This webpage comes from Myth*ing Links.

aka Factory Farms or CAFO'S
[Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations]:

National / International Edition

"In a swine facility near Peoria, Illinois, microbiologist Terry Whitehead collects fresh manure samples
for use in tests to identify bacteria that may be involved in odor production."

Behind the Odors
From Factory Farms:
What the Nose Doesn't Know

Fabricated steel swine manure storage

This is the google diary
of Stanley Cooper*
[*His name has been changed to keep the focus on the science and not the messenger.
For biographical data, please see his page on Pathogens]


7 April 2007
Introduction from Myth*ing Links:

On one of the websites I looked at today, I found the following two relevant statistics: a 150-pound hog produces more than 10 pounds of manure a day. Annually, a single mature dairy cow can produce as much as 20 tons of wet manure. When people living in rural areas complain about the smell of all this manure, others tend to dismiss their complaints.  Surely, the smell comes with the area -- if you're going to live out in the country, get used to it.

It's not that simple, however. Today's manure isn't the manure our grandparents knew back in the early-mid 1900's.  Cows confined in factory farms are now fed corn-based diets heavily laced with growth hormones, anti-biotics to prevent rapid infection in their close confined quarters, and many other things unheard of in earlier times.  Most people do not bat an eyelash when they learn how much corn cows are now being fed.  But think about it -- have you ever heard of a cow wandering through a cornfield, eating ears of corn?  No -- because cows don't do that. Cows evolved to graze on grasses -- that's what their mouths, teeth, stomachs, and elimination organs are designed to do.  What they are fed in today's factory farms is "unnatural."

So is their manure.

[The following passages I have cobbled together from reports sent to various e-mail lists I receive]: CAFO manure is like nothing else we have had to deal with before. This manure carries disease -- the pathogens include Salmonella, E. coli, Cryptosporidium, and fecal coliform, which can be 10 to 100 times more concentrated than in human waste. More than 40 diseases can be transferred to humans through manure. Further, if we get sick from one of the diseases in CAFO manure, antibiotics may not be able to cure us -- again because of what is in that same manure.

According to "Cesspools of Shame," a 2001 Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report: "In this country, roughly 24 million pounds of antibiotics -- about 70 percent of the nation's antibiotics use in total -- are added to animal feed every year to speed livestock growth. This widespread use of antibiotics on animals contributes to the rise of resistant bacteria, making it harder to treat human illnesses." Since what cows are fed eventually makes its way out the other end, a fair percentage of those antibiotics wind up in animal waste and seep into our aquafer and from there to our creeks, rivers,
and lakes.

The same NRDC report finds that "Ammonia, a toxic form of nitrogen released in gas form during waste disposal, can be carried more than 300 miles through the air before being dumped back onto the ground or into the water, where it causes algal blooms and fish kills." Thus, the disposal of CAFO manure is not just about small rural areas surrounding a local CAFO. Airborne toxicity travels long distances from each CAFO.

Lagoon and sprayfield wastewater is what has been called a "witches' brew of toxins," containing viruses, bacteria, antibiotics, metals, oxygen-depleting substances and other toxins that run off the land, contaminate the groundwater, and pollute the atmosphere. When lagoons burst, as they do too frequently, millions of gallons of manure reach our waterways and spread microbes that can cause gastroenteritis, fevers, kidney failure, and death.

Clearly, this isn't our grandfathers' manure.

It should be noted that those vast mountains of "unnatural" manure are also contributing massively to global warming.  According to a report, "Vital Signs 2007-2008," released Monday, 2 April 2007 by the Worldwatch Institute, factory farms are responsible for emissions of greenhouse gases that now surpass those of cars and SUVs.  The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that the growing numbers of livestock around the world are responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions (as measured in carbon dioxide equivalent).

Further data comes from an earlier report from the United Nations in November 2006.  Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars, the UN report warns.  “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems,” senior UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) official Henning Steinfeld said. “Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”

When emissions from land use and land use change are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9 per cent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 per cent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure. And it accounts for respectively 37 per cent of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants, and 64 per cent of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain.

