Proposed New Mega Dairy Raises Animal Welfare Concerns
August 14, 2016
A proposed new industrial-scale dairy near Boardman, Oregon, is raising animal welfare as well as environmental concerns. The dairy, to be called Lost Valley Ranch, would confine 30,000 cows at a site near an existing industrial dairy, Threemile Canyon Farms, which has 90,000 cows. Factory dairies such as these raise heightened concerns about extreme confinement of the cows and their calves, as well as concerns about animal abuse and neglect. Large dairies also consume large amounts of water and can pollute nearby waterways with runoff contaminated by animal waste, which harms fish and wildlife. The proposed new dairy has land-use approval but needs a water quality permit from the Oregon Department of Agriculture. A public comment period for the water quality permit closed August 4, 2016. We submitted brief comments in that proceeding. We were also happy to see the commissioners of Morrow County, a very rural county, express concerns about the dairy, including concerns about animal abuse and neglect. The Humane Society of the United States has a good summary of general concerns about animal welfare in the dairy industry.