Factory Farms: Animal Welfare, No Legal Protections 2 (video)

In part 2, Kathy Hessler, Director of the Animal Law Clinic at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland (Oregon), discusses some of the important work that is being done to try and address the problems associated with factory farms. According to Hessler, this effort involves a large coalition of folks from different states, as well as internationally.

From the video, these are some of the important areas of concern where the laws need strengthening:

  1. Environmental concerns: Massive manure lagoons pose threats not only to surface waters (rivers, tributaries, etc.) but also to groundwater supplies that are often ignored under current laws. For example, federal laws (largely) allow for the unregulated discharge of farm wastes.
  2. Address federal “Right To Farm Laws” that impede the ability of local communities, and even small farmers to restrict the operations of nearby factory farms when their actions cause harm to them, and their community.
  3. Property Tax reforms: Allow for the reduction of local property tax whose value declines due to their proximity to large factory farms.
  4. Food Labeling Standards: Like the organic label, require strict standards for terms, such as, “cruelty free” and “pasture raised,” so that consumers know what they are really buying.
  5. Regulate large amounts of animal waste by treating it in a similar way we treat human sewage.
  6. Antibiotics contamination from animal waste, and meat consumption that is cause antibiotic resistance in human diseases.
  7. Reexamine the dual role of government to regulate the agriculture industry, and at the same time, being charged with also promoting it.
  8. Address one size fits all regulations that treat a small farm operation in the same manner as a large farm.
  9. Address systemic problems that are posed by factory farms even if climate damaging methane gas emissions, can be converted into otherwise beneficial energy production.

Filmed at the Friends of Family Farmers event on November 9th, 2010.

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