Kansas Senate approves chicken house expansion

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In this Tuesday, June 20, 2017 photo, 9-day-old chickens eat a mix of corn and soybeans and drink water inside a chicken house north of Plumerville, Ark. The house, and three others like it nearby, hold 30,000 birds each. When the chickens are 33 days old, they will be taken to a processing plant for slaughter and packaging. Tyson Foods says it will explore more-humane ways to kill the birds, and also that it is using a third-party to monitor videos from the plant to ensure the animals are treated properly. (AP Photo/Kelly P. Kissel)

TOPEKA — Kansas lawmakers have advanced a bill that would allow industrial chicken farms to house more birds closer to homes and communities despite a public outcry last year over a proposed Tyson Foods chicken plant.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that senators on Thursday passed the bill that would increase the number of chickens a producer could have in a concentrated area by changing the formula for determining the number of birds allowed.

Support for the bill was driven by lawmakers wanting to bring large-scale poultry producers and the jobs that come with them.

Opponents argue the facilities harm the environment and communities. The bill comes after residents in northeast Kansas counties successfully beat back a plan Tyson proposed to build a $320 million facility processing 1.2 million birds weekly in Tonganoxie.

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