Spreading the Wealth Filth

by Mitakuye Oyasin

Let me check your math skills. How much is 75 times 80,000? If you answered 6,000,000, then you go to the head of the class.

Now, another question. If I told you that Chicago and most of its suburbs, (that's about 6,000,000 people) were going to relocate to within 60 miles of Galesburg in the next couple of years, what would be your reaction? Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. When they come, they won't use sewer treatment facilities, like the rest of us. They will accumulate their waste products in huge cesspools called lagoons. Now how do you feel about it?

The good news is, Chicago isn't coming here. The bad news is, the mega hog industry is. Each of the 75 factories produce about 80,000 pigs per year, and if my math is correct, that translates into 6,000,000 bodies producing poop and pee, all of which will be gathered in open lagoons.

I just finished a book called, And the Waters Turned to Blood, by Rodney Barker. It exposes the mega hog industry in North Carolina as one of the prime causes of widespread death and destruction for fish and birds in that state,and as a source of serious health problems for the people who live there or vacation there.

No wonder they want to come to Illinois!

Pfiesteria seems to thrive in the filth of the rivers and this little creature not only kills fish by the millions, he likes human blood more than Dracula ever did. You can breathe him in, invite him in through a cut or a sore, or he will find his way through the skin.

One fish wholesaler spoke with the author about his "boys," the 100 or so fishermen who brought him their catches for shipment throughout the United States. Something new and dreadful was happening and "people were dying mysteriously: from infections that started out as scratches, not gashes; from conditions that shouldn't have been fatal; one from a liver disease the doctor said must have been cirrhosis, except the fellow didn't drink."

Those that don't die develop symptoms resembling several other diseases, such as Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis. Imagine short-term memory loss so severe that what has just been said cannot be remembered, or speech being so difficult that complete sentences aren't formed, or simple and routine chores are viewed as impossible hurdles.

No one seems to want to discuss what happens when the inevitable occurs. It happened in late June, 1995, in North Carolina. A huge swine lagoon ruptured on the New River. Prior to this, there had been several small spills, but this one released 25 million gallons of hog feces and urine after a dirt wall collapsed. (The owners said it was an act of God because of the heavy rains!) Like lava flowing to the ocean, it polluted farmland and wells, ruined crops and went into tributaries that fed the New River.

Dr. Burkholder, the expert on Pfiesteria, went to the New River the next day, "and the sights and smells that greeted her were breathtaking, in all senses. The river was chocolate brown. Bushes lining the banks were filled with dead fish, blown sky-high by the force of the spill. Marinas, docks and boats were coated with fecal matter. The stench of hog manure in the air was strong enough to make her gag."

And now let me introduce you to Vibrio Vulnificus. It is a pathogen dangerous to humans and it was found in the waters affected by the spill. If a human being eats seafood contaminated with it, or gets it into a cut or wound, the mortality rate is about 33 percent.

Is it any wonder that the people of Williamsfield are furious with Jim and Doug Baird? Those two are acting as though they can take their money and leave planet Earth when the health of their own families is threatened.

If you live in Galesburg, you may be thinking that you are glad it's not your problem. By the time you are surrounded and begin to experience some rather mysterious ailments, it will be too late. Like it or not, the mega hog industry is your problem, too, or it soon will be.

FARM (Families Against Rural Messes) could use your support. It only costs $1 to join and with enough numbers, the politicians in Springfield will have to listen.

You can contact Merry Pippins at 309 W. Main St., Elmwood, IL 61529 if you want to join the fight.

This article posted to Zephyr online May 15, 1997
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