From the Concerned Citizens of Hartford, Michigan 49057
aka CAFO'S:
"Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations"

Potential Hazards to Health, Environment,
and Quality-of-Life
United States / International Edition
(Also see the Local Michigan Edition)

Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.

Author's Note, 27 September 2005:When I launched an earlier version of this page on 20 February 2005, it included 22 links covering potential hazards to health, environment, and quality-of-life; the role of greed and politics; and "issues of food supply."  In re-organizing and indexing these Factory Farms / Industrial Agriculture pages earlier today, I realized that "issues of food supply" needed to be on a separate page and renamed We Are What We Eat.  Thus, I have split the original page in half.

This page now focuses specifically on politics, greed, and hazards to humans, animals, and environment involved in actual factory farm practices.  The new, split-off page focuses on looming problems with the resultant food supply, with  psycho-spiritual issues, and with future solutions.  Since there will inevitably be a certain degree of "slippage" between these categories, you might wish to explore both pages.

19 April 2007:
Behind the Odors From Factory Farms: What the Nose Doesn't Know: [by Stanley Cooper]

6 March 2007:
How & Why Pathogens Are Getting Into Our Food Supply:
Cherchez la merde!: [by Stanley Cooper]



"The E.P.A. Peaceable Kingdom": detail
Artist: Steve Sack, "updating" the mid-19th century painting by Edward Hicks.
© Minneapolis Star Tribune: [click on link to see fullsized painting]
Permission pending

News Items on the EPA's 2005 "Get-out-of-jail-free-card" for CAFOs that pollute
We begin these links with the American EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency, which is supposed to protect its citizens, but doesn't.  It protects only the wealthiest.  These reprints include "Bush's forgiving EPA"from an editorial in the Louisville, Kentucky Courier-Journal for 25 January 2005.  Here is how it opens:
One depressing consequence of George W. Bush's war in Iraq is that it diverts attention from all sorts of other messes created by his administration.

Among the most obvious of those are environmental setbacks  -- "nearly 150 destructive policy actions over the past year alone," says this month's report from the Natural Resources Defense Council. NRDC attorney Robert Kennedy Jr. charges, "An almost daily barrage of weakening policy changes over the past four years threatens decades of hard-won environmental progress." . . .

The article continues with details on what the Sierra Club has elsewhere called the EPA's "get-out-of-jail-free card" for polluting CAFOs.

There is also a reprint of "Asthma Goes Rural, Thanks to Amnesty for Polluters" by Aina Hunter in The Village Voice in NYC.  It concludes:

...But thanks to an agreement signed the day after the Bush inauguration, massive meat processors like Tyson Foods (which has the distinction of owning one of three U.S. slaughterhouses held up by Human Rights Watch as a violator of international work-place standards) will soon be free to churn fresh country air into out-house smog while the EPA investigates the increasing problem of slaughterhouse pollution. The processors just pay a flat, one-time fee for assumed past transgressions. It's a sweet deal for Tyson, which, coincidentally, helped pay for the Bush inauguration in DC.
Farm Bureau's victory at our expense.  [annotation tba]

Uncaged, free-range chickens
From Vegan Outreach

News Items on Chickens and Eggs
This is a reprint of news articles on industrial poultry farming in the USA from various sources.  (For more on Tyson and their chickens, see the EPA reprints mentioned above.)


Doomed Pig
From Vegan Outreach

News Items on International Spread of Industrial Agriculture
This page includes a reprint of a disturbing 7 February 2005 story by Tom Hundley from the Chicago Tribune, "Village in Poland clashes with U.S. pork giant: America's top hog producer [Smithfield]wants to create `the Iowa of Europe'; residents gag on transformation."
This comes from a December 3, 2004 news release issued by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: "Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria Found To Be Airborne in Concentrated Swine Operation."  Here are several sobering excerpts:
People could be exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria from breathing the air from concentrated swine feeding facilities. . . . The study adds to the understanding of various pathways in which humans can be exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as consumption of retail pork products and contact with or ingestion of soil, surface water and groundwater near production operations. . . . [T]he use of antibiotics in industrial animal production has a significant impact on the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that threaten human health. Using antibiotics in animals can decrease the effectiveness of the same antibiotics used to combat human infections.
...The researchers believe workers at concentrated animal feeding operations are at greatest risk for airborne exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, the same workers may also become reservoirs of drug-resistant bacteria that can be spread to family and the broader community. The study also raises questions about the spread of drug-resistant bacteria to areas beyond the immediate site through ventilation fans and by the application of manure from feeding operations to off-site fields. . . .
News Items on CAFOs destroying rural communities & even an entire state -- Iowa
This page includes a 9 February 2005 reprint, "Keeping Iowa's Young Folks at Home After They've Seen Minnesota" from the New York Times.  It is as blunt as you can get about why the cost of CAFOs is far, far more than any nation can afford.  It looks at the disintegration of the entire state of Iowa -- an ominous portent of what lies ahead for all other CAFO-blighted states.  The piece starts off slowly but once it gets going, you'd have to be brain-dead not to finally "get" it.
Western New York's horrific experiences with CAFOs. [Annotation tba]

[Added 3/13/05]: This is "Farmers study future without confined feeding operations" by Danya Cain -- another article offering a very hopeful vision of the future from Dr. David Zartman of Ohio State University.  It comes from TribTown in Jackson County, Indiana.  Since links to newspaper articles often expire within weeks of publication, I am quoting this brief, but important piece in full:
Changes in confined animal feeding operations are eminent.

