The hog and poultry farm task force article “Farmers, tired of regulation, balk at joining hog farm task force,” January-February 2000, bears strong resemblance to a similar situation in the mid-20th century in New York state.

On the Great South Bay situated on eastern Long Island, duck farms proliferated. Every stream had pens with hundreds of thousands of ducks. Driving along in that area, one saw white ducks by the jowl. Long Island duckling appeared on every menu in every market.

Simultaneously, watermen harvested luscious Blue Point oysters in large numbers.

Duck excrement slowly oozed into the bay. Oyster beds began to disappear, along with the fish and crabs.

It took a long while to identify the problem. Then a mighty roar arose from the bay men. The duck farmers maintained their right to make a living. This went on with governmental authorities dodging every which way.

Result: a lose-lose situation. Oysters disappeared, and have still not recovered. Crabs disappeared and are only now returning in small numbers. Some fishing has returned.

After the damage was done, sewage treatment requirements were enacted that forced the duck farms out of business. Everyone lost.

Alfred A. Gruber
Newark, DE