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Pigs in Space: Determining the Environmental Justice Landscape of Swine Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in Iowa

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ABSTRACT

Given the primacy of Iowa in pork production for the U.S. and global markets, we sought to understand if the same relationship with traditional environmental justice (EJ) variables such as low income and minority populations observed in other concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) studies exists in the relationship with swine CAFO densities in Iowa. We examined the potential for spatial clustering of swine CAFOs in certain parts of the state and used spatial regression techniques to determine the relationships of high swine concentrations to these EJ variables. We found that while swine CAFOs do cluster in certain regions and watersheds of Iowa, these high densities of swine are not associated with traditional EJ populations of low income and minority race/ethnicity. Instead, the potential for environmental injustice in the negative impacts of intensive swine production require a more complex appraisal. The clustering of swine production in watersheds, the presence of antibiotics used in swine production in public waterways, the clustering of manure spills, and other findings suggest that a more literal and figurative “downstream” approach is necessary. We document the presence and location of antibiotics used in animal production in the public waterways of the state. At the same time, we suggest a more “upstream” understanding of the structural, political and economic factors that create an environmentally unjust landscape of swine production in Iowa and the Upper Midwest is also crucial. Finally, we highlight the important role of publicly accessible and high quality data in the analysis of these upstream and downstream EJ questions.

No MeSH data available.


Locations of swine CAFOs (A) and swine manure spills (B) in Iowa.
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ijerph-13-00849-f002: Locations of swine CAFOs (A) and swine manure spills (B) in Iowa.

Mentions: Density measures of swine AUs were generated to account for highly varying sizes of units used in subsequent analysis. Data on the location and number of swine AUs in Iowa CAFOs were accessed from the DNR in September of 2015 (Figure 2). Only CAFOs designated as currently operating were retained for analysis. The total number of swine AUs in each facility was summed. To account for the potential impacts of swine confinements across administrative boundaries, kernel density estimation calculating a measure of swine AUs per square mile was generated in ArcMap (v. 10.3, Esri, Redlands, CA, USA). The mean density of swine AUs per square mile was then calculated for Census Block Groups (CBGs) and watersheds (Hydrological Unit Code (HUC)-8 scale). The locations of CAFOs were then aggregated by CBG and HUC-8 watershed, using boundaries made available by the U.S. Census and Iowa DNR. These sums of swine AUs were then standardized by the area of each CBG and watershed, generating an estimate of swine AU density per square mile.


Pigs in Space: Determining the Environmental Justice Landscape of Swine Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in Iowa
Locations of swine CAFOs (A) and swine manure spills (B) in Iowa.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5036682&req=5

ijerph-13-00849-f002: Locations of swine CAFOs (A) and swine manure spills (B) in Iowa.
Mentions: Density measures of swine AUs were generated to account for highly varying sizes of units used in subsequent analysis. Data on the location and number of swine AUs in Iowa CAFOs were accessed from the DNR in September of 2015 (Figure 2). Only CAFOs designated as currently operating were retained for analysis. The total number of swine AUs in each facility was summed. To account for the potential impacts of swine confinements across administrative boundaries, kernel density estimation calculating a measure of swine AUs per square mile was generated in ArcMap (v. 10.3, Esri, Redlands, CA, USA). The mean density of swine AUs per square mile was then calculated for Census Block Groups (CBGs) and watersheds (Hydrological Unit Code (HUC)-8 scale). The locations of CAFOs were then aggregated by CBG and HUC-8 watershed, using boundaries made available by the U.S. Census and Iowa DNR. These sums of swine AUs were then standardized by the area of each CBG and watershed, generating an estimate of swine AU density per square mile.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Given the primacy of Iowa in pork production for the U.S. and global markets, we sought to understand if the same relationship with traditional environmental justice (EJ) variables such as low income and minority populations observed in other concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) studies exists in the relationship with swine CAFO densities in Iowa. We examined the potential for spatial clustering of swine CAFOs in certain parts of the state and used spatial regression techniques to determine the relationships of high swine concentrations to these EJ variables. We found that while swine CAFOs do cluster in certain regions and watersheds of Iowa, these high densities of swine are not associated with traditional EJ populations of low income and minority race/ethnicity. Instead, the potential for environmental injustice in the negative impacts of intensive swine production require a more complex appraisal. The clustering of swine production in watersheds, the presence of antibiotics used in swine production in public waterways, the clustering of manure spills, and other findings suggest that a more literal and figurative “downstream” approach is necessary. We document the presence and location of antibiotics used in animal production in the public waterways of the state. At the same time, we suggest a more “upstream” understanding of the structural, political and economic factors that create an environmentally unjust landscape of swine production in Iowa and the Upper Midwest is also crucial. Finally, we highlight the important role of publicly accessible and high quality data in the analysis of these upstream and downstream EJ questions.

No MeSH data available.