Foxes in the Henhouse: Agribusiness Execs and the EPA

The EPA just announced new members of its Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee (FRRCC). Dennis Treacy, the Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer at Smithfield Foods is among the appointees.  The FRRCC is an independent committee that advises the EPA on issues such as non-source point water pollution, agricultural air quality, and environmental markets.  Smithfield Foods is the world’s largest pork producer and processor, factory farm granddaddy, and environmental, antitrust, and labor law violator.  Add to that dodgy international practices and an arguably central role in causing the “swine flu” epidemic in 2009, and we have to wonder what on earth a Smithfield exec is doing advising the EPA on ANYTHING!

Surely, it is Smithfield’s “Core Values” that qualify Mr. Treacy to sit on the FRRCC.  The company now lists “To protect the environment” and “To have a positive impact on our communities” as 2 of their 5 core values. The other values of the moment are “To produce safe, high-quality, nutritious food”, “To be an employer of choice” and “To advance animal welfare”.  These would be better named, “Things we continually violate, destroy or are sued for”.


Smithfield was fined by the EPA for violation of the Clean Water Act –the $12.6 million fine was the third largest civil penalty ever issued by the EPA.

The US Department of Justice assessed Smithfield $900,000 in 2009 because of illegal merger activity with Premium Standard Farms LLC in 2006.

The National Labor Relations Board won a lawsuit against Smithfield in 2006 for an unfair union organizing election.

Smithfield has continually come under fire for the use of gestation stalls and farrowing crates in pig production, the former they vowed to phase out in 10 years, but then recanted.

And while Smithfield denies it to the teeth, local sources claim that production practices at a Smithfield subsidiary in Perote, Mexico helped cause the “swine flu”, or “NAFTA flu” epidemic of 2009.

So, Smithfield, give me a break with these “Core Values”.  These are the “Core Areas” where you are failing miserably, but instead of changing course (why would you when you continue to reign supreme in the agbiz world?), you name them and call them your values.  This may work for impressing your investors and dazzling your public with shiny propaganda brochures, and it may help you get execs on “independent” legislative committees, but it’s embarrassing.

In addition to Mr. Treacy, agribusiness is further represented on the FRRCC by Tom McDonald, the Vice President for Environmental Affairs at JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding; Steven Balling (Committee Chair), a Director at Del Monte Foods; and Janis McFarland from Syngenta.  Here is a full list of the new committee.

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One Response to Foxes in the Henhouse: Agribusiness Execs and the EPA

  1. Rob says:

    What can anyone say?

    Such a fraudulent criminal hoax now exists in every segment of our civilization at the very highest levels.

    This is “business as usual.” This translates from Orwellian Double-Speak to “Violent Rape of Mother Earth and all her children as a human sacrifice to the God Mammon and his cousin Moloch, as usual.”

    And still some are just not sure and need more experts to give them statistics.

    Smithfield, whose advertised pious benevolence is for the highest good of every creature great and small, has the finest experts in the world.

    Government certified.

    So, how does one deal with totally psychopathic behavior?

    I am for life imprisonment with no pardon or parole for these very ill people. Not because I want to punish them but because they are far too dangerous to society to be on the loose. They should receive the best medical treatment available including continuing education about how Life and the Universe operates.

    I am for putting them up in a maximum security hotel where they have access to things that will possibly uplift their dying spirits and heal their diseased souls.

    All the dysfunctions brought about by those who control all the money, manipulate nations through energy and war, steal trillions on a daily basis and feel that they are superior to the rest of the human race, can easily be corrected.

    It is called the reestablishment of the Rule of Law and the simple recognition of basic Human Rights. In such an enlightened environment, criminals can actually experience rehabilitation, however, in this case “rehabilitation” does not mean an opportunity to defraud the world ever again.

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