A CAFO, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, is an animal feeding business that confines animals for more than 45 days, does not produce vegetation, and meets certain size requirements. Many of the nation’s livestock is generated through CAFO, but there have been recent issues involving their environmental impact and damage to neighboring properties.
Environmental Lawyer & CAFO Lawsuits
A CAFO lawsuit is a toxic tort in which an injury to a person’s body, property, or other interest is caused by another’s negligence or carelessness leading to exposure to a toxin or chemical. One of the largest concerns regarding CAFOs is the millions of tons of manure they produce. When improperly managed, this manure can pose substantial risks to the environment and public health. In order to manage their waste, CAFOs have developed wastewater treatment plans, the most common of which is the anaerobic lagoon. The waste disposal options currently in use have been shown to harbor and emit substances which can cause adverse environmental and health effects.
Those who live next to or near a CAFO can find both their health and property in danger. The direct discharge of manure and accompanying pollutants such as nutrients, antibiotics, pathogens, and arsenic, pose a serious public health risk. Common damages associated with CAFO’s include:
- Water pollution
- Air pollution
- Exposure to antibiotic resistant infections
- Asthma, headaches, respiratory problems, eye irritation, nausea, weakness, and chest tightness (worse for children)
- Loss of property value (properties adjacent to a CAFO typically decrease in value by 30%)
These and other dangers are concerns not just for neighboring properties, but for CAFO workers as well.
- The quantity of urine and feces from even the smallest CAFO is equivalent to the urine and feces produced by 16,000 humans.
- A CAFO can house anywhere from hundreds to millions of animals.
- The animals most often found in CAFOs are dairy cows, hogs, or chickens.
- CAFOs include open feedlots, as well as massive buildings where livestock are confined in boxes or stalls.
- Infestations of flies, rats, and other vermin are commonplace around CAFOs and around their neighbors.
- Over 168 gases are emitted from CAFO waste, including hazardous chemicals such as ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and methane.
- Airborne particulate matter found near CAFOs and can carry disease-causing bacteria, fungus, or other pathogens.
- CAFO waste is usually not treated to reduce disease-causing pathogens, to remove chemicals, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, or other pollutants.
How an Environmental Lawyer Can Help With CAFO Lawsuit
If you have been adversely affected by CAFO, call The Potts Law Firm toll-free to see how we can assist you in evaluating your case.