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Amateur UAV Pilot Exposes Texas River of Blood 388

Posted by timothy
from the everything's-more-sanguinary-in-texas dept.
Presto Vivace writes "Carlton Purvis of Security Management News reports that a tip from an amateur UAV enthusiast 'is what led Texas authorities to open a major criminal investigation into the waste practices of a Dallas meat packing plant.' The photo shows a river of blood."
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Amateur UAV Pilot Exposes Texas River of Blood

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  • Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by koan (80826) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:43PM (#38813597)

    After reading that article I get the feeling there will be a law passed about "model aircraft" using cameras soon.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Potor (658520) <farker1.gmail@com> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:47PM (#38813637) Journal

    Restricted airspace above meatpacking plants and CAFOs?

    I could see that coming.

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:03PM (#38813761)

    To the extent that dumping blood into a river is harmful to others they are entitled to compensation. If you think libertarians are in favor of "liberty" to harm others, then your understanding of libertarianism is as bad as your spelling.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:18PM (#38813903)

    Thanks for that link. I'm not a "PETA-freak", by any stretch of the imagination, but as a photographer, and just as a citizen who believes in the 1st Amendment, those are some of the scariest links I've read since NDAA. I'm glad I don't live in any of the mentioned states, but I have certainly photographed farms without written permission (I have a fondness for pastoral scenes with hay bales). I'd gladly contribute to any effort to get these ridiculous laws thrown out as unconstitutional.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:21PM (#38813925)

    Since each typical polluter only causes a tiny amount of damage to the environment, and therefore only a small amount of damage to each individual, the recourse of individual against the collective effect of all polluters (which is non-trivial, by the way) is massively limited. Unless of course the public were to organize to protect their rights. Maybe the organization could even hold elections for leaders that would (ostensibly) represent the interests of the constituents. What do libertarians have to say about such a collective organization of individuals?

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:29PM (#38813981)
    Isn't this really something for the Free Market to decide? I mean, the Government and all its "rules" - talking about public "health" and "safety" - are just going to get in the way of the Job Creators at this Dallas meat packing plant... </sociopolitical-commentary>
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:32PM (#38813995) Journal
    Honestly, even if you have no interest in animals, photography, or the First Amendment, those sorts of proposals should probably still make you nervous.

    If the chaps who handle the most-likely-to-carry-cool-zoonotic-diseases part of your food supply are so proud of their processes that they want independently documenting them to be a felony, how good can you reasonably trust them to be?
  • by Nimey (114278) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:49PM (#38814123) Homepage Journal

    Also the air.

    Libertarian naivete would be cute if it weren't dangerous.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:57PM (#38814211)

    On what planet is pig blood harmful to a river?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:59PM (#38814233)

    Under the Libertarian model, the harm done to others by this slaughterhouse will be instantly and automatically undone the moment it is recognized, mediated by completely impartial and omniscient courts and lawyers who cost nothing to hire. The slaughterhouse always has sufficient cash reserve (or at least dissolution value and insurance coverage) to compensate for all the damage it has ever caused, and the damage is always completely reversible, in direct defiance of various laws of physics and biology. Human nature is modified so that everyone recognizes their own responsibility instantly and does not try to evade it. Life is good.

    Then you wake up and realize that Libertarianism is great in theory, but completely untenable in the real world.

  • by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:21PM (#38814379) Homepage Journal

    Most libertarians I know think that business owners should be free to, say, only serve white people.

  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:57PM (#38814637)
    Hmm. Bloody Libertarians, all "we the people" and "all praise to our founding fathers, their God guided hands, and their immaculate document." What'd we do with that document? We discovered that it dealt with damn near nothing of the problems the nation was and would face. So, we amended the hell out of it because it was anything but complete and still we had/have innumerable problems as society and its issues evolve. Our history--well before we established any kind of oversight--was fraught with a great deal of problems. Limiting thing to just water ways still includes and is certainly not limited to farmers damming up streams for irrigation to the detriment of their neighbors farther down. Mercury dumped without care into waterways for the extraction of gold. Manufacturing dumping whatever waste they saw fit into waterways to the point rivers actually caught ablaze. Septic systems amounting to little better than a pipe running from the house to the river (pond, lake, etc.). Collapse of fish populations due to pollution and over fishing. The list goes on...
  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:02PM (#38814661) Homepage

    In reality a libertarian system would have a much cleaner environment because anyone could sue for damages. The EPA exists to protect businesses from lawsuits. It sets a legal limit where companies can pollute to where they face no threat of lawsuit. Also they don't get sued for damages but are fined by the government which leaves the property owners that had their property damaged with no recourse.

