Letter to the Editor

Public comment invited at CAFO hearing

Thursday, September 14, 2017

To the Editor:

Indiana’s Agriculture/Natural Resource Interim Study Committee on Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) reconvenes for Public Comment on Tuesday Sept. 19 (10 a.m./Room 431) at the Statehouse to determine if current laws provide adequate protection from industrialized feeding operations where 99 percent of animals eaten/used are intensely confined.

At the first hearing agribusiness, IDEM and IDA justified CAFO expansion/construction in the name of economic development and feeding the world.

Serious consideration of environmental, public health, economic and ethical impacts of animal agriculture were not acknowledged.

This second hearing was scheduled for public comment.

Environmentalists, farmers and neighbors to CAFOs will certainly testify to lack of protection provided by laws/regulations/enforcement.

Reference will be made to the myriad of studies supporting the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle with facts documenting animal production as major contributor to climate change and eating of animals as the “driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage,” according to the Worldwatch Institute.

Animals are not commodities. We must address the basic prejudice permitting humans to protect one species and exploit another. Animals and their secretions represent 99.7 percent of animals needlessly harmed by humans. Raising animals for consumption is unnecessary. Alternatives are abundant.

As “Farm to Fable” author Robert Grillo wrote, “There is no valid ethical or scientific argument in favor of breeding and killing animals ... for our selfish purposes.”

Contact legislative assistant Alex Zimmerman to testify at this hearing. Otherwise, call 800-382-9467 or email Alex.Zimmerman@iga.in.gov with your comments.

Indiana needs a plan for gradual, humane dismantlement of intense confinement agriculture beginning with a ban on new CAFOs, gradual diversion of monocrops and dismantling of breeding operations.

Indiana has the opportunity to be the first state to truly reinstate compassionate farming. We are the heart of the nation. It can be done.

Marian Patience Harvey