Billboards in Top Poultry Producing Region Urge Transition to Cell-Cultivated Chicken to Curb Bay Pollution
SALISBURY, Md.—Two billboards near Salisbury Mayor Randy Taylor’s office ask: “Salisbury: Want a Solution To Poultry Pollution? Start The Transition To Cell-Cultivated Chicken.” The billboards show a striking image of a girl embracing a white hen. Viewers are directed to SwitchToCultivatedMeat.org.
The billboards will be installed the week of Dec. 18, and they will remain posted until Jan. 14, 2024. The billboards will be located on US 13, east side, north of E. Main Street (facing north) and on US 13, west side, south of Newton Street (facing south).
The billboards are sponsored by the nonprofit public health group the Physicians Committee, which has about 17,000 doctor members, including 746 physicians in Maryland.
“The two billboards will alert Mayor Taylor that, due to technological advances, the future of chicken production is changing from one in which chickens are slaughtered to cell-cultivated meat production,” says Dr. Roxanne Becker, MBChB, DiplBLM, a spokesperson for the Physicians Committee. “Cell-cultivated chicken removes food safety concerns and environmental degradation associated with large-scale poultry production and presents significant opportunity for economic growth associated with new cell-cultivated meat facilities.”
Two Physicians Committee Maryland members, Drs. Kristen Gialo, of Easton, and Asha Subramanian, of Rockville, asked Mayor Taylor in a letter Dec. 8 if he would make a proclamation encouraging Salisbury residents to learn more about cell-cultivated chicken.
“Large-scale poultry operations produce huge amounts of waste and contribute to waterways overloaded with phosphorous and other pollutants, causing significant damage to the Chesapeake Bay,” they say in the letter. “According to a study in the journal Science of The Total Environment, the Eastern Shore poultry industry is a major contributor to overall nitrogen loads entering the bay. By contrast, cell-cultivated chicken meat is grown without producing chicken manure.”
The Maryland physicians also file a complaint today demanding that Maryland Secretary of the Environment Serena Coleman McIlwain urge Maryland’s largest poultry producer, Perdue, to invest at least 50% of its research and development funding in 2024 to transitioning to cell-cultivated meat. It can do so at its Salisbury R&D facility.
Looking into the future of food production, one of the largest meat companies in the U.S., Cargill, invested $400 million in Upside Foods for the manufacture of cell-cultivated meat, according to CNBC.
Upside Foods will soon open a new 187,000-square-foot facility near Chicago for the large-scale production of cell-cultivated meat, which Illinois Gov. Pritzker is welcoming enthusiastically as it will provide good-paying jobs and help create a sustainable future.
As reported by MedPage Today, delegates of the American Medical Association passed a resolution stating that large-scale livestock operations "may be a public health hazard," and calling for the EPA and appropriate parties to tighten restrictions on pollution from these operations. In Maryland, there are about 525 large-scale livestock operations according to the EPA.
“As the industry shifts toward cell-cultivated meat, our Chesapeake Bay will be cleaner, workers will be safer, and fewer contaminants will enter our food supply,” the letter says.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.