Michigan Woman Faces Down Meat Industry, Wins

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Michigan Woman Faces Down Meat Industry, Wins

By Tom Philpott on Grist.org

Her work has resulted in hundreds of citations for the CAFOS that surround her house; and in 2008, based on evidence that Henning dug up, the state of Michigan for the first time ever denied a license for a CAFO.

I write a lot about the meat industry's nearly unbridled power in this country, which it uses to abuse labor, land, farmers, water, animals, and communities in execution of its business model. Sometimes, citizens fight back--and win. Lynn Henning, a family farmer in rural Michigan, is one such person.

She and her husband run a 300-acre corn and soy farm--within 10 miles of no fewer than 12 concentrated-animal feedlot operations (CAFOs). Her effort to document the ill effects of living surrounded by these vast fecal/pharmaceutical mires has caused her and her family plenty of trouble. Her car is often followed--and even run off the road; dead animals appear on her lawn.

But her work has resulted in hundreds of citations for the CAFOS that surround her house; and in 2008, based on evidence that Henning dug up, the state of Michigan for the first time ever denied a license for a CAFO. Efforts of citizens like Henning expose our pathetic regulatory structure around meat production--and act as the necessary spur for improving things. I congratulate Lynn on winning the 2010 North America Goldman Environmental Prize--and congratulate Goldman for understanding and highlighting the relevance of this issue.