Egg Tycoon Jack DeCoster: A Career Timeline

If you’ve been following the Iowa egg recall, you know there are numerous horror stories about Wright County Egg owner Jack DeCoster. Now, The Atlantic has published a Greatest Hits collection covering a half century of DeCoster’s misdeeds. It’s the most valuable article I’ve yet seen in response to the Iowa egg recall.

This item, from February 1987, stands out:

A fire in the Turner henhouses kills 100,000 birds. "Normally, to bury 100,000 birds requires a few hours with a backhoe in the field, and you bury them," [former District Attorney] Tierney told me. "They’re not toxic, they don’t contain chemicals—you just bury them, nothing illegal about it." DeCoster, however, decides to leave his birds out in the open. By May, they start to emit horrific odors, upsetting neighbors. It takes a suit in May 1997 to get DeCoster Egg Farms to bury the birds. "It was indicative of an attitude," Tierney said. "They just don’t care."

The article’s conclusion is perfect:

The man who is perhaps the country’s largest egg producer has been allowed to menace the country like a robber baron, holding residents in perpetual fear and discomfort while he does exactly as he pleases. "He goes along for a little while, and then he’ll slip back into past practices," one resident who did not wish to be named in this article told me. We can only wait to see if now, after a national outrage, there will be a next time and a time after that.

Anyone who thinks factory farming isn’t jammed to the gills with people like DeCoster just isn’t paying attention. Link.


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