Factory Farms Try to Dodge Accountability and Corporate Responsibility

A proposed EPA law that would require CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) owners to report on the amount of pollutants their farms create is being challenged by factory farm owners as well as such figures as the governor and attorney general of Kansas, a state where many of these farms operate. Claiming that the farms are “non-discharging,” which means that animal waste is collected in lagoons and ponds on private property, the owners claim the government has no business and no authority to request the information. Gov. Brownback and Attorney General Schmidt apparently don’t believe that methane gas escaping into the air, or animal waste leaching into the groundwater is anything to worry about, and they further claim regulation would threaten thousands of jobs, which makes little sense as it does not require thousands of people to keep data on the amount of pollutants generated. Brownback further claims that requiring farmers to report data on pollution will detract from the ability to produce safe, affordable food. But improper treatment and handling of animal waste can result in outbreaks of bacteria like e-coli and given the recent reduction in USDA inspectors due to budget cuts, regulation may be the only way to protect the public. The irony here is that if factory farming was properly classified as an industry, which it really is, many farms would not meet industry regulatory standards aimed at controlling pollution. Today factory farms are responsible for generating more greenhouse gasses than all of the automobiles on the road and represent the single biggest threat to the sustainability of our planet.

For more on this story see: http://www.hpj.com/archives/2012/jan12/jan30/0123GovObjectstoEPAFeedlotR.cfm?title=Governor,%20attorney%20general%20object%20to%20proposed%20EPA%20feedlot%20rule

 

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