    Right. Because I want to spend the rest of my life (and income) suing various and sundry large corporations or interests that want to pollute or otherwise disturb the environment surrounding my own property.

    I like arguing with people, but not that much.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:03PM (#38814679) Homepage Journal

    There is nothing to "like" about any of this. I'm not going to "defend" the meat packers. But, one thing I noted while watching the video, is that it is a 99 year old plant.

    I'll give them just one small benefit of the doubt. It's POSSIBLE that they didn't know they were discharging blood into the creek. Old plant, old plumbing systems, plus the fact that regulations a hundred years ago were pretty lax, makes it possible that a crappy old pipe was just never dug up or disconnected.

    But, the fact that the company is turning away people who are officially required to investigate the mess unless they have a search warrant suggests that they probably knew all along.

    Side note from personal experience:
    A couple years ago, one of our illegal aliens who grew up in some jungle village dumped a barrel of waste oil outside one of our doors. The oil was soon discovered in an ephemeral creek, and traced back to our plant. I thought my backward employers were pretty stupid - but at least they didn't block officials from the city coming in to look around, or require that they come back with search warrants.
    Two lessons to be learned here. Number one, don't hire illegal aliens from jungle villages. Number two, when you do screw up, cooperate with investigators. Unless, of course, it is your policy to conduct business in an illegal manner.

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dbc (135354) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:09PM (#38814725)

    Most slaughterhouses in the US pay no attention to federal humane slaughtering & biohazard laws,

    Citation needed.

  • by Qzukk (229616) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:14PM (#38814765) Journal

    We're already seeing where things are heading this way just with water. People are pumping antifreeze up from their water wells, and the oil/gas companies pumping god knows what down there insist it isn't their fault. How do you figure out who to sue? When you can't even force the companies to tell you what they're pumping down, how can you prove that what you're pumping up came from them and not some long closed auto shop that for all anyone knows dumped barrels of whatever in the yard decades ago and it just now got down to the water table?

    Why does the government have to provide water to the people of Dimock, PA [businessweek.com]? Oh wait, that's right, the government said that Cabot didn't have to fix the problem, they just had to give them some water for a few years. Imagine, if only the government hadn't been there to make Cabot do anything at all!

    The air? How would you even begin to figure out who caused the pollution that gave you lung cancer? It's bad enough WITH government "regulation" where companies have to "self-report" [hbs.edu] their "accidental" benzene releases.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:17PM (#38814789)
    You have a right to privacy that extends to angles and views that you could reasonable expect viewing from. Someone who climbs a tree to look in your window that isn't visble from the street has breached your privacy, even if the tree is across the street and not on your property (unless you routinely see others climbing the tree and knew it was a likely viewing point). So the police peering into your home from that vantage point are similarly peeping without a warrant, much like at a traffic stop, they can look in the car, but not open the doors and stick their heads in to look in the car. They already know it takes a warrant to look in a car (just looking includes sticking their head in the drivers side door that is left open and looking around, except for a small and legally defined area around the driver's seat). Warrants take too long, so instead they arrest them for anything, dangerous driving or whatever they make up, then they get hours to search the car as slowly and thoroughly as they wish, no warrant needed.

    And depending on where you are, you do own the sky above your land. The land and the projection of that to the core of the earth and up to the edge of the atmosphere you own though the government gets a right of way above for planes and such, obviously.
  • by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:41PM (#38814971)
    Sue for what? Can I sue if someone expels their exhaust (CO2) onto my property? How about if they distribute it on their property, and the wind carries it to mine? Do I get to determine what I don't want on my property and force them to obey (i.e. no cigarette smoking where I can smell it)? Or do I have to run my rights past a panel of libertarians to determine whether I'm worthy of having my rights doled out by them to stop the person polluting? In general, libertarianism fails completely when it comes to pollution, especially if those most affected have no nearby land (say someone decides DDT is a good thing to saturate their land in and does so until 1000 miles away in the ocean, the concentrations get high enough to start killing turtle eggs and such. Who can sue? The closest people to the pollution don't care that much and had no loss from the DDT runoff, and the turtles don't own land, so under libertarianism, they have no rights, so who gets to sue? Or is that not pollution in libertarian speak, since another human wasn't identifiably harmed by the DDT initially released?
  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:41PM (#38814973)

    My question concerning these types of situations and the whole libertarian "pollution is a civil matter and the polluter is liable for damages" method of dealing with pollution is; What if the polluter does not have the money or assets to clean up the mess they made?

