BALTIMORE – Attorneys gave closing arguments in a lawsuit filed by activists against a contract poultry farm and Perdue Farms.
In the lawsuit, the Waterkeeper Alliance alleged that chicken manure from Berlin, Md.-based Hudson Farm was polluting local waters that ultimately flow to the Chesapeake Bay. The group argued that Perdue Farms also should be liable for it. Hudson Farm is an independent contractor for Perdue Farms.
Perdue has said the Waterkeeper Alliance failed to prove any wrongdoing or that the company should be responsible for the actions of its contractors. In a statement following closing arguments, the company said:
“In closing arguments today Perdue’s attorneys reiterated that this lawsuit is not about stopping pollution but part of the Waterkeeper Alliance’s war on the poultry industry declared at the Eastern Shore Poultry Summit in 2007. We are confident the judge will see that the Waterkeeper Alliance and Assateague Coastal Trust came to court to advance an agenda rather than right a wrong.”
The statement went on to say that the case should have ended three years ago when Assateague Coastal Trust and the Waterkeeper Alliance discovered that legal biosolids were incorrectly identified as a pile of chicken manure.
“Instead, these radical environmental activists used the taxpayer-funded Univ. of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic to wage a campaign against contemporary animal agriculture — and against a hardworking Maryland farm family,” the statement said. “The trial has finally come to a close, and the Univ. of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic, despite three years of changing accusations, have failed to prove that the poultry houses on the Hudson family farm were a source of pollution, or that Perdue is responsible for the actions of its independent contractors.
“We appreciate Judge Nickerson’s recognition of the importance of this case as evidenced by his attention and diligence in conducting the trial. Despite his giving the plaintiff every opportunity to prove their case, we look forward to being vindicated by his ruling,” the statement concluded.