December 26, 2009
Lawyers targeting pig, dairy farms
Attorneys seek justice for neighbors allegedly injured by large operations
By Seth Slabaugh
Muncie Star Press
WINCHESTER, Ind. -- Neighbors who are fed up living next door to factory farms have found three high-powered trial lawyers who vow to make Randolph County "ground zero" in a legal food fight over how Indiana produces pork and milk.
Highly aggressive flies, harmful odors, stacks of dead animals and mismanagement of millions of gallons of manure are among the complaints of neighbors suing pork and dairy producers.
The trial lawyers are bringing multiple lawsuits challenging Indiana's industrial or factory model of producing milk and pork in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) promoted by Gov. Mitch Daniels' agriculture department.
It's a system that produces odors so intense that neighbors are suffering skin irritations, nausea, headaches, breathing difficulties, tightness of the chest, sinus infection, stress, burning eyes, noses and throats and other ailments, the lawsuits allege.
"There is a lot of discontent," said Indianapolis attorney Rich Hailey, a former president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, now known as the American Association for Justice (AAJ). "We anticipate the potential filing of a dozen more cases in a short period of time."
It’s too bad there won’t be anyone to sue when the grocery store shelves are empty or we become dependent on another country for our food supply. Suing family farmers because of smells that come from the production of food animals will be the first step to that happening. These are the same people that are also pushing to regulate crop farmers from ever having dust blow off their fields. Growing food isn’t an easy job. Getting sued for doing it will only lead to fewer families on the land.