Monday, April 28, 2008

Corporate Pig Farms Make Headlines

Two pieces of information hit me today regarding corporate pig farms.

The first was a front page story in the KC Star regarding a corporate pig farm in Northwest Missouri. A soldier is away at war, so the corporate pig farm is arguing that it can be located 1300 feet from the soldier's front door because he has abandoned his home. This is a very interesting article by Karen Dillon and reveals just how ruthless a CAFO can be; 4800 pigs within 1300 feet of your front door!!

The second piece arrived in the form of a form of a press release from Rep. Jeff Harris, Democratic candidate for Attorney General

Harris Takes Factory Farm Issue to Nationwide Radio Audience; Harris discusses need for local control on Air America Radio Network, host Mike Papantonio praises Harris’ “courage” and “focus” on the issue

Columbia, MO – Representative Jeff Harris, a Democratic candidate for Attorney General, appeared this weekend on the national show “Ring of Fire Radio” on the Air America network. Harris discussed his leadership in tackling the issue of factory farms, their ecological impact and the importance of ensuring local control for Missouri communities.

Harris is sponsoring a bill in the Missouri House that would give local communities a voice in where CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) are located. Harris also has sponsored a bill that would prevent CAFOs from being sited near parks and historic sites. The House Republican leadership continues to hold his legislation hostage. Harris told host Mike Papantonio that local control is a vital tool for Missouri communities.

“When we look at this issue of factory farms, we ought to be looking at it with two goals in mind,” Harris said. “One is to protect our environment and our natural resources, and the second is to preserve family farms. And regrettably, in a lot of cases, in a lot of states, we haven’t seen either of those goals met.”

Papantonio praised Harris’ leadership. “I wish we had more people that had the kind of courage that you’re showing out there in Missouri,” he said. “It would just be such a great thing for Missouri to have an Attorney General with the kind of focus that you’ve shown here.”

Audio of Harris’ interview is available on his campaign website at:

Video of the broadcast is available at:

Papantonio co-hosts the program with environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the son of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. This weekend’s broadcast also featured activist and actor Matthew Modine.

Corporate Pig Farms - or CAFOs - are not just a rural issue. Its about regulating these small cities. A pig "produces" more waste than humans. Would we ever think it is ok for a new city to sprout up and have 4800 people dumping waste into a lagoon within 1300 feet of a home? Heck no - but that is a CAFO. The reason we dissect fetal pigs in science class is the same reason our noses hate the smell of pig crap -humans and pigs have very similar digestive systems. No 1984 jokes here, please. Water source issues are hugely important for big cities and little towns. Even the guys who like to go canoeing in the Jack's Fork River in Southern Missouri understand why CAFO's must be highly regulated.

Jeff Harris is going to pull every environmentalist's vote in the Democratic primary for attorney general (where all the Sierra Club members vote, anyway).


Phil Cardarella said...

So, "corporate pigs" is a pun, right?

We have so destroyed the faminly farm concept that rural America literally has no choice but to put up with corporate sh#$ ?

But they still vote on God, Guns 7 Gays?

anne mcgregor said...

I think Jeff Harris' position on CAFOs is short-sited. Why wouldn't he do something truly courageous and require that the waste be sequestered and put into digesters and used to generate power? It would be using a renewable source of fuel and decreasing the green house gases that otherwise would go into the atmosphere. The revenue from the power would pay for putting in the equipment.

Anonymous said...

Anne - nice, thoughtful discussion. Jeff is proposing something positive to be done. Koster is for big corporate pig farms. Your name has been on a Margaret Donnelley fundraiser. What has she done on this issue?

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