Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., head of the Waterkeepers Alliance, recently said of the pork industry: “Let me tell you, the best thing would be if this industry did leave the country.” Kennedy, who estimates potential “damages” of up to $13 billion in tobacco-style lawsuits against pork producers, does not plan to stop there. Referring to the poultry and beef industries, he said last year: “We’re starting with hogs. After the hogs, then we are going after the other ones.”
He’s now getting a bit of help from the Sierra Club, which has launched a lawsuit against Tyson Foods in Kentucky, claiming that the poultry producer’s farms were harming the environment. Kennedy’s group has eyed chicken farms in Oklahoma in the past, and this could be the first step in a calibrated activist play against poultry.
The Sierra Club is hardly objective on the issue. Like Kennedy, the group is using pollution claims to try to shut down meat production. One Sierra Club state director argued recently that inexpensive and plentiful meat products are bad, writing: “If you choose to buy meats from the supermarket counters — and it comes from one of the large companies — enjoy your meal. It is costing you and others many times what you paid.” His “solution”: “Purchase meats grown by sustainable” methods (which cost consumers more). Kennedy is more blunt. He vows to put “an end to this industry.”