Tyson Foods Pleads Guilty to Violating Clean Water Act

Tyson Foods, America’s worst company, pleaded guilty in a federal court today to polluting water in Missouri. Tyson will pay a $2 million criminal fine (an amount lower than the bonus received by Tyson CEO Tom Hayes), serve two years probation, and pay $500,000 to “maintain and restore” the water they polluted, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. It’s little consolation to local residents and the estimated 108,000 fish Tyson employees killed as a result of the pollution.

Under the terms of the agreement, Tyson must implement steps that include hiring an independent third-party auditor to monitor Tyson’s compliance with the Clean Water Act and hazardous waste laws and increased training to prevent the recurrence of their polluting addiction.

Tyson’s violation of the Clean Water Act should come as no surprise as the company has a sordid history of pollution, law-breaking, mistreatment of employees, and cruelty to animals. It’s one of the many reasons thousands of residents of Tonganoxie, Kansas recently blocked Tyson from building a factory to slaughter chickens in their backyard.

If Missouri residents think Tyson’s environmental destruction is appalling–and it is, they should see what Tyson employees do to chickens. Tyson has a tradition of torture. But as a Tonganoxie’s protest sign read, “Tyson exists because people eat chickens.” As more and more people transition to plant-based meats, the pollution and cruelty from companies like Tyson will be history.

2 thoughts on “Tyson Foods Pleads Guilty to Violating Clean Water Act

  1. I live in Tonganoxie and have been very active opposing the Tyson project here, but I have never seen the sign “Tyson exists because people eat chickens.” This story makes Tonganoxie sound like vegan central, and I can assure you the vast majority eat meat…and we like it, thank you very much.

    Not eating chicken has nothing to do with Tonganoxie’s opposition to dropping a heavy industrial complex in a semi urban residential area. Tonganoxie has a rich history in animal agriculture from dairy to beef cattle. We are not against animal Ag. Thank you, though, for the news article about Tyson’s latest court case.

    1. Hi Kirk,

      Thank you for your note and advocacy. For whatever reason you oppose Tyson, I appreciate your voice.

      I don’t think anyone mistakes Kansas for a vegan mecca. Photos of vegan animal advocates at a Tonganoxie Tyson protest appeared in Kansas newspapers. I included one of them in a previous article on the topic. I think it’s widely understood though that the vast majority of opposition was the result of the influx of low paying, dangerous jobs and threats to local air and water as far as I could discern from the town hall with Tyson officials and local news coverage.

      Having said that, it’s presumptuous to state that “not eating chicken has nothing to do with Tonganoxie’s opposition” as there are, of course, animal advocates in Tonganoxie who are familiar with Tyson’s history of cruelty. Some of them did indeed attend protests.

      Animal agriculture disrupts air and water purity, kills wildlife, releases greenhouse gases, presents dangerous, low paying jobs, and exploits, confines, abuses, and slaughters animals in unthinkable ways. It’s the nature of the business. Fortunately, healthier, delicious, humane, and more sustainable plant-based meats that mirror the taste, texture, and smell of animal-based meat are increasing in popularity.

      Thank you again for taking a stand against Tyson. Hopefully the reason you opposed them will register with them and cause them to make improvements.

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