ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Poultry industry responds

by 5m Editor
14 February 2008, at 11:08am

US - Poultry compaies in Oklahoma are fighting moves by the Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmonson calling for a ban on the use of poultry litter as fertilizer in the Illinois River watershed.


*
"It's unfortunate that the state's top law enforcement official has resorted to scare tactics and exaggerations in his latest legal maneuver against poultry producers. "
Jackie Cunningham, Community Relations Director for the Poultry Community Council

The fight that started last year hit the courts this week and the Oklahoma poultry producers have repeated their defence that there is no "imminent danger" in their filings to the court.

Following the attorney general's moves in Novemebr last year, the Oklahoma Poultry Community Council issued a statement rebuffing his claims.

Jackie Cunningham, Community Relations Director for the Poultry Community Council said then: "It's unfortunate that the state's top law enforcement official has resorted to scare tactics and exaggerations in his latest legal maneuver against poultry producers.

"Contrary to his claims, there is no "imminent and substantial endangerment" to public health from the safe, government-regulated practice of using poultry manure as fertiliser. If there were, Oklahoma's own state officials who monitor the river and protect the health of Oklahoma’s citizens surely would have addressed it. The fact the Attorney General waited two and a half years after filing suit against the poultry industry to submit this motion is further evidence it's really just another litigation and PR stunt orchestrated by Mr. Edmondson's contingency-fee lawyers.

"The Attorney General's motion lacks specific locations or data. This motion also attempts to undermine the authority of the Oklahoma Legislature. Mr. Edmondson makes no apology for his efforts to destroy a single industry, while ignoring the impacts from cattle, birds and other wildlife, septic tanks and the municipal sewage sludge spread in the very same watershed. In fact, data from the Eucha/Spavinaw Watershed shows that nearly 50 per cent of litter used as fertilizer is applied by people with no affiliation to the poultry industry, such as livestock producers.

"His motion ignores the state's own studies, which show there are tens of thousands of old malfunctioning septic tanks in the watershed and that the City of Tahlequah applies its sewage sludge in the watershed. It also ignores the 1999 study attached to the motion, which states that in the Oklahoma portion of the watershed, cattle have a greater impact on water quality than poultry.

"The truth is farmers apply the amount of litter that the law allows and apply it to crops for fertilization. The Attorney General's motion shows how his personal agenda outweighs the interests of other Oklahomans."

The companies say Oklahoma's claims about fertiliser pollution are unsubstantiated.

The 13 companies being sued repeated their defence this week and according to TulsaWorld, they say a litter-use ban would cause severe economic consequences for poultry growers, cattle producers and other farmers in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

5m Editor