2007.08.22 Ryan Shadbolt
Discussion and criticism have indicated that Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) within southeastern Michigan are a serious environmental concern and not just to those residents living next door to the farms. The local issue has spawned many local articles, editorials and letters, and even articles in the national press.
Unfortunately, the continued pressure citizens have put on our state’s politicians has had little, if any, success. Voters do have the option to research our current politicians and follow their voting records in order to make informed decisions on who to vote for in the future, but why should we wait for an election to send a message to these unhealthy and unethical farming operations and the politicians who support them?
Every single time we eat we make a decision about what farming practices we support. By purchasing and eating food from factory farms, we support the growth of more factory farms and all the pollution and animal cruelty that comes with them. Citizens have the power right now to buy food raised with better farming practices.
While southeastern Michigan may not yet have many natural foods stores available selling organic or range-fed meat and dairy products, it is still easy to make dietary changes. Even dropping factory-farmed meat and dairy products from a few dishes per week has an impact on the profit of factory farms. With local gardens currently flourishing with produce, there is no better time of the year to enjoy the many meatless dishes that Michigan’s growing season has to offer.– Ryan Shadbolt West Bloomfield, Mich.