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Drone footage uncovers disturbing scene at a dairy farm in Wisconsin: 'It makes me very angry'

"What we did to make our home a place for the family, it's being destroyed."

"What we did to make our home a place for the family, it's being destroyed."

Photo Credit: Mercy For Animals

Anti–animal cruelty nonprofit Mercy For Animals captured some disturbing drone footage of a Kewaunee County, Wisconsin, dairy farm that showed the massive open-air pits of animal waste sitting right next to a residential neighborhood. The group posted the footage to X, formerly known as Twitter.

Along with the drone footage, the group also spoke to neighboring Wisconsinites who say that the waste from the dairy farm contaminates their drinking water. 

One resident, Arlin Karnopp, showed his well, which he says has been contaminated by manure, along with brownish, very dirty-looking water samples that he took from his sink.

"It makes me very angry that, for what we did to make our home a place for the family, it's being destroyed," Karnopp told PR Newswire. "When [our grandchildren] come, they brush their teeth with water that we buy and wash their face, and if there's anything we cook, we cook with bottled water. … You spend so much money to build a house and work on it, and then you can't drink the water."

Karnopp had the water tested and found it contained nitrates and E. coli.

A 2021 study in Environmental Health Perspectives found that drinking water in Kewaunee County that was contaminated by cow feces was responsible for hundreds of cases of acute gastrointestinal illnesses.

The widespread environmental impacts of factory farms are well documented. According to the ASPCA, animal agriculture is responsible for 14.5% of all planet-overheating gas pollution, including massive amounts of methane and nitrous oxide, which are even more damaging to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. 

In addition, livestock farms (like the Wisconsin one in the video) produce 885 billion pounds of manure each year, which pollutes the surrounding air and water. And even worse, that output is not treated or regulated by any government agency. 

The factory farming industry "has avoided any effective regulation and accountability for a long time," Michele Merkel, a former EPA attorney who quit over the agency's reluctance to punish polluting mega-farms and now works for an advocacy group that pushes for accountability, told PBS. 

"You must be proud @WIDairyland @WisconsinCheese," wrote a commenter on X.

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