What Happened to Our Rights?
The following is
JFAN’s opinion based on working with rural communities for over ten years.
All across the state, Iowans make a disheartening discovery
when presented with an unwanted factory farm. We learn CAFO owners have a legal
right to build a confinement regardless of our wishes and concerns. We learn they
typically ignore the good neighbor guidelines published by the Iowa Pork
We learn that their economic rights can take precedence over
our basic human right to clean air, clean water, and the peaceful enjoyment of our
homes and property.
We learn that there are few avenues open to us to stop an
unwanted CAFO. That an individual –and their corporate supplier – have
greater power than rural residents who want to protect their families, homes
We learn that we are second-class citizens to powerful
industrial livestock interests, and we just don’t matter to them.
The Iowa State Legislature revoked local control for factory
farms in 1995. The welfare of communities is now decided on the state level in
Des Moines, which supports industrial agriculture over the rights of rural
residents. Bowing to the heavy influence of the corporate livestock industry, the
legislature passes laws that primarily favor the growth and expansion of corporate
agriculture without adequate protections for Iowans or ability to weigh in on
what we feel is best for our families and communities.
As Iowans we have the traditional right to do what we want
on our property – as long it causes no harm to our neighbors. Fifty years of
respected peer-reviewed studies easily document numerous damages factory farms
can inflict on people and communities. Health problems from asthma and antibiotic
resistant infections, water pollution from manure runoff and spills,
compromised quality of life from noxious odors and fly infestations, rural
degradation from crumbling roads to lost businesses all cause great harm to neighbors
of factory farms.
It’s time for us to matter.
It’s time for us to reclaim our basic human right to a
healthy, safe, and peaceful quality of life. It’s time for individual and community
rights to take precedence over the unrestrained economic growth of the powerful
corporate livestock industry.
There are things you can do. Learn about them here.