Tyson Fined $2M For Mucking Up Missouri River

The Justice Department recently fined Tyson Fresh Meats, the world’s largest beef and pork supplier, $2 million for pumping animal waste into the Missouri River. Tyson was in violation of a 2002 agreement to limit its discharges into the river. According to one news report, Tyson, which discharges about 5 million gallons of “treated wastewater” from a Nebraska beef processing facility into the river each day, caused high levels of toxicity to aquatic life in the river.

Gee, what a surprise! The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported that factory farms pollute our waterways more than all other industrial sources combined. According to the EPA, chicken, hog, and cattle excrement have polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states. Animals raised for food produce approximately 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population—87,000 pounds per second.

The waste is typically stored in massive cesspools a half mile wide and 20 feet deep. In 1995, a giant “lagoon” holding 8 acres of excrement burst, spilling 25 million gallons of putrefying hog urine and feces into the New River in North Carolina, killing more than 10 million fish; making the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster seem more like a glass of spilt soy milk.

A Scripps Howard synopsis of a Senate Agricultural Committee report on farm pollution issued this warning about animal waste: “[I]t’s untreated and unsanitary, bubbling with chemicals and diseased. … It goes onto the soil and into the water that many people will, ultimately, bathe in and wash their clothes with and drink. It is poisoning rivers and killing fish and making people sick. … Catastrophic cases of pollution, sickness, and death are occurring in areas where livestock operations are concentrated. … Every place where the animal factories have located, neighbors have complained of falling sick.”

A Duke University Medical Center study showed that people living downwind of pig farms are more likely to suffer from tension, depression, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, headaches, shallow breathing, coughing, sleep disturbances, and loss of appetite.

And that’s just what happens to you if you don’t eat the meat—if you eat animal products, you may also develop heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers!

If you haven’t already signed up for PCRM’s Vegan Kickstart program to improve your health and lessen animal suffering, please do it know—before animal farms muck up our air and water so much that no one can survive.




James M.
James M7 years ago

Tyson doesn't care about the environment, all they have ever cared about is how to turn a quick buck. Believe me, I know several people who used to work for them.

JoAnn L.
JoAnn L7 years ago

It should be 200 million at least and these site should be inspected constantly. They are getting away with murder creating potential pandemic flu - 2 million is a tap on the wrist - no feeling...

Connie Yaryan
Connie Yaryan7 years ago

$2M to Tyson is nothing.

Bernard C.
Bernard Campbell7 years ago

Tyson has enough to develop its own bio-fuel electric facility.

Bernard C.
Bernard Campbell7 years ago

Come to Lowell, MA, where a large regional waste water treatment facility is located directly across the Merrimack River from the most affluent section of the city. There's no control of the odor emanating from that facility.

Several cities downstream rely on that water for their public water supplies, too.

We are truly the 'effluent society'.

Dan B.
Dan B7 years ago

visit Eco-Eating at www.brook.com/veg
for much more info on meat, vegetarianism, and the environment

Michael G.
Michael G7 years ago

The only sane and moral thing to do by conscience in this world is to be or become vegetarian or at least don't eat meat and minimize your animal foods. God ordained what we are to eat in the Book of Genesis when He reminded man that He had given us every plant, fruit and herb for our sustenance. The commandment "Thou Shalt not kill" never had a footnote to it that said this only applies to humans. But God was only hoping for the best from such ignorant people. Now let's get further up the ladder of conscience by boycotting such products and companies that would not only subject animals to such suffering conditions but would think nothing of poisoning the pure water, earth and air we have to feed ourselves and these animals. If you must eat animal products buy your dairy products from a local, organic grower, raiser who treats his animals humanely and does not sell them for meat. There are some in states like Vermont, California. Not usually Southern or Western brands.
I prefer vegetable and fruit foods. Rice milk is every bit as good as cow's...
We change ourselves, the world will change. Let's hope in time to avoid its downfall...

rita b.
Rita B7 years ago

If you only read one book this year, please make it either the Omnivore's Dilemma or Animal, Vegetable and Miracle. Both of these books contain many thoughtful ways to solve our food problems while helping our environment and treating animals more humanely.
Many of us who used to be vegan or vegetarian can no longer sustain this diet due to health reasons. There are people who live in parts of the planet where the only food sources available are animals. I admire and applaud anyone who chooses to be totally vegan and vegetarian. However, please realize this is not possible for everyone. I like the EarthSave philosophy which is compassion towards all including people and helping people transition to a more plant based diet. Plowing fields and clearing forests to grow crops kills animals too. We all need to become more conscious of where our food comes from what its cost is to our health, the environment and animals. We need to teach ourselves and others how to eat healthy and cheaply without harming the environment.
Corporations like Tyson and other companies who pollute and abuse should be held to much higher standards and boycotted. If you need to eat meat please buy from a small local farmer. Right now agri-business is exempt from the pollution laws that industries have to follow. This needs to change.Our gov. needs to quit substidizing field corn and soy which encourages the building of CAFOs by providing cheap feed.

carol g.
carol g7 years ago

there is a way to do farming ,they need to follow the guide lines, it is NOT the animals fault ,once again ,the humans are at fault ,not so surprising is it ?

Sam Brown
Sam Brown7 years ago

Bah! A $2m fine is a slap on the wrist to a company like Tyson.

The only way to really stop these massive corporate polluters is to hit them where it hurts... their profits.

Boycott Tyson. Let them know exactly why you're refusing to buy their products. Tell all your family and friends, spread the word far and wide! Never underestimate consumer power.

Post this on other forums and other environmental websites. The Internet is the world's greatest communication tool, let's use it for something worthwhile!