The Humane Society of the United States recently announced its intent to sue 51 hog farms in the top pork producing states of Iowa, North Carolina and Oklahoma citing findings of its own research of unreported ammonia emissions. HSUS says these amounts of ammonia coming from urine and manure are harmful.
According to HSUS, these facilities did not report ammonia emissions exceeding 100 pounds in a 24-hour period to local emergency response teams and the Environmental Protection Agency, which is against the law for certain industries.
Although HSUS's statement does not acknowledge it, whether or not these limits apply to the livestock industry is an ongoing debate. "We agreed with EPA that if you are going to set the standards, do it based on science," says Dave Warner, communications director for the National Pork Producers Council. Neil Dierks, CEO of NPPC, says there is confusion regarding this regulation. "There's some question as to whether it applies to livestock or not," he says.
Animal rights group's intention to sue hog farms appears to be a scare tactic
HSUS says many of these facilities are affiliated with leaders and spokespersons of NPPC, and points to Maschoff Pork and Iowa Select as specific targets of the letters. NPPC officials say the letters of intent are more about paperwork violations of a rule that didn't apply to livestock until 2009. Even since then it's been unclear whether the rule applies to routine agriculture, says Michael Formica, NPPC's chief environmental counsel. EPA has been looking into the question. "In fairness to environmental activists, EPA should have finished that a couple of years ago," Formica says.