Factory Farming shows its Teeth in WI
The University of Wisconsin has the dubious honor of being the most horrific primate experimentation laboratory in the U.S. They have burnt alive small monkeys in the micro wave machine "accidentally" while cleaning cages. No one was disciplined. That is an example of the attitude of their "researchers" whom our tax dollars support. The University of Wisconsin, whose ecology dept is made from hunter teachers and whose primate lab is made up of torturing sadists, continues in this vein throughout the various departments concerned with WI agriculture and veterinary care.
So this coalition of the greedy takes on their real enemy - people who demand decent treatment for animals. Some farm group whose origins are at this point unclear has organized a group of "farmers" to bring empty plates to Wis legislators to chastise them for working with the Humane Society. If you work with animal rights groups, you will get an empty plate from WI agri-business. $$$$
Oh yeah, that is the real problem for sustainable farming in WI - too much concern for the suffering of animals. Those pesky people who want animal confinement to meet minimal humane standards.
First agri business establishes 15 or 20 farms in your state and then immediately starts pouring money into the state legislature to degrade your environmental and animal welfare laws.
The CAFO-based model is most aggressively promoted by the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association. It brings together groups including the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives, the Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association, the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, the Wisconsin Pork Association and the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin.
While the association portrays itself as the voice of dairy farmers who merely want to "Keep cows in Wisconsin," much of its funding comes from corporate donors. Its website says they include Land O'Lakes Purina Feed LLC, Pfizer Animal Health, Accelerated Genetics, Wick Builders, Bayland Building, insurers, financial-service firms and a host of other agribusiness interests.
These funders have a clear financial stake in using antibiotics and genetic modification, financing farm expansion, and building expensive new structures to house vast herds of animals.
Laurie Fischer, the association's executive director, rebuffed repeated interview requests. She and the group's communications director, Peggy S. Dierickx [see note at end], even declined to answer a set of emailed questions, claiming the press of other issues was too great.
More forthcoming was Paul Zimmerman, executive director of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, a statewide farm organization based in Madison. Zimmerman defends larger farming operations, saying many of the criticisms against them could be leveled at smaller farmers as well.
"It all depends on management practices," he says. "You can have problems with water quality whether you have 750 cows or 75 cows."
Likewise with the use of pesticides: "CAFO or no CAFO, raising corn and other crops means you have herbicides and pesticides," Zimmerman maintains. "It's the same regardless of farm size.
Zimmerman sees efforts to draw sharp distinctions between CAFO operators and other farmers as divisive and harmful to the cause of agriculture in Wisconsin: "Pitting one farmer against another is just defeating farming."