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To the editor:
I don’t live in Anderson County, but I hope you, your readers and the powers that be will listen.
In The Anderson News Extra on Monday, May 30, you ran an article about Anderson County’s “dirty little secret.”
It’s a strange thing that everyone is so concerned about people burning their trash, yet no one ever seems to question these obnoxious feed lots for cows.
According to Ms. Roberta Burns of the Division of Air Quality, there are a lot of problems with burning our trash. Ms. Burns states that what’s in our trash today are many plastics and things that emit toxic fumes and can cause a number of serious health problems.
These settle on the soil, get in the water and on plants. It does a lot of damage to the environment and human health.
I can understand that burning plastics and some items should not be allowed but ugly, stinking feed lots should be outlawed, too.
Did the Division of Air Quality, the Department of Water, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Conservation pursue the use of these feed lots and stop them? No! It seems they are alright.
I’ve seen farmers fill their manure pits to nearly overflowing, then heap piles of manure into piles and place the round feeders filled with hay in the center of these piles. The cows stand in this muck to eat, then these cows go into our food chain. Most farmers keep at least 200 cows or more in these feed lots. Some of them die. Green slimy water stands in these areas. The flies and mosquitoes are everywhere. We all know they carry diseases.
Is this healthy, Ms. Burns? It’s no surprise that we have constant outbreaks of E. coli. This stinking mess goes into our soil, and it never goes away, and it goes into our water supply.
No one uses this on their fields anymore, yet the farmers are allowed to go into these feed lots with their tractors and machinery, then go onto our roads, leaving muck everywhere. We have to drive through this in order to get into our driveways and garages. We even have to watch where we step when we go to the mailbox. I was told by county officials the farmers have to keep the roads free of this, but they don’t enforce the rule.
The assumption is “Oh well, they’re farmers.” It seems the law is on their side.
Farmers seem to have all the rights. They’re getting subsidies for all of these big cattle farms and we as ordinary citizens have to deal with the stench and subsidize them with our tax money.
They own hundreds of acres, but don’t build the feed lots and manure pits at their back door. No, it would be too ugly and stinking for them to deal with. So they build at their neighbor’s back door.
I was told by a Mr. Campbell of the Department of Conservation that the manure pits had to be emptied in the spring.
Well, Mr. Campbell, the pit is still full. Are these farmers going to be charged $25,000 per day for every day they don’t clean the mess? No, sir! No hefty fines for them.
Where is the Division of Air Quality, the Department of Water, the EPA and the Conservation Department on this matter?
While I agree that it is not good to burn most of our trash, there are some people who simply cannot afford trash pickup, no matter how little it costs.
So, Ms. Burns, try living beside a cattle feed lot and see if you and the elected officials in Frankfort take notice.
Kentucky needs to change its laws regarding these farmers and their obnoxious feed lots. We as ordinary citizens like clean air and a clean environment too.
Cows need to be in a pasture; these feed lots are inhumane.