(Natural News) Over 50 groups are clamoring for Iowa lawmakers to mark as urgent the passing of a landmark legislation to enact a moratorium on factory farm expansion in a state that is home to more than 10,000 farm factories.
Krissy Kasserman, the national factory farm campaigner at Food & Water Watch, is of the opinion that factory farming is detrimental to the air and water and that a moratorium on the erection of said farms should begin.
Dozens of local, state, and national organizations said that a ban on new and expanded factory farms would serve as “an opportunity to evaluate the public health, economic, and societal impacts of factory farms while providing Iowa’s communities with important statutory protections from further expansion of this industry.”
According to the letter to a member of Iowa’s General Assembly on Thursday, February 9:
“Family farmers and rural residents are often left feeling like prisoners in their own homes, unable to hold family gatherings or hang laundry outside to dry due the overwhelming stench and air pollution.
Retirees are left with the realization that their homes and their properties – often their nest eggs – are depreciated due to the decline in property values associated with living next to a factory farm.
Research has shown that Iowans living near factory farms are more likely to experience respiratory problems, headaches, diarrhea, burning eyes, nausea, and more serious health problems as a result of factory farm air pollution.” (Related: Factory farming and modern food production dangers exposed.)
The letter said that Iowa is experiencing a “serious water pollution crisis,” quoting from a 2014 research that discovered 750 bodies of water in the state that contained pollutants or manifested conditions that are linked to factory farming “including E. coli, excessive algal growth, and diminished aquatic life.”
The groups put the blame on the Environmental Protection Agency and state officials who were remiss in their duties in properly regulating factory farms and making sure that such businesses adhere to local and state laws so that there are no detrimental effects to health and environment.
According to an editorial that was published in the Des Moines Register last fall regarding the establishment of factory farms, “Pressing pause may be the only way Iowa can catch up to this fast-growing industry.”
Fast facts on factory farms in Iowa
- From 1997 to 2007, the number of hogs that were factory farmed in Iowa grew by 75 percent to 17.9 million from 1997 to 2007.
- In 2009, around 25,000 gallons of manure that was spread over a field from a Mitchell County sow operation wreaked havoc over the lives of 150,000 fish over four miles of a local stream.
- In 2007, a hog operation in Clark County spread at least 10,000 gallons of manure into a local creek, resulting in increased ammonia levels accumulating for four miles downstream.
- In 2009, a Washington County hog operation released an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 gallons of manure into a channel that went to the Indian Creek, eliminating populations of fish.
- In 2010, a massive dairy, cattle, and hog operation got into a settlement agreement to pay $60,000 for incidents in 2005, 2008, and 2009 that included allowing manure to contaminate the Turkey River and the Chialk Creek.
For more stories on how pollution harms the environment, visit Pollution.news.