Community health and socioeconomic issues surrounding concentrated animal feeding operations
A consensus of the Workgroup on Community and Socioeconomic Issues was that improving and sustaining healthy rural communities depends on integrating socioeconomic development and environmental protection. The workgroup agreed that the World Health Organization's definition of health, "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity," applies to rural communities. These principles are embodied in the following main points agreed upon by this workgroup. Healthy rural communities ensure a) the physical and mental health of individuals, b) financial security for individuals and the greater community, c) social well-being, d ) social and environmental justice, and e) political equity and access. This workgroup evaluated impacts of the proliferation of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) on sustaining the health of rural communities. Recommended policy changes include a more stringent process for issuing permits for CAFOs, considering bonding for manure storage basins, limiting animal density per watershed, enhancing local control, and mandating environmental impact statements.