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The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Molly Ivins devoted a chapter to poultry workers in 2004, based on research she started publishing in 1999:

    Lest you think hideous working conditions are found only in the Third World, consider the case of Big Chicken, the poultry industry in America.

    Workers in chicken factories endure conditions that would shame Guatemala or Honduras. Many stand for hours on end in sheds that reek of manure, or chop chickens all day in cold, dark plants, or are constantly scratched by live chickens that have to be crammed into cages by the thousands.

    The New York Times reported that the Rev. Jim Lewis, an Episcopal priest whose assignment is to improve the lives of poultry workers, once led a wildcat strike against a plant where a worker was fired after he had a finger cut off. The wages are so low, workers often qualify for welfare. And as Texans know from our experience with Big Chicken in East Texas, these plants are often notorious polluters as well, fouling both air and water.

You can go to the grocery store and get a whole fryer for about $4. Want it "organic?" that's about $7. If you want a farmer's market chicken, they're around $25. That's about $21 worth of externalities per chicken.