Keywords: CAFOs, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, Industrial Agriculture, Environmental Impact, Food Policy


First paragraph:

A recent documentary film, Right to Harm, docu­ments the negative impacts large-scale con­centrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, are having on public health and the overall quality of life of people in rural communities (Wechsler & Speicher, 2019). The film also reveals the frustra­tion of concerned citizens who have asked their governments to address these negative impacts. When they ask for regulations to mitigate environ­mental impacts, they get regulations that effectively grant CAFOs a legal “license to pollute” (Gustin, 2016). When counties enact public health ordi­nances to protect residents from the health risks posed by CAFOs, state governments take away the right of local control (Steever, 2019). When under­cover reporters reveal animal abuse in CAFOs, state governments pass “ag-gag laws” that make the covert investigation of animal abuse a crime (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [ASPCA], n.d.). When neighbors who have been adversely affected win nuisance lawsuits against CAFO operators, governments pass ever-stronger “right to farm” laws (Fajen, 2019), essentially giving CAFO operators the “right to harm.” Thus the title of the film. . . .

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Author Biography

John Ikerd, University of Missouri, Columbia

Professor Emeritus, Agricultural Econom­ics

Portrait of John Ikerd
How to Cite
Ikerd, J. (2020). THE ECONOMIC PAMPHLETEER: A Right to Harm. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 9(2), 5-8.

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