A coalition of groups is asking Oregon leaders to put a moratorium on large, commercial dairies, claiming inadequate oversight by state regulators and insufficient laws to protect the environment, animal welfare and small farms.
The request comes after the highly publicized breakdown of Lost Valley Farm near Boardman, Ore., which was permitted in March 2017 for up to 30,000 cows, making it the second-largest dairy in Oregon.
A dozen groups are now seeking to halt new or expanded “mega-dairies.” The coalition includes Columbia Riverkeeper, Environment Oregon, Friends of Family Farmers, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Human Voters Oregon, Oregon Rural Action, WaterWatch of Oregon, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Factory Farm Awareness Coalition and Food & Water Watch.
Ivan Maluski, policy director for Friends of Family Farms, said the proposed moratorium would cover any dairy with more than 2,500 cows, or dairies with at least 700 cows that do not provide the animals with seasonal daily access to pasture. It would apply only to new permits, Maluski said, and not existing operations.
“We’ve always believed the real issue here is these huge operations that have thousands, if not tens of thousands, of cows,” Maluski said.
Exhibit A in the argument for a moratorium is the state’s approval of the ill-fated Lost Valley Farm over the objections of critics who submitted more than 4,200 comments against the facility. Lost Valley