For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 1, 2023
Contact: Phoebe Galt, Food & Water Watch, 207-400-1275, firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Hearing Set on Factory Farm Moratorium After Dozens of Oregonians Pack Information Session, Demanding State Action
Popular legislation will safeguard family-scale farming, rural communities, the environment, climate, animal welfare, health and quality of life
Photos available here.
Salem, OR — Last night, dozens of Oregon farmers, experts and community members with the Stand Up to Factory Farms coalition packed a Senate Natural Resources Committee information session on Oregon’s regulatory scheme for factory farms. After hearing invitation-only testimony from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Department of Agriculture (ODA), and Oregon Water Resources Department, Senator Jeff Golden announced a public hearing on the Factory Farm Moratorium Bill for Monday, March 6. The popular legislation would enact a moratorium on new and expanding factory farms.
Oregon’s factory farms are driving independent family-scale farms out of business. Food & Water Watch research found that in the eight years after the state’s biggest dairy factory farm began operations in 1999, more than 600 family-scale dairies went out of business. Amidst mounting climate and water crises, Oregon’s dozens of factory farms pollute the air, water and climate with abandon, drain precious water resources, house farm animals in cruel conditions and threaten the health and quality of life for those who live and work nearby.
With multiple proposals for new factory farms before the DEQ and ODA, urgent passage of the Factory Farm Moratorium Bill is necessary to safeguard family-scale farming, rural communities, the environment, climate, animal welfare, health and quality of life in Oregon.
“Factory farms are a menace to our environment, farmers, and communities, using their polluting methods to drive family-scale farms out of business. Yet Oregon’s regulation of their environmental harms, from air and water pollution to greenhouse gas emissions and high water withdrawals, falls far short,” said Tarah Heinzen, Food & Water Watch Legal Director. “Years of lax state regulations have welcomed factory farms into our state with open arms at the expense of family-scale farmers — we need a factory farm moratorium to stop the proliferation of these dirty operations.”
“Friends of Family Farmers is in support of a moratorium of new permits for Large Tier 2 CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) for the sake of Oregon Agriculture. Farmers are not a monolith on this topic. The 1,600 farmers we serve across the state have told us that we need to be conscious of the paradigm we are encouraging for Oregon’s agricultural future. The current permitting structure for these types of facilities encourages corporate land speculation, misuses high value soils, unfairly overuses scarce water resources, monopolizes agricultural infrastructure, and hurts rural economies,” said Alice Morrison, Co-Director of Friends of Family Farmers. “Put together, this creates market and physical conditions where it is impossible for small and midsize, socially and ecologically responsible farmers to thrive. For the sake of the future of Oregon agriculture, we need to stop the proliferation of the largest CAFOs under the current regulations.”
“For too long, Oregon state agencies have turned a blind eye to the realities of factory farm proliferation in our state,” said Stand Up to Factory Factory Farms Coalition Organizer Lilli DiPaola. “Years of inaction to reign in this destructive industry have devastated our environment, harmed public health and caused irreparable damage to the climate. It’s time for the legislature to take control, heed their constituents’ demands and pass the Factory Farm Moratorium Bill.”
“Factory farming causes animal suffering, destroys the environment, and negatively impacts communities,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Legislative Affairs Manager Jennifer Hauge. “For far too long, Oregon regulators have encouraged the proliferation of these harmful and exploitative operations, and it is time state legislators intervened to protect Oregonians by passing the Factory Farm Moratorium Bill.”
“No community in our state should be sacrificed for the profit of a few – these mega-factory farms do not belong anywhere in Oregon. We must act now to protect a livable climate, vibrant and healthy rural communities, and ethically produced local food,” said Amy van Saun, senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety.
“Industrial agriculture interests continue to use their outsized influence to expand their operations, raking in profits from a cruel, polluting factory farm system that harms animals, the environment, workers, farmers and rural communities alike,” said Adam Mason, senior manager of farm animal welfare and environmental policy for the ASPCA. “Oregonians have no appetite for the cruelty and pollution that these huge factory farms produce. We must take action to pass the Factory Farm Moratorium Bill to stop the expansion of these industrial facilities and invest in the transition to and growth of higher-welfare farming.”