Karen Hudson

    Lives on a century family farm in West Central Illinois. She has a B.S. degree in education from Illinois State University and is President of F.A.R.M. (Families Against Rural Messes),. Karen is a grassroots consultant for the GRACE Factory Farm Project team. Karen serves as a board member for the Peoria County Department of Public Health and the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. She was also an appointee of the Illinois -House Senate Joint Livestock Advisory Committee. In 2001 Karen received the Heart of Illinois Sierra Club "Conservationist of the Year" award for her work on factory farm issues. Karen traveled to Poland in 2001 to educate the Polish public and farmers about the devastating impacts of livestock factories. In the summer of 2005 Organic Style Magazine selected Karen as of the country's fifty most powerful people in the environment. Karen participates in public hearings and speaking engagements, networks with grassroots groups, and educates the public by providing health and environmental information about industrialized animal production. Karen is committed to curbing the trend of industrialized agriculture by "educating and empowering " with sound science and advocating sustainable agriculture.


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     The proliferation of large scale factory farms has profound effects on the environmental, mental and physical health of communities. Factory farms routinely employ unsustainable practices to externalize costs and maximize profits. These practices endanger public health by routinely polluting the air, soil water, and threaten the safety of our food system. Antibiotics utilized in intensive animal production are now linked to human bacterial infections. Growing evidence points to antibiotics contaminating surface and groundwater. Communities across the United States are seeking to support the precautionary principal and strive for more stringent controls on factory farms to better protect public health. To promote positive change, an increasing population advocates socially responsible farming practices and sustainable food choices as part of the solution.

1. To educate the audience members about the impacts of factory farming.
2. To discuss public health implications and current research regarding this issue in an easy to understand format.
3. To offer solutions such as the Precautionary Principle and guidelines to audience members that will help to promote healthful and sustainable communities and a safe nutritious food supply..

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The WHO definition of health states that health should measured by a positive state of physical, mental, and social well-being and not just on measurable diseases alone. In order to promote public health the Precautionary Principle should be a priority. Key components of this principle include precaution in the face of scientific uncertainty, exploring alternatives to harmful actions, and placing the burden of proof on the proponents rather than the victims of an activity. In order to protect and promote public health this principle should considered when locating and regulating factory farms. Recently, The American Public Health Association, the oldest public health association in the world, has issued a call for a "Precautionary Moratorium on New Concentrated Animal Feed Operations." It has become increasingly important for public health officials to recognize the scientific facts and the socially responsible solutions surrounding factory farming as proponents of this type of agriculture actively attempt to evade and erode policies that would protect public health.

The pollution from large-scale factory farms is a direct threat to human mental and physical health. Antibiotics utilized in intensive animal production are associated with human bacterial infections and mounting evidence points to antibiotics contaminating surface and groundwater. As a result communities increasingly rely on public health officials to be educated about the problems factory farming create and support socially responsible and sustainable solutions that can better protect public health.