The eco-advocacy group Environment America reported that Tyson Foods is responsible for dumping more waste into US waterways than almost any other company in this country. Between 2010 and 2014, Tyson and its subsidiaries dumped 104 million pounds of pollutants into America’s waters—the second-largest toxic discharge reported during those years, behind only AK Steel Holding Corporation. 30 This pollution creates “dead zones” and contaminates drinking water.
Another major producer, Perdue Farms, was also on Environment America’s top ten list of water polluters. Between 2010 and 2014, the famous chicken firm dumped 31 million pounds of pollutants into rivers, streams, and other waterways. Chickens raised in these factory farms are often kept in tiny, cramped cages and exposed to very little sunlight. In fact, fewer than 9 percent of hens in the United States are raised without cages, according to United Egg Producers.
In 2014, a former Perdue factory worker released a video explaining the true horrors of factory-farmed poultry. It shows USDA certified (not organic) chickens restricted to spaces smaller than a square foot, as well as birds, obviously in pain, walking around with open sores and other deformities. 31 These concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are also hotbeds for bacterial infections lik e Salmonella, in part because there’s no mandate to control such infections on the farms or in hatcheries.
SUMMING IT UP
Whenever possible, you should eat pasture-raised chicken that’s been fed an appropriate diet; that means organic but not vegetarian. This chicken meat will be tastiest and most nutritious. Plus, you can feel relatively confident that pasture-raised birds were not subjected to cruel and unsanitary conditions or treated with arsenic or antibiotics. Eating pasture-raised chicken also lessens the risk of food poisoning due to contamination with harmful, potentially deadly bacteria.