By Kirby, David

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They bought a seventeen-foot fishing skiff that was ideal for crabbing and christened it the Little Dipper. Rick rented a store in nearby Havelock and opened a fish market, Todd’s Seafood. The catch was consistently generous and the customers voracious. Business boomed. For two years, Rick lived in bliss. But in the autumn of 1989, he again noticed dying fish turning up in his own seafood catches. The lesions began appearing on menhaden, but quickly spread to other species. Then the sores started to appear on people.

And, she noted, a new problem was besieging the dairy. The state had advised Inskeep to stop pumping any more waste into his lagoon. As a result, according to local media reports, a rising backwash of flush water was now spilling from the barns and milking parlor and pooling into a massive manure lake that engulfed the cattle confinements. The lake, growing by the hour, already held two million gallons of brown stinking water. Workers had to fence off much of the area after Holsteins were found wading around in fetid liquid up to their udders.

Unlike the steel, auto, or coal industries, livestock operations are not subject to the same stringent rules, regulations, laws, and controls on environmental discharges. After all, what could be more important than the guarantee of an abundant, safe, and affordable food supply? What could be more sacrosanct in American legend and law than the farms and farmers who make sure our food gets to the national dinner table night after night? Besides, how could a farm be considered a factory? There are no smokestacks on a farm.

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Animal Factory by Kirby, David


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