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The Illinois Citizens for Clean Air & Water (ICCAW) is a state-wide coalition of family farmers and community groups advocating for sound policies and practices that protect the environment, human health, and rural quality of life from the impacts of large-scale, industrialized livestock production facilities in Illinois.

As the number of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in Illinois grows, rural communities face the environmental and social impacts of industrial agriculture and need help. Illinois Citizens for Clean Water & Air has a variety of resources, studies and information to help grass-roots groups fight to preserve their rural heritage and communities. 


Need Help Now? 

Check out the Community Toolkit and/or contact ICCAW. We can help you find the right resources to ease the tasks of community organizing, communicating with elected officials, accessing relevant scientific studies and getting started with water/CAFO monitoring programs.



Impacts of Factory Farms 


Watch this short documentary film from Prairie Rivers Network on how factory farms impact rural communities in Illinois.


Water Quality

Factory farms pose an ongoing threat to Illinois’s waterways. Raw, untreated manure from CAFOs can contaminate waterways through field runoff, spills, and cracks in confinement pits.

Antibiotic Resistance 

Many governmental and health organizations point to the overuse of antibiotics in industrial livestock production as a significant factor in the antibiotic resistance crisis we face.

Health 

The toxins produced from putrefying manure in factory farms causes a multitude of health problems, ranging from respiratory to central nervous system ailments.

Air Pollution 

Over 150 gases are produced at factory farms from decaying manure that is stored 6 month to a year at a time. Noxious odors can greatly affect the quality of life and health and neighbors.

Rural Economies

Factory farms have displaced independent, traditional farmers, weaken rural economies, and placed a huge burden on county budgets to fix roads damaged by heavy truck traffic.


Animal Welfare

Factory farms are unnatural environments for livestock. The close, cramped quarters prevent animals from exhibiting natural behaviors and instead create high levels of stress and suffering.

Traditional Farms vs. Factory Farms 

There are many differences between traditional, independent family farms that raise livestock outdoors and factory farms that confine animals their entire lives.

Quality of Life

Neighbors living near factory farms often experience noxious odors, swarms of flies, and dust that drive them indoors and make it difficult to enjoy their homes and property.

Food Safety

Studies consistently show that significant percentages of livestock and poultry products in retail food markets are contaminated with a variety of infectious bacteria.

Externalized Costs 

Studies consistently show that significant percentages of livestock and poultry products in retail food markets are contaminated with a variety of infectious bacteria.