March 5, 2010
Media outlets were buzzing this morning with the news that a Jackson County, MO, jury had awarded an $11 million verdict to farmers affected by a CAFO owned by Premium Standard Farms. This is the second time in the last 11 years that Premium Standard Farms has been sued for the noxious odors coming from the Gentry County, MO operation. Center for a Livable Future Director, Robert Lawrence, MD, provided testimony at the trial, calling the cesspit holding tanks for pig manure from the CAFO a “fly heaven,” wrote Karen Diller in a piece in The Kansas City Star.
The verdict in the month-long trial, gives $850,000 each to 13 plaintiffs, with the 14th plaintiff receiving $250,000. The plaintiffs represent families who testified about the odors and swarms of flies that have largely kept them confined to their homes. Lawrence, as the Star noted, “said he has been to Calcutta, South Africa and Southeast Asia, but ‘I have never, ever observed anything as extreme as the cesspits.'”