Recently two pieces in the DCI addressed health issues related to the chicken barn debacle. Mr. D'Allessandro (DCI 11/20/13) reiterates Judge Patrick's ruling regarding health as the cause for issuing the cease and desist order and Mr. Cool (DCI 11/27/13) describes his personal health stories responding to my previous musings in this paper (DCI 11/13/13).
If health is the only issue regarding the judge's decision to shut down Mr. Hostetler's organic egg business, as claimed, then it seems reasonable and logical to me, and many far smarter than me, the health arena, not the legal arena, is the appropriate forum to seek answers for what's ailing the 19 health complaints filed with the county. There are excellent health-specific agencies at the county, state and federal level with the expertise to identify and address these health-related complaints — Delta County Health Department, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Centers for Disease Control and, undoubtedly, many more I'm unaware of. Put more simply: you don't call a plumber to fix your electrical problems. The complainants' aka plaintiffs', aka CLUC (Compatible Land Use Coalition), choice to pursue their battle in the legal arena vs. the health arena only perpetuate suspicion of their motives.
We, as a community, have an obligation to support every effort to find and address the cause of public health problems in our community. The ill health of anyone in our county, whether they live near an egg laying operation or not, is cause for a health investigation. As I see it, health issues are based on science and science is where we should seek answers. The county, state and federal government are qualified to engage health engineers to test the air quality where the complainants claim is origin of the purported pollution, the air quality outside every complainant's home as well as inside, all in the hope of developing a plan to eradicate the cause of these mental or physical health complaints. Sadly, the judicial system, with no expertise in both the medical field and testing arena, defaults to eviscerating a successful, established Delta County business.
Professionals analyzing the claims will undoubtedly require nothing less than complete medical histories of each complainant. Maybe the problems lie in their past medical conditions? Maybe they'll find it's environmental issues linked to smoke from recent wildfires? Maybe it's from animals. i.e., chickens, they raise on their respective properties? Maybe it's from diseased animals living in proximity of their homes? Maybe it's construction dust or existing house molds? Maybe they're smokers? Maybe their personal hygiene habits need changing? Maybe it's related to what the director of Delta County's Environmental Health Department, Ken Nordstrom, hypothesized in his report on Oct. 12, 2012, to the Delta County Board of Commissioners, "Anxiety and fear of the poultry operation may also exacerbate asthma attacks and bronchitis episodes." Who can say? Clearly not me, as I pointed out in my thoughts on 11/13. I'm no doctor. And, for that matter, neither is Judge Patrick. Health professionals should be determining what legitimate health issues are causing these complaints. The primary obstacle in addressing the individual complaints is those filing the complaints to the Delta County Health Department refuse to provide professionals access to their health history. In spite of the picture painted by the plaintiffs that every symptom of ill health is caused solely by the presence of West Slope Layers' chickens, their ongoing denial of access to medical records gives many in the community, myself included, cause to question everything the plaintiffs do related to their opposition to the approved chicken business.
I seriously doubt anyone in our community wishes Mr. Cool ill health. However, it is now established fact the plaintiff's medical testimony is nothing more than a plagiarized, falsified, misleading, out of context report submitted to the court on behalf of their clients. As I stated on 11/13/13, it is difficult to believe his personal health claims when the licensed professionals supporting these claims falsify their testimony with plagiarized information. These lies drive the ongoing suspicion, the continued insinuations and the justified accusations of purported claims. It is time the plaintiffs accept full responsibility for this condition and stop blaming others, such as myself, for the overwhelming skepticism and cynical attitude toward their claims, complaints and conditions.
Sadly and ironically, Mr. Hostetler complied with the cease and desist order and removed every last chicken as of Dec. 2, 2013. The opportunity to get real answers from professionals is gone. All we are left with now is the ruling of the appellate court to determine if the district court erred or not in its decision to euthanize a legitimate business based on faulty information Health is no longer the issue. Health was never the primary issue when CLUC members presented their case to the Board of Commissioners; property values were their biggest gripe, along with alleged safety concerns, traffic issues and noise concerns. Health is just the only issue CLUC managed to get stuck to Judge Patrick's wall to bring Delta County to its current sad state of affairs.