Bill Satterfield, executive director of the Delmarva Poultry Industry, recently tried to paint with dollar signs a glowing picture of the benefits of big poultry for all Delawareans. But his picture can’t hide the blood, guts, filth, stench, cruelty, suffering, pollution and disease that infects the entire state.
Who does he think he is fooling? Not low-paid workers whose miserable jobs are classified by the U.S. Department of Labor as “hazardous” and five times more dangerous than other jobs. Not consumers, who, according to the CDC, risk infectious and chronic diseases every time they purchase and eat poultry products.
Not Millsboro home owners whose private wells have been polluted with poultry waste disposal from Mountaire Farms. Not communities throughout Delmarva whose air and waterways are fouled by years of incompetent “nutrient management.” And not the poultry themselves, housed in crowded, filthy conditions and abused in unspeakable manner in processing facilities.
There is no way to paint a pretty picture of the Delmarva Poultry Industry. It is a foul business. There is blood on Satterfield’s hands, as well as on the hands of all who demand and profit from poultry products. It is one of our region’s, our country’s, yes, our world’s, most pressing issues: How and what do we feed a hungry world without killing the goose that lays the golden egg?
Dorothy P. Greet