Fox in the Annapolis Hen House
There are three bills coming up in Annapolis that would negatively impact Maryland’s poultry industry: anti-chicken manure (SB 496 on 2/23 and HB 599 on 2/24), anti-feed bill (HB 1163 on 3/2), and mandatory unionization (HB 1496 on 3/2 and SB 761 on 3/9).
At the beginning of this month, there was a conference announcing the anti-farmer initiative by urban/suburban politicians who are bent on destroying the vital poultry industry in Maryland. Among them was a “farmer” who supported their efforts.
Image matters more than truth in Annapolis, and press conferences are particularly based on optics, not substance. Often, the “common” person turns out to be a long time activist, yet the media fails to catch these foxes in the hen house.
“Farmer Carole Morison” is one of those foxes.
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A Maryland Reporter article from February 2nd described Morison as “previously a poultry farmer” who “acknowledged that she had once been ‘part of the problem,’ largely because the company for which she worked backed her into a corner and effectively made her solely responsible for waste disposal.”
Morison, going alternately by “Carol” or “Carole” (the “e” produces different results and makes it harder to investigate her via search engines) was a leader in the “Delmarva Poultry Justice Alliance,” an organization bent on unionizing the poultry industry on the Eastern Shore.
The Labor Studies Journal described the Alliance in a 2003 article: “Unions have been employing new strategies in their attempts to recruit workers in those unorganized sectors. This case study analyzes one such initiative, the Delmarva Poultry Justice Alliance (DPJA), an innovative labor-community coalition that is supporting union organizing in the nation’s expanding poultry industry.”
For two decades, the Alliance waged war on poultry companies, including Perdue, first trying to demand changes that would have bankrupt both the corporations and local farmers, then turning to smear tactics after Perdue cut ties with the members. Their goal is to destroy the industry if they cannot control it.
In 2002, a biased attack on the poultry industry from environmentalists at Johns Hopkins University’s Scholl of Public Health contained a one-sided interview with Morison. Without scientific evidence, Morison, and thus JHU, speculated that there were problems with the feed Perdue provided farmers. Of course, JHU acknowledged that Morison was part of an advocacy group, but it did nothing to correct any potential bias that resulted from including her unchallenged statements.
When the issue of chicken feed appeared again in 2007, Morison was all over the media in her campaign against Perdue. The Baltimore Sun described how she used scare tactics regarding “arsenic”(a completely different level and compound than the dangerous kind) to attack the poultry industry, a different line of attacks from before.
Continuing her war against the industry, Morison was interviewed in 2008’s “Food, Inc,” a scientifically inaccurate attack on the chicken industry that relied on scare tactics to mislead their audience. She depicted Perdue as an evil corporation that was trying to poison both farmers and consumers, which was too much for Perdue. They soon cut her off (warning, extreme environmentalist website) after having tolerated her attacks for years, which only furthered her vendetta against the corporation.
Morison then went after the industry (in 2012, 2013 and 2014) with new claims that Perdue was responsible for allergens released in the poultry raising process, allergens never verified by science. Environmentalist groups opposed to farming in general quickly jumped on the claims and promoted her.
Now she is using the manure issue as another unscientifically proven line of attack. History has shown that when one tactic fails, she soon rallies behind another argument because her goal is solely to take down the industry. In all of her claims, she is promoted by radical environmentalists as just a normal “farmer” as a way to garner sympathy from the average person who is uninformed on the issues.
Carol(e) Morison is less a “farmer” and more a radical environmentalist and union activist who has spent two decades spreading unverified claims to take down the poultry industry.
She is a fox who has been welcomed into the Annapolis hen house.