It’s not every day that people are seen protesting and picketing in Washington Court House. Dal and Jerry Craig-Crawford were the exception when they showed up at the courthouse building Tuesday with signs.
So far the Craig-Crawfords have distributed over 100 of their yard signs across Fayette County.
“We’ve had to replace a few,” said Dal, “because some have came up missing.”
The Craig-Crawfords have been speaking out against a proposed hog facility that would be built next door to their house in Paint Township. They say the proposed hog facility, which will house an upwards of 2,400 hogs, would be installed too close to their house. Dal said the proposed hog facility would be about 1,500 feet from her house.
“No mega hog factory farm on Jones Road,” said Dal and Jerry in unison as they held their signs in front of the courthouse building on Court Street. People who drove past honked and waved. Others gave a thumbs up.
“We’ve got a few scowls. I’m just tickled they’re reading the signs. Get educated folks and don’t go by what other people say who think it’s a fine idea,” said Dal.
Other residents have spoken out and said they will be affected by the proposed hog facility as well. Linda and Roger LeBeau say the hog facility, once built, would have a negative affect on their daughter’s health, who has a machine to assist her in breathing.
“Can you imagine what I am going to do if my daughter or granddaughter gets sick from this facility going in next door? You’ll see a side of Linda you’ve never seen,” said Linda. “I don’t know how much more angry I can be. My daughter’s life is at stake.”
One woman driving by pulled over and put her eyeglasses on to read the signs.
“These people in the city have no clue. They are safe and secure within city limits. All they’re worried about is their pork chops and bacon. It’s time to open your eyes and see what this is going to do to your children,” said LeBeau.
The Craig-Crawfords said they have been spending their time doing research and reading more about what they call the “mega hog factory farm” and will be addressing the issue at the Paint Township Trustee meeting Thursday.
“It needs to be in an area with no surrounding residences where they are not infringing on the right of us to have clean air and water and a safe place for children and grandchildren to live,” said Dal.
Dal and Jerry referenced a report commissioned by the Environmental Health Services Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and issued to The National Association of Local Boards of Health.
“I brought it with me in case anyone wanted to try to say this facility isn’t going to affect us,” said Jerry.
The report, “Understanding Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Their Impact on Communities,” provides detailed analysis of studies done to examine the effects of large animal facilities on the surrounding areas where they are built.
The Craig-Crawfords said they plan to head to the Ohio Statehouse next with their signs.
“It’s a talking point with the ag department and the pork industry,” said Jerry. “They tell the story they want you to hear without any side effects and say they can’t do anything about it.”
They said they hope to change legislation in Ohio around confined animal facility permitting.
“We like the people in office but we want to change their minds to change legislation,” said Jerry. He said permits should be required for large animal facilities, not just the facilities with more than 2,500 sows, but also the facilities that have 1,000 sows. “The guys with all the dollars only have one vote but we have many. The people all together have more votes than the people donating the money to support this industry.”
“People might want to ask themselves, do they want to live next to a big unflushable toilet?” said Dal.
“One bad hog factory for us could be two for you,” said Linda.
Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton