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PolitiFact Wisconsin: Getting to the bottom of a cow waste claim

Wisconsin Dairy
Posted at 3:35 PM, Jul 30, 2021

Fact-checking can sometimes be a dirty job. Charles Benson tells us why, as PolitiFact Wisconsin checks out a claim about cow waste.

We all know Wisconsin is America's Dairyland, but have you ever thought about how much waste a cow produces?

"This is from the state Supreme Court Justice Jill Karofsky who wrote in a recent opinion that a farm with 2,500 dairy cattle is similar in waste load to a city with 411,000 people," said Greg Borowski with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

That's a lot to digest. 411,000 people add up to the population of Madison, Green Bay, and Racine. The issue came up in a court case and ruling on regulating large-scale animal operations.

"Karofsky, who wrote the opinion for the prevailing side, was making the point that cows can be giant waste producing machines."

But PolitiFact Wisconsin says the point Justice Karofsky was making is dated. It comes from an EPA paper written 17 years ago.

Today, a farm with 2,500 cows produces enough waste for a city of about 100,000 people - not 411,000.

"We have to call bull on this claim," said Borowski. "We rated it False."

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