What’s the matter with Iowa? And Maine? And the federal Department of Natural Resources?

And the federal Department of Agriculture?

All four have allowed Austin “Jack” DeCoster to continue his egg businesses as usual. He owns one of the two operations that recalled almost HALF A BILLION eggs last month.

Here’s part of his record.

1960’s through present– Austin “Jack” DeCoster has owned multiple industrial confinement chicken and hog operations in Iowa, Maine, Ohio and Iowa

1994 – Iowa: four separate penalties for hog waste violations

1997 – Turner, Maine: DeCoster Egg Farms fined and paid $2 million for “unguarded machinery, electrical hazards, exposure to harmful bacteria . . .”

2000 – Iowa: designated DeCoster a “Habitual violator” of  environmental regulations.

2002 – Settlement of more than $1.5 million with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for sexual harassment, rape and abuse on behalf of Mexican workers at DeCoster’s Wright County Iowa plants.

2007 –During one of four raids by federal officers, 51 suspected illegal immigrants were arrested at 6 DeCoster egg farms.

2010 – The Maine successor company to DeCoster Egg Farms  paid $125,000 in court penalties to cover charges of animal cruelty.

2010 – Linked to one thousand cases of salmonella poisoning, Wright County Egg, owned by Austin  “Jack” DeCoster, recalled 380 million eggs.

DeCoster Farms have been investigated and penalized by such agencies as the federal Occupational Safety and Health Commission, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Administration, Maine Human Rights Commissions, EEOC, Maine Department of environmental Protection and Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

He and his companies have paid millions in fines but the business is apparently so lucrative that the fines do not act as a deterrent and may even seem paltry by comparison.

Some in Iowa complain that the DeCoster farms buy large quantities of their corn and employ many local resident. Yet those same people pay a horrible price in the gross contamination of their land.

This month, Congress has subpoenaed DeCoster to explain how eggs from his farms were linked to the recent salmonella outbreak. (Yawn) My bet is that this will accomplish nothing.

Still, it is way past time to stop DeCoster’s desecration of our environment, the pollution of our food and the brutality to animals and humans as well.

It is up to Secretary of Agriculture Ton Vilsack and Secretary of Human Resources Kathleen Sebelius to work together with Iowa Governor Chet Culver, Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin and state Senator Gene Fraise, chair of a legislative committee on agriculture to put DeCoster and his ilk out of business once and for all.

Government officials don’t make it all that easy to contact them. The higher up they are, the less easy it is but this is important enough to try. Here’s how.

Secretary Tom Vilsack

U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250

(202) 720-2791

Secretary Kathleen Sebilius

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Toll Free: 1-877-696-6775

Senator Chuck Grassley

http://grassley.senate.gov/contact.cfm

Senator Tom Harkin

http://harkin.senate.gov/contact.cfm

Governor Chet Culver

http://www.governor.iowa.gov/index.php/constituent_services/contact_us/

(See. It’s getting easier)

and

State Senator Gene Fraise

E-mail: eugene.fraise@legis.state.ia.us

(Easiest of all)

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