Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are buildings that closely confine hogs, chickens, turkeys, or cows their entire lives. The animals are not pastured. The animals produce large amounts of poop that is collected and held in concrete storage pits directly underneath their living space. They are not the family farms of the past. Most of our meat, dairy and egg products are produced in CAFOs.
CAFOs are subsidized by the federal and state government. CAFOs get tax breaks resulting in county taxes increasing for non-CAFO farmers. Unlike real factories, CAFOs are exempted from certain permits and provisions required by the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts that protect citizens and the environment.
There are 24 million or so hogs in Iowa. About 3.15 million people live in Iowa. Be aware if DNR is talking animal units or numbers of animals. A CAFO that has 1,000 animal units of swine really has 2,500 swine. And more CAFOs are going up every month.
CAFOs present health and safety risks to workers and people. A study from the University of Iowa and Iowa City Veteran Affairs shows that people contracted MRSA when living next to fields where hog manure was applied. A CDC study confirms a link between use of antibiotics in animals and antibiotic resistance.
So this learning takes me to eating more meatless meals, buying my meat from local farmers and petitioning for a moratorium on building new CAFOs.