Nov 6, 2015

New Round of Vandalism Targets Citizens Protecting Their Community

Cows in CAFO - File photo, Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune
(Gannett Co News)
Citizens in Adams, Juneau, and Wood counties working to simply protect their communities and families against Big Ag polluters are targets of a new round of vandalism.

Earlier this year, threats, vandalism and reported cyber attacks were reported in Wood County.

One woman, Nancy Koch, who showed up at an overflow community meeting in 2012 in Wisconsin Rapids—when news was sprung a massive factory farm was sited in the town of Saratoga—was told by her local Wisconsin State Representative, Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa) to "quit your bitching," (Mal Contends).

Big Ag and its bought-and-paid-for politicians have only gotten more hostile.

Citizens are not backing down from corporate bullying.

By Donald Ystad of Rome, Wisconsin:

Certainly you've all seen the signs. A few consider it a nuisance, an 'inconvenient truth,' the 'elephant in the room' when you talk property sales, or community growth. 'We should all be quiet and maybe it will go away.'  For residents in Saratoga and Rome, and communities around this demographic, the signs represent concern for the personal risk to our own property values, our lifestyle, or for many businesses, their livelihood, should this CAFO be sited in Saratoga. There are 1,500 residences within the cone of depression of the planned high cap wells, most of them in Rome, and thousands more residents who could be the recipients of fouled groundwater and the odor of 50 million gallons of manure gurgling in a pit, spreading down through our burgeoning area.

That's why many of your friends and neighbors are repainting and reinstalling signs. This ain't over til it's over, and we've been pushing back successfully for over 3 years; the strongest fight against a proposed CAFO in Wisconsin history. And, dozens of us will be making the trek to Madison tomorrow, speaking out about this proposed threat to our future. It's the 'court of public opinion,' and your involvement is beginning to make a difference.

By Kitt Belanger of Wisconsin Rapids (Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune):

Another round of vandalism to signs posted by citizens protecting their community from the proposed Golden Sands Dairy CAFO in Saratoga confirms two things.

First, it confirms the resolve of area citizens to bring attention to their plight. As area property values plummet just with the possibility of the CAFO, and more and more articles appear about CAFO damage in other communities, they recognize the devastating effects this proposed CAFO could have on their community and the communities surrounding them. Signs have been vandalized on at least six different occasions, and each time, more people volunteer to assist with painting and installing more and more signs. It increases the resolve of the concerned citizens to protect their right to protest and to bring awareness to how our entire demographic could suffer with the CAFO.

Second, it highlights the lack of understanding from those doing the vandalism. Some say the vandals are connected with the organization seeking to build the farm. Others feel they are misguided individuals who simply misunderstand the issue that drives people to speak out to protect their community. Whatever the driving force behind the vandalism, it’s only a matter of time before they are identified through the increased pressure from the Sheriff’s Department, citizen watch groups and ​photographic means.

It will be interesting to finally understand the motivation of the vandals and what drives them to fear this group of citizens speaking out to protect their community. And certainly the soon-to-be announced reward will root out the guilty parties.

Kitt Belanger,
Wisconsin Rapids

Meanwhile Big Ag in the Dairy State turns a blind eye towards the communities they are threatening to destroy.

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