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Rural Americans’ Struggles Against Factory Farm Pollution Find Traction In Court

It’s a breakthrough after years of government failure to protect rural communities from farms housing many animals in close quarters.

A barn that can hold up to 4,800 hogs outside Berwick, Pennsylvania. The state says the farm is in compliance with regulations, but residents have gone to court seeking relief from odors. Photo by Michael Rubinkam/AP Photo.

As U.S. livestock farming becomes more industrial, it is changing rural life. Many people now live near concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) — large facilities that can house thousands of animals in close quarters. Neighbors have to contend with noxious odors, toxic emissions, and swarms of insects, and have had little success in obtaining relief — but this could be changing.

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