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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


Prize Winner Risks Her Life to Fight Factory Farms

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: Keith Goetzman, environment, agriculture, factory farming, CAFOs, manure, pollution, health, Lynn Henning, Goldman Environmental Prize, Christian Science Monitor,

Lynn Henning

Some types of environmental action are pretty easy: Compost your food scraps, ride a bike, skip the factory-farmed meat. Others are very hard and in fact potentially life-threatening, such as fighting against gigantic animal feedlots in your own backyard. Rural Michigan resident Lynn Henning is a winner of the 2010 Goldman Environmental Prize for her brave campaign against concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, a battle that according to the Christian Science Monitor has sometimes been pretty scary:

Henning matter-of-factly recounts a list of harassments and lawsuits against her that stretches back for years: Being chased by manure tankers down the road; having dead animals left in her driveway and car; and having her mailbox blown up.

On Dec. 30, someone shot out the window of her granddaughter’s bedroom with buckshot. The 2-year-old was in the room at the time.

Henning started going up against local mega-feedlots after they began concentrating in the area where she and her husband run an 80-acre farm. There are now 20,000 cows within a 10-miles radius of her home, and every year 20,000 hogs cycle through the area. The impact on air and water quality from the massive manure output has often been overwhelming—literally, if you’re talking about the stench. Henning believes that some of her relatives got hydrogen-sulfide poisoning from the toxic stew.

Learn more about Henning and her campaign in this video:

Source: Christian Science Monitor

Image by Tom Dusenberry, courtesy of Goldman Environmental Prize.