A new report found that 75 percent of large US slaughterhouses broke the federal Clean Water Act by overstepping water pollution limits issued in their state permits at least once between January 2016 to June 30, 2018, according to Environmental Integrity Project (EIP).
EIP scoured EPA and state records for those pertaining to the 98 largest slaughterhouses that discharge waste directly into waterways and discovered contamination from excessive fecal bacteria, pathogens among nitrogen, among others. These slaughterhouses are mainly owned by big corporations like Smithfield, Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride, an international conglomerate.
EIP found that little enforcement of clean water laws or penalties against polluters were taken by state regulators or the EPA. The lack of accountability for slaughterhouse pollution sadly makes sense considering that “almost half of these slaughterhouses are in small, rural, communities, where more than 30 percent of their residents live beneath the poverty line,” as noted by Eric Schaeffer, executive director at EIP a former EPA enforcement director.