DES MOINES, IA—Today, a coalition of 55 environmental, citizen and agricultural organizations called on Iowa’s General Assembly to support legislative proposals for a moratorium on new and expanding factory farms in the state. The first-of-its-kind legislation moves beyond failed regulation attempts and focuses on implementing a statewide halt to new construction or expansion of factory farms in Iowa.
Currently, Iowa is home to over 10,000 factory farms, which produce more than 22 billion gallons of manure per year. The pollution generated by the industrial animal operations has resulted in widespread water contamination and diminished quality of life throughout the state.
“Across the nation, factory farming destroys communities and contaminates drinking water supplies and air quality,” said Krissy Kasserman, Food & Water Watch’s National Factory Farm Campaigner. “With Big Ag enjoying so many exemptions from key environmental laws, it’s clear that we can’t regulate ourselves out of this problem. A stop to the expansion of factory farming needs to happen now. It begins with Iowa.”
A harsh, unhealthy and environmentally risky form of food production, factory farming employs an unsustainable method of raising food animals that packs together large numbers of animals into confined spaces. Among the destructive results is the production of massive amounts of animal waste, creating risks to the local environment, natural resource contamination, the rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria and public health hazards, including respiratory infections, asthma, skin rashes, nausea and headaches.
“It’s clear to Iowans that the factory farm industry is out of control. Our state agencies and lawmakers are failing to protect our communities and environment. Yet, we are seeing a massive expansion right now, with Iowa Select alone applying for more than 20 new or expanding factory farms in just a few months,” said Cherie Mortice, board president of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. “With 750 polluted water bodies in Iowa, we’re at a tipping point and need to put a stop to this industry immediately.”
“The Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture’s member groups are united behind the need to stop the proliferation of factory farms in Iowa in order to protect our environment, rural communities and quality of life,” said Diane Rosenberg, steering committee member for the Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture. “Iowa’s General Assembly must act now to address these concerns by enacting a moratorium on new and expanded factory farms.”
“Our call for a moratorium is a call for the return of plain, old common sense,” said Chris Peterson, an independent Iowa hog farmer and regional representative for the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project. “Iowa is suffering under the enormous weight of a business that has no respect for the people, environment, animals and future of the state. The clock is ticking; we need to respond now.”