Aug 11, 2012

What Happens on a CAFO - Stays on a CAFO

It's no news that factory farms went to extreme measures to keep activists from filming what goes on inside their "food-growing" warehouses and dungeons.  Yes they wanted to make it a felony to photograph any of their prisoners and the conditions that these sentient beings were stored and fattened under.
However AR organizations who conduct under-cover investigations need not feel so singled out... Seems that even the EPA is being repremanded from filming the potential dumping of toxic waste from these operations. And so it began with a letter sent to the EPA in May, 2012.

But According to the EPA:
Surveillance flights began in 2010 in Iowa and 2011 in Nebraska. The EPA has conducted seven flights in Iowa and nine in Nebraska.
Though aerial surveillance is used by the agency in other parts of the country, the EPA has not flown over livestock operations in Kansas or Missouri, the two other states in Region 7. It has focused on Iowa and Nebraska because those states have a greater number of what are called concentrated livestock feeding operations situated in watersheds with histories of contamination.
The planes usually maintain altitudes of 1,200 to 1,500 feet. The EPA alerts state environmental agencies before it takes to the air, but does not notify livestock owners. Photos taken during a flight are evaluated to see if it appears livestock waste is being discharged into streams, ponds or lakes. The agency is looking for runoff of livestock waste, a potential violation of the federal Clean Water Act.
The EPA does not levy fines or take other enforcement actions against a livestock producer based solely on photos, the agency said. If the photos indicate potential problems, an inspection is done at the site to determine if violations have occurred. The flights have identified potential problems, and in some cases, serious contamination, that were subsequently investigated through on-site inspections.So far more than 90 percent of the operations viewed by air have been in compliance. By eliminating the need for on-site inspections at these operations, the flyovers have saved money.
And the EPA justifies it because "Snapping photos of livestock farms from an airplane is a legal and cost-effective way to help protect Nebraska and Iowa streams from runoff contamination, say officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”  That's why the EPA exists - Right? 

But some folks don't like that idea at all: "Well, that’s just fantastic! So, the Nazi Gestapo, the Soviet KGB, and Oceania’s telescreens are fine, as long as they’re ‘cost-efficient’.  Sure, the EPA can violate a few hundred years of checks and balances, all in an attempt to save Mother Earth, as long as they make it inexpensive for the taxpayer.  Now, I’m off to set up a giant tarp over my backyard, just to be an annoyance."  Spiteful fellow - Aye?

So to put an end to any possible legal monitoring, a grand cover up (beyond a giant tarp) is proposed by way of a bill that will ban EPA Aerial Surveillance, backed by Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE).

1st Amendment Rights and freedom of the press were compromised in the making of these ag-gag laws... I'm sure they will be challenged sometime in the future... But I don't know how such restrictions will be placed on the EPA being that their duty is to document possible infractions. And too there is precedent that gives the EPA authority to protect the environment with aerial surveillance.  

In 1986 in DOW CHEMICAL CO. v. UNITED STATES, 476 U.S. 227, the Supreme Court found that the EPA observation flights were legal in taking photos of that chemical manufacturing facility. The conclusion was that the EPA is charged to use cost effective, modern technology to protect people and the environment from violations of the Clean Water Act.

Surprise! Surprise! This appears to be yet one more example of the ranchers and harmers wanting to operate above law and outside of public awareness.

The meat/dairy/egg industries spend hundreds of millions of dollars (and lots of political pull) lying to the public about their product. But no amount of cover up or false propaganda can sanitize meat. The facts are absolutely clear: Eating meat is bad for human health, catastrophic for the environment, and a living nightmare for animals.  There's never been more compelling reasons or a better time to opt for a plant based diet.
Want to create a better world?  Eat like you mean it - Go Vegan!

Art by Sue Coe


proud womon said...

the mind boggles... one would have presumed that was their job - isn't that why they exist? will this attitude soon see the EPA unfunded and disbanded?

rather than moving in to a 'brave new world' of compassion it appears humanity is going backwards in leaps and bounds...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. Brilliant post!!

veganelder said...

Proud Woman writes: "rather than moving in to a 'brave new world' of compassion it appears humanity is going backwards in leaps and bounds.."

Thus it is so.

Consider the planet as if it were a home...consider all the beings on the planet as the occupants of that home...what have we human animals "contributed"? Any half-way fair view would result in the conclusion that we are by far the most objectionable of the occupants...the most dangerous of the occupants...the most destructive of the occupants and obviously the most undesirable of the occupants.

I find no solace or joy in being a human animal...I find only sorrow and shame.

Have Gone Vegan said...

We human animals are certainly very bad tenants. And you'd think by our behaviour that we actually want to get evicted! So sad.

Bea Elliott said...

proud womon I hear you about "de-evolving". I'm constantly shocked at how much resistance there is in even maintaining an already lax set of standards meant to preserve this planet. It appears there's only one priority - And greed guides every blunder along the way.

Thanks for dropping by - And for your comment...

Bea Elliott said...

Hi D.E.M. - I don't know about "brilliant" but I sure do try my best to shine a spotlight on the animal-using/abusing/killing circus! It's a show I sure would pay to see shut down!

Appreciate your visit! :)

Bea Elliott said...

You're totally right veganelder - We are the most dangerous inhabitants on this planet... And then I think we're going to Mars soon! Half of me is thrilled as the astronauts aren't bringing any preserved carcasses for sustenance. (yippy!) Isn't that proof that a small space ship ought to set an example of a small planet?

But then my more practical/cynical side kicks in and I figure the industries are lining up to see who and what they can exploit once we reach the surface.

Tragic. Unless we learn from our mistakes here - We'll only carry them elsewhere. Ugh. :(

Always appreciate your comment - Thanks.

Bea Elliott said...

Hi HGV! Hum... Evict the human race from the planet... The way some residents treat the place - It seems like that's there intent. Only they're not my landlords! It's my place too and I'm sick of them trashing it out - Scottfree!

I just don't get why people don't care enough to make more noise? Perhaps our apathy is more poisonous than their factory farm waste? sigh

Thanks for being one of the better occupiers on this precious planet. <3