A Defense of Pig Odor Research

By Danny

Mar 4, 2009 3:26pm

ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf reports: As Republicans and anti-government waste groups rally against so-called pork barrel spending in the massive government funding bill currently before the Senate, they have settled on the $1.8 million earmarked in the bill by Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin for the study and management of swine odor and waste as one of their favorite targets. A pork-odor related earmark in a bill being attacked as pork-laden. Its almost too good to be true. The money to study how to reduce pig odor and manage waste in Iowa through the Department of Agriculture was number one in John McCain’s list of "TOP TEN PORKIEST PROJECTS" in the bill, which he posted to the masses, Letterman-style, on his twitter page last week. Sen. Tom Coburn has offered an amendment to the bill that would strip the funding and decried it on his website as "$1.7 million to take the stink out of manure." He argued that $17 million has already been spent on the program over the past ten years. But Harkin, in a speech on the senate floor today, defended the funding, arguing that swine odor and waste are problems throughout rural America and present public health problems. "I suppose we’ll hear a lot of jokes on David Letterman and Jay Leno and a lot of other people will be making jokes about this money for manure. But keep in mind this is not wasteful or an unnecessary or frivolous. This is very important in the daily lives in the people of my state, in North Carolina and every other place where we raise swine," said Harkin, who pointed out that something in the neighborhood of 20 million pigs live in Iowa on any given day. "In farm country manure and odor management are profound, serious challenges which can be mitigated through scientific research," said Harkin, who pointed out that in Coburn’s state of Oklahoma the issue of pig odor led to a lawsuit by the governor against a neighboring state over animal waste – in this case from poultry. "I ask the senator to travel in his own state, ask farmers and their neighbors about whether it is worthwhile to do research into animal odor and manure management," said Harkin "If I’m not mistaken — and I may be here; I don’t know. if I’m not mistaken, I believe the attorney general of Oklahoma a few years ago brought a case, an action, I think, against their neighboring state, if I’m not mistaken — Arkansas — in terms of some of the effluent that was coming into Oklahoma. And this, again, raised questions of manure management, how it’s put on the land and things like that. and that’s what this research is about. people constantly complain, with good reason, about big farms, factory farms and their environmental impacts. so it makes good sense to fund research that addresses how people can live in our small towns and communities and livestock producers can do the same, and they can coexist."

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus