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South East Queensland Regional Environment Coordination Network


23 November, 2004

Groups Come Together To Fight Pollution from the Poorly Regulated Intensive Meat Chicken Industry

A new alliance, the Sustainable Poultry Alliance, has been formed to push for more sustainable planning and operations of intensive broiler sites in South-East Queensland. At an inaugural meeting last week affected residents from three areas (Beaudesert, Minden and the Pumicestone Passage) and the Brisbane Region Environment Council formed the alliance.

"With the advent of tunnel ventilation systems and massive expansion in the numbers of birds this activity has gone beyond simple farming and should be regarded as a potentially highly polluting intensive industry. This means they need strong enforceable regulation under the Environment Protection Act and local planning schemes" said Michael Petter Coordinator of the Brisbane Region Environment Council

"We have been battling to get proper planning and regulation for many years and while we have some success the industry is still polluting neighbouring lands and affecting people's health" said Robyn Keenan from Beaudesert.

"The new technologies and mass production promote an unsustainable system with too much waste, dust, gas and bacteria for a healthy neighbourhood. They have no right to impact beyond their boundaries."

"In Esk shire we have a commercial venture exploiting an outdated and weak planning scheme and using flim-flam to foist a proposal on the local community that is no where near best practice for the industry" said from Bruce Young from Minden.

"In the Ningy Creek of the Southern Pumicestone we have seen a massive increase in the numbers of birds being grown and along with this we have seen increases in air and water pollution which could kill downstream fisheries and oyster farms" said Rob King from the recreational fishing group Sunfish. "It doesn't make sense to promote this high pollution industry upstream from an internationally significant Ramsar area. A link between the expansion of this industry and the Lyngbya blooms in the passage can not be ruled out." he continued.

"For too long the EPA has played patty cake with the intensive poultry-meat industry leaving local residents and the environment to suffer the impacts. The EPA should upgrade its policies and standards relating to this industry, we need tough standards for air and water emissions, we need proper waste tracking and regulation of waste transporters. Modern intensive poultry production in not farming. The birds are densely packed in sealed sheds and never see the light of day. Large exhaust fans are needed to clear the sheds of the large amounts of gaseous wastes produced in these bird factories. We need SEQROC and the EPA to agree on common tough standards across the region to stop the industry moving to areas of weak regulation" said Mr Petter.

The alliance will be coordinating the efforts of the different groups to bring this issue to the notice and resolution by the government and industry.

For More Information
Michael Petter BREC 39015577
Robyn Keenan 55 431102
Bruce Young 54 268559
Rob King Sunfish 54 988335

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