Pigs Don’t Vote

I collect buttons or at least I used to. Not the way Jack Schaffer does. I don’t have anywhere to display them.

During the 1900’s, the best political button–actually a sticker–that showed up in Springfield said,


It was passed out by opponents to a bill to regulate large livestock operations. These neighbors were certain that their quality of life would be degraded by having pig poop smells wafting their way from the industrial operations.

I wondered how many objected to livestock operations are now under the Mississippi River’s flood waters, so I asked the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Here’s the answer from Jeff Squibb:

“No livestock facilities along the Mississippi River have been flooded to date.”

That’s not the case in Iowa, as a front page story in the Chicago Tribune attests. With the loss of the pigs comes pig poop pollution.

I could identify because of the potential for aquifer pollution. McHenry County residents fought the siting of landfills in McHenry County going back to the mid-1970’s, when one was proposed directly east of the north leg of Route 176 and Route 47.

Pollute our county’s shallow aquifers and we have no chance of having enough water to satisfy

  • the “let’s put a subdivision on every acre of land the McHenry County Conservation District doesn’t buy” folks…
  • not to mention the rest of us who don’t benefit from enormous population growth.

Dani Diamond graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2003. Her father, attorney Sam Diamond, playfully and proudly told me, “She’s out to save the world.”

After earning her law degree, Danielle Diamond got a Master of Arts degree from NIU in environmental anthropology.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“The study of human interactions and the environment,” she told me, “looking at human impact on the environment and the impact of the environment on humanity.

“My thesis was in an area called political ecology. We look at how political systems impact and shape human interactions with the environment.

What a fascinating approach. Someone will have a great thesis looking at the development of McHenry County from that viewpoint someday.

“I looked at how political influences on the federal, state and local level shape how we deal with and respond to agricultural pollution,” she continued.

Her father said that she was doing something I’d be interested in.

He was right.

“I’m representing a coalition of citizens from all over the state who have either been impacted or will potentially be impacted by large scale industrial livestock operations, ” the younger Diamond told me. “We have environmentalists and traditional family farmers joining together to protect their local environment.

“The name of the group is the ‘Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water.’

“We just petitioned the U.S. EPA to withdraw the State of Illinois’ authority to administer the Clean Water Act.”


“Because Illinois is failing to regulate large scale livestock facilities, which are also called CAFO’s or ‘Concentrated Animal Feeing Operation.’

“We filed that at the end of March.”

Locally, Diamond is advising a homeowner in the Harvard area whose well has been polluted with e. coli as has a tributary of the Kishwaukee River by a neighboring livestock operation.

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The little pig farm show is just north of the Illinois-Wisconsin border on U.S. Route 14.

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