After transitioning our farm from industrialized chicken production to an Animal Welfare Approved certified pasture based egg farm 3 years ago, a CAFO now plans to be our neighbor! We’ve learned from the prospective buyer of the property neighboring us that he has plans to build a chicken CAFO.
It is unfathomable as to why any company would allow their chickens to be put next to a pasture raised farm with chickens on it. The industry claims that strict bio-security is a mainstay of their operations and necessary to its survival.
Bio-security is the practice of measures taken to prevent the spread of disease on poultry farms.
Looking at the situation from an independent farm, raising hens in a pasture based system one has to question the rights of an individual farm. What about the right of that farm protecting its chickens from viruses and bacteria’s spread by industrial chicken CAFO’s?
All appearances indicate that the independent farm has no rights and that the highly potential risk created to that farm by the chicken industry is of no concern.
Industrial chickens are vaccinated for many diseases. Introduction of live viruses into an area where no viruses exist or introducing a bacteria or disease where none exist is a recipe for disaster. That is basic 101 bio- security for any poultry producer.
In 2008, Johns Hopkins researchers found that poultry trucks driving to processing plants spread harmful bacteria into the environment, exposing other drivers, pedestrians, and rural communities to these bacteria. Researchers consistently detected drug-resistant bacteria in the air and on surfaces inside vehicles while driving with their windows down behind poultry trucks (Rule et al. 2008).
In our case, a right of way from the county road will be mutually used. Harmful bacteria will exist in the environment spread from the industry trucks entering and leaving the CAFO. It’s reasonable to expect that our vehicles will pick up bacteria’s not only harmful to ourselves but also harmful to our disease free hens. Walking to our mailbox could be harmful to our health!
Drug resistant bacteria spread by industry vehicles will not be the only concern. County regulations allow for building of chicken houses to be 20 feet from property lines. These huge buildings can hold up to 60,000 chickens in one house. Air exchange is accomplished through fans only. It’s not unreasonable to conclude that the same drug resistant bacteria’s that are found in feathers and dust blowing from trucks will also be exhausted into the air from housing.
Less than ½ mile down the road from the farm is a YMCA. Joggers and bicyclist use the area for recreational activities and for YMCA sponsored events. Schools use the sports fields at the YMCA for practices. Are public and school activities to be discontinued just to accommodate a CAFO that wants to move into the area?
Clearly, the chicken industry has no thought or care of potential risks to human health nor any respect for the neighbor that their CAFO’s want to go next to.