MUNCIE — Delaware County Commissioners this week adopted an ordinance to regulate industrial livestock production despite opposition from a roomful of opponents who called the controls too weak.

The ordinance was sparked by a proposed 10,560-head hog farm whose construction is currently tied up in court.

Commissioners said a compromise, middle-of-the-road ordinance was better than nothing. "We can't make everybody happy," Commissioner James King said.

Agricultural advocates have called the ordinance too restrictive and a "giant step backward" for livestock farms, also known as factory farms and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

When properly managed, sited and monitored, CAFOs can provide a low-cost source of meat, milk, and eggs, according to the National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH).

But there are public health issues associated with CAFOs as a result of the amount of manure they produce — more than cities, which treat human sewage, NALBOH says. Livestock manure, which is not treated, is applied to the ground as fertilizer.

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