Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Agricultural Pollution: What the Hell is A CAFO?

Once again, Muskegon Chronicle writer Jeff Alexander produces high quality journalism.

Massive livestock facilities known as CAFOs, concentrated animal feeding operations, are sprouting across Michigan and neighboring states. CAFOs house thousands of animals in barns and store millions of gallons of liquid manure in lagoons until the animal waste is used to fertilize farm fields.

The volume of sewage and toxic air emissions CAFOs produce is on par with cities and industrial facilities.

One large CAFO can produce as much sewage -- in the form of animal manure -- as a city of 100,000 people. Unlike cities and factories, which must treat wastewater and control air pollution, CAFOs are allowed to spread untreated manure on the land and foul the air because the facilities are exempt from most state environmental laws.

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