The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Letter to Editor

Dear Editor:

Henderson County wake-up! We can no longer sit back and ignore the facts.

Factory-size hog confinements are invading Illinois following a path of least resistance and regulations.

States from Missouri to Minnesota are adopting constructive policies that seek to protect the air, water, and quality of life from these industries.

Illinois is the last major pork producer state to wrestle with the questions on how to regulate these super size hog factories.

The absence of regulation is the primary reason why distant corporations are hastily plopping mega hog farms throughout our state.

Studies show that hogs produce 2-4 times the amount of waste than humans do.

These hog factories are under no obligations to treat the vast amounts of urine and feces they produce.

Areas as far away as two miles from livestock facilities can become a breeding ground for swarms of disease carrying flies.

This waste (effluent) is often kept in underground pits or large open cesspools called lagoons.

Seeking to dispose of vast quantities of excrement, factory farms tend to apply far more manure to cropland than the soil can safely absorb.

The effluent is often pivot-irrigated (sprayed), enabling it to aerosolize into miniscule droplets. The tiny droplets can drift on air currents and settle onto areas such as surface waters, homes, and even humans.

Recent studies show that swine pit waste contains pathogens such as viruses and bacteria, including bacteria that carry genes for antibiotic resistance, which can be transferred to humans.

Recently, an epidemiological study conducted by the University of Iowa and Iowa State University agreed that concentrated animal feeding operations (hog confinements) air emissions may constitute a hazard to public health, in addition to workers' health.

At least 96% of the dust particles in hog confinements are smaller than three microns, which is in the respiratory range.

These small invisible particles consisting of animal dander, feed, manure, molds, saliva, and bug parts not only harbor odor, but also can carry dangerous compounds and viruses that irritate the lungs.

I have mentioned only a few of the many problems associated with hog confinements. Please become knowledgeable about this health hazard before it is too late.

Attend the Coalition organizational meeting on Wednesday May 16th 7 pm at the Gladstone Health Department (old Gladstone grade school) in Gladstone.

We as a society must get our priorities straight and start thinking about the future we are providing for our children.

Carol Eibes
Gladstone, Illinois