arlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided against adopting environmental protections to reduce the harmful effects of CAFOs, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. CAFOs are livestock factory farms where chickens are packed so tight they cannot extend their wings, and hogs can barely turn around. Cattle are not allowed to graze on pasture.
Besides problems with animal cruelty, factory farms pose serious environment and human health risks. The primary CAFO pollution is livestock manure, which is generated in quantities equal to that of large cities. The manure leaches into our groundwater, lakes and rivers, killing fish and wildlife, and contaminates the water our children drink. The EPA estimates that 43 percent of Americans have drinking water contaminated by pathogens such as E. coli or salmonella from CAFO manure.
An industrial farm had already broken ground and was nearly 60 percent complete in Jo Daviess County, Illinois. Neighbors, concerned residents and health care professionals had to organize. They made the case that their community would be better without a CAFO.
We shouldn’t have to rely on neighborhood organizing to have clean drinking water. The EPA was wrong not to issue protections for clean water. Please join me in writing President Barack Obama to urge him to regulate factory farms and protect our water.
From the July 10-16, 2013, issue