Amanda Hungerford

  • Hosted by The Humane Society of the United States
  • Sponsored by Animal Welfare Trust, Anonymous
  • Service location Washington, D.C., District of Columbia
  • Law school Columbia Law School
  • Issue area Animal Law
  • Fellowship class year 2012
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Amanda helped low-income individuals harmed by illegal pollution from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) through community education, negotiation with CAFO owners, litigation, and administrative advocacy.

CAFOs are agricultural operations where animals are kept in confined areas on small land parcels. Each year CAFOs produce approximately 500 million tons of manure that emits ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane, endotoxins, and inhalable particulate matter. The emissions can contaminate drinking water and pollute the air, thereby threatening public health. There is also risk of environmental disasters such as waste spills. Studies show that people who live near CAFOs suffer from various neurological and respiratory ailments linked to the harmful emissions. Because affluent communities have the political capital to keep CAFOs from being built or maintained near them, typically CAFOs locate in low-income, rural communities. Residents in communities where CAFOs operate also suffer economically from lower property values and difficulty selling their homes in order to move away from the health hazards.

Fellowship Highlights

During her Fellowship, Amanda:

  • Stopped a state agency’s practice of rubber-stamping water appropriation permit applications for CAFOs
  • Filed a nuisance suit against a CAFO that is devastating the quality of life in a rural community
  • Litigated a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case against an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to compel the agency to respond to a FOIA request
  • Built several impact litigation cases
  • Garnered media attention about CAFOs’ harmful effect

Next Steps

Amanda continues to work at The Humane Society of the United States, where is is working to file impact litigation cases to curb CAFO operations in low-income, rural communities.

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