Letter: Which is the real nuisance?

By limiting “nuisance” livestock lawsuits, Iowa Legislators apparently think toxic fumes and drug-resistant bacteria associated with industrial agriculture are OK because livestock benefit Iowa’s economy. But lawmakers call you a nuisance if you note health risks to the community from the raw sewage cooking in pits under most livestock confinements.

Animal waste in those pits decomposes anaerobically, producing methane, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and other toxins. If ventilation fans — which blow the poisons into the surrounding air 24/7 — stop operating, hogs die within minutes.

In contrast, cities by law must treat and neutralize human sewage — despite the fact that Iowa’s 24 million hogs outnumber our people population of only 3.1 million.

Iowa studies have shown large increases in asthma among kids, and a doubling of the number of human carriers of MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) near CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations.)

And allowing CAFOs in karst (fractured bedrock) regions of the state could let animal waste contaminate groundwater, including the Jordan Aquifer, which supplies drinking water for 15 percent of Iowa communities.

Who is the “nuisance?”

Larry A. Stone


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