A recent poll in North Carolina shows that 61 percent of voters in Nash and Wilson County would rather not have notorious polluter and chicken processor Sanderson Farms set up shop in their neighborhood.
According to a public opinion survey released today by Public Policy Polling in Raleigh, Nash and Wilson residents base their assessments on environmental reports indicating that animal waste spray fields will negatively impact the local water supply and watersheds.
“Residents are increasingly aware of this project and they don’t like it,” Con Ward, chairman of the Nash County Landowners Association, who commissioned the survey. “62 percent of voters said they would be ‘less likely’ to support the Sanderson Farms project knowing that most jobs in the facility make just $1.25 above minimum wage.”
“Voters are telling their elected officials that they don’t think it’s a fair trade to threaten the region’s environment and watersheds for a new chicken slaughterhouse project,” said Tom Jensen with Public Policy Polling. “A large number of voters don’t believe that the new jobs offset the concerns they have about the danger the new facility poses to the environment.”
In late 2009, Sanderson Farms was accused of discharging 1.2 million pounds of toxic chemicals and manure into Texas waterways. Lisa Wheeler, a spokeswoman for the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality, said the Sanderson Farms discharge was within the state’s permitted levels.
Unfortunately, the consequences of setting up a poultry slaughterhouse extend far beyond environmental degredation.
The NRDC reports that “runoff of chicken and hog waste from factory farms in Maryland and North Carolina is believed to have contributed to outbreaks of Pfiesteria piscicida, killing millions of fish and causing skin irritation, short-term memory loss and other cognitive problems in local people.”
“This is a bad idea. It’s a bad location. It’s a bad project,” said Ward. “Now we know the public agrees this isn’t good for Nash County and we have quantifiable results to prove it.”
Image Credit: Flickr - Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (All Rights Reserved)