Reader's View: Don’t accept abuse of animals, resources

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Earth Day 2020 may have passed but not the struggle to protect Earth's precious resources. Our land, air, and water are under constant attacks in the form of pollution from fossil-fuel extraction and use, manufacturing, and Big Ag practices, to cite the most obvious.

Viewing “Right to Harm,” a film about concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, from the Land Stewardship Project, I was disturbed by the inhumane and unhealthy conditions in these facilities. CAFOs house more than 1,000 animals each, whether cows, pigs, or fowl. The fact is that 90% to 95% of all animals raised for consumption in the U.S. are housed in CAFO’s confinement buildings. Minnesota has at least 1,200 CAFOs.

The routine spraying animal waste onto nearby farm fields seems appalling. The Natural Resources Defense Council stated in 2019 that, “Manure from CAFOs contains more than 150 pathogens that have the potential to contaminate water supplies, while fumes and particulate matter elevate rates of asthma, lung disease and bronchitis among farm workers and people living nearby.” Rural residents living near these facilities are subject to persistent, unbearable fumes and contaminants in their water wells.

In 2015, City Pages reported that there were no more swimmable lakes in southwestern Minnesota, which is where the majority of the state's CAFOs are located.The report stated, “Minnesota's water quality — our state’s greatest natural asset — has become a sacrificial lamb to Big Ag.”

What action can we take to protect our air, land, and water from such developments and advocate for animal protections? Write or call your state and federal legislators. Let them know you won't accept the continued abuse of animals and our precious resources. Now more than ever, we need to act.


Linda Herron


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