Still a hazard
Animal agriculture negatively impacts North Carolina’s environment. Industrialized farms produce high volumes of waste, polluting our water and air, resulting in a statewide crisis of waste mismanagement.
Smithfield Foods, one of the largest pork producers in the world, has promised to reduce waste lagoons and spray-field systems yet they still haven’t. Surrounding neighborhoods suffer health issues and unbearable living conditions. These neighbors often live in low-lying areas at risk of storm floods which cause lagoon runover and impact water quality.
Smithfield and Dominion Foods now propose a plan to cap lagoons, capture methane and sell it as biogas delivered in pipelines, a process that concentrates ammonia levels in lagoons. They have no plan to discontinue spray-field processes using highly concentrated waste, all while the biogas plan increases their profits and decreases responsibility to reduce lagoons. The high water volumes required by industrial livestock corporations for cleaning up waste and slaughter by-products directly poisons our water supply.
President Biden’s recently announced infrastructure plan provides a good step toward protecting the quality of our water and air.
In the meantime, state and federal authorities must closely monitor/enforce existing regulations for waste management and support the passage of this infrastructure plan.
Avoiding dog bites
Major, the president’s German shepherd, recently became the poster dog for biting (“Major training: Bidens’ dog gets professional help after biting incidents,” April 12). The Secret Service member Major “nipped” may not see this silver lining; however, as a veterinarian, I see an opportunity to bring attention to an important issue.
Dogs (of all breeds and sizes) bite 4½ million Americans, many of whom are young children. Over the past decade, State Farm alone paid $1.3 billion for dog-related injury claims.
More than 1 in 3 households in the U.S. has a dog. Yet, dog bite prevention is not commonly taught. There are simple steps that you can take to prevent this potentially costly mistake while still enjoying man’s best friend:
1) Teach kids to always ask before petting an unfamiliar dog.
2) Never interact with a dog that’s eating or sleeping.
3) Don’t reach through a fence to pet a dog.
4) Check for signs that a dog is nervous or uncomfortable.
Even if you have had many wonderful encounters with dogs, it can still happen to you. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Read more simple tips at the American Veterinarian Medical Association’s website.
Let it grow?
It’s time to clean up the environment. Each of us can work to make our world a better place. But we have to begin work on our own space.
You control it, even if it’s just your lot, your house, your bedroom, the space where you sleep.
Let your yard grow up. Don’t mow. It lessens your contribution to carbon emissions, saves lots of time and energy, lessens noise pollution unless you have a push mower, and makes the bees and birds happy. Let the bushes grow up. It’s an indication of your personality, like handwriting, hairstyle, etc.
All of that will help reduce greenhouse gases, improve air quality and health, both physical and mental.
For the People
Our D.C. lawmakers must support and pass the For the People Act. This voting rights and reform bill would require impartial commissions to draw legislative districts, which would help eliminate gerrymandering, so prevalent in our state as a way to disenfranchise voters who might not support candidates of the party in power.
It also forces candidates to disclose their sources of contributions, thus helping to eliminate the “dark money” in politics which can lead to corruption and the influence of special interests. It provides ways to make elections more secure and strengthens ethics rules for public servants. Unfortunately, it passed the House with no Republican support.
Conservatives express concern that elections should be governed by the states themselves. In answer to a letter I wrote to Sen. Thom Tillis, this is the reason he gave for opposing this bill. However, our Founding Fathers realized quickly that the power to govern works best when shared between the states and federal government.
If we are truly a representative democracy, we should make it easier, not harder, for every citizen’s voice to be heard. The right of suffrage is a sacred privilege for all Americans.