Reaction of the local public to large-scale swine facilities

A. E. Reisner, F. Taheripour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Newspaper stories of building or expanding large-scale animal operations generally indicate that nearby communities, or at least a vocal minority, oppose the development of concentrated operations. However, conflict about the beginning or intensification of operations says little about the persistence of the controversy or the negative public opinion. A survey of 53 large-scale swine facility pork producer, their nearby neighbors, and local community hog facility activists several years after the hog facility was established or expanded indicates that there was no longer active resistance to the facilities, but negative public opinion persisted. Farmers were significantly more positive than other local residents or activists about the advantages of large-scale operations for farmers, the community, and the state and were significantly more likely to minimize any potential or actual negative impacts, including odor, coming from their facility. Residents and activists could best be described as resigned to the operations; most thought that they had little power to remove the facilities under current conditions. The majority of farmers indicated that people in the area had accepted their operation, which was a significant misreading of the residents' level of support. Residents and activists did not differ significantly on most measures of opinion; the primary difference was that activists were willing to say publicly what many thought privately. The level of controversy in the community when the hog farms were established or intensified was significantly correlated with the respondent's attitudes about the impacts of the facilities years later. Farmers who had lived in the community longer, had smaller operations, and interacted more with the community were less likely to have high initial levels of controversy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1587-1595
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Community conflict
  • Mega-hog farm
  • Public opinion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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