34 organizations representing local, state and national groups just published a letter to Oregon legislators urging them to support mega-dairy moratorium bills currently introduced in the House and Senate for the 2021 legislative session. 

The groups represent hundreds of thousands of Oregonians, advocates, farmers, and rural communities concerned with the impacts of mega-dairies on Oregon’s environment and communities. The letter urges the legislators to support SB 583 and HB 2924, bills that would enact a moratorium on the permitting of new and expanding mega-dairies of about 2,500 cows until existing pollution and harm can be addressed. 

Some of the sign-on organizations include the members of the Stand Up to Factory Farms coalition, members stated:  

“If the last year has taught us anything, it is that we have a deeply flawed industrial food system that continues historic racial injustices and threatens public health, both through the  disproportionate impacts of pollution and the creation of dangerous pathogens that could be the next pandemic,” said Amy van Saun, senior attorney with Center for Food Safety. “Mega-dairies exemplify this broken system, and we must take a pause and ask ourselves what a just and healthy food system looks like in Oregon and strive for it. We cannot accept more business-as-usual.” 

“The concrete and metal barns of mega-dairies, where cows are confined by the tens of thousands, deny cows anything close to their psychological and physical needs,” said Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Mega-dairies are out of line with residents’ humane values, and it’s time for the state to pause and reconsider their place in Oregon.”

“Mega-dairies are also an enormous drain on Oregon’s rivers, streams and groundwater aquifers,” said Brian Posewitz, a staff attorney at WaterWatch of Oregon. “All told, a mega-dairy with 30,000 cows uses more water than the City of Bend.”

“Mega-dairies played a major role in driving Oregon’s family dairy farms off the land. They over-produce and flood the market with cheap milk, while externalizing their environmental and social costs, making it hard for small dairy farmers to compete. Forty years ago Oregon was home to more than 4,000 dairies, mostly small, family-owned businesses. Now, just over 200 remain,” said Amy Wong, Policy Director with Friends of Family Farmers. “Friends of Family Farmers wants to level the playing field for the next generation of small dairy farmers, so they have a chance to thrive while contributing to a strong regional food system.” 

“The growth of mega-dairies in Oregon is directly responsible for destroying small dairy farms, polluting our water and land, and are a major contributor to the worsening climate crisis. It’s past time for Oregon to put our people, farmed animals, and planet before profits. We need a mega-dairy moratorium this session.” said Erin Eberle, Director of Engagement, Farm Forward 

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