Confined animal farming damages health and social harmony. - 29 Jan 2010  
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When a factory farm of 5,800 pigs moved into her Canadian town, Ms. Joanne Dion Richilieu and her neighbors almost immediately began suffering from the impact. In addition to new health problems and noxious odors that kept families trapped inside their homes, an exorbitant amount of liquid pig waste, known as slurry, was sprayed onto surrounding fields,releasing a bacteria and toxic gas-filled environmental hazard.

Joanne Dion Richilieu – Neighbor of pig factory farm (F): It gets to be a very acidic mixture that smells of sulfuric gases and all kinds of stuff. As soon as it rains, it all ends up in rivers. At every rain, the river here changes colors. I’ve measured the coliforms (fecal bacteria) in the water after a rain, and the river is not swimmable anymore.

VOICE: Unlike industrial factories, animal farms in many countries are exempted from environmental laws that curb pollution. Ms. Richilieu tried to form a citizens group and appealed to legislators and the media in an attempt to stop new farms from moving in, but was thwarted by the large economic and political interests of the company that owned the factory farm.

Joanne Dion Richilieu (F): Some old friends are now enemies because of that. It’s caused conflicts and not only environmental problems, but social problems. Just talking about it is very hard for me. It’s too revolting to have this done to us, and I know I’m not the only one.

VOICE: Across Canada and indeed North America and other parts of the world, pig factory farms are also disrupting individuals and communities in similar ways – while at the same time being paid for by the citizens themselves.

Joanne Dion Richilieu (F): Even though the pig economy is very bad, it is a very subsidized industry. So there’s a lot of citizens’ money going into this polluting industry.

VOICE: Pig factory farms are also central to the cause of another heavy social toll – the swine flu pandemic. As of today, the virus continues to take lives, with recently announced death tolls in places like India rising to 1,206 and Egypt with 248, while Cyprus, Romania, and the United States also have reported
new swine flu deaths.

Although there are many times more cases, including fatal ones, than have been counted, the most recent global calculations find the death toll to exceed 28,510.

Our appreciation and support, Ms. Richilieu and all other courageous individuals who are striving to regain a quality of life in their factory farm-affected communities.
With sorrow for families worldwide afflicted by diseases related to such animal farming practices, we pray that all societies find lasting refuge in the healthy, sustainable organic vegan lifestyle.