What is a CAFO and why should I care?

This post may appear to be an off-topic rant, but it’s closely related to my main theme of ‘health’ and quality of life…

Part of my story…

9 years ago, my family and I left Aurora, IL in the Chicago suburbs primarily around the issue of quality of life. The year we left, there were 25 homicides in Aurora; 2/3rds due to gang-related violence and the remainder due to domestic violence. Every year 2-3 kids would get hit by a stray bullet and with 5 boys at the time, I felt the odds were against me. After a long journey, we ended up in our ‘paradise’ — the Town of Pierce in Kewaunee County, WisconsinIt was at our annual town meeting that I first heard the word CAFO or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation

A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is a term that was first coined by the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to describe animal agricultural facilities that have a potential pollution profile. Specifically, the EPA defines a CAFO as an animal feeding operation (AFO) that (a) confines animals for more than 45 days during a growing season, (b) in an area that does not produce vegetation, and (c) meets certain size thresholds. The EPA’s definition of the term “captures key elements of the transformations” observed in the animal agriculture sector over the course of the 20th century: “a production process that concentrates large numbers of animals in relatively small and confined places, and that substitutes structures and equipment (for feeding, temperature controls, and manure management) for land and labor.”[1] via Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I’m not a big fan of Bill Maher, but here’s a good interview he did with Michigan CAFO activist Lynn Henning

We have two CAFOs within a three mile radius but worse, CAFO owners buy or rent fields immediately around our 10 acres and there they spray untreated waste within a short distance of our home. 4 of our 8 family members have respiratory illnesses and now, based on the knowledge we have we’re beginning to become concerned about our well water and are moving to get it tested. Call us ‘officially concerned’ — concerned enough to join a group of local protestors yesterday to raise awareness on this issue [Click images to enlarge]…

My wife and I are pondering our response to this issue and are considering a number of options from starting a blog to inform and educate people on this issue to running for public office. There IS more to come on this topic…

btw, if you’re a city dweller reading this and thinking this issue doesn’t affect you, think different — your food does not magically appear in your grocer’s freezer! Here are some other issues to think about on the topic of food and farming that affect YOU…

2 thoughts on “What is a CAFO and why should I care?

  1. Great collection of facts and issues. This is what the world needs to know. Whether one in left or right on the political spectrum – we are all in this together and we are the only ones who can change what is truly a disaster happening right under our noses!

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