A documentary video called “Collateral Damage: Farm Families” that chronicles the Waterkeeper Alliance’s lawsuit against Perdue Farms and contract growers Alan and Kristin Hudson. The video is presented by Save Farm Families and can be seen online.
According to Save Farm Families, the video “reviews the questionable political and academic actions that enabled the New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance to push forward with its lawsuit against the Hudson family, and the continuing threat that environmental extremists pose to family farmers, not just in Maryland, but across the nation.”
The Hudsons, who farm near Maryland’s Eastern Shore, were targeted by environmental group the Waterkeeper Alliance and its local affiliate, Assateague Coastal Trust, when the group in 2009 decided to challenge the poultry industry and its potential impact on water quality.
When the Waterkeeper Alliance conducted flyovers of area farms and saw what it believed to be a large pile of chicken manure on the Hudsons’ property. However, what they actually saw was not poultry manure. The environmental group proceeded with the case anyway.
The plaintiffs in the suit were represented by the University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic.
After nearly three years of litigation, the judge ruled against the Waterkeeper Alliance, chastising the organization for not conducting adequate research. He also criticized the university’s law clinic. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was equally bothered by the university law clinic’s handling of the case, calling it a “misuse of state resources.”While the Hudsons won the suit, they still had legal expenses to pay. Those expenses were covered by efforts from area farmers and organizations, including Save Farm Families.