Concerns about CAFOs are accurate
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.