That was the message Monday night from guest speaker David Zartman at the annual Indiana Forage Council meeting.  The premise of his lecture, part of the Indiana Forage Council’s annual meeting, is that the confinement system is not an enduring system, Zartman said.  “The change is coming,” Zartman said. “Whether or not I’ve said it right tonight or not, it will be enormous. If CAFOs survive, they won’t be as we know it.”

Zartman, a professor of animal science at Ohio State University, predicted that in one human generation CAFOs would move out of the country. Where they go, Zartman said, so do the feed grains supplying those operations. Pastoral farming will replace CAFOs, he said.  "If grazing is your game,” Zartman said, “you’re in the right game.”

That’s good news for some.  “Grazing will be a big future in agriculture,” said farmer Norbert Schafer of Madison.

Zartman attributes the end of CAFOs and their operation methods to three factors:

                     -- The growing environmental movement.
                     -- A push for animal rights.
                     -- And a depleting supply of laborers willing to work in CAFOs.

The growing trend in organic and whole foods are key to surviving in the future, he said.  A growth in selective consumers, who prefer locally grown, natural or organic foods, coupled with the drive for purer water and cleaner air are factors, he said.  The next generation of voters will have a greener agenda, because of a different social structure and cultural mix, he said.

“CAFOs will not fit that picture,” Zartman said.

A change in CAFO operations is the future and a lifestyle change is part of the picture, added one Washington County farmer.  “Forget about what Mom and Dad raised and (how they) worked the farm,” said Dan Fennell, “and try to get into a lifestyle that’s going to be the future.”

Although the details of change for CAFOs are sketchy, Tony Stephanus of Deputy contends Zartman is right. Stephanus said smaller farms might re-emerge as a result.  "(The) system is self-correcting itself,” Stephanus said.

Zartman also urged those in attendance to concentrate on winter grazing and renovating stressed pastures.


News Items on Serious Hazards to Employees working in CAFOs

This page includes a 6 February 2005 reprint of, "What Meat Means" -- an editorial on slaughterhouses from the New York Times.  The focus looks, not at the animals, but at the uneducated, vulnerable immigrant labor force working in these places and suffering a high degree of serious injuries.
...What is most alarming at the slaughterhouse is not what happens to the animals - they have already met their fate. It is what happens to the humans who work there.... The problem of worker safety is compounded by the fact that meatpackers, driven by the brutal economics of the industry, always try to hire the cheapest labor they can find. That increasingly means immigrants whose language difficulties compound the risks of the job. The result, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch, is "extraordinarily high rates of injury" in conditions that systematically violate human rights....
After considering many of the issues involved, the piece concludes with this:
...In recent years, Americans have had the habit of thinking of wide-scale workplace abuses as foreign affairs - the kind of thing that turns up in Southeast Asia, for instance. And, in a sense, the abuses found in American slaughterhouses are international matters, because so many of the workers are actually citizens of other countries. But in this case, the abuses are taking place right at home, and as part of our food chain. In a carb-conscious era, the meat processing industry should be a place of opportunity for workers who put all that protein on your plate. Right now, that is hardly the case.
Protecting farm workers from pesticides (Seattle, WA). [Annotation tba]
News Items on Minnesota's Plan to Destroy Family Farms by Weakening Local Control Over CAFOs
This is a reprint of a discouraging December 2, 2004 New York Times editorial, "Fighting for Local Control."  Here are several excerpts:
Given the results of the election, voters' power should be strong and healthy in rural America. Perhaps it is when it comes to voting for statewide and national offices, but not when it comes to local environmental issues - especially  concerning factory farms. The latest example is Minnesota.  Unlike Iowa and Wisconsin, Minnesota still retains the principle of control at the township level. Local residents can, for instance, decide whether they want a large-scale hog-confinement operation next door. That has kept Minnesota relatively free of the mammoth factory farms that  have polluted Iowa.

But last year Gov. Tim Pawlenty convened a 14-member advisory group - a virtual cross section of industrial  agriculture in the state - to find ways to increase the number of livestock in Minnesota....

...The report has caused an uproar, for good reason. It's a blueprint for the destruction of family farming in Minnesota....
Only those living within one mile radius around a CAFO are allowed to speak out against CAFOs in Idaho!  [Annotation tba]
Why Dutch farmers are coming to the USA to establish huge, polluting CAFOs.  [Annotation tba]

NEW YORK — A federal appeals court yesterday agreed with environmentalists that new federal clean water rules were not protecting the nation's waters from the manure pollution of large farms, the Associated Press (AP) reported in Newsday.  [Annotation tba]

Myth*ing Links
Note: my complete Site Map and e-mail address are on the home page.

This page created with Netscape Gold 4.7: colors may appear distorted on Macs.
Text and Design:
© 2004-2007 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.

INDEX for Factory Farms / Industrial Agriculture Pages:
[Note: this index-page includes additional links to in-house articles that have not been included here.]

Opening essay begun 9 April 2004 but never finished until 19-20 February 2005.
Began doing reprints & adding links 20 February 2005.  Launched 20 February 2005.
Latest Updates: 24 February 2005: added link to Minnesota page;
2 & 3 March 2005: new art and ungrokked links.
13 March 2005: minor edits to opening; re-arranged & added TribTown to new "Future" section.
27 September 2005: added Index link & split off "We Are What We Eat" material for a new page.
6 March 2007: added Pathogen page.
1 May 2007: added Odor link (actually launched 4/19/07).