From Jane Anchustegui
You say your hog confinement is not a factory because you “produce and interact with living, breathing animals,” but yet these animals never experience the sun, fresh air or ever have their feet on the earth. They will spend their entire lives living above their own waste in close quarters breathing putrid air. This is not farming. This is animal cruelty.
You don’t mention how your neighbors have been affected. You may have those “extra dollars to keep the businesses thriving,” but tell me how your fellow farmer neighbors feel or how they benefited from your hog confinement? Can they still sleep with their windows open or enjoy the outdoors on their own property? My neighbor is on a respirator and has COPD, and there are many days the air quality is so bad from the hog confinement (less than a mile down the road) that he cannot go outside.
I agree with you that land prices keep going up, but find us one example of someone building or buying a home next to a hog confinement. You say our water quality is improving, but fail to explain how millions of gallons of pig manure from over 8,500 hog confinements (over 21 million head) won’t affect our water quality or the fact that the DNR has reported 630 impaired waterways. It will be all of us taxpayers who will pay for cleaning up our water.
You say you have been told by a business owner that “her business was supported by the farmers, not the town.” It takes EVERYONE to support our rural communities from teachers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, shopkeepers, policemen, waitresses, cooks, county employees and countless others to make a place worth living in. We can attract these people to live in our small towns by offering a quality of life — clean air and clean water. Will these people want to invest in an acreage outside of town knowing their investment could be destroyed by a hog confinement going in down the road?
You say you have a master matrix that makes you jump through “hoops,” but none of the criteria deals with how the site will impact your next door neighbors. Yes, I know each building needs to be so far from the nearest house, but bad smells and pollution do not obey distance. The DNR has a staff of less than 20 to enforce this matrix to these 8,500 confinements. A DNR representative said this equates to about one visit to a site every five years. The DNR does not know about many violations (manure spills) unless they are reported by citizens.
ICCI has given the citizens of Iowa a platform to voice our concerns. I applaud those who are speaking up for the quality of life for ALL Iowans. Our county supervisors and state representatives must represent more than a few select owners and corporations who benefit financially from factory farms.