For people living near these factory farms, as disturbing and depressing as these meta-facts are, the overwhelming personal impact remains focused on the horrific stench. Thus, this webpage is a collection of scientific evidence that Stanley Cooper has gathered about those noxious odors, the serious illnesses they cause, and other waste management hazards.........

By Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.


Pivot-spraying of liquid manure
(Note:  polluting particulates are windblown far beyond these fields & effect non-rural populations. KJ)
From: Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan (ECCSCM)

      12-22-06 friday morning googling....odors

1.  i am googling Susan Schiffman and odors/swine cause i need an older article she wrote..... anyway, am finding several other articles of hers that i had not known about and thought i would share.... this one is from 1999....note that the first paragraph describes odor generation as the fermentation of fats, proteins, and carbs...........which is what i have been saying for years.....and is always heartwarming to find in published literature....
Click here: Diet and evaluators affect perception of swine waste odor: An educational demonstration -- Moeser et al. 81 (12)

2.  in this older epa study....looks like our buddy Veenhuizen was a bit more openminded in 1996 when he was quoted as saying odors from swine facilities to travel as far as three miles away.........see page 26 where it talks about land application - if the waste is not incorporated within several hours then odor effect is the same as if they spray irrigated.  There is a glossary of terms at the end of the report that is also very useful......references are liberally provided throughout.  overall, a good read even though old.

3.  if you go to the end of this article, there are color graphs that show the difference between odor plumes in the day and at night.........the day turbulence keeps the strongest odors closest to the source.......the night time laminar flow allows the odors travel longer distances before dispersal to the point of non-detect.  great visual.

4.  this journal article really describes the human health effects from swine odor........everything from headaches to fatigue to sore throats with lots and lots of summarized data on the tests before and after exposure to the irritants.  it is a good one to keep in your arsenal for presentations on adverse impacts.

5.  this is a good article on hedonic-price modeling of residential property near hog farms in north carolina. an absolute must read for folks battling property values....

6.  i loved the pictures of the brain and the odor wheel in this one...........also some good simple chemistry review of odor.

7.  i include this article mainly for the graphical presentation of odor in relation to time of day and wind direction.....see pg2

that's all for



      2-1-07 googling odor from CAFOs

this is some of the stuff i worked on while in kentucky for two and a half weeks....along with the other references i sent you.

1. : thermal imaging of exhaust from hog barns

2. animal health effects from chemicals in barns

3. shows difference between treated and untreated swine waste..........ammonia, nitrates, pathogens.  good graphics.

4. a pretty technical article on how olfactory receptors interact with chemicals and the relationship between binding sites and odor recognition.  this is a good one to slap on the folks that say there is no science in odor research.  there is.  it is just not in the land grant universities.

5. good article relating feed composition to malodorous compounds.  it experiments with chicory.  but i think the basic info in the article is a good foundation to understanding that odor can be manipulated by feed

6. research from Austria.  good graphics showing odor intensity differences in time of day and season/wind

7. 2005 reprint of 2003 Susan Schiffman odor study on human health -- headaches, etc.

8. Schiffman study on odor versus waste treatment technologies

9. an oldy but goody --- late 1990's study by region vi on cafo odors.  has it really been more than a decade?

10. a USGS report on characterization of organic matter in swine lagoons.

11. short report on odor study using GC.........p-cresols and other volatile organic compounds.  actually a bit alarming.

12. 1998 Schiffman report on odors and health effects

From:  [see directly below]

13. i really like this one........relates odor to the feed

14. 2004 Schiffman and Williams article on odor and health

15.  Heber article on measuring odor from hog barns:

16. talks about the combination of urine and feces is what causes the odor compounds to develop.  if kept separately........not the same chemical and biological reactions.  this article looks at lowering the pH of urine in order to prolong the generation of odor causing is dictated by the buffering capacity of the feces.  good stuff.

17. study shows hydrogen sulfide increases over time as microbial community thrives.  deep pit

18. series of abstracts presented at north carolina air workshop.


