Poultry industry groups responded sharply this week to criticisms of the industry’s environmental performance, especially in the Chesapeake Bay region, by the environmental advocacy arm of the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts. The industry dismissed the criticism as a “cheap shot” that failed to account for much of what the industry is doing to protect the environment.

 “The fact that Pew seems to be unaware of the scope of environmental progress underway in the poultry community is evidence that this report is little more than a cheap shot at a responsible business,” said a statement released by the National Chicken Council and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and separately by Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.

 The Pew Environment Group, a Washington office of the multi-million dollar Charitable Trusts, held a press conference in Washington to decry the industry’s concentration in the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia peninsula and call for stricter regulation of its environmental performance.  The report echoed many criticisms of agricultural concentration and consolidation made in a similar study released by another Pew-funded project three years ago.

“Broiler chickens (raised for their meat) are produced by the millions in industrial facilities concentrated in just a handful of states, and much of the waste they produce ends up polluting the nation’s waterways,” the Pew report said.

 The industry rebuttal listed many of the specific steps taken by poultry producers and processors and the regulatory requirements they must meet.  It noted:  “The poultry community has already taken meaningful steps to further reduce nutrient impacts on the environment.  The sources of nutrients into the Chesapeake Bay and other watersheds are ubiquitous. EPA acknowledges the positive steps agriculture has implemented in reducing its environmental footprint in the Bay region, even as the nutrient contribution from non-agricultural sources continues to grow. ”

 The industry’s response is posted to the Web site www.nationalchickencouncil.com.

A podcast interview with NCC Communications Director Richard Lobb on the response to the Pew report is posted to www.poultrycast.com.