The Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) is deeply disappointed by the recent ruling of the Missouri Supreme Court upholding the state law that prohibits local regulations of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). This decision is a major setback for our efforts to protect the health and well-being of Missouri’s communities, as well as the state’s natural resources.

As reported in the Missouri Independent on March 21, 2023, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a state law that bars counties from enacting regulations that are more stringent than state law governing CAFOs. This means that local governments are not allowed to enact rules to protect their citizens from the negative impacts of CAFOs, such as water or air pollution that may come from these facilities and impact public health.

CAFOs, also known as factory farms, are industrial-scale operations that confine large numbers of animals in small spaces. They generate massive amounts of waste, which can threaten public health. MCE has long been working to protect Missouri’s communities from the negative impacts of CAFOs, and we believe that local regulations are a crucial tool in this effort.

Local governments have a responsibility to protect their citizens, and this ruling undermines their ability to do so. By preempting local regulations, the state is essentially saying that the interests of industrial agriculture are more important than the health and well-being of Missouri’s communities.

MCE will continue to advocate for stronger regulations to protect our state’s communities and natural resources from the negative impacts of CAFOs. We urge the Missouri legislature to reconsider this harmful state law and to prioritize the health and safety of our citizens over the special interest of industrial agriculture.

We also call on Missourians to join us in this fight. Your voice is crucial in holding our elected officials accountable and ensuring that our communities are protected. Together, we can work to create a more just and sustainable future for all Missourians.

Learn more about CAFOs and join our CAFO Action Network on our website here.