Issues: Media Reports

Community Health Impacts of Factory Farms

"Steve Wing received his Ph.D. in epidemiology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is currently an associate professor. Recent work has focused on environmental injustice and health effects of ionizing radiation, industrial animal production, sewage sludge, and landfills. He has collaborated on health and exposure studies with communities and workers impacted by threats to environmental and occupational health."

The Community Loses when it Loses Farmers: Impacts of a Changing Local Farmland Market

"The Goldschmidt Hypothesis, which argues that large-scale farms undermine a community’s social-economic well-being, and social capital theory, which holds that broad engagement builds a strong community social fabric, are employed in analyzing the social impacts of agricultural restructuring. Findings indicate that the emerging restructured land market and the consequent increased competitiveness undermine the trust and norms of reciprocity among farmers and between farmers and town-residents. The ideal of “bigger is better” chased by local farmers has the unintended consequence of eroding the historically important community participation of local farmers.

Farmers are now involved in only those activities that directly affect them and less so in activities that broadly contribute to community well-being, such as service clubs. Farmers and townspeople often travel to work which results in the transfer of their shopping, services obtained, and recreational activities from local providers to where they work in the county seat or nearby cities. Both farmers and townspeople report knowing fewer community members than 10 years ago, reflecting a decline in network size, and the regular social interactions indicative of close-knit community. These factors are leading to the decline of the historically interdependent relationship between farmers and their community, and the degrading of a sense of community."

Read Daniela Manhani Mattos dissertation here


Community Health and Socioeconomic Issues Surrounding Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

"A consensus of the Workgroup on Community and Socioeconomic Issues was that improving and sustaining healthy rural communities depends on integrating socioeconomic development and environmental protection. The workgroup agreed that the World Health Organization’s definition of health, “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” applies to rural communities. These principles are embodied in the following main points agreed upon by this workgroup. Healthy rural communities ensure a) the physical and mental health of individuals, b) financial security for individuals and the greater community, c) social well-being, d ) social and environmental justice, and e) political equity and access. This workgroup evaluated impacts of the proliferation of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) on sustaining the health of rural communities. Recommended policy changes include a more stringent process for issuing permits for CAFOs, considering bonding for manure storage basins, limiting animal density per watershed, enhancing local control, and mandating environmental impact statements."

Read the article here

Social and Community Impacts of CAFOs

"The impacts of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) should be judged in
terms of their socioeconomic impacts on rural Iowa and its communities as well as their
impacts on human and animal health. Regulations and management practices should support
socially and economically desirable community outcomes, as well as protect human and
animal health. It is the role of government to select from among the regulatory options that
contribute to economically viable, socially equitable, and environmentally sound
communities (President’s Council on Sustainable Development, 1996)."

Read the Iowa State University paper here. 

Factory Farms and Environmental Racism

"While pollution is almost everywhere, certain communities are burdened with a disproportionate number of facilities that fill the air, soil, and water with contaminates. Typically found in communities of color and low-income communities, industrial polluters such as landfills, trash incinerators, coal plants, and toxic waste dumps affect the well-being of residents. Their health is also often compromised due to a lack of access to healthy foods in their neighborhoods. Those who work on environmental justice issues refer to these inequities as environmental racism."

Read the Food Empowerment Project article here.