Won't You Be My Neighbor?' Living with Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

Author:Emily A. Kolbe
Position:J.D. Candidate, The University of Iowa College of Law, 2014; B.A., Grinnell College, 2007
Pages:415-443
SUMMARY

Concentrated animal feeding operations ("CAFOs") are prevalent throughout the nation and represent a serious and increasing problem for the United States. Proponents of CAFOs argue that such operations are necessary to meet this country’s demand for low-cost, readily available meat. Opponents point to the ever-increasing risks that CAFOs pose to humans, animals, and the environment. CAFOs in Iowa ... (see full summary)

 
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“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
Living with Concentrated Animal
Feeding Operations
Emily A. Kolbe
ABSTRACT: Concentrated animal fe eding operations (“CAFOs”) ar e
prevalent throughout the nation a nd represent a serious and increasi ng
problem for the United States. Propone nts of CAFOs argue that such
operations are necessary to mee t this country’s demand for low -cost, readily
available meat. Opponents point to the ever-increasing risks that CAFOs
pose to humans, animals, and the envi ronment. CAFOs in Iowa have
operated under the minimum l evel of federally required regu lations for a
number of years. The negative effect s of this lack of regulation are start ing to
take a toll on Iowans. Emergi ng public health concerns s uch as air quality
and antibiotic resistance, ind ividual health problems, animal welfa re
concerns, and the basic right to enj oy one’s property are becoming
controversial issues and demand increas ed attention from the state’s
government, courts, and citize ns. This Note argues that Io wans should look
to a variety of mechanisms to ad dress these issues, including judic ial action,
increased legislation, and gras sroots organizing efforts to ensure that Iowa
remains not only an agricult ural force in the United State s, but also a safe
and healthy environme nt for its present and future citizens.
J.D. Candidate, The University of Iowa College of Law, 2014; B.A., Grin nell College,
2007. I would like to thank the edito rs of Volumes 98 and 99 of the Iowa Law Review for their
work on this Note. I would also like to thank my family for their unwavering support and
encouragement.
415
416 IOWA LAW REVIEW [Vol. 99:415
I. INTRODUCTION .................................................................................... 417
II. AN OVERVIEW OF CAFOS IN THE UNITED STATES ................................ 418
A. AGRICULTURE AS INDUSTRY AND THE ECONOMIC RATIONALE FOR
CAFOS .......................................................................................... 418
B. FEDERAL REGULATION OF CAFOS .................................................... 419
C. STATE-LEVEL REGULATION AND INTER-STATE IMPACTS ..................... 421
D. SOCIAL COSTS ARISING FROM CAFOS ............................................... 422
1. Living Inside CAFOs: The Problem of Animal Welfare ...... 422
2. Public Health Concerns ....................................................... 425
a. Increase in Antibiotic-Resistant Ba cteria and CAFOs ........... 425
b. CAFO Workers’ Health ...................................................... 426
c. Health Effects on Nearby Residents ..................................... 427
3. The Day-to-Day Effects of CAFOs on Neighbors ................. 428
III. CAFOS IN IOWA ................................................................................... 429
A. BY THE NUMBERS ........................................................................... 430
B. THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND OVERSIGHT
OF CAFOS ...................................................................................... 431
C. THE IOWA SUPREME COURT AND CAFOS .......................................... 435
1. Lack of Local Control ........................................................... 435
2. Right to Farm: Bormann and Gacke ....................................... 436
IV. MOVING FORWARD ............................................................................... 438
A. LOOKING TO OTHER STATES REGULATIONS ..................................... 438
B. APPROVAL PROCESS AND CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT ............................... 440
C. COMMUNITY ORGANIZING AND LOCAL CONTROL .............................. 441
V. CONCLUSION ....................................................................................... 442

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