Pigs in a factory  farm

        more odor resources
        Thu, 1 Feb 2007 11:19:10 EST

in case you are wondering why i am pounding you with research urls........i just got back from two weeks in my hotel with a laptop and a printer and nothing better to do than scour the internet.  i want to share with you so that we have educated and powerful response to the industry's complete and total lack of responsibility when it comes to controlling waste from CAFOs.  sc

1. 2003 study with Heber as contributing author:

2. another Heber study

3. great visual on the ammonia emissions from hog farms in north carolina by concentration from sources.

4. a short description of a bacterial solution to odor......

5. ohio study on volatile fatty acid odors and sawdust...........precursor to using biofilters filled with sawdust

6. this is a nice little resource in case someone has the nerve to say that the industry doesn't know anything about feed...........i use this to understand feed to gain ratio and how the "nongain" is the poop and the energy expended by the animal, right?


March 2003: Vreba-Hoff 2 dairy CAFO on US-127 south of Hudson, Michigan,
surrounded by contaminated stormwater, lagoons at full capacity:
22 million gallons of untreated liquid waste

      1-2-07 googling jordon bovine odors

when i googled the Jordan King's manure problem.........i found a few articles that i hadn't seen before and thought i would pass on to you....

1.  this is one of three reports, "influence of genotype and diet on steer performance, manure odor, and carriage of pathogenic and other fecal bacteria," from the same study on cattle, diet and odors/pathogens.  if you scroll down to the bottom of the abstract you will see the other two abstracts.  this one shows that the corn silage diet increased the production of VFA (volatile fatty acids) which causes odors.   good article to use for nuisance issues around cattle feedlots.

2.  this article is about pathogens that are found downwind of land application sites (using domestic wastewater) this could be used to discuss how land application of lagoon wastewater would cause adverse health effects downwind as well (first page talks about gastrointestinal diseases at least)...what is important about this study is that the bacteria were aerosoled from standing water by wind action, from lagoon surfaces and flooded fields......most of the article is fairly technical  (would give me a headache) but the first and last pages has good discussion.


Cows in a factory farm
(Courtesy of Factory

      add to the jordan bovine odors google

this is the back story to my previous email........  Jordanian king complains of bovine odors coming from the Israeli side of countries' shared southern border


...In response to the Jordanian complaint, Israel has ordered the owners of the facility -- where imported livestock is held in quarantine before being released to farmers -- to clean up large amounts of animal waste that had built up at the site, Environment Ministry spokesman Sharon Achdut said....

...upon receiving the complaint, Israeli officials immediately spread "deodorants" around the site to offset the smell affecting Abdullah's palace, and [said] that a thorough clean-up would begin within days....

Sorry, this story was just too funny............"they quickly spread deodarants"  ahhhhh, to be king..... guess no one really likes a stinky home eh?  sc

More from Stanley Cooper:
How & Why Are Pathogens Getting Into Our Food Supply: Cherchez la merde!

Related Myth*ing Links' pages with articles
on manure, tiled fields, run-off, etc:
Down the Drain: Liquefied manure and drainage tile can lead to problems
Report on field tiles by David Green, State Line Observer:
The Wal-Marts of Manure?
by Anne Woiwode
Serious Problems in Poland from Smithfield Hog Factory Odors
by Tom Hundley, Chicago Tribune, 2005.
EPA Favors the Polluting CAFOs, not the Populace
(Reprints of 2 newspaper articles)

Back to opening page for Myth*ing Links':
Industrial Agriculture: National / International Edition

Myth*ing Links CAFO INDEX:
INDEX for Factory Farms / Industrial Agriculture Pages

Webpage created for Myth*ing Links:
7 April 2007
Image links compiled & sometimes briefly annotated by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
All other text (unless otherwise indicated) is © 2007 by Stanley Cooper.
Page officially launched 19 April 2007.
All rights reserved.

Three trapped pigs looking through wire fence towards the sun.
North Dakota Department of Agriculture