California Prop 12 and Iowa pig farmers

                        “Iowa shouldn’t stand in California’s way”  CR Gazette 8-13-23

            Iowa pork producers seem to think it is not right for the citizens of California to decide for themselves how meat animals can be raised if that meat is to be consumed by them in California.

            Those same Iowa pork producers don’t seem to care that Iowa is the major contributor of agricultural pollution to the Mississippi River and the Louisiana Gulf waters. This ag pollution is destroying the shrimp, and other, fishermen’s catch in Louisiana’s Gulf waters because of the dead zone it creates. And Iowa resists any attempt to regulate that ag pollution by anyone.

            California has demanded a change in the size of pens inside hog confinements. Iowa isn’t demanding a change in the boats that Louisiana fishermen use. Iowa is simply destroying those fishermen’s livelihood.

            The first paragraph from the “Congress must help pig farmers” guest column by Trish Cook (The Gazette, Aug 8) almost made me laugh.

            Iowa confinement pig farmers say they care about their animals. But a pig living in a confinement is living in a sewer environment inside a giant outhouse. Their waste, which runs and drops through the slatted floor into a pit, is constantly cooking through anaerobic digestion in that pit creating human and animal health-harming gasses (some deadly, explosive, and greenhouse), particulates, antibiotic resistant organisms, and many other toxins.

            These gasses, etc., must constantly be blown out of the building so the pigs don’t die. Most of the pigs live like this for six months, sows live longer, growing to about 250 pounds and then they are killed, never doing any natural pig things outside in a field. Not quite a caring arrangement.

            Guess who gets those deadly and human health-harming gasses and toxins in the air pollution coming out of the confinements? We do. The Iowa Legislature has made it illegal to regulate the air pollution coming out of confinements; regulations which would have protected neighbors and the environment.

            If you replaced the pigs in these confinement sewer environments with dogs, cats or animals from a petting zoo, the confinements would be shut down and the owners fined or put in jail. The animals would be taken to a “rescue” facility.

            The California “Prop 12” people didn’t understand the minimalist change they were asking for if they thought “Prop 12” would in any way make the pigs’ lives, or neighbors’ of these confinements lives, any better. Iowa confinement pig farmers should stop complaining.

Bob Watson