Factory Farming and Pollution
In November of 2011, Oprah Magazine published an article written by Kathy Dobie titled One Woman Takes a Brave Stand Against Factory Farming. The article focuses on waste on factory farms and how it makes its way into waterways, pollutes the air with toxic fumes, and has a negative impact on people and the environment.
photo courtesy of the Sleuth Journal
The title of the article and the article itself are pretty positive. The portion of the title that reads “Against Factory Farming” presents a clear position on the issue. At one point in the article, factory farms are even referred to as “the enemy.”
photo courtesy of Oprah Magazine
The article in its entirety is similar to a story, which interests people and makes them want to read it. However, there are too many unimportant details in the story that make the article extremely long. The length of the article may discourage people from even beginning to read it.
The article is about an ordinary woman – a farmer from a small town – who readers can relate to. On the other hand, Lynn Henning’s dedicates so much of her life to fighting against factory farms and has even helped start an organization and won a prestigious award; these three factors may alienate readers who believe there’s no way they could make that much of a difference.
In the article, the author quotes Henning:
“You’re not being told the truth about where your food comes from. This is affecting people across the country and [around] the world and it’s huge because this is our food supply, [our land, our water, and our air].”
The author included these statements in her article to invite her audience to question the situation and seek more information on the subject, as well as to reveal what a serious issue factory farming is. According to the author, there are 12 concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) within a ten-mile radius of Lynn’s home. These CAFOs house about 20,000 cows and 10,000 pigs between them, “which produce more waste than the city of Chicago. All within [a] small, rural area.” This information emphasizes the severity of the problem.
Halfway through the article, the author describes driving past a house where “waste is spread right up to a backyard with a swing set and a slide.” She also mentions that an elderly couple living across from a CAFO called Lynn to tell her they were contemplating suicide.
“Their well was contaminated, they couldn’t go outside, couldn’t open their windows. They had to wear face-masks. Their children wouldn’t visit because the stench was so bad, and they couldn’t sell their house because no one else wanted to live there.” According to Lynn, “they felt they were worth more dead.”
The author included these accounts with the intention of triggering an emotional response. She wants readers to feel sympathy for the residents of this small town in Michigan.
Overall, I have found that the goal of this particular article is to inspire readers to tale a stand against factory farming and do the best they can to help the situation.