THE ECONOMIC PAMPHLETEER: A Right to Harm
Keywords:CAFOs, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, Industrial Agriculture, Environmental Impact, Food Policy
A recent documentary film, Right to Harm, documents the negative impacts large-scale concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, are having on public health and the overall quality of life of people in rural communities (Wechsler & Speicher, 2019). The film also reveals the frustration of concerned citizens who have asked their governments to address these negative impacts. When they ask for regulations to mitigate environmental impacts, they get regulations that effectively grant CAFOs a legal “license to pollute” (Gustin, 2016). When counties enact public health ordinances to protect residents from the health risks posed by CAFOs, state governments take away the right of local control (Steever, 2019). When undercover reporters reveal animal abuse in CAFOs, state governments pass “ag-gag laws” that make the covert investigation of animal abuse a crime (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [ASPCA], n.d.). When neighbors who have been adversely affected win nuisance lawsuits against CAFO operators, governments pass ever-stronger “right to farm” laws (Fajen, 2019), essentially giving CAFO operators the “right to harm.” Thus the title of the film. . . .
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