13th March 2023
“Campaigners warned  that the clear waters of the Wye, one of Britain’s best-loved rivers, were being blighted by thick green algae blooms linked to poultry production. Many of the intensive chicken farms in the catchment area of the Wye supply Avara Foods in Hereford, which is the third largest poultry producer in Britain and is jointly owned by the American food business Cargill. It is claimed that vast amounts of manure from chicken farms supplying Avara and other food businesses are washed into the Wye, contaminating the water with excessive phosphate levels that fuel the growth of algae blooms…
Cargill has operated in the UK since 1955 and purchased a major poultry processing plant in Hereford, more than 40 years ago. In 2013 it announced a £35m investment in the plant to increase production of fresh chicken, and five years later it combined its fresh chicken operation in the UK with poultry business Faccenda Foods to form Avara. New intensive poultry units – each housing at least 40,000 chickens – sprung up to meet the demand, and between 2013 and 2017 the number of birds in Herefordshire increased from 13 million to 18 million.
It is now hoped stricter controls and new practices, supported by Cargill and other operators, will help reduce the Wye pollution. Some farms are installing biomass boilers to generate heat from chicken manure, while other farms are sending the poultry litter to anaerobic digestion plants.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/25/chicken-farm-giant-linked-to-river-wye-decline-was-sued-over-water-blight-in-us?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
How sustainable is our current meat focused diet? Is there scope for change that can create a better world?