<$BlogRSDUrl$> The Cyberactivist

Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.

Friday, September 12, 2003

The true cost of a piece of chicken 

Many people eat chicken because it
not only tastes good and they perceive
it to be healthier than red meat, but
also because it is relatively cheap.

There are more factors to consider than
the retail price when calculating the true
cost of a piece of chicken. Setting aside
the inherent cruelty of factory farming
chicken, let's examine other factors.

The 1997 rankings on animal waste for
Polk County (where Tyson's plant in
Grannis is, along with many chicken
houses) make it among the top 90-
100% of counties with the most
animal waste in the U.S.

From the 6,440,999 chickens raised
in Polk County alone that year there
were 200,000 tons of waste. That
translates to 48,000,000 gallons of
it, with 5,300,000 lbs. of nitrogen,
(of which 2,100,000 are lost to the
atmosphere) and 1,500,000 lbs. of
phosphorus. There was an increase
of 9% of waste from 1987-1997.
These figures also put Polk County
into the top 90-100% most polluted
counties for nitrogen and phosphorus.

Keep in mind that 83% of the bodies
of water are not reported to the EPA as
beneficial in this state. Of the 10% that
are, 2% are considered impaired.

There are 6 of them in this country that
have been reported by the state to have
problems. The Big Eagle Creek, a part
of Mt. Fork River, which runs into Broken
Bow Lake, is one of these. So is Holly
Creek, which also runs into that lake.
This lake is not only the biggest
recreational lake in that area, but is also
where the city of Broken Bow, OK gets
its water.

Tyson's plant in Grannis is located near
Big Eagle Creek. When their wastewater
ponds overflow, this is the creek they
flow into. The same goes for Holly Creek,
which has wastewater overflows from the
Tyson plant in Broken Bow. This happens
a couple of times a year, when there is
heavy rainfall.

The EPA shut Tyson's Grannis plant down
in 1998 for wastewater contamination until
they remedied the problem. It took about
a week for the water level to go back down.
Before the EPA shut them down, many
gallons of wastewater flowed, ruining the
ecosystem in Big Eagle Creek.

I used to have some friends that I would
go swimming with in this creek. I can
remember when it was beautiful, clear,
and clean. I saw it a year after that
incident happened. It looked dead and
nasty. I wouldn't want to swim in it.
I certainly wouldn't want it to drain into
the water I drink.

This next batch of information comes
from a paper written by William Harris,
M.D. located here.

Rates for at least six common types of
cancer, country by country, correlate
with the consumption of animal source
food. A variety of phytochemicals
present in plant foods have been
demonstrated to be protective against
the DNA damage that leads to cancer.
Up to 80% of bowel and breast cancer
may be preventable by dietary change.
Diet contributes to varying extent to
the risk of many other cancers, including
cancers of the lung, prostate, stomach,
esophagus, and pancreas.

The USDA has shielded the meat and
dairy industries from normal market forces
since at least the beginning of the
Commodities Credit Corporation (CCC) in
1933 by giving direct price supports to
dairy production, and de facto supports
to the meat industry in the form of feed
grain price supports. In 1998 USDA
Secretary Dan Glickman bought up at least
$250 million worth of beef, chicken, dairy,
eggs, fish, lamb, and pork that could not
be sold on an already flooded market.

This is contrary to advice given by the
National Cancer Institute, the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services
(DHHS), and the USDA itself, to consume
daily at least five servings of fruit and
vegetables. Vegetable and fruit growers
have for the most part been excluded
from support programs. Evidence indicates
that animal industries have exerted
enormous pressure on the government
for continuation of their supports. These
industries then plow their profit margins
into massive ad campaigns, nutritional
"education", and political action to insure
that their benefits will continue.

A glance at IRS Corporate Income Tax
Form 1120 and most state corporate
tax forms shows also that advertising
is a tax deductible business expense.

Take all this into account along with
how much more acreage of land is
needed to grow the grain to first
cycle through an animal before being
utilized by our bodies than what is
actually needed to grow the grain
to feed us directly. It takes about
3 acres to support a meat-eater and
only 1/3 acre to support a vegetarian.

There are more factors involved, like
the added air pollution of trucking these
animals around and such, but you get
the point.

That one piece of meat costs a whole
lot more than the price on the package.
We all pay that cost and so will our
children and grandchildren if we allow
it to continue?

What kind of world, what kind of life,
do we want to give them?
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