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Letter to the editor: Proposed hog operation isn’t good for Devils Lake

I vow to continue my opposition against the Grand Prairie Agriculture LLP/ Pipestone Systems proposed hog operation near Devils Lake. I travel 150 miles (one way) each and every weekend in the spring, summer and fall to enjoy our place on Devils Lake. My trip takes me through the Towner area. All along my route, no matter which direction I look, there are cattle as far as my eye can see, and never have I smelled any stench of manure. And why? Because these cattle are out in the pasture, where they are supposed to be … not confined in a building for their entire life! I’m not against raising livestock by any means, but it needs to be done the correct way. It needs to be done the way it has been done in the past, on a family farm. The only problem is, raising animals by the thousands in a confined manner is not farming. It is a mass-produced, antibiotic-injected, corporate-owned, industrial animal factory operation! The toxic waste from these factory operations isn’t just foul smelling, it’s also a health threat. Manure has been known to carry E. coli, salmonella, cryptosporidium and other bacteria that can lead to serious illness/death if they spread to humans. A 2016 Duke University School of Medicine report linked exposure to waste from hog concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) with acute blood pressure increase, impaired neurobehavioral function and impaired pulmonary function. It also pointed to carcinogenic effects induced by chemicals from hog farming waste. Respiratory illnesses are another concern.

CAFOs mix antibiotics in the daily rations fed to the pigs. The antibiotics are still present in the meat we eat! Between 25 to 75 percent of antibiotics pass into animal manure unchanged. The presence of antibiotics in water leads to the proliferation of superbugs. Brian Bienkowski, Environmental Health News, wrote an article in which he interviewed Chris Peterson, a “traditional” hog farmer from Clear Lake, Iowa. He raises hogs the correct way. In Iowa, pig manure is so pervasive in waterways that the state has declared 750 of them impaired. We cannot let this kind of devastation happen to our beautiful Devils Lake. We cannot allow the families and community to suffer the health effects from the proposed Grand Prairie Agriculture/ Pipestone Systems hog operation. Please join the Lake Region Concerned Citizens (LRCC) group that has been created to keep the community and state informed. There is so much valuable information posted. You can find them on Facebook. We need your support in reminding our elected officials that they are supposed to represent the voice of the people who voted them into office!