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Time for Perdue to clean up its act [Letter]

Regarding the recent article, "Phosphorus reduction in bay losing steam in places" (June 15), it is important to note that legislation addressing the issues exposed has already been drafted.

Farmers are often attacked for problems that stem beyond their control. The corporations that create (and monopolize) the massive poultry industry in Maryland must be held accountable for the pollution of our Chesapeake Bay. These large companies not only own the birds raised at many of the farms in question but they also leave the responsibility of the waste to their own contract farmers. Perdue Farms Inc., along with the handful of large chicken businesses on Maryland's Eastern Shore, should be forced to stop hiding behind farmers and to take responsibility for the environmental harms their industrial system creates.

The Poultry Fair Share Act, a bill introduced last legislative session, would have been a great step forward in this direction, as it called for a five-cents-per-bird tax that would have helped support the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund.

As it now stands, farmers, Maryland taxpayers and small business owners are bearing the economic burden of this damage.

It is clear that the concentration of large chicken corporations (like Perdue) on Maryland's Eastern Shore is a huge problem for farmers, taxpayers and the Chesapeake Bay. The question is, do our legislators have the political foresight to do something about it?

I hope that in the future our representatives will sponsor legislation like the Poultry Fair Share Act in order to ensure the poultry industry cleans up its act.

Cara Schulte, Baltimore

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Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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