No joy living next to factory farms
By: Heather Pearson
According to the Iowa State Constitution, “All men and women are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights — among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.” However, this seems to be in direct conflict with the current state of affairs regarding factory farms in Iowa.
How can we enjoy life when we are surrounded by horrendous smells that keep us cooped inside our homes, unable to open our windows? How can we protect our property when we have no rights over the siting of factory farms? At any moment, a factory farm can move in a thousand feet away, and we have no means of defense to stop it. These operations can inject manure feet from our wells, contaminating our water. The existence of a nearby factory farm can lower property values as much as 40%.
As for pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness? Who can be safe when these factory farms are emitting toxic levels of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and particulate matter? Not to mention the E. coli, salmonella and antibiotic resistance that comes along with thousands of animals in a confined space. How can we pursue happiness when we are trapped in our homes, surrounded by diseases and toxic air emissions and drinking nitrate-ridden water? That is why I support Food & Water Watch’s call for a moratorium on factory farms and urge others to do the same.