Big Chicken and the Environment
Saturday, August 19, 2000; Page A18
Even a large waterway can absorb only so much shock. Poultry produces
more liquid waste than all of Maryland's human population. Worse yet,
the waste is laden with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In Ms.
Huslin's story, the industry suggests burning the waste as an
alternative. I wonder what the impact of burning a billion pounds of
urine and manure would be on greenhouse gases? Industry spokesmen
predictably complained of "more government intrusion." This sounds
like rhetoric from other socially irresponsible industries. Poultry
executives claim they provide many jobs, but what about those whose
livelihood depends on a clean bay? Most of the corn and soybeans
grown in the United States are converted to livestock manure. In the
meantime, our land loses more topsoil every year. If we are to save
our waterways, society must shift to a plant-based diet that produces
no water pollution or greenhouse gases and feeds many more people per
acre. Medical research shows that plant protein is just as healthy as
animal protein, without the unhealthy cholesterol, saturated fat and
I read Anita Huslin's Aug. 9 Metro story, "Md. Aims to Tighten
Chicken Waste Rules," regarding tighter regulations on poultry waste.
This is long overdue, as the poultry industry dumps more than a
billion pounds of waste annually into the Chesapeake Bay.
JAMEY LEE WEST
All of these waste-management troubles would be alleviated to some
degree if more Americans went vegetarian. Yet the demand for chicken
consumption continues to be strong. I hope that articles such as The
Post'sdiscourage American consumers from the habit of supporting this
cruel and filthy industry.
ALAINA M. SCORSONE
Thank you for the article by Anita Huslin.
Bravo to the Maryland regulators for getting tough with the big
chicken industrialists. They need to keep their chicken dung out of
our rivers. The rivers belong to the people, not to individuals such
as Charles C. "Chick" Allen III, who, like other chicken
industrialists, enjoys the profit but doesn't enjoy the
responsibility the profit entails.
Once we get the chicken dung out of our rivers, the next step will be
to get rid of the salmonella, E. coli and other bacteria spread by
this industry. After that, maybe we can educate people that chickens
are sensitive creatures that don't deserve the brutality and cruelty
with which this industry treats them.
© 2000 The Washington Post Company
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