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E-M:/ Sierra Club RapSheet on Animal Factories and Meat Processing Facilities Released

Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE									                           CONTACT:
August 13, 2002									            Anne Woiwode  517-484-2372

“RapSheets” Expose Violations by 240 Animal Factories and Meat Processing
Nine Michigan Facilities on the List
Sierra Club Report & Online Database, Searchable by State and Operator,
Document Worker Endangerment, Pollution Spills and Animal Cruelty Violations

Lansing, MI—Just weeks after the second-largest beef recall in history, the
Sierra Club released a report today exposing hundreds of criminal and civil
violations committed by America’s largest animal factories and meat
processing facilities.  The report, The RapSheet on Animal Factories,
documents convictions at corporate animal factories for bribery, records
destruction, fraud, animal cruelty, worker endangerment, and pollution
violations.  The report includes a RapSheet for nine Michigan facilities,
including three meat processing plants and six animal factories (some no
longer in operation).  Neighbors of factory farms, consumers and reporters
can search the database at http://www.sierraclub.org/factoryfarms/rapsheets
to see what's been going on in their communities.

“The price of industrial meat, dairy and egg production today in the United
States is pollution of our water, unsafe working conditions, contaminated
meat on our store shelves, and illegal treatment of livestock,” said Anne
Woiwode, Director of Michigan Sierra Club Chapter.  “America’s consumers
need to know the real costs and threats posed by large-scale, industrialized
animal agriculture to their families and communities.”

Among other findings, the RapSheet documents 60 misdemeanor or felony
charges against 50 companies and their managers, 43 public health recalls
that total approximately 67,000 tons of meat, hundreds of manure spills, and
over $50 million in criminal fines. Violations documented in the on-line
database include:

·	21 deaths and 100 illnesses in 22 states caused by hot dogs produced by
Bil Mar Foods of Zeeland, part of Sara Lee Corporation, that were
contaminated with listeriosis. Two other Michigan meat-processing
facilities, General Meat Distributors of Detroit and Thorn Apple Valley at
Walker West and Grand Rapids, are also cited in the database.
·	Contamination of state waterways by six large scale dairies, including
Walnutdale Farms near Wayland, which dumped manure into a tributary of the
Little Rabbit River repeatedly since 1992, and then defied orders by the
state to come into compliance for more than three years.  Sierra Club has
brought suit against Walnutdale Farms under the Clean Water Act, reaching an
interim settlement in which the facility increased storage for manure, but a
final settlement has not yet been struck.

The RapSheet report highlights violations committed by ten of “America’s
Least Wanted Animal Factories.”  Companies who earned the title of “Least
Wanted” include Buckeye Egg Farm, Cargill Pork Inc., ConAgra Beef Company,
ContiGroup-PSF, DeCoster Farms, Foster Farms, Sand Livestock Systems,
Seaboard Farms, Smithfield Foods and Tyson Foods.  While the RapSheet report
focuses on the largest offenders, an online database available on the Sierra
Club website profiles more than 240 industrial meat factories that have
violated public health and environmental protections.  Because anyone can
access the online database, it is intended to serve as a powerful tool for
citizens who want to hold corporate polluters accountable and keep them out
of their communities.

“Sierra Club’s report is shining a light on the dark side of America’s love
of meat, dairy and egg products, and how industrial agriculture has high
jacked the American farm and our expectations for clean environment and
foods.” said Woiwode.

The online database documents will be updated as documentation about
facilities is researched and verified.  Despite repeated violations of
environmental and public health laws, many of the companies highlighted in
the RapSheets continue to receive millions of dollars every year from the
School Lunch Program and other Federal Food Assistance Programs.


The RapSheet on Animal Factories is available online at:

Anne Woiwode, Staff Director, Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
109 East Grand River Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48906
517-484-2372; fax 517-484-3108  anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org
visit the Mackinac Chapter on the web at http://michigan.sierraclub.org

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