Livestock farmers are petitioning the EPA to keep their records secret due to harassment campaigns from environmentalist groups. According to the Texas-based Star Tribune, in their testimony to the agency, the farmers paint a harrowing picture of the kind of ridiculous efforts green groups put into in order to slow or even shut down their operations. Here are some of the highlights detailing the intimidation efforts on the part of environmentalists:
Drones with cameras could fly over their barns. Lawsuit-happy advocates could sneak around their fields. Unwelcome visitors could spread diseases to their herds and flocks.
Hog farmer Rick Grommersch of Nicollet, Minn., filed an affidavit in court recounting the time in 2006 he caught three black-clad animal rights activists climbing over a fence so they could take pictures of a rendering box.
Fears of animal rights activists have been persuasive in Minnesota. This year, the Legislature took the extraordinary move of sealing off its new regulatory system for dog breeders from public scrutiny, because the breeders complained that the animal rights people would otherwise harass them.
Unfortunately, sealing off EPA and other environmental records isn’t that simple. As long as one has a computer, access to livestock farmer information is available through a variety of different methods. In many states you can just look up inspection records just by logging on to a state environmental department’s website. The EPA even went so far as to release records of farm locations which is the subject of a federal lawsuit brought on by pork producers.
Minnesota’s Pollution Control Agency has a smartphone app that allows anyone to see locations of hazardous waste sites, sewage treatment plants and even livestock farms since they have to apply for permits from the state agency like any other business. Doing so, however, exposes farmers to environmentalists who can test waste water and the areas surrounding the farms for pollution emissions that greens can use against farmers in nuisance lawsuits. Imagine a hog farmer having to ward off legal action from environmentalists due to his hog’s methane emissions.
Just the fact that environmentalists would use state agency records as a means to harass livestock farmers is evidence enough of their true intent. It is not out of any concern for the welfare of animals but to run livestock farmers out of business and to restrict if not literally outlaw human consumption of meat products.