According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Tyson Poultry Inc., a subsidiary of Tyson, pleaded guilty to two violations of the Clean Water Act last week.
The guilty plea stems from a 2014 spill after a tank used to store an acidic feed supplement sprang a leak at Tyson’s Aurora feed mill. The spill, which caused major environmental damage, killed about 108,000 fish in Clear Creek. Alimet, the feed supplement, is known to contain ammonia and is extremely toxic to fish.
“Tyson’s admitted criminal conduct caused significant environmental damage, including a large-scale fish kill,” said Tom Larson, acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri. “Today’s plea agreement not only holds Tyson accountable for its actions in Missouri, but requires the company to take steps to insure compliance with the Clean Water Act at its poultry facilities throughout the United States.”
The company will pay $2 million in criminal fines and $500,000 to maintain and restore waters in the Monett area. Tyson will also serve two years’ probation under the terms of the plea agreement.
But this isn’t the first time Tyson has been caught polluting waterways.
Just days before the Alimet spill, Tyson agreed to pay a $305,000 federal fine for a spill that dumped about 210,000 gallons of rendered chicken byproducts into a river north of Statesville. And according to a report by Environment America, Tyson dumps six times more toxic pollution into waterways than ExxonMobil:
Tyson Foods Inc. or its subsidiaries dumped more than 20 million pounds of pollution directly into our waterways in 2014 alone. This figure only includes pollutants reported to U.S. EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory, and does not include pollution from factory farms raising livestock for Tyson.
But it’s not just Tyson. Several other large-scale meat producers ranked higher in toxic releases than Exxon, including Perdue Farms and Pilgrim’s Pride. HP Hood, a dairy company, came under fire earlier this year for regularly violating pollution limits in wastewater since 2014.
Sadly, environmental pollution is incredibly common in the animal agriculture industry. Animal excrement and agricultural runoff have polluted nearly one-third of rivers in the U.S. Factory farms are also to blame for widespread contamination of drinking water.
Factory farming is not only damaging to human health and the environment but also unspeakably cruel to farmed animals.
To help protect our health, animals, and the environment, the best thing to do is to ditch animal products for good.
Click here to learn more about the benefits of a plant-based diet.