CAFOs present numerous interconnected ethical, environmental, and public health threats, and this article will discuss opportunities to address the multiple adverse impacts of factory farming through advances in pollution tracking methodologies. The first section will introduce the factory farm issue, and the relationship between its environmental and welfare consequences. We then review approaches to establishing liability for surface and groundwater contamination under existing pollution control laws and describe the unique challenges of using these approaches in the context of CAFO pollution. We then discuss techniques that have been used to more precisely identify sources of pollution, including measurements of a range of chemicals and bacteria, pharmaceuticals used in livestock operations, antibiotic resistance, microbial source tracking, and fecal source tracking. We continue with a discussion of the state of the science and law with regard to these novel pollution tracking methods. To better understand the remaining barriers to effective use of emerging science in this arena, we conclude with a review of judicial acceptance of novel analytical techniques in CAFO-related and other contexts.
Recommended CitationTarah Heinzen and Abel Russ, Using Emerging Pollution Tracking Methods to Address the Downstream Impacts of Factory Farm Animal Welfare Abuse, 31 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 475 (2014)
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