Yesterday at 12:37am January 24, 2015 Wendy Harris
A noteworthy exclusion from the “Whatcom Family Dairy” list of haters (lawyers, reporters, activists, government legislators and regulators) who are unfairly accusing innocent dairy farmers of fecal coliform pollution: SCIENTISTS. Yeah, those guys. This is meaningful.
This goes a long ways to explaining why some dairy farmers refuse to accept their own culpability. They reject science, at least to the extent it is harmful to their financial interests. Yet, the connection between dairy farms and pathogens from cow manure are so clearly established that it is no longer reasonable to deny, no matter how many geese, or dogs, or other animals du jour are found in the county.
Determination that dairy farms and cow manure are a primary problem resulted from studies that used a valid scientific method. This has important consequences. Rather than inexplicable personal vendettas by “haters”, this is all about the SCIENCE.
So to help my science-challenged friends in the dairy community, I am explaining a little bit about the scientific method that is relied upon by scientists, who publish results that are, in turn, relied upon by lawyers, reporters, activists, government legislators and regulators (i.e., the haters.) If this fails to inform you, at least I hope it will allow you to understand what informs us, the “haters.”
The scientific process incorporates peer review, and standardized methods to obtain, measure and quantify data and statistics, the results of which can be replicated. Conclusions presented are based on reasonable assumptions supported by other studies and consistent with the general theory underlying the assumptions. The conclusions are logically and reasonably derived from the assumptions and supported by the data presented. Any gaps in information and inconsistencies with other pertinent scientific information are adequately explained.
This science eventually becomes incorporated into the law, such as the requirements for manure management, and the new CAFO permit requirements being drafted. That is when legislators and regulators get involved. But sometimes the science exists, but is not reflected in the law, or the law exists but is not being enforced. That is when lawyers and activists get involved.
Why isn’t the science always properly utilized? Because of pressure from lobby organizations.. for example… you. Lobby organizations tend to appear at strategic times, such as now, when DOE is updating its CAFO requirements and the county is reviewing its CAO, which includes the provisions for farm plans.
So I have a weird request for my dairy farm friends. Keep your list of alleged haters, the people who treated you unfairly without rhyme and reason. I ask only that you add SCIENTISTS, at the top of the list, because they are the real agitators in this matter.. the ones who set off the activists, the legislators, .the regulators, and the reporters.