NDHR Urges a “No” vote on Measure 1

On May 11, 2016, the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition (NDHRC) voted to urge a “No” vote on Measure 1 on the June ballot. A “No” vote on Measure 1 would ensure that North Dakota does not open the gates to corporate farming operations. We believe that allowing corporations to own land and use it explicitly for small-space animal confinement farming practices poses a significant risk to the human rights of North Dakota farmers and community members. History has proven that family farmers do not have the resource capacity to compete with large-scale corporate farms[i]. Farmers often face undue pressure to conform to corporate farming practices with which they may not agree, and their right to participate in the free market should be protected. Additionally, the NDHRC believes that all people should have access to clean air, water & food as basic human rights. Small-space animal confinement farming practices pose a risk to all of these. Due to a large number of animals contained in a single structure, methane and other noxious gases accumulate at high levels in factory farm buildings and the surrounding areas, causing discomfort and often respiratory problems in surrounding populations[ii]. Also, the large amount of animal excrement from these farms can be mistreated, resulting in contamination of surrounding water sources[iii]. Finally, factory farm environments provide an ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria and viruses to evolve, causing food-borne illness outbreaks at the consumer level[iv]. The NDHRC stands in solidarity with the concerned citizens in Buffalo, ND and urges our members to vote no on ND ballot measure 1 on June 14, 2016.

 


[i] According to the USDA, the number of farmers in the US has decreased significantly despite population growth: in 1900, nearly 40% of the US population lived and worked on farms compared to less than 5% in 1990. Advances in farming technology coupled with “more intensive farming on existing land” rather than developing new land for agricultural purposes both contributed to this trend.

Source: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Trends_in_U.S._Agriculture/Farm_Population/

 

[ii]Most major hazardous gases emitted by factory farms include hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, methane, and carbon dioxide which are primarily produced by decomposing manure. If upheld, North Dakota ballot measure 1 would allow the corporate production of swine and dairy cows on up to 640 acres of land. According to the EPA, “methane emissions from manure increased by 26% in the US between 1990 and 2004, due primarily to larger, more concentrated dairy and swine facilities.”

Source: http://www.sustainabletable.org/266/air-quality

 

[iii] The United States Clean Water Act of 1987 distinctly states that concentrated animal feeding operations are treated as a point-source polluters, meaning that they have the potential to directly contaminate water sources rather than indirectly through hydrological conditions. Feedlots and animal corrals can contaminate surface water sources with pathogens and heavy metals from urine and feces “leading to chronic health problems.”

Source: http://www.fao.org/docrep/w2598e/w2598e04.htm

 

[iv]Factory farmers rely on pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, hormones, feed additives, vaccines and arsenic to combat the food safety risks involved in producing animal protein in small-space confinement conditions. More than 80% of antibiotics used in the US are purchased by the animal agriculture industry. The consistent use of antibiotics in livestock “selects for antibiotic-resistant superbugs that are infecting humans at an alarming rate.”

Source: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/307/animal-factories/animal-factories-and-public-health

On May 11, 2016, the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition (NDHRC) voted to urge a “No” vote on Measure 1 on the June ballot. A “No” vote on Measure 1 would ensure that North Dakota does not open the gates to corporate farming operations. We believe that allowing corporations to own land and use it explicitly for small-space animal confinement farming practices poses a significant risk to the human rights of North Dakota farmers and community members. History has proven that family farmers do not have the resource capacity to compete with large-scale corporate farms[i]. Farmers often face undue pressure to conform to corporate farming practices with which they may not agree, and their right to participate in the free market should be protected. Additionally, the NDHRC believes that all people should have access to clean air, water & food as basic human rights. Small-space animal confinement farming practices pose a risk to all of these. Due to a large number of animals contained in a single structure, methane and other noxious gases accumulate at high levels in factory farm buildings and the surrounding areas, causing discomfort and often respiratory problems in surrounding populations[ii]. Also, the large amount of animal excrement from these farms can be mistreated, resulting in contamination of surrounding water sources[iii]. Finally, factory farm environments provide an ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria and viruses to evolve, causing food-borne illness outbreaks at the consumer level[iv]. The NDHRC stands in solidarity with the concerned citizens in Buffalo, ND and urges our members to vote no on ND ballot measure 1 on June 14, 2016.

 


[i] According to the USDA, the number of farmers in the US has decreased significantly despite population growth: in 1900, nearly 40% of the US population lived and worked on farms compared to less than 5% in 1990. Advances in farming technology coupled with “more intensive farming on existing land” rather than developing new land for agricultural purposes both contributed to this trend.

Source: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Trends_in_U.S._Agriculture/Farm_Population/

 

[ii]Most major hazardous gases emitted by factory farms include hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, methane, and carbon dioxide which are primarily produced by decomposing manure. If upheld, North Dakota ballot measure 1 would allow the corporate production of swine and dairy cows on up to 640 acres of land. According to the EPA, “methane emissions from manure increased by 26% in the US between 1990 and 2004, due primarily to larger, more concentrated dairy and swine facilities.”

Source: http://www.sustainabletable.org/266/air-quality

 

[iii] The United States Clean Water Act of 1987 distinctly states that concentrated animal feeding operations are treated as a point-source polluters, meaning that they have the potential to directly contaminate water sources rather than indirectly through hydrological conditions. Feedlots and animal corrals can contaminate surface water sources with pathogens and heavy metals from urine and feces “leading to chronic health problems.”

Source: http://www.fao.org/docrep/w2598e/w2598e04.htm

 

[iv]Factory farmers rely on pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, hormones, feed additives, vaccines and arsenic to combat the food safety risks involved in producing animal protein in small-space confinement conditions. More than 80% of antibiotics used in the US are purchased by the animal agriculture industry. The consistent use of antibiotics in livestock “selects for antibiotic-resistant superbugs that are infecting humans at an alarming rate.”

Source: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/307/animal-factories/animal-factories-and-public-health

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