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The Shaping of Law through Ten Years of
Hog Production in Oklahoma

Karl M. Rysted1

Oklahoma is viewed as a microcosm of all States that have, or will have huge, industrial-style hog production facilities. The central problem examined is the state's experience of rapid social, economic and legal changes during the last ten years as a result of a huge increase in Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

Statistics of hog production in the State are examined. Oklahoma statutory agricultural law is examined as being inseparably intertwined with this huge increase in hog production. The discrepancy between appearance and reality in recent legislation is examined as it relates to actual production, particularly the role of State boards comprised of political appointees in enforcing the legislation. It is postulated that the legislation may be a "toothless tiger," which does more for the image of a governor seeking reelection, for example, than for solving the problems with CAFOs. To bring about significant change, the continued involvement of concerned citizens in many venues is proposed.

The role of litigation is examined, as the conflict between public and special interests escalates through time. As a last resort, appeals are seen as necessary to continue shaping the common law in this area, possibly forcing State boards to protect the public interest as mandated by statutory law.


1The Sierra Club, 106 W. Main, Moore, OK 73160 (

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