“This extremist group is sending a message to American farmers: If you raise chickens, hogs or cattle—and don’t do it their way—then the Waterkeeper Alliance is willing to use the courts to force you out of business,” said Val Connelly, a member of the Maryland Farm Bureau and SaveFarmFamilies.org.
Addressing the real issues
The traction that the Waterkeepers are getting with this and other similar legal tactics is the undeniable damage done to Chesapeake Bay’s water quality over decades of abuse from a variety of pollution sources. Like all the other states bordering the bay, the Maryland Department of the Environment is pursuing several watershed restoration initiatives, including spending more than $129 million this year in half a dozen projects—all aimed at upgrading or enhancing wastewater treatment facilities to reduce the discharge of nitrogen and phosphorous into waterways that eventually empty into beleaguered Chesapeake Bay.
That’s because the most important measure that government, from municipalities to states to the federal agencies, can take to improve water quality is investing in better treatment of the billions of gallons of commercial, residential and industrial wastewater that daily flows from storm and sanitary sewers in every urban area in the country. Wastewater is the main source of water pollution and that’s where both public- and private-sector eco-advocates need to focus their energies.
Of course, agriculture shouldn’t receive a free pass to engage in environmentally unsound practices surrounding the use of fertilizers and other inputs, nor land application of manure, composted or not.
But for an “enlightened” environmental organization to focus on a single farm family as defendants in a big-ticket, politically motivated lawsuit reveals the real motives of activists such as the Waterkeepers: drive animal agriculture out of the local and national farm economy.
You have to ask: Are these do-gooders simply pursuing a vegetarianism-for-all agenda, or do they really think that undermining production agriculture to “save” the environment will somehow benefit society?
Either way, they’re so wrong that to label them misguided represents charity of the highest order.
› For more information on efforts to help the Hudsons, log onto www.savefarmfamilies.org or contact Ryan Stanton at 410-449-4641.
Dan Murphy is a veteran food-industry journalist and commentator