AmericanFarm.com

Getting to the meat of the matter (Editorial)

(July 14, 2015) There seems to be little doubt — if indeed such doubt ever existed — that the entire environmental activist community and its confederate animal welfare vigilantes would remove animal agriculture from our plates, and indeed from our farms.
Cows and chickens, we are told, have no place in our culture, let alone on our dinner plates because of their repeated violations of the “environment,” those social and cultural forces that shape the life of the planet and the people on it.
Cows “pass air” as the saying goes, thus contributing to depleting the ozone layer.
They also leave manure in the field where they graze and urinate in the streams where they go to cool off.
Chickens do all of those things into their bedding and it’s called litter.
Those functions by the animals and the fowl are seen as creating violations of “the environment,” a term which could be described as a “sacred cow” but under the circumstances would be entirely inappropriate.
Chickens have been getting most of the attention.
The poultry industry dominates the economy of the Delmarva Peninsula and a large hunk of the watershed of the Chesapeake Bay.
The disposal of their high phosphate litter — a natural organic fertilizer — has been getting most of the attention.
Oh, but don’t forget the dairy cows.
A judge in a federal district court in Washington state recently found that manure from a dairy farm could be considered “solid waste” under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
RCRA is a federal act and could potentially impact decisions interpreting RCRA as it applies to agriculture in other states. 
RCRA was enacted in 1976 and governs the disposal of solid and hazardous waste. 
The act is concerned with ensuring that solid and hazardous waste is disposed of in environmentally sound method. 
That apparently does not mean left in the field.
The court found manure to fall under the solid waste definition for a discarded material or one that has been abandoned or cast aside.
Then this: The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is suing Virginia for allegedly failing to protect its streams, rivers and the Bay by allowing farm animals unfettered access to the water.
It is estimated there are about 70 farms in the commonwealth with streams flowing to the Bay and which would require a Virginia Abatement Permit.
“It’s hard to understand how 70 farms are having a profound effect when we have 8 million people in Virginia and a significant number of them are in the watershed,” said Wilbur Stoneham of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “How those few animals are the major problem just doesn’t make sense to us.”
Where does animal agriculture fall on the current list of cultural priorities?
Remember “the food triangle?” It’s gone. Meat has been chopped off the top of the U.S. dietary guidelines.
If passengers on this ship don’t stop gathering on the left side of the boat, it is going to flip over. Maybe it already has.