Perdue Launches Fraudulent PR Effort
A national consumer group challenged chicken giant Perdue Oct. 25 to step forward and take responsibility for creating the SaveFarmFamilies.org website—and to correct misinformation on it regarding the lawsuit filed by Waterkeeper Alliance to address pollution run-off from the Eastern Shore farm of Alan and Kristin Hudson.
In an open letter to Perdue CEO Jim Perdue, Food & Water Watch questioned its PR strategy behind the lawsuit.
“The website portrays the Hudsons as victims of overzealous persecution by an out-of-state environmental group, with barely a mention of Perdue,” wrote Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter in the letter. “Given the amount of misinformation on the site, it’s easy to see why Perdue might want to cover up its role.”
The SaveFarmFamilies.org was registered anonymously though a web register proxy service, but the site’s IP address belongs to Perdue’s web server in Salisbury, Maryland, where it sits alongside Perdue’s chicken recipes and homepage.
“Proxy registrations are for folks who don’t want you to know who owns the site—sort of like proxy farmers are for integrators who don’t want folks to know who really owns the waste,” wrote Hauter.
SaveFarmFamilies.org, launched Oct. 3, 2011, was purportedly created to help Alan and Kristin Hudson pay their mounting legal bills from a lawsuit filed by the environmental nonprofit Waterkeeper Alliance. It claims to be a grassroots effort to help save the family farm by portraying the Hudsons, and farmers in general, as victims of radical environmental groups and perpetuates myths about chicken farming in Maryland and the lawsuit itself. In fact, SaveFarmFamilies.org is an astroturfing effort—an industry-generated attempt to spread misinformation while purporting to be by farmers for farmers.
In 2006, four processors—including Perdue—controlled nearly three out of five broiler operations in the U.S. These companies, known as integrators, control every step of chicken production. The Hudsons are contract growers who do not even own the birds that they raise and fatten for Perdue. But they are responsible for disposing of the waste that these birds produce.
The lawsuit is an attempt to get Perdue to take responsibility for the waste produced by their chickens, which growers simply raise under unfair contracts, and to stop polluting the waterways surrounding these contract farms.
“If you really want to help local farmers and communities surrounding the bay, then you should stop forcing your growers to sign unfair contracts that shift the cost and risk of doing business from the integrator to the grower. It is time to stop the baseless propaganda, stop hiding behind your struggling contract growers, and take responsibility for your production wastes,” concluded Hauter in the letter.
For more information, click here.
Read Food & Water Watch’s open letter to Perdue here.
Read Six Myths and Facts About Perdue’s Savefarmfamilies.org here.
Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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