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A Toxic Tour Through Maryland's Industrial Poultry Landscape
Toxic Tour

Using a recent article in the New York Times on Maryland's poultry industry, an itinerary could be cobbled up together that might begin at a “farm with 150,000 chickens.” There, peripatetic toxic tourists will marvel and then scale “mountains of manure” before undertaking a typical British ramble through the drainage basin of the Chesapeake Bay, scoping the terrain for lesser contour lines, for swales, for ditches where rivulets and streams spiked with phosphorous and nitrogen might be flowing en route to the estuary and its oxygen-depleted algae gardens — reading the landscape with the hermeneutic attention of a Talmudic scholar, as it were.

Like any rambler with rights of way, or for that matter the overwhelming odor from “650 million pounds of chicken manure” which drifts about, indifferent to territory and borders like a vaporous cloud, they will not be confined by and indeed can trespass over metes and bounds.

Toxic Tour

For fans of the vernacular architecture of pre-crisis industrial agriculture and Flickr habituĂ©, there will be plenty of opportunity to take photographs of the tour's architectural highlight: “500-foot-long chicken houses [that] stretch from the roadways like airplane hangars” and whose “gigantic fans suction ammonia from the birds’ waste, filling the air for miles around.”

On agro
  • Morgan FitzPatrick Andrews
  • January 23, 2009 at 7:38:00 PM CST
  • IS this what Michael Pollan is talking about when he describes the indystry standard of "free-range"?

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