Con­cerns about CAFOs are ac­cu­rate

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE -

FROM: RALPH HARTGROVE NORTH EAST

In re­sponse to John Kilby’s Nov. 7 let­ter about the pro­posed CAFO chicken farm in Zion: First, as a mem­ber of the “mob of anti-farm­ing ac­tivist who have im­ported a so-called pub­lic health ex­pert,” I want to parse this phrase and com­ment on its in­ac­cu­ra­cies.

The mem­bers of our “mob” are home­own­ers, mostly liv­ing within one-half mile from the in­tended in­dus­trial scale feed­ing op­er­a­tion. Our con­cerns arise only for the health and well-be­ing of our­selves and our fam­i­lies, and for the fu­ture value of our prop­er­ties. Most of us are very much pro­farmer. Our ar­gu­ment from the be­gin­ning has been sim­ply that this project, though prop­erly zoned and maybe even le­gal in ev­ery way, is a huge mis­take given where it is in­tended to ex­ist. There are well over a thou­sand peo­ple who will be im­pacted daily by po­ten­tial health ef­fects from air­borne bac­te­ria, a loss of air qual­ity and con­tam­i­nated ground­wa­ter. Thus the need to call in real ex­perts from the School of Pub­lic Health at Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity.

The pre­sen­ta­tion to the county coun­cil by the School of Pub­lic Health was of many — more than 35 — sci­en­tif­i­cally re­viewed pub­li­ca­tions which lead these sci­en­tists to con­clude there is much to be con­cerned about. The claims were in­deed sup­ported by fac­tual data. There were no ex­ag­ger­a­tions or in­ac­cu­ra­cies ex­cept in the minds of those who do not un­der­stand the sci­en­tific en­ter­prise. As I re­call, the ex­am­ple cited by Mr. Kilby ac­tu­ally showed no CAFO dots north of the canal; not one near his prop­erty. Nev­er­the­less, the coun­cil mem­bers asked for the School of Pub­lic Health’s help at the end of the pre­sen­ta­tion.

Fi­nally, the cov­er­age by the Whig on this is­sue has been largely fair and bal­anced. From the “mob’s” point of view, we would like to hear more from the Whig about how this in­dus­trial scale ma­nure man­age­ment is­sue is creep­ing north from be­low the canal. North­ern Ce­cil County is a won­der­ful mix of res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties and fam­ily farms; as much as is pos­si­ble, let’s keep it that way.

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