TOLEDO, Ohio, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As more Ohioans find themselves in the unwelcome position of fighting a large animal feeding operation in their own back yard, they often do not realize that others have engaged in the same battle before them in Ohio and around the country. Ohio Alliance for Responsible Agriculture (OhioARA) has been formed to create a network of concerned citizens working to change the way CAFOs are regulated in the state of Ohio. Grassroots organizations across the State of Ohio now have the opportunity to form an alliance with one another and work together in a more unified manner. OhioARA is currently inviting grassroots organizations from around Ohio to create an alliance for a sustainable agriculture community. This alliance will allow them to work together as one unit in such important areas as legislation and education. It is OhioARA's sincere hope that the joining of grassroots organizations across the state of Ohio will be at the heart of meaningful and much needed change in the way large animal feeding operations are dealt with in the heartland of America. OhioARA Co-founder and President Sue Torrey said, "The time is right to bring these organizations together. They have long been reaching out to one another through educational forums and friendships. The alliance will serve to provide good continuity in educational efforts and give a state-wide voice to the concern brought about by industrialized animal agriculture practices in our most vulnerable, rural communities." BACKGROUND INFORMATION For many years, the citizens of the State of Ohio have struggled with the proliferation of CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) in their back yards. Armed with the right to farm laws, corporate giants disguising themselves as family farms have imposed their will on poor rural communities. Often caught by surprise, or too poor to afford attorneys, many communities simply suffer the subsequent chain of events that follow the imposition of a CAFO into their rural neighborhoods. Thousands of animals housed in cramped quarters with no access to the outdoors, manure lagoons (ponds) in proportion to football fields and measured by the millions of gallons, are beginning to dot the Ohio landscape like an uncontrollable case of pox. Their effects can include air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, light pollution, devastating emotional suffering, profound property value loss and unimaginable damage to the neighbor's ability to use their home. These Ohioans are trapped. Frequently chased out of their own homes and back yards by intense, nauseating odors and unable to sell now unwanted properties, they spend much time planning how they will escape what was once their family's pride and refuge, a treasure often handed down through generations. Centennial farms have even fallen victim to this corporate barbarism. Regulatory authority over this type of rural degradation has been given to the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Their authority, however seems to end at the point industry desires begin. Sporting a perfect record of denying zero permits, the ODA has granted every request, in every conceivable location to build CAFOs. Furthering public concern is their lackluster ability to enforce the existing regulations on CAFOs in Ohio. Only notorious offenders that draw the attention of media (such as Buckeye Egg) warrant action, and although closed down with much media ado, was allowed to reopen only a short time later under another name. For more information see Giving Away the Farm: Why U.S. EPA Should Reject the Ohio Department of Agriculture's Bid to Administer the Clean Water Act, http://environmentalintegrity.org/pub397.cfm. OhioARA will work to improve the lives of citizens by educating citizens and public officials about the harm caused by CAFOs, promoting effective regulation and enforcement of CAFOs, and serving as a link to grassroots organizations throughout the state.
SOURCE Ohio Alliance for Responsible Agriculture, Toledo, OH