Lake advocacy group plans billboard campaign

Press Staff Writer

An environmental advocacy group plans to start a billboard and social media campaign this month to focus attention on the effect Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations have on Lake Erie and its watershed.
Lake Erie Advocates is sponsoring the campaign that will be on display in Toledo, Cleveland and Columbus.
Mike Ferner, an LEA coordinator, describes the campaign as “provocative” and “hard-hitting” and will shine a light on the 25 million animals confined in factory farms and the Great Lakes contaminated by their waste.
“For six years we’ve researched Toledo’s toxic algae water crisis and listened to politicians say they were doing something. For four years, we’ve been in federal court, trying to get the U.S. EPA to enforce the Clean Water Act,” Ferner said. “Two years ago, Toledoans overwhelmingly passed the Lake Erie Bill of Rights and the courts overruled it.
“We learned the regulations are empty and politicians’ feel-good solutions are part of the problem. We can’t ‘fix’ the devastation caused by this appalling, unsustainable industry. The only solution is to ban it. Nothing changes until you first talk about it and that’s what we’re starting. When enough people demand to ban factory ‘farms,’ real farmers will once again provide our milk, meat and eggs – just like they did until this industry drove them off the land a mere 20 years ago. Then Lake Erie will heal itself. Just watch.”
For three months, people in the three cities will see five different ads on high-visibility electronic boards and on social media platforms.
Research LEA conducted last year found there are about 24.8 million animals in more than 800 factory farms in the Western Lake Erie watershed.
The phosphorus in their waste, often used as fertilizer on farm fields, gets drained from the fields into tributaries of the lake, contributing to its algae problems.
Ferner said the LEA was formerly named Advocates For A Clean Lake Erie and the campaign is being funded through donations. He credited Ellen Davidson, a New York graphic designer, HWCD.CO for the campaign artwork.


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