    Say I buy a corporation with a plant that handles toxic chemicals. It turns out these chemicals have been leaching into the groundwater for decades. I get sued by the property owners all around me and all the people that draw off that groundwater. I go to court and fight it out. I lose the case, and now owe $5 billion dollars in damages. The corporation files bankruptcy, but that's fine with me, because I walk away scot-free.

    So, who ends up on the hook cleaning up the contamination? My corporation went the way of Enron, so it's not me or my corporation. Wouldn't the public then be on the hook for cleaning up the mess? What measures would the public be able to take in order to prevent a similar situation from happening again? Libertarians generally don't want regulations that would prevent this type of behavior before it occurs, so how do we actually prevent something like this from happening? Once it's happened, it's too late. We've all been drinking the poison, bathing in it, washing our clothes in it...

    I've been reading about different environmental disasters here in the United States lately, things like Love Canal [wikipedia.org], Times Beach, Missouri [wikipedia.org], and the Valley of the Drums [wikipedia.org], and I wonder how the libertarian principles would have corrected those situations. The Superfund [wikipedia.org] law gives the EPA the power to identify and work towards cleaning these sites up, but most libertarians I talk to think the EPA should be abolished due to the whole "regulations" thing. That being said, if we get rid of the EPA, how would sites like this be handled, and who would pay for it?

    I'm not trying to be facetious; this is an honest question, because, while I totally agree with some tenets of libertarianism, such as legalization of drugs and ending the nation-building all over the world bullshit, I don't see how the free market alone could deal with situations like these. These problems, due to their severity, seem to extend beyond the ability of any one private entity to deal with. The people living around these areas certainly couldn't have done anything about it, these sites cost billions to clean up, and there's over a thousand Superfund sites in the U.S. [wikipedia.org], as of November, 2010.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by recharged95 (782975) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:06AM (#38815145) Journal

    Or in actual terms by the FAA, that "the civilian user" shall follow guidelines set by a specificed industry authority, aka the AMA, which sets AGL to 400 feet.

    Putting real laws in place has been in discussion with Congress for the last year (main decisions where in June of '11), but has been put off 2 times already. It keeps getting delayed.

    What I see is likely restriction of autonomous flight (with the right to shoot down), and the status quo for controlled flight. Not much will change aside from full autonomous modes.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by veganboyjosh (896761) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:28AM (#38815273)
    What's the difference between a remote controlled aircraft (like a model plane) and a drone?
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jeremi (14640) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:39AM (#38815329) Homepage

    On what planet is pig blood harmful to a river?

    Fertilizer runoff [scientificamerican.com] is a major problem in rivers.

    Pig blood is essentially fertilizer [the-organic-gardener.com].

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:49AM (#38815381)
    Blood from one pig? Not at all. Blood from thousands of pigs per day, every day? You alter the whole ecosystem.
  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @01:46AM (#38815657) Homepage

    We're not. In fact, America has improved progressively with each passing generation. It's your own perception that has changed. That's because newer surveillance and reporting technologies illuminate wrongdoing in ways normally you haven't been accustomed to before.

    As people, we respond more to visual stimuli regardless of the fact worse has been reported before in just words alone.

  • by ppanon (16583) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @03:34AM (#38816101) Homepage Journal
    Really, you know that many well-organized fishing companies with deep-enough pockets to take on BP in a decade-long lawsuit with multi-million dollar lawyer's fees when their source of income just got wiped out?
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Captain Hook (923766) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @04:57AM (#38816409)
    I don't think the white upstream of the plant is turbulence, those look like sand/gravel bars in the stream to me, you can see the same structures downstream of the plant.

    But you are right, even google earth clearly shows pollution changing the colour of the water and the point where it flows into a larger river and mixes in.

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