Letter: Mortaorium on CAFOs needs reinstated

Moratorium on CAFOs needs to be reinstated

From: Tom Mee


I believe it is in the best interest of Bartholomew County to reinstate the moratorium on confined animal feeding operations. A decision of this magnitude should never be made under deadline pressure. Kris Medic’s desperation to acquire some numbers concerning set backs because of pressure was reflected with the introduction of her facilitation model at the last CAFO study meeting.

In the Aug. 24 Republic, Kris’ statement pertaining to the improvement of morale and cooperation between the CAFO Study Committee members because of this model is not accurate. This observer did not witness the practice of good decision-making skills or cooperation during that CAFO study meeting. In fact, this committee was reminiscent of a high school setting. Minority members were subjected to strong rejection from majority members and eventually the facilitator participated in this behavior. Even the manner in which these setbacks were selected was nuts. No research was required for their selection of a setback. Again, this moratorium needs to be reinstated, perhaps even replace the facilitator with an unbiased professional.

In response to the Larry Klenheinz statement in the same article, the minority members asking for safer setbacks did not succumb to the bad behaviors of others in the previous meetings. These members have the research to support their claims, and that is why they are unwavering. The majority members are asking for less-restrictive setbacks, not because they have any research to support their decision, but because they are ag-affiliated and basing their decision on that affiliation. Within the same article, Mike Lovelace was quoted to say, “You are trying to tell somebody how to handle property they’ve owned for 50 years.” Lovelace needs to understand ordinances are put in place for the well-being of all citizens.

The article placed below the CAFO article in the Republic titled “Pet chicken rules ruffle feathers” is a perfect example of why a community needs to have ordinances/codes in place for the welfare of the majority of the population. This article will help Columbus residents understand the health issues rural residents are forced to endure with confined feeding operations. We, too, are exposed to numerous health hazards affiliated with the confinement of 2,000 to 4,000 animals placed adjacent to a flood plain and open water ways. Compound those problems with the dependency of well water and this can prove to be catastrophic. The Columbus residents are worried about flies and natural predators; try living with flocks of circling buzzards because a CAFO owner decides to leave his dead hogs outside. Columbus residents are concerned about the neighbors using chicken manure for natural fertilizer, while rural citizens are forced indoors every spring and fall when CAFO operators empty the pit filled with tens of thousand of gallons of manure and spread it across the countryside.

We are all residents of Bartholomew County and should work together to protect the future of this county. Contact your commissioners.