This letter was sent to editor of the Cape Charles Mirror:
I am writing you because the Eastern Shore of Virginia is in trouble and no one is paying attention. Our community is being assaulted by hundreds of new poultry houses growing millions of birds and newspapers are just ignoring it. Our waters are our lifeblood and they have no protection from these factory farms.
Things are so bad they are trying to arrest the only person talking about these issues. I heard that the young man who is the Shorekeeper was arrested and his wife was brought to tears in a restaurant by poultry farmers yelling at them. She is a teacher at my child’s school and is a lovely woman. These poor people are being attacked for protecting our home and the bay. Someone needs to tell people about the disaster that is happening out here. I have contacted the Virginian pilot and they ignored us when we told them these houses were built next to our horses. What’s happening is not right and we are begging someone to tell the story.
When we read this letter, we immediately contacted Jay C. Ford, the Executive Director of the aforementioned Shorekeeper to validate this account.
According to Mr. Ford, the account is true, but with many moving parts. Ford told the Mirror that he was walking along a creek with an Accomack property owner, following it along to the source of contamination that had been detected. As they traced the path, they unknowingly crossed onto property owned by Tyson. Ford was later served a warrant for trespassing, and was warned not to enter the property in the future.
Sources tell the Mirror that there were also efforts to have Ford arrested, and that calls were made to the Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper Board asking that he be removed from his post as Executive Director. Later that week, Ford and his wife were accosted in an Onancock restaurant by poultry farmers that claimed he was attempting to destroy their livelihood.
These encounters, while disturbing, also highlight the fact that Ford and Eastern Shorekeeper’s success in holding Tyson accountable for its clean water violations has hit a nerve with poultry industry. This may also be a serious counter-volley in what could be the Eastern Shore’s version of the ‘Chicken Wars’. [Read more…]