Friday, July 9, 2010

Contained Animal Feeding Operations

CAFOs, for short, are large chicken farms, housing upwards of 25,000 chickens per 30,000 square foot house. Some farming operations, which are backed primarily by Perdue and Mountaire along the Eastern shore of Maryland, have more than 20 chicken houses. That's roughly half a million chickens, often more. I spent a few days traveling around, meeting farmers and taking photos of chicken farms from the road. Perdue and Mountaire both put heavy restrictions on access to their houses. They tell you it's for sanitary reasons, which is legitimate, but farmers, like Carole Morison, have lost contracts for speaking out against the poultry industry's practices, especially to the press. So while I haven't actually gotten into a CAFO yet, I did snap a few decent shots of large-scale CAFO operations all over the Eastern shore.

Carole Morison stands in front of her abandoned chicken houses on her property in Pocomoke City, MD. She currently leases out her farmland since losing her contract with Perdue several years ago. However, she says she has plans for a "Free Range" chicken operation to help educate on sustainable farming practices.

Photos © Jason Lenhart

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