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Know the West

To say nothing of cruelty

  Dear HCN,

I'm sorry it took me so long to write you about "Raising a Stink: Factory dairies catch Idaho's Magic Valley by surprise" (HCN, 4/15/02: Raising a stink). One important aspect of factory farming not addressed in your story is the inhumane and cruel treatment of dairy cows, who aren't allowed any kind of natural living conditions. As someone who was raised on a small dairy farm (about 35 cows) in the 1950s and '60s in western New York state, I am appalled at the turn of events for so many pitiful dairy cows, beef cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, etc. It's the main reason I have become a vegetarian who has substituted soy products for dairy and meat products.

While I sympathize with the horrible odors the people in your article are experiencing because of their proximity to the factory farms, I can't help but wonder if they have considered whether they are part of the problem. Do they eat dairy products and meat? Most people do, and in ever-increasing amounts. If the demand for such products was lower, factory farms wouldn't be necessary. Bad odors and environmental degradation of our land and water would be far reduced. And, oh yes, they'd be healthier, too.

By the way, your publication is a great one!

Carol Carpenter
Denver, Colorado