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 Association.

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 and neighborhoods.

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