The CAFO bill - legislation gone awry
April 16, 2005
One easily is able to see that the "CAFO" factory farm friendly HB 187 legislation is just one piece of the picture which is all business friendly to the detriment of the people of Missouri. Sam Walton's singular vision to get merchandise at "Low Prices" is the reason an area company is wanting to expand its corporate factory farm operations in Southwest Missouri allegedly to satisfy such a contract with the corporate giant for eggs.

The Tri-State Water Coalition has already identified our groundwater depletion and surface water contamination as critical issues that we will have to address in the next 5 to 10 years and beyond. Moark cannot spread the expected extra manure resulting from their expansion in the already contaminated Elk River basin, where it it currently located; so, a part of the DNR permit indicates that they will truck it out of the Elk River Basin but within a 100 mile radius.

Moark currently contracts with a company in Carthage. Extra droppings will be trucked to Jasper and Barton counties. Where's the conscience of government officials who vote for legislation that will allow further contamination of the Spring River watershed?

Wal-Mart's policy of getting goods at rock bottom prices will cause an added burden to the area's water quality, water depletion, quality of life and consequent impact on tourism in the area. Wal Mart does not appear to be one of those interdependent community members that will be beneficial in the 100 year outlook for our region. In the quest for low prices there inevitably follows low wages, low air quality, low water quality and low quality of life.

Chickens raised for meat are crowded by the thousands in "grower houses" where each is given approximately half a square foot of space. (Photo compliments of Farm Sanctuary)

The public be damned

Missouri lawmakers are indeed on the wrong track with Senate bill 187. This Senate bill will prevent counties from setting restrictions on factory farm operations that are tougher than state laws. The bill will also lessen public notification requirements when factory farm owners are planning expansions. The idea apparently is to erect a barrier that would prevent concerned citizens and their local city/county representatives from interfering with large corporate factory farm operators.

This bill benefits only large corporate factory farm operators and it is simply wrong to short-circuit the notification process for the public when something they might oppose, out of concern for water pollution, ground water depletion and quality of life issues, might be moving into the neighborhood.

Citizens of Missouri cities and counties directly and adversely impacted by these mega concentrated animal feeding operations should be the very ones who have jurisdiction. This is not the type of legislation that should be mandated by those who are not in anyway impacted by the installation of one of these large poultry, hog or cattle factory farms.

Having passed out of committee and been approved by the Senate this Senate bill 187 is now pending a vote in the Missouri House. The bill states that neighbors and county officials would have to be notified of the impending development of an animal feeding operation if the livestock planned for was greater than 699,999 chickens, 17,500 hogs or 7,000 cows. That requirement would not apply if there were only, say, 600,000 chickens, 15,000 hogs or 5,000 cows. Either would be large operations that property owners and commissioners should know about beforehand.

Hung upside down by shackles, thousands of chickens are killed every hour at the slaughterhouse. Eat more salad. Save the environment. (Photo compliments of Farm Sanctuary)

This bill is designed to protect large corporate factory farm confined animal feeding operations by removing county controls over them. But what about those Missourians concerned about their quality of life, groundwater depletion, surface water contamination, health issues and affects on tourism. Calling such concerned citizens activists and environmentalists trivializes the issue and demonstrates a profound lack of concern for our region.

Once ground water is contaminated there is no turning back and then an alternative is needed. Just as the groundwater became contaminated in SE Joplin the alternative was city water piped in. The people in rural areas may not have that luxury. The House ought to vote down this plan.

"If you at the local level determine that you want to have tougher standards for cleaner air and water in your jurisdiction, you should have the right to do that," Attorney General Jay Nixon told the Missouri Association of Counties' Legislative Conference. "That right should not be taken away by state legislators who are swayed by multinational agriculture corporations."

Southwest Missouri Citizens Against Local Moark Expansion

Mark Adams, one of the concerned citizens

Neosho, MO

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