Have you ever considered the effects of factory farming, or “Frankenstein Farms” as they’re often called, for those living nearby? While we all know of the detrimental effects of factory farming on the environment, many don’t know that the smell produced by these farms is more than just a nuisance for those living nearby. The smell of chemicals, and waste combined can easily travel miles, and doesn’t just affect those living across the street, or next door.
An article in “The Modern Farmer” points out that residents ultimately have no power to change these operations due to the fact that “every state has “right to farm” laws that protect farmers from odor complaints produced in the normal course of farming.” While agricultural scientists are busy searching for methods to cover up, or decrease this odor, as a solution, it seems that these problems only point to the fact that farming was never meant to be practiced on this scale.
A story from 2008, in the “Syracuse New Times” in upstate New York, explains why factory farming, and dairy farming in particular, are far more than just a “nuisance.” Hydrogen sulfide and ammonia are the consequences of what the article calls Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s) or “manure lagoons.” These manure lagoons tend to have consequences for the respiratory tract, and the eyes. The story focuses on the Willet Dairy Farm, which holds 7,8000 dairy cows in upstate New York, and tells the story of one man who suffered the amputation of his lower eyelids, due to blisters and infections caused by the fumes. Other neighbors near the farm suffered similar effects, including irreversible brain damage. Complaints to the Attorney General, EPA, and the Human Services Department among others proved unsuccessful for these nearby residents. While this story dates back to 2008, this story suggests how many such health consequences have gone undocumented, and unnoticed over the years. Since 2008, factory farming in the US has only continued to expand, which means that the effects caused by these fumes are nowhere close to disappearing.
I try not to be overly dramatic in my writing, but I think most of us would agree we live in troubled times. We might define these troubles differently, but most of us have this sense. Most distressing in my view, however, are not the actual problems we face, but our inability to work together to find their solutions.
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