Report Tallies 'Big Chicken' Toll on Bay

Publication: The Baltimore Sun

Author: Tim Wheeler

07/27/2011 - A new report says the industrialization of poultry farming over the last several decades is a major source of pollution fouling the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways around the country.

"Big Chicken," released Wednesday by the Pew Environment Group highlights how poultry production has increased and become more concentrated, taking an environmental toll.  And despite heavy government subsidies to farmers to reduce runoff of animal manure from their fields, the report argues tighter limits are needed - including a cap on the density of birds being raised in places like the Delmarva Peninsula.

Nationwide, the number of broiler chickens raised annually has soared 1,400 percent in less than 60 years, the report says, while the number of farms raising birds has dropped by 98 percent in the same time. The growth in production is driven by rising consumer demand for what the group says has become the most popular meat in the United States. The average American today eats 84 pounds of chicken a year, the report notes, more than twice what each consumed in 1970.

Read the full article, Report Tallies "Big Chicken" Toll on Bay, on The Baltimore Sun's Web site. 

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