Huge meat companies have steadily driven down the prices farmers receive for the livestock they raise, forcing farms to “get big or get out.” Small farms have been replaced by factory farms that pollute nearby air and water, undermine rural economies, and reduce the quality of life for neighbors.
- In 2008, a 600-heifer Rockland, Wisconsin farm was ordered to pay $28,000 for a manure discharge that killed 225 trout in a nearby creek and many more fish as far as 9 miles downstream.
- Some Wisconsin mega-dairies have operated without necessary permits and many never receive an onsite inspection — the state’s goal is to visit once every 5 years but admits it does not meet that goal.
- Between 2003 and the end of 2010, Wisconsin will have permitted 200 mega-dairies to open or expand but has never turned down a permit application or revoked a permit, even after repeated environmental violations.
- The 257,000 dairy cows, nearly 270,000 hogs, 40,000 beef cattle, 4.9 million broiler chickens, and 3.6 million egg-laying hens on factory farms in Wisconsin produce as much untreated manure as 69 million people — 12 times the population of Wisconsin.
- In 2009, a Vernon County, Wisconsin dairy was ordered to pay $7,900 for allowing manure to spill from a storage facility. A state investigation found that the farm’s milk waste tanks had been modified to allow manure and waste overflow to drain down a hill into a local waterway.