About the author

Bridget Huber is a FairWarning contributor.

9 comments to “As Factory Farms Spread, Government Efforts to Curb Threat From Livestock Waste Bog Down”

  1. Michael Ehline

    Time has come to act. We have talked and studied this long enough.

  2. Richard Stoll Ph.D

    Hey all you guys, if you really want to have fun squashing the big, bad corporate bullies just
    head over to this site: http://celdf.org/about/contact/

    Tons of fun and social benefit – guaranteed. G’luck

  3. Jack

    Maybe entitlement only gets you but so far.

  4. Tiffany

    “Freedom to Farm”? What about freedom to breathe, have access to clean water and live without disease and toxins? Nelson should sue the pig farmer for devaluing her property.

    Here we go again with “security” of the farmers and the food supply. Suggesting that CAFOs list appointed representatives on EPA paperwork isn’t to protect the owners’ privacy; it’s to protect them from the bad publicity and boycotts it would take to turn them around and from the lawsuits that would result from same. Protecting industry over the right of people to be free from feces, chemicals and metals in their water is corporate/governmental fascism, as is making USDA’s collected information unavailable to the public. If nothing else, it should be available under the FOIA; in a perfect world, it would be available on the internet like that of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Illegal acts by protestors can be prosecuted, and those illegal acts would probably cease if the farms were run properly. The egregious, arrogant lack of accountability and collusion for the sake of profit over people is what fuels protests.

    The EPA is taking heat from the USDA and industry for trying to monitor the pollution and from the OMB for not doing its job. Why isn’t the OMB on the phone with the USDA and industry, and why does one governmental agency have any authority over another, equal agency?

    I love the idea of putting this kind of operation in the city. I live on the edge of three counties, and we’ve been stuck with what was supposed to be a minimum-security prison, a dioxin incinerator and a landfill. We barely beat back a trash transfer station in a residential neighborhood, and Labadie, MO is trying to fight off a coal ash dump on the Meramec River for a second time. I guess people think, if they can’t see it from their porch, they aren’t fouling their own nest. They’re wrong. I suggest we start with DC and Manhattan. Can you imagine something like this on Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard?

    Obama never met a campaign promise he wouldn’t make with the intention of keeping in order to win an election. He’s done nothing but lie since his feet hit the presidential campaign trail, not that Romney would have been any better; he’d be worse. One more reason we need third-party candidates on the air at the debates instead of zip-tied to a metal chair under false arrest for trying to enter, as was done to Jill Stein in 2012. The only peaceful way anything is going to change is sustained, massive protests. It only takes 1 – 5% of the population, 5% being huge. 10% or more is currently unemployed.

  5. Doug Baird

    Bright Future for Big City CAFOs
    By Doug Baird

    Now that government subsidized milk-producing CAFOs have proven to be economically viable in rural areas, it’s time to take this idea to its logical conclusion – Urban Animal Factories. CAFOs are modern entrepreneurial marvels, combining the best and most profitable bits of political patronage and regulatory favoritism; they’re the biggest thing to hit rural America since the Dust Bowl, and they are now poised to transform our neglected urban neighborhoods with a chic Bio-Industrial makeover.

    The benefits of investing in Animal Factories cannot be overstated: There’s no downside – It’s the law.

    Assured Support – Partnered with giant Federal and State governments, you will get all the subsidies, tax breaks and legislation needed for success.

    Low Cost Startup – Dairy Factories do not require an expensive infrastructure – Old factories and warehouses or even multi-story garages would work splendidly [in a kind of car park to a cow park enterprise zone strategy] – or just throw up a giant shed and stuff it with cows.

    No “Human Resources” Problems – No training is necessary, so it’s easy to maintain maximum production in today’s job market – if an employee’s out sick, get a new hire quick, and no training means cheap labor and a small payroll. No Occupational Safety issues either – the Surgeon General’s keeping quiet on this, and even the Lung Association is holding its breath.

    Cheap Raw Materials – No need for pastures – the very lowest priced feed can be grown and shipped from anywhere in the world by water, rail, or truck to these Millennial centers of modernist thinking for processing.

    Organic Waste is Recyclable – Liquid manure is easily stored and fermented in disused basements or earth-banked “lagoons.” Good for the environment, many parks, public areas, playing fields, stadiums, even schools and hospitals would benefit from a nurturing flood of liquid manure – they would even have to pay for it. Moreover, new laws could be enacted that would pipe the excess to suburban outlets. As for the processing units: when male calves are born, or cows are no longer fully productive, they can be chopped up and re-purposed as meat for schools and government institutions at mouth-watering contractual prices.

    Freedom from Worry – There are few laws to follow, mostly voluntary guidelines, so you can do just about whatever you want. No zoning, property value, or “nuisance” health problems with the neighbors – all such complaints will be dealt with harshly by our government and other large commercial interests. Complain as they will – it will get them nowhere. The EPA has been bypassed, and even industrial “accidents” are immediately forgiven or overruled in the courts.

    Too long the minority of rural American people have been showered with the by-products of this government miracle – it’s time to include the vast majority of urban and suburban dwellers whose demands for cheap food and ability to marginalize other segments of the population made this dream possible. Thanks also to the many politicians and legislators whose investments in Animal Factories and close association with lobbyists have kept this quietly burgeoning industry hindrance free.

    Can’t you picture Central Park, glistening umber in the sun, with surprised urban dwellers listening to the peaceful drone of flesh flies and filling their lungs with the kind of air that, until now, could only be experienced by an insignificant rural population.

    This future would be possible by just implementing a few score Dairy Factories in our larger cities – the possibilities with large scale Urban Hog and Chicken Factories are unimaginable. It’s a new millennium and a new kind of Democracy, so grab your profit from the Greater Good, and go with the flow to rake in the dough. And remember- “Being entitled is never having to say you’re sorry.”

  6. Susan Fay

    Very comprehensive and well-written article on the CAFOs. Also, Jan, very sad about the Yakima Valley as I think that is one of the pretties parts of the country.

  7. Steven M. Sweat - Glotzer & Sweat, LLP

    I am all for “studying” a potential problem before taking action but, it seems to me that there have been enough incidents in the past few years which show an alarming trend against consumer safety and in favor of these large agri-business operations. I think it is time to act!

  8. JTR

    Gently reduce the human population with family planning education and safely recycle 100% of humen-generated waste materials and all other problems will become manageable.

  9. Jan Whitefoot

    Yakima Valley, WA, State is being consumed by over 300,000 mostly dairy cows in one county; there are more cows than people. Yakima County had the case of “Mad Cow.” The EPA recently tested wells where one had a whopping 190 nitrates. Ten nitrates is the level EPA says humans should not be drinking the water. Yakima County has become the toilet bowl of the state where Seattle also sends its human waste. Dairymen have made it legal to put their dead cows in compost and call it “Organic.” Manure in compost currently does not need to be tested for disease. Best Mangement Practices do not work. Yakima County is an example of BMPs being used. Look at th4e environmental mess these factory farms have created. Taxpayers should not have to pay for polluted wells and air. Activists are crying, “Fowl!” According to Washington State Ecology, Yakima Valley water is over 400% over allocated. Citizens are demanding factory dairy farms be treated like industry in regards to fines and enforcement. A Washington State herd recently was found to have bovine TB. The feedlot/dairy manure needs to be treated like the toxic waste it is. Too many cows =bad news for humans. They are not good neighbors. These toxic polluters need to be addressed at the federal level.

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