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E-M:/ MI Factory Farms: So Bad They're a Tourist Attraction!!

Title: STATE Factory Farms – They're So Bad They're A Tourist Attraction

Michigan Factory Farms – So Bad They're A Tourist Attraction


               Consumer Group Brings European Farmers to See Hudson Area Dairies



Hudson, Michigan – Food & Water Watch, Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan and Michigan Sierra Club welcomed farmers from France, Spain, and Germany for a first hand look at  the environmental and public health consequences of factory farm dairies in south-central Michigan. 


"Factory farm dairies in Michigan are so bad that they're a tourist attraction," said Lynn Henning, Sierra Club CAFO Water Sentinel and a leader of the Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan.  “Federal and state regulation of CAFOs is so bad that my community has been targeted for European dairy operators to move in here, buy up cheap land and operate without the kind of public health, water and air protections that are required in their countries.  Showing just how bad it is in Lenawee and Hillsdale Counties is one way to advocate for stronger laws here as well as to make sure Europeans don’t weaken their laws to allow these horrible facilities to move into their communities.”



Factory farms have been linked to health problems for farm workers and neighbors, and contaminated water and air in surrounding communities. Manure from 10,000 factory farm cows is the equivalent of untreated sewage from a city of 230,000 people. The stench alone can ruin rural communities, as residents rush to shut their windows and bring their children indoors when the wind shifts. These communities have been fighting lonely, uphill battles against companies that take advantage of lax zoning and environmental laws.


"The U.S. EPA and state agencies turn a blind eye to the air and water pollution caused by giant dairies and other factory farms," said Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch’s Executive Director. "Rural communities and U.S. consumers deserve better."


Factory farming can also affect the health of consumers far from the dairy.  According to the American Public Health Association (APHA), the overuse of antibiotics for livestock is creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria that threaten human health. An estimated 70% of antibiotics used in the United States are for promoting growth and preventing disease in food animals.


"We wanted to see Michigan factory dairies because big agriculture interests plans to export the factory farm model to Europe and replace our traditional family dairies," said Jean Cabaret, a French dairy farmer and member of the French farmers union Confederation Paysanne.    “Europeans want sustainable, chemical free, and humanely raised dairy and meat products – not factory farm pollution."


Industrial agriculture companies like Smithfield Foods have expanded their operations in parts of Europe dramatically in recent years, transforming the landscape from one of numerous small family farms to one of giant hog confinement facilities.  The European Union is in the process of reforming their Common Agricultural Policy for dairy, which could drive European dairy farmers out of business and into a model similar to the U.S system.  Food & Water Watch and Confederation Paysanne Europe, a network of European farm organizations, support efforts to encourage local production of food by numerous sustainable family farms instead of an industrialized model that relies on factory farms.




For more information on Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan, see http://www.nocafos.org/


For more information on Food & Water Watch, see www.foodandwaterwatch.org


For more information on the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, see www.michigan.sierraclub.org/index.shtml