Salem, OR — Today, the Senate Natural Resources Committee held an additional public hearing on the Factory Farm Moratorium Bill (S.B. 85-1). The meeting was the fourth in three weeks dedicated to the legislation, which has been scheduled for a possible work session on Monday, March 27. Testimony, delivered today both in person and in writing, continues to overwhelmingly favor passage of the bill with the -1 amendment, which would enact a moratorium on the largest new and expanding factory farms. New ASPCA data confirms the vast majority of Oregonians (83 percent) support a moratorium on new and expanding factory farms.
At today’s hearing, Oregonians decried a last-minute amendment that would weaken the bill by only covering poultry farms and shrinking the moratorium from eight to two years. Yesterday, the Stand Up to Factory Farms coalition sent a letter from 50 groups to legislators, opposing the amendment and calling for passage of a strong factory farm moratorium with no loopholes or caveats.
The coalition’s letter cites problems caused by current mega-dairy operations that would be unaddressed by the proposed amendment, including:
- The 11 mega-dairy facilities operating in the state produce over 17 million kilograms of planet-warming methane every year.
- Communities in the Lower Umatilla Basin, home to some of the largest operating and proposed mega-dairies in Oregon, have long suffered from depleted and degraded groundwater with widespread nitrate contamination. The amended version of the bill offers no protection to these communities, many of which are low-income or communities of color.
- Forty years ago, Oregon was home to more than 4,000 dairies, mostly small, family-owned businesses. As factory dairy farms have come to dominate state milk production, just over 200 family-scale dairies remain.
Stand Up to Factory Farms coalition organizer Lilli DiPaola issued the following statement:
“Once again, Oregonians have made it clear that we support a moratorium on the largest factory farms of all kinds. We expect our legislators to act now to address this issue. Our coalition and the hundreds of thousands of Oregonians we represent will not allow low income communities and communities of color to be sacrificed while others are protected. All of our communities deserve to be protected from the threats factory farms pose. We will continue to demand that the legislature pass a factory farm moratorium that protects public health, family farms, and the environment for everyone in Oregon — that means passage of S.B. 85-1.”