Tuesday, March 9


Here's a little human-interest story that fell through the cracks when the Mad Cow criminal probe was announced: An entire Green Bay-area family was forced out of their home by polluted water due to manure runoff from a nearby factory farm.

    Scott Treml, his wife, Judy, and their three daughters, ages 8, 6 and 6 months, were looking for a place to stay early Tuesday evening after presenting the Kewaunee County Land & Water Conservation Committee with a sample of water Tuesday morning taken from a kitchen tap Monday that looked more like ditch water than drinking water. "If my kids drank that they'd be in the hospital in 48 hours," Judy Treml said. "It's very scary living with that."

    The Tremls said manure spread on Stahl Farm fields starting on Thursday and ending on Saturday began showing up in their water over the weekend, and tests of their well water over the last two years have turned up evidence of fecal bacteria in water that appeared clean. David Bougie, an agricultural wastewater specialist for the state Department of Natural Resources, said Stahl Farms is the target of an ongoing investigation. "This facility has had a history of issues," Bougie said. Stahl Farms' owner, Glen J. Stahl, was cited and fined twice by the state for water pollution in the 1990s, according to computerized Circuit Court records.

    Treml said he has called Wallander and Bougie at least two dozen times to complain about manure handling at Stahl Farms over the past two years. Wallander said his hands are tied by regulations that limit the county's ability to regulate big farms.
Huh. Funny you should mention that, because on the same day, an editorial in a different Green Bay-area paper railed against exactly this level of heinous abuse of the system that animal exploiters enjoy. As Wisconsin considers a bill like those in other states to override counties' (and municipalities') concerns about huge factory farms moving in, the Green Bay News-Chronicle points out that "Development of CAFOs will be contrary to the interests of the real estate and tourism industries as well. Who would willingly patronize a restaurant downwind of a factory farm? How many folks would build a house in an area of strong stench? This bill should not attempt to force all counties to come under this proposal. There is no advantage for FAMILY farmers in this bill, so support by family farmers is inexplicable." Well, actually there is one possible explication for that, but it's not a charitable one, so we'll skip past it.

The article continues: "Concentrating one species in a small area is highly artificial, and invites disease outbreaks and defies good sense because of the concentration of manure. Reasonable people would not invest money in such enterprises." Exactly. And yet every single person who pays for a burger or a pound of USDA beef is doing precisely that.

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