Group Asks For Tyson’s Help With Reducing Water Pollution

SPRINGDALE (KFSM)-- The group Mighty Earth stood outside of Tyson's World Headquarters Thursday morning (Nov. 30) asking for the company to help make a commitment to help reduce water pollution caused by industrial agriculture.

The group started a national campaign called Clean It Up Tyson.

They received around 63,000 signatures nationwide for their petition for the company.

“The single biggest contributor to water pollution is pollution coming from the meat industry," campaign organizer Jessye Waxman said. "The bulk of that is actually coming from the way that we’re growing corn and soy to feed livestock.”

Waxman explained they believe that if Tyson were to make a commitment to buy sustainable grown animal feed, they could inspire an even bigger change.

“Not only do they have the power to change what’s happening in their supply chain and the grains that are being supplied to them, they have the power to change the industry as a whole," Waxman said. "So they are in this unique position to have a huge impact really outside of what they are able to do like affecting the whole industry.”

She said this is not an anti-Tyson campaign.

The group just wants to help make the company the best it can be.

Tyson officials are aware of the campaign and the amount of signatures they acquired.

Gary Mickelson, external relations with Tyson Foods, said to create the change needed, it would require more groups than just Tyson.

“This is something that requires a coalition of interests," Mickelson said. "Academic experts, farmers, environmental regulators, other environmental groups. All of those entities need to come together to talk about this issue and find out additional ways that progress can be made.”

He continued to say that Mighty Earth is focused on pollution from crop production and that some of the claims from the group are misleading.

Mickelson said Tyson uses grain to feed chickens, but there are other entities who use the crop for other things like producing ethanol or for human consumption.

Waxman said just because the petition has been delivered does not mean their work is done.

In Northwest Arkansas, she said they will continue informing people on the matter and working with local businesses to see this change.