Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
The interests of the 99 percent matter
Every year since 2017, a factory farm moratorium bill has been introduced at the Iowa State House. Yet every year, legislators prevented a fair subcommittee public hearing, legislative discussions, or votes from taking place.
On June 18, the Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture (IARA) gave Iowans a voice at “The People’s Hearing” in Ames. The event drew a myriad of individuals testifying about the ways industrial livestock production damages Iowans and the environment.
Community members shared heartbreaking stories about how CAFOs ruined their lives. Farmers spoke about how the industrial system makes it difficult for independent farmers to survive and for young farmers to start out. A whopping 92% of independent hog farmers have gone out of business since CAFOs came along.
Experts provided information on a wide range of issues including public health threats such as MRSA and environmental asthma, degraded water quality including nitrate and phosphorus pollution, eroded recreational opportunities like the beach advisories at Lake Darling, and lost community rights. Over 50 years of respected, peer-reviewed research back up these experiences.
There are legitimate reasons why 63% support a factory farm moratorium (2019 Johns Hopkins University survey).
I encourage you to view the presentations on the IARA YouTube channel at bit.ly/3zO9aHX
Also in June, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned a 2004 ruling and restored nuisance lawsuit immunity to livestock producers except in exceedingly narrow circumstances. Lawsuits were already difficult to win. Now they are nearly impossible.
Perhaps most offensively, the Iowa Supreme Court placed the interests of the pork industry above the interests of everyone else and denied Iowans the inalienable rights guaranteed in our state constitution.
Our state legislators need to fix this. CAFO owners represent less than 1% of Iowa’s population. Our legislators need to start protecting the 99% of Iowans who don’t operate factory farms.
Until we can get a handle on and mitigate the enormous damage CAFOs inflict on Iowans and our natural resources, legislators must pass a factory farm moratorium, a temporary pause in the construction of new or expanding CAFOs.
Talk to your legislators. Encourage them to watch The People’s Hearing. Urge them to support a factory farm moratorium bill when it’s reintroduced during the next legislative session. If you have a story, tell it. They need to hear from you.
The interests of the 99% matter.
Diane Rosenberg, Executive Director of Jefferson County Farmers & Neighbors, Inc. (JFAN)
Abortion restrictions going too far
Forced pregnancies are tragic for poor women, abused and sick women, and victims of rape and invest. The lives of these females are important and they matter too.
By now, many have heard the account of the 10-year-old girl who was raped and impregnated. The rapist was jailed but the state of Ohio does not allow abortions, not even for this little girl. Fortunately, she was taken to another state where she received a safe abortion and health care that probably saved her life.
There is the account of a pregnant mom in Texas who had a partial miscarriage. Her body only aborted one fetus when another fetus stayed in her uterus. Several tests verified this fetus was also dead. No abortions allowed.
For two weeks, this woman suffered severe pain, much bleeding and living with the knowledge there was a dead fetus still in her body. She started going into toxic shock. Dead tissue embedded in a person’s body can cause sepsis. A Texas hospital, fearing prosecution, refused to treat a woman with an ectopic pregnancy until she suffered a rupture and nearly died.
Meanwhile, the epidemic of gun violence and massacres continue. Recently, The Union published the account of a family that was murdered in the Maquoketa Caves State Park. A 9-year-old child lost the rest of his family.