Confined animal feeding operations (CAFO) are not well regulated. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) doesn’t have enough staff to enforce minimal rules. DNR thought there were about 8,500 Iowa CAFOs. Recently, satellite surveillance revealed 5,000 more. I guess those escaped oversight since we didn’t know they existed.

CAFOs with less than 1,250 hogs have virtually no regulation. Operations with 2,500 hogs or more need to meet the master matrix, but that’s easy because it’s inadequate. Recently, improvements to the master matrix were proposed, but the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission blocked it. To avoid the master matrix altogether, they build a CAFO with 2,499 hogs.

CAFOs threaten the environment, water, air and human health. They are incubators of superbugs. Eighty percent of all antibiotics are routinely fed to animals to promote growth and to keep animals alive. Bacteria will start becoming resistant to all antibiotics. Then, a person could die from a minor cut and elective surgeries will no longer be possible.

It is morally wrong. Extreme confinement in closed buildings, with no outdoor access and the inability to express natural behaviors is torture. Imagine a hen in a battery cage or a sow confined for years in gestation and farrowing crates. Imagine breathing air filled with excrement and urine stench 24/7.

Contact county supervisors and legislators and demand a moratorium on CAFOs and a local control law. If you eat meat, dairy or eggs, reduce your consumption and ask about the sources of these products and stop purchasing products produced on CAFOs.

Lynn Gallagher

Solon, Iowa

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