The Bush Hits the Fan

There's no nice way to say this, so let's just put it straight: George Bush loves pig shit. And horse shit. And cow shit. And chicken shit. He coddles it, he caresses it, he cradles it with a cocoon of loving care. Bush loves shit so much that this week he exempted nearly 3,000 "factory farms" from having to pay fines for befouling the American heartland with endless rivers of steaming, industrialized animal excrement.

From AP: Deal Lets Big Farms Skirt Pollution Fines.
Excerpt: The Bush administration will let thousands of factory-style farms escape severe penalties for fouling the air and water with animal excrement in exchange for data to help curb future pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency has signed agreements with 2,681 animal feeding operations in the egg, chicken, turkey, dairy and hog industries. They would be exempt from having to pay potential fines of up to $27,500 a day for violations either in the past or over the next four years...

"This decision is a great disservice for people who live around large factory farms," said Ed Hopkins, environmental quality director for the Sierra Club. "It basically gives these farms a free ride on the backs of the public. There's really nothing in this that holds the polluters accountable for the toxic air emissions they release." [End except]

What are "factory farms"? Anyone who lives within 20 miles of one could tell you, but the good folks at the Grace Factory Farms Project have a succinct description:

Excerpt: Meat production in the United States has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. Many of today's farms are actually industrial facilities, not the peaceful, idyllic family farms most Americans think of. These factory farms are also known as confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) or intensive livestock operations (ILOs). They emphasize high volume and profit with minimal regard for human health, safe food, the environment, humane treatment of animals, and the rural economy - in other words, factory farms are not sustainable.

The definition of a factory farm varies from state to state; however, these industrial facilities share many of the following characteristics:
 
Hundreds to thousands of animals (mainly cows, pigs, chickens or turkeys) confined tightly together and provided little or no access to sunlight, fresh air or room for natural movement. Some facilities produce millions of animals yearly....Public health problems, including the overuse of antibiotics and food borne illness....Liquid waste systems and "lagoons" to store raw manure...

The corporation that owns or controls the factory farm also owns the feed company, slaughterhouse, and final stages of production (referred to as vertical integration)....Through contract growing, a remote corporation controls all aspects of raising the animals. The livestock owner does not manage the day-to-day operations of the facility. The farmer is left with the risk, debt payments on barns and facilities, waste, and dead animal disposal. [End excerpt]

Poisonous, malodorous shit polluting the air and water of ordinary Americans who bear all the costs and risks while politically connected corporate fat cats reap all the benefits of a rapacious system that destroys cherished American traditions of community, family and liberty -- what's not to like, if you're George W. Bush?