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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 sites testing water quality in Iowa, with the proportion of samples testing positive for each of seven antibiotics.
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ijerph-13-00849-f008: Locations of sites testing water quality in Iowa, with the proportion of samples testing positive for each of seven antibiotics.

Mentions: The clustering of swine and manure spills in specific watersheds suggests that there could be downstream consequences that are more complex and difficult to capture, and that impact populations who are not in proximity to swine confinements. In thinking about environmental justice concerns associated with high levels of swine production, one potential downstream consequence of high swine AU density in Iowa is the presence of antibiotics used in swine production in public water sources. Mapping the percentage of water samples that tested positive for seven antibiotics commonly used in swine production indicates that some parts of the state more frequently have antibiotics at detectable levels in surface water (Figure 8). Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim in particular had high numbers of sample locations that repeatedly tested positive for those analytes. Lincomycin and sulfamethazine also had some locations in the state with many repeat detections.


Pigs in Space: Determining the Environmental Justice Landscape of Swine Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in Iowa
Locations of sites testing water quality in Iowa, with the proportion of samples testing positive for each of seven antibiotics.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

ijerph-13-00849-f008: Locations of sites testing water quality in Iowa, with the proportion of samples testing positive for each of seven antibiotics.
Mentions: The clustering of swine and manure spills in specific watersheds suggests that there could be downstream consequences that are more complex and difficult to capture, and that impact populations who are not in proximity to swine confinements. In thinking about environmental justice concerns associated with high levels of swine production, one potential downstream consequence of high swine AU density in Iowa is the presence of antibiotics used in swine production in public water sources. Mapping the percentage of water samples that tested positive for seven antibiotics commonly used in swine production indicates that some parts of the state more frequently have antibiotics at detectable levels in surface water (Figure 8). Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim in particular had high numbers of sample locations that repeatedly tested positive for those analytes. Lincomycin and sulfamethazine also had some locations in the state with many repeat detections.

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.