(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) Park City, Utah — Legendary environmental activist and attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. sat down on camera with EnviroNews Editor-in-Chief Emerson Urry in an exclusive interview at the Waterkeeper Alliance International Conference in Park City, Utah, on June 8, 2017.
Amongst an array of topics discussed, was the subject of who are the biggest polluters of America’s waterways. Kennedy is President of the Waterkeeper Alliance, the world’s largest clean water advocacy organization, and weighed in with a strong rebuke of concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. The transcript is as follows:
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to Emerson Urry: The military is the biggest [water] polluter in the country. And then, as you point out, the second biggest polluter are factory farms — are CAFOs. And in terms of water pollution, they are destroying the water supplies of our country. And so, we’re the lead group suing CAFOs across the country. Those are concentrated animal feed operations, but the real description of them is factory farms. They are barbaric in their cruelty to the animals. They are corrupt. They have to corrupt public officials in order to get away with dumping their waste into our waterways. They destroy family farms. They destroy farm communities. They poison people. They’re emptying our landscapes. They’re destroying democracy. As I watched 28,000 hog farmers — independent family farmers in North Carolina — were wiped out and replaced by 2,200 factories — 80 percent of them owned by two companies — by Smithfield and Murphy I think. And so, you’re seeing the occupation of the… it’s a colonial company. You’re seeing the occupation… Smithfield’s a Chinese company. You’re seeing the occupation of the American landscapes by giant corporations. And it’s exactly what Thomas Jefferson warned against. It’s why he didn’t want to give corporate charters, because he said: American democracy can only function if it’s rooted in tens of thousands of independents freeholds, owned by family farmers, each with a stake in our system of government. You know, if you get rid of that diverse control of the landscapes, American democracy is doomed. And that is exactly what we are doing today.
WATCH OTHER SEGMENTS FROM THE ENVIRONEWS EXCLUSIVE WITH ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR.