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Saturday, December 13, 2008

End Special Treatment for Factory Farms

KELO notes that the Bush Administration has handed another lame-duck love note to its corporate cronies, this time crafting an EPA deregulation to exempt farms from requirements to report the air pollution they create. Oh well—so much for fighting the global warming fueled by bovine flatulence....

This report reminds me of an essay in Wednesday's NY Times in which Nicholas Kristof indicts the absurdity of a federal agriculture policy that pays him, an East Coast liberal journalist, $588 a year to not grow crops on land he owns in Oregon. Kristof also puts big factory farm feedlots in a perspective I hadn't previously considered:

Modern confinement operations are less like farms than like meat assembly lines. They are dazzlingly efficient in some ways, but they use vast amounts of grain, as well as low-level antibiotics to reduce infections — and the result is a public health threat from antibiotic-resistant infections.

An industrial farm with 5,000 hogs produces as much waste as a town with 20,000 people. But while the town is required to have a sewage system, the industrial farm isn’t.

“They look profitable because we’re paying for their wastes,” notes Robert P. Martin, executive director of the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production. “And then there’s the cost of antibiotic resistance to the economy as a whole" [Nicholas D. Kristof, "Obama's 'Secretary of Food'?" New York Times, 2008.12.10].

As Kristof notes, farmers—real farmers—are not the problem. Big corporations and industry lobbyists are. Let's put some common sense back in farm policy and make the ag-industrial complex follow the rules (environmental and economic) that everyone else has to.


  1. I would have seen that story, but now the KELO wants to charge my cable provider large amounts of money, I no longer receive KELO TV.

  2. Regarding special treatment, is Obama getting it from our favored local brazen blogger and the left-leaning media? It's time for Obama to tell us about any negotiations he had with Blagojevich. jh

  3. As far as a left leaning media, I'd say that argument is now null considering we have FOX news and conservative talk radio on the airwaves.

  4. (totally off-topic) JH, I think the Blagojevich story is delicious scandal (the guy is a meathead! what was he thinking?), but as for connections to Obama, your favored local lefty media will side with John McCain: "You know, in all due respect to the Republican National Committee and anybody — right now, I think we should try to be working constructively together, not only on an issue such as this, but on the economy stimulus package, reforms that are necessary."

    Corruption stinks, and so do CAFOs. Let's kill those factory-farm subsidies!


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