Opinions

CAFOs | Norman Jensen

Leader letters to the editor
Mr. Blake wants us to believe that CAFOs are all the same, just farmers who have a “Right to Farm.” Local, community-feeding-and-supporting citizens committed to public and animal welfare. He’d have us believe there is sufficient regulation and enforcement to assure CAFO safety. He omits a few evidence-based facts.
CAFOs are not all the same. A 1,000-cow dairy CAFO locally owned and operated by community-supporting taxpaying citizens is much different than a 26,000 hog CAFO owned by Iowa Big Pork, a multi-billion-dollar corporation whose distant CEO is primarily committed to profit for him/herself and wealthy stockholders who may pay no taxes. And, whose political contributions have bought and paid for laws and regulations that now prevent public safety investigators’ access to CAFOs. And whose “skillful CAFO managers” work only at the pleasure of the CEO.
If you want to see the downside of CAFOs, be sure to see the Jan. 5 “60 Minutes” episode and the new movie, “Right to Harm.” You can view the “60 Minutes” episode at cbsnews.com/news/is-overuse-of-antibiotics-on-farms-worsening-the-spread-of-antibiotic-resistant-bacteria-60-minutes-2020-01-15. “Right to Harm” has been shown locally and will likely be in theaters and on TV soon.
The Wisconsin DNR has been neutered by small-government politicians to the point they have too few people to enforce water safety rules that were made 50 years before CAFOs were imagined. And then, it is difficult or impossible to assign groundwater pollution to a specific source for enforcement. The DNR currently is working on new CAFO regulations but state government has indefinitely delayed the process due to gridlock and political contributions. If current regulations and enforcement were sufficient, why would northeast and southwest Wisconsin rural water be afflicted with widespread pollution with E. coli and ammonium to the point farmers cannot bathe their babies in or drink water from their own wells?!
Mr. Blake belittles local politicians who have the audacity to respond to public alarm over safety by legally delaying a decision so as to have time to investigate whether current laws and regulations are sufficient to protect vital public interests from the byproducts of these new huge unnecessary red meat factories. That’s a debate tactic used when one realizes one cannot win on the merits. Let us honor the local politicians and not the CAFO CEOs.
Water is the No. 1 critical resource for human life – unnecessarily risking its safety is criminal. What is government for if not the common defense and welfare of the people – that’s constitutional.
Norman Jensen
Madison and Siren


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