Pilgrim’s Pride no longer building Etowah County chicken rendering plant

Pilgrim’s Pride said it is no longer seeking to build a plant to serve pet food ingredients in Etowah County, The Gadsden Times reported Friday.

“Al-Hajj regrets that he will not have the opportunity to contribute to Gadsden’s economic development,” Cameron Pruitt, the company’s head of corporate affairs, said in a statement to the newspaper.

AL.com’s efforts to reach out