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Friends of Toppenish Creek, an environmental group from the Yakima Valley, invites The Seattle Times editorial board on a “poop tour” of our valley’s 60-plus industrial dairies. The recent editorial about agriculture and water contamination only shows that the board has not lived near a large dairy [“Agriculture cannot be sacrificed for water,” Opinion, May 11].

There is nothing natural or pleasant about 8,000 dairy cows on too few acres with no grass. There is nothing natural about acres of six-foot-high stacks of manure. There is nothing natural about air in the neighborhood of a large dairy that has excess ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and particulate matter. The neighbors face contaminated wells, waterways and air, and the owners get profit and considerable political support.

A recent federal court case against Cow Palace Dairy determined that manure lagoons leak into the aquifer and owners of the dairy overapplied manure to land so that the nitrogen level was five times needed for plant growth. (The dairies have more manure that they can deal with, so they dispose of it by applying it above normal agronomic rates.)

Yes the industry is scientific, profitable, efficient and provides a cheaper product. Dairies like Cow Palace, however, are not sustainable or just. The Times should reconsider its support of an industry that has ignored the rights of people that live near industrial dairies.

Dean Effler, Yakima