In a meeting of the agriculture and natural resources study committee that featured very little new information, state lawmakers Tuesday heard from experts and state regulators on animal agriculture and concentrated animal feeding operations, known as CAFOs.
Committee members heard an overview of the state’s CAFO permitting process from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. And CAFO legislation expert Carolyn Orr told legislators big farm operations aren’t necessarily bad ones.
“Surface waters and odors and flies and animal health wasn’t any better when everybody had 20 sows and 15 cows in their backyard,” Orr says.
Orr also advised legislators to ignore arguments about how animals are raised when considering CAFO legislation. Animal welfare groups routinely oppose efforts to loosen CAFO regulations, in Indiana and nationwide.
A bill to streamline the permitting process for CAFOs died in the senate this year. Senate president David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said it was “bad legislation.”
The committee will hear public testimony at its second and, possibly, third meetings.