Stopping Factory Farms

A Legal Approach

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David E. Sykes, P.C. provides environmental litigation services for individuals and communities fighting factory farms in Iowa. Increasingly, citizens are turning to the court system because federal, state and local governments are not doing enough to regulate pollution from these large-scale industrial operations.

The Sykes Law firm, along with sophisticated litigation associates, offers legal services to individuals and groups trying to protect their homes and communities from the pollution, stress, misery and suffering of Industrial Factory Farms, a term synonymous with confined animal feeding operations more commonly called CAFO's.

One of the key factors that will now help level the playing field for opponents of CAFO's is that this legal team will typically represent clients on a contingency fee basis where they are only compensated if they win money damages for the case.

Background Information

Due to their dissatisfaction with the regulatory process, people from across the country have been forced to sue for nuisance damages, claiming respiratory and digestive problems, among many other health-related symptoms related to large industrial animal operations.

Many of these residents grew up on traditional family farms that have been in their families for generations. They are accustomed to the odors that come from what used to be the typical livestock operation. Those operations are now dwarfed by industrial CAFOs that generate toxic waste from hundreds and thousands of hogs. This waste flows into sewage lagoons or pits that are, in some cases, larger than football fields. Each year millions of gallons of that waste containing numerous chemicals and antibiotics will later be sprayed onto fields, often just across the street from neighbors' homes, resulting in contamination to the land, water and air.

States such as Iowa welcomed these large industrial operations against the opposition of its citizens and environmental groups. Once the CAFOs commenced operation, the state lawmakers and regulators have often turned a blind eye to the misdeeds of the CAFO operators.

As a consequence of this current state of affairs, neighbors and their attorneys have increasingly turned to filing lawsuits in state courts, alleging that the CAFO odors, emissions of hazardous substances, and discharge of polluted waste onto the land, into local streams, and groundwater prevent neighbors from enjoying their homes and property in the manner to which they are entitled. Such suits have been filed in Iowa, Missouri, Utah, North Carolina, Illinois and Indiana, among other states.

One of the worst aspects of CAFOs is the inhumane treatment of the animals themselves. They are forced to live in horrific conditions for their entire lives - crowded together and never seeing daylight or allowed to graze as was the tradition in animal husbandry for centuries. Their plight is an abomination and unfortunately rarely talked about.

For more general information about Factory Farms and CAFO's please visit www.jfaniowa.org Mr. Sykes is the legal counsel for JFAN (Jefferson County Farmers and Neighbors) an IRS nonprofit tax exempt 501 (c) (3) educational organization. JFAN including Mr. Sykes have been successfully fighting CAFO's since 2005.

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