Johnson County and CAFOs
I support the efforts of the Johnson County supervisors to put a moratorium on construction of CAFOs in the county. It is very unfortunate that we do not have local control. The supervisors are doing the best they can in a difficult situation.
CAFOs are not well regulated. The DNR does not have enough staff to enforce even the minimal rules that exist. Until August, 2017, the DNR thought there were about 8,500 CAFOs in Iowa. In August, 2017 the EPA required the DNR to do a survey and with satellite surveillance they discovered 5,000 more CAFOs. I guess those 5,000 escaped any oversight since we didn’t even know they existed.
In addition, CAFOs with less than 1250 hogs have virtually no regulation at all. Large operations with 2500 hogs or more need to meet the master matrix, but that is easy to do because it is inadequate. Improvements to the master matrix were proposed in September, but the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission stopped this effort. If a person wants to avoid the master matrix altogether, they just build a CAFO and say they will have 2,499 hogs instead of 2,500.
CAFOs pose a threat to the environment; to our water and air. They are a threat to human health. They are perfect incubators of superbugs. Eighty percent of all antibiotics are routinely fed to animals on CAFOs to promote growth and to keep the animals alive in the unhealthy conditions where they are forced to live. We are heading for world when bacteria will be resistant to all antibiotics. If this happens, a person could die from a minor cut and elective surgeries will no longer be possible.
The way animals are treated on CAFOs is morally wrong. The extreme confinement in closed buildings, with no access to the outdoors and no ability to express natural behaviors makes their lives nothing but torture. Imagine what it would be like to be a hen in a battery cage or a sow confined for years in gestation and farrowing crates. Think about what it would be like to live in a building where you are forced to breathe air filled with the gases and stench from excrement and urine 24/7.
Please support our county supervisors and contact your state legislators to tell them we need a moratorium on CAFOs and changes in the laws to allow local control. And if you eat meat, dairy or eggs, please reduce your consumption and start asking about the sources of these products so you can stop purchasing any products that were produced on CAFOs. Thank you.