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Missouri Families Win Lawsuit vs. Neighbors: 200,000 Hogs, Tons of Fly-Covered Pig Poop

Categories: Environment, News
hog farm.jpeg
Who wouldn't want a few hundred thousand of these as neighbors?
A corporate hog producer was ordered Friday to pay a total of $1.95 million to twelve families in southwestern Missouri who complained that odors and flies from the company's pig farm ruined their properties and way of life.

According to the plaintiffs, Iowa-based Synergy set up its facility in Barton County, Missouri, to skirt laws in its home state that place greater restrictions on where such corporate farms -- capable of producing 200,000 hogs per year -- operate. And when 81 percent of residents living near the facility in Barton County voted for a zoning ordinance that would have limited the scope of the hog farm, Synergy mounted a legal challenge that toppled the law.

On Thursday, jurors boarded a bus to view (and get a whiff) of the scene from homes of the plaintiffs, some of whose families had farmed in the region for more than 100 years.

"They lived there long before Synergy came to Richland Township. They had their dreams, their hopes and their happiness wrapped up in the property they had invested in," plaintiff's attorney Richard Middleton argued in court. "Synergy poisoned the air, fouled the water and put hog waste full of toxins on the ground. They could not escape that in their homes."

The plaintiffs had asked for $1 million each from Synergy. Instead, the $1.95 million award will be divided up based on damages.

Last week's court case mirrored a similar lawsuit in central Missouri last year in which the state's attorney general, Chris Koster, came to the aid of corporate hog farms. Koster argued that only the Legislature -- not municipal governments -- should determine where corporate farms locate.

Earlier this month, Governor Jay Nixon vetoed a Republican-backed bill that would have limited the punitive damages available to people who sue corporate hog farms.

"The recovery of punitive damages is an important tool to incent the abatement of noxious activity, and must continue to be available to persons aggrieved by a nuisance arising out of crop or animal production," said Nixon


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3 comments
borncountry
borncountry

I just came across this, didn't remember seeing it on any news channel. I applaude the action taken by the true farmers against the factory evil. National Geo had a very enlightening article about our shortage of water on the planet. It gave examples of how much water it took to raise, animals for meat, fruit and vegs. Hang on to your jaws(they should drop!),  It takes 756 gallons of water per pig to raise to market. 469 gals per chicken. Only ONE animal folks! Multiply that times the thousands of cafo animals!!!!!!!!! Multiply that times the tons of waste going into our aquifers. Missouri has over 5,000 known caves, we pride ourselves on clear water. My Grandchildren can actually see the bottom of the creek when swimming. I fear this won't last through their Grandchildren's lives. Much of our economic success is from tourist who love our lakes and streams. How long will this be the case? Our limestone here in Southwest Missouri erodes easily, we CAN NOT take the devastation from cafo's sitting down, we're talking about our lives here people! Wake up lawmakers, legislators, we all drink from the same watering holes! When the end comes, doesn't matter how much money is in your pocket, there won't be any H-2-0! Thank you Govenor Nixon for vetoing the 209 bill. I'm sad about Attorney GeneralKoster's decision to be on the side of the factory farms. Not a good decision.Yes we have a growing population, yes, we need to feed them. We NEED to do it without destroying the environment. No water = no people! We can only recycle our poopy water for so long.Remember what happened to parts of Texas this year. A drought! How long will it be before we experience this in Missouri? Sure it's the weather, drought equals no water then add that to  the number of gallons of water being pumped every day to the animals in those cafos! It's taking away from your family wells, if you live in the country.It's taking away your well water if you live in town or the city! We used to have an artisian well, it's gone now. The country side around us is saturated with chicken and turkey cafos. The big corporates tend to survey low economic areas, so they can brainwash we so-called "hillbillies" into thinking that "Wow" if we just put in THEIR cafos," their" meaning Cargill, Senergy or any of the others, we will be rich! HA HA HA. Ask those people who have been suckered in how rich they are getting! The corporates want to take our beautiful land, they like to go where there is lots of land .Water isn't the only problem. I resent the fact that these animals are treated so barbarically! They should be shut down on the grounds of animal cruelty alone! Animals need to lay down, just like humans do. You Mothers out there that are reading this, remember how it feels to be pregnant how sometimes it felt so good to lay down? How the load on your feet was just too much and you had to sit down or lay down. Those 200,000 plus sows don't get the privilege to do this! I wonder how horrified people would be if they could visit a cafo that wasn't one of their "show"productions???? Bet you can't just walk into one unannounced! I just bet the law would somehow be working at that point, I could just about bet that you would be escorted off their property real fast! Most cafos have the pigs standing at all times. How cruel is that? I can't eat them because I know they were treated with no respect. I can't condone that kind of behavior from humans. Why should I think man treats animals with respect when the sexual predators, pedophiles and child abusers are rampant?Each one of has a right, and that right is not to be" bought off", or pushed around by the money-grubbing corporate factory CEOs who do nothing much for our economy. If you do your homework, one can usually figure out that they have their own feed, have their own processing plants, their own rules and all we get is their____! Please people, I beg you to educate yourselves, just go to the computer and pull up news on these factory corporates. You will see lots of shocking news! Just click in their names. Read and read! Since I have only seen pictures of the insides of a hog cafo, I would love to see architectural plans of the insides. Better yet I would love to have a jury go inside one,uninvited! Mean while, I'm going to research and research, but I fear that the result will be a sad one. When I look into my happy Grandchild's eyes, I wonder how long Grandparents and parents will see a future of happiness and hope??

Shelley Powers
Shelley Powers

Well, wasn't necessarily a win. Better than nothing, but not as much as hoped.

These places are really horrendously foul. Any homes in the neighborhoods aren't worth a nickel after one of these moves in.

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