Right to Farm History of Harm

Americans have the constitutional right to petition their government for a redress of grievances or harms inflicted by individuals or entities. CAFOs can undeniably harm neighbors, entire communities, and watersheds. However, state right-to-farm laws often supersede the rights of individuals and communities to clean air and water, good health, and general well-being.

All fifty states have enacted right-to-farm legislation since the early 1980s. The companion Right-to-Farm Fact Sheet provides a link to current right-to-farm statutes in each state.

The Fact Sheet provides a brief history of right-to-farm laws. It discusses how they commonly preempt local zoning ordinances and public health policies designed to keep CAFOs in check and prevent and mitigate their adverse environmental, public health, and socioeconomic impacts. Enacted originally to discourage nuisance lawsuits, right to farm laws morphed into CAFO immunity laws or the “right to harm.”

Right to Farm History of Harm.pdf220.28 KB