Letter to the editor: Response to Tyson

September 28, 2017

To the editor:

(Dear Tyson,)

On behalf of the citizens from Tonganoxie and surrounding areas who have flocked together by the thousands to oppose your proposed $320 million poultry processing plant, I’d personally like to apologize if we have ruffled any feathers.

It’s just that we don’t appreciate back-door politics and non-disclosure agreements. They’ll drop our property values, irreversibly pollute our waterways and air, impact the future of our children and substantially increase our taxes, to your benefit.

We don’t believe your environmental/sustainability efforts in your letter. One only has to Google “Tyson Chicken environmental issues” to begin to unravel what has been a legacy of revolting, deceptive and unconscionable practices, including repeated fines for repeated offenses (e.g., 20 felony violations of the Clean Water Act in 2003, $3.96 million for violations of the Clean Air Act in KS, MO, NE and IA).

We believe in treating animals humanely and are repulsed by numerous articles detailing horrific accounts of animal abuse, of which any company should long ago have imposed stricter controls.

We appreciate the offer of 1,600 jobs, but when we read in Forbes Magazine, the Washington Post, etc., that poultry workers have complained of being denied bathroom breaks and, thereby, have been forced to urinate upon themselves or wear diapers — or that these workers can end up crippled for life because of repetitive motions, we have decided to pass on your generous offer.

You can throw all the promises of good corporate citizenship you want at us via your Open Letter, but we’ve uncovered too many negatives and wrongdoings to be persuaded. Your track record has galvanized Tonganoxie against you and you are crying “fowl.” We hope you select another location.

Until we know you’re gone for sure, however, we’ll continue to attend city and county meetings to ensure full transparency, continue the grassroots effort led by Citizens Against Project Sunset and demand that our politicians who have not responded to our collective voice hear us and do the right thing.

Julie H. Downes


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