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From Vegan Outreach

25 January 2005, Victory in Missouri:

Moark drops egg plant

Decision comes after weeks of protest
By Roger McKinney
The Joplin Globe Staff Writer

NEOSHO, Mo. - Egg-producer Moark has abandoned its plan to build an egg-production farm in Cherokee County, the company's regional manager said late Friday.  Dan Hudgens, Moark's Midwest regional manager, left a voice-mail message Friday saying the company was no longer pursuing its plans for Cherokee County.  He could not be reached immediately for further comment. A message left for him was not returned.

Opposition to the plan surfaced even before the company officially announced its plans.  Residents held meetings at which they voiced their concerns about the potential of the operation to pollute farmland and water sources. Some residents said they were concerned that the farm would deplete the water resources of the county.  The Baxter Springs City Council, the Galena City Commission and the Riverton School Board all recently adopted positions opposing Moark's plan.

The company had previously dropped a plan to locate an egg-production farm in Welch, Okla., also bowing to public protests.  Trey Clough, one of the organizers of the opposition, said the meeting that had been scheduled for 2 p.m. today at the Riverton High School auditorium will still take place, but it may be a celebration.  "I'm going to enjoy my evening," Clough said after hearing the news. "I want to thank the community for standing together."

Hudgens said in his voice-mail message that he wouldn't be at the meeting, because of the company's decision.

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From Vegan Outreach

27 January 2005, Victory in Kentucky:

From the Louisville Courier-Journal:
                    by James Bruggers
Tyson Foods has agreed to spend up to $500,000 to monitor air for ammonia at two chicken farms it owns in Western Kentucky, the company announced yesterday.

As part of a settlement in a federal lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club and three Western Kentucky residents, the poultry giant also agreed to plant buffers of trees at other locations, club members and Tyson officials said.  The farms are in Webster, McLean and Hopkins counties.

Sierra Club leaders called the agreement a major victory. "This is an admission they are a factory, not a farm," said Aloma Dew, an Owensboro resident and Sierra Club representative.

If the air monitoring reveals what the environmental group's own screening has shown, the company could be compelled to curb ammonia emissions after further legal action, said John Harbison, a lawyer for the environmental group.

Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson said there's nothing in the settlement that specifically requires any farm to reduce its ammonia emissions. But company officials said they are happy to resolve the matter with monitoring and tree planting.  "We're pleased to reach this cooperative agreement and believe this science-based approach is the best way to proceed," Kevin Igli, vice president and chief environmental officer of Tyson Foods, said in a statement.

Also as part of the settlement, Tyson has agreed to spend $50,000 to plant trees at two other chicken houses in Western Kentucky to "foster a better relationship with neighbors."

Dew said three plaintiffs in the case -- Mary B. Edwards, Leesa Webster and Norma Caine, who live near the large farms -- will receive financial compensation. Those terms are to remain confidential, she said. Caine, who lives in Webster County, said in a statement: "After a long battle, we have won a victory for all the other families suffering from factory farm pollution. We hope other citizens will now be able to speak up, and protect communities throughout Kentucky from this kind of pollution -- for our families and our future."

U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr., is expected to sign the agreement this week, making it final, Dew said.

The 2002 lawsuit claimed that the farms -- with hundreds of thousands of chickens at each -- were so large that they should be regulated under some of the same federal air-pollution laws adopted primarily to control emissions from factories, refineries and chemical plants.  The same lawsuit produced a ruling in November 2003 with potential national implications. In that decision, a judge determined that Arkansas-based Tyson shares responsibility for air pollution from large farms it helps to operate in Western Kentucky.   Previously, Tyson had maintained that farmers who grow Tyson chickens under contract are primarily responsible.

Mickelson downplayed the significance of the lawsuit and settlement as a potential legal precedent, but he said information gained from the ammonia monitoring -- to be done by Iowa State University researchers -- could help the company at other locations.

There are more than 120 farms in Kentucky and 70 in Indiana where chickens are raised for Tyson. People who live near some of these farms have long complained about strong odors and swarms of flies from manure.


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Concerned Citizens of Hartford
20 February 2005