21, the petition had 5,985 signatures; it closes on January 3, 2013.
Declassify the Tesla Papers
Nikola Tesla, the 19th to early 20th century inventor, is credited with creating or at least heavily contributing to a multitude of things we now take for granted: alternating current, radio, the electric motor, X-rays, and others.
Since his death in 1943, there has been a bit of controversy over what the U.S. government did with many of his scientific and technical papers, with many still not available to the public. There were also rumors that he said he created a “death beam.”
A recent petition wants to see so-called Tesla papers released to the public as well as all of his “personal effects, memoirs, and [diaries].” They should be donated to the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe in Long Island, New York, and made available on the Internet.
As of December 21, the petition had 5,321 signatures; it closes on January 7, 2013.
President Responds to 32 Petitions Related to Reducing Gun Violence
In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, and other similar tragedies, 32 petitions were created asking the White House to take some form of action. The petitions ranged from asking for “armed security at all schools across the nation who are ex military from combat MOSs or combat proven,” to wanting the Second Amendment appealed to asking for a gun in every classroom.
All 32 petitions have been closed and answered with a single message and video reply from the president.
In his answer, the president acknowledges the issue is complex and emotional and that there is “no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.”
“But the fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean we can’t steadily reduce the violence, and prevent the very worst violence,” he added.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 20 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.