Around a third of large livestock farms in Wisconsin are operating with expired permits, says Wisconsin Public Radio. It's not uncommon or illegal "but it is a source of frustration for farmers and residents concerned about oversight."
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed a bill that would limit the liability of large livestock farms when they are sued for creating a public nuisance due to odors or manure runoff. His veto may not be the end of the story because hog farmers are encouraging the legislature to override the veto.
Two reporters and a photographer from the Chicago Tribune won the top writing award from the North American Agricultural Journalists for "The Price of Pork," a series of stories on large-scale hog production in Illinois. Written by Gary Marx and David Jackson, the stories "told the story of an exploding number and size of large hog confinements across rural Illinois, where state officials promoted an industry that poisoned streams, trampled the rights of farm families and brushed aside worker reports of animal abuse," said NAAJ.
In a handful of states, legislators are deciding this year whether to limit the rights of people who file lawsuits alleging that large livestock farms near their homes are public nuisances.
An environmental group estimates that 160,000 people would lose some of their property rights under legislation being considered in North Carolina to reduce the legal liability of large hog and poultry farms for noxious odors from animal wast
The U.S. appeals court based in Washington voided a Bush-era exemption for large livestock farms from reporting emission of air pollutants in a win for environmentalists, said Law360. The lawsuit was filed more than a year ago by eight environmental groups, who said the EPA ignored petitions in 2009 and 2011 for regulation of ammonia, methane and other emissions from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
The enormous numbers of animals concentrated in industrial pig farms are changing the pattern of flu seasons, by providing flu viruses a place to jump between humans and animals and multiply faster than they otherwise would, according to new research from North Carolina — a state that is second only to Iowa in pig production.
Hurricane Matthew flooded 142 hog and poultry barns in eight counties in North Carolina, said two environmental groups, vivid proof of the "unnecessary risk" of building large livestock farms "in a low-lying area deluged annually by tropical storms."
Due to privacy laws that have stymied regulators, no one can say for sure how many CAFOs are in the U.S., much less how large the animal operations really are, says Inside Climate News. “Thousands of industrial farms across the country release contaminants into the nation's water and airways, but in many states like North Carolina, the public has limited access to information about them."
A U.S. court of appeals overturned a lower court ruling and blocked the disclosure of ownership information about concentrated animal feeding operations, Agri-Pulse reported. The appeals court determined that the EPA had violated the Freedom of Information Act by releasing personal information, including phone numbers and email addresses, of CAFOs.