Broad Coalition Releases Letter Demanding `No` Vote on Weak CAFO Bill in Oregon
Groups oppose Oregon bill to tweak mega-dairy approval process because it paves the way for more mega-dairies instead of stopping them
Salem, OR -- The Stand Up to Factory Farms coalition has submitted written testimony in a letter to the Oregon Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee in opposition to Senate Bill 1513 which has a hearing today. The bill that would make minor revisions to the approval process for new mega-dairies.
The coalition opposes the proposed bill because it does not go nearly far enough to protect Oregon's special places, its family farms, or animal welfare from the harms of mega-dairies. New mega-dairies are an imminent threat, as the State Department of Agriculture is currently considering a permit application by Easterday Farms for a nearly 30,000-animal dairy to replace the disastrous Lost Valley Farm.
Tarah Heinzen, Senior Staff Attorney, Food & Water Action said: 'We know what will happen if this bill passes: the state will claim 'problem solved' and sweep its failed oversight of mega-dairies under the rug — all while paving the way for even more mega-dairies. This bill is not a solution for the enormous damage caused by factory farms in Oregon. Oregon needs a moratorium on mega-dairies and our coalition will not settle for less.'
'Oregon faces a critical decision point: do we preserve our special places, water, air, and traditional family dairy farms or do we become a polluted factory farm state? We don't have time for half-measures,' said Amy van Saun, senior attorney at Center for Food Safety's Pacific Northwest office. 'This industry and ODA bill is more business-as-usual, at a time when Oregonians need bold action to protect our climate, water quality, and quantity, and the kind of agriculture that Oregonians feel good about.'
'As the call for moratoriums on factory farms becomes more common across the nation, now is not the time for Oregon to pass minor regulatory actions that create a false sense of security,' said Erin Eberle, Director of Engagement, Farm Forward. 'The time is now for bold, meaningful action—like a moratorium on mega-dairies—that will actually solve our crisis. We must do better than Senate Bill 1513.'
'Among the issues this bill fails to fully address are the impacts of mega-dairies on the state's water supplies,' said Brian Posewitz, a staff attorney at WaterWatch of Oregon. 'Dairies like Lost Valley Farm consume as much water as a mid-sized city and many of them rely on an outdated provision in the state's water code that exempts 'stockwatering' from the requirement to get a water right. This happens even where water resources have been put off-limits to new water rights due to shortages. We need a moratorium on new mega-dairies until we can better address these issues.'
'Senate Bill 1513 does nothing to address animal welfare issues associated with mega-dairies,' said Rajesh K. Reddy, a board member of Humane Voters Oregon. 'These factory farms confine cows in crowded spaces with little or no access to pasture and force them to meet extreme production demands. We need a moratorium on mega-dairies at least until we have better animal care standards.'
'SB 1513 is a weak and ineffective attempt to address a looming threat to Oregon – the growth and spread of industrial animal agriculture, more commonly known as factory farms,' said Scott Beckstead, Rural Outreach Director, Humane Society of the United States. 'We call on Oregon's leaders to reject SB 1513 and get to work instead on meaningful reforms of the CAFO permitting process that will reflect Oregon's values of environmental stewardship, humane treatment of animals, and a robust community of sustainable and responsible family farmers, and we urge them to start with an immediate moratorium on mega-dairies, some of the biggest and most noxious polluters in our state.'