Monday, May 30, 2011

Egg factory farm fined

A federal jury ruled this week that ammonia and other smells arising from a manure pond at a French Camp egg farm constituted a nuisance under California law and ordered the operator of Olivera Egg Ranch to pay $544,000 in damages to neighbors. This photo of the manure pond is from The 'farm' can house up to 700,000 hens, currently is at around 600,000 hens.

The judge in the case earlier tossed out charges brought by the Humane Society of the United States that the farm violated federal laws governing releases of hazardous materials, in this case ammonia.

It left both sides declaring victory.

The San Jose Mercury-News reported:

While the animal welfare advocates fought the case on federal air pollution violations, it was part of their larger mission to focus attention on a plethora of problems they say are created by factory farming.

"There is a link between massive, intensive confinement of hundreds of thousands of animals and the type of pollution and nuisance presented in this case," said Jonathan Lovvorn, the Humane Society's senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation. "The reality is that these facilities are bad for the animals, bad for the environment and bad for the community."

As far as recent changes, Lovvorn said that none have resulted yet in changes that have improved the lives of his clients.

"There's only so much you can do with a facility of that size," he said.

Amen to that! Every backyard chicken owner who keeps a few hens for eggs is one less customer for that industrial system. Each one of us undermines the false economy that justifies keeping chickens in concentrated conditions that pollute the landscape and condemn birds to miserable lives.

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