Jonathan Safran Foer writers about Smithfield Farms (which is currently selling itself to a Chinese corporation, Shuanghui, for 4.6 billion U.S. dollars,
Here is part of what Foer writes about Smithfield’s contribution to polluting our environment through animal waste:
“…Smithfield spilled more than twenty million gallons of lagoon waste into the New River in North Carolina. The spill remains the largest environmental disaster of its kind and is twice as big as the iconic Exxon Valdez spill six years earlier. The spill released enough liquid manure to fill 250 Olympic-sized swimming pools. In 1997, as reported by the Sierra Club in their damning “RapSheet on Animal Factories,” Smithfield was penalized for a mind-blowing seven thousand violations of the Clean Water Act….” (178.)
Here is what Smithfield writes on its website about its environmental efforts:
“In fiscal 2012, we continued to demonstrate progress toward our targets. We are particularly proud that not one of our 460 company-owned farms received a notice of violation (NOV), and our overall company-wide number of NOVs was nearly half that of the previous year�a sign of the continued effectiveness of our compliance programs. We aspire to reach a point where 100 percent compliance is no longer a goal but a given.
The investments we have made in new systems and programs are paying off, and we�re using these successes to foster greater improvements for the future. For example, we�re taking an even closer look at our water impacts on a local level, and we�re exploring innovative partnerships to convert hog manure into energy.”
What is your response to the two opposing pictures drawn by Safran Foer and Smithfield (website)? What reasons can you give for the polarized pictures of factory farm reality? (150-200 words)