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Cheap Meat’s Cost to Quality of Life

Living near a factory farm can ruin the quality of life of neighbors. Many people report that the noxious odors generated by putrefying

raw hog sewage in confinement pits can force them to alter their lifestyle and disrupt the once peaceful enjoyment of their homes and It's easy. Windows may be closed most or all the time, even in beautiful weather, to protect against the stench. Many report that they no longer enjoy outdoor activities such as gardening, and children must sometimes forgo healthy outdoor play. Many neighbors curtail outdoor entertaining or give it up all together.

Some report friends no longer come to visit because of unbearable odors. Others have to wear facemasks just to walk from their home to their car.


Fly infestations can become overbearing, and some neighbors report rodent infestations after a confinement is built.

Studies show stress levels increase in neighbors of factory farms as people feel powerless, angry, and depressed when dealing with a situation in which they had no say. Relationships can become strained among neighbors or family members when someone builds a CAFO against their wishes, and more stressful, less neighborly conditions can develop. 1, 2

Researchers found the number of churches, civic associations, and retail businesses declined, and there was reduced involvement in social and civic life, leading to a less vibrant and stimulating community environment.1

Who pays? Neighbors of factory farms and their children whose quality of life is destroyed pay with emotional suffering. Communities at large also pay with the loss of a rich social fabric.

Many of these costs cannot be measured in dollars and cents but they are none the less important.

These are some of the costs cheap meat imposes on Iowa’s quality of life.

Learn What You Can Do Here


1. “Industrialized Farming and Its Relationship to Community Well-Being: An Update of a 2000 Report by Linda Lobao.” The University of North Dakota, September 2006. 

2. “Malodor as a Trigger of Stress and Negative Mood in Neighbors of Industrial Hog Operations.” American Journal of Public Health. 

November 2009.

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