Egg farms fined

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1996:

PORTLAND––A team of prominent
Maine business executives on November
7 abandoned efforts to fix employee living and
working conditions at DeCoster Egg Farms,
near Portland, complaining of noncooperation
by owner Austin “Jack” DeCoster, who faces
Labor Department fines of up to $3.6 million
for violations of housing, safety, and sanitation
standards. The Labor Department separately
sued DeCoster on October 20, seeking
unpaid back wages owed to approximately
100 workers. Five days later, Iowa Labor
Commissioner Byron Orton announced fines
of $489,950 against DeCoster for safety violations
at a satellite egg facility. DeCoster is the
world’s top brown eggs producer.

T O L E D O––The Ohio EPA on
October 18 proposed a $128,000 fine against
the AgriGeneral egg farm in LaRue, Ohio,
for polluting a Scioto River tributary. The
farm, with 2.5 million hens, in September
1995 became the first of six AgriGeneral facilities
planned for LaRue to come on line. Two
more egg farms, two pullet operations, and a
feedmill are reportedly still in the works. The
fine was announced one day after publication
of an expose of substandard living conditions
for migrant workers at an unlicensed
AgriGeneral labor camp. The allegations
were confirmed on November 4 by the Ohio
health department, which gave AgriGeneral
five days to meet licensing standards.

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