Perdue's 'home sweet home' is a facade

November 23, 2010

Behind Perdue's "home sweet home" facade is a vast, multinational corporation that for decades has kept the Chesapeake Bay on life support ("Perdue woos consumers with home, sweet home," Nov. 22).

Perdue is an industrial-scale polluter of our cherished waterways. Governments should therefore impose industrial-scale clean-up requirements on Perdue and similar companies.

Perdue owns many of the 568 million chickens raised every year on the Delmarva Peninsula. These half-billion birds generate 1.1 billion pounds of manure every year, which contributes to the annual dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay. Unfortunately, Perdue is not alone. In the Illinois River watershed, 2,800 poultry farms owned by other companies produce as much waste as 10.7 million people would generate. And in 2008 three slaughterhouses run by another corporate agribusiness, Cargill, were among the top 20 toxic chemical polluters in the country.

Right now Maryland and the federal government have a tremendous opportunity to start treating Perdue and these other companies as the industrial polluters they truly are. As Perdue tries to hide behind a rustic small-farm logo, the billions of chickens and more than a billion pounds of manure speak for themselves.

Meg Cronin, Baltimore

The writer is a policy associate with Environment Maryland.

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