Personal Information Given to Environmental Activist Groups
By Jean-Paul McDonald, Farms.com
An error or an agenda? That’s the question being tossed around by agriculture groups across the country after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of approximately 80,000 farmers and ranchers in the United States.
Not only is this a general privacy concern, the information released by the EPA was given to environmental activist groups, including: Earth Justice, the Natural Resources Defence Council, and the Pew Charitable Trust. This information was requested through the Freedom of Information Act by the activist groups.
While much of the personal information released by the EPA with regards to names and locations of livestock producers and ranchers in the country was already publicly available, the information release has provoked the ire of producers, who feel that the EPA has given anti-agriculture groups a road map to their homes; and potentially placing them, their families and their operations at great risk.
Unlike other groups and organizations that oppose animal agriculture on the basis of animal cruelty and inhumane practices, environmental groups oppose the large scale environmental damage created by the processes involved in raising livestock, including water pollution.
This is certainly not the first rift between farmers and the EPA, but it is the most recent example of the security issues surrounding animal agriculture and the safety of its practitioners. With multiple groups determined to alter the way agriculture is conducted in the United States, farmers and ranchers are increasingly the target of several renegade organizations that are hell-bent on ending the way producers do their jobs, or simply ending their jobs altogether.
But what is the real intent of this information request? Is it to allow the activist groups ease of access to information to further their own agendas directly, or will this information be used by activists to force the hand of the EPA to take action on farmers and ranchers violating laws - like the Clean Water Act?
The latter is more likely the reasoning behind the information request, as these groups yield little to no power to enforce any change, but applying continual pressure on the EPA to enforce change is something they can and will do in the future.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Share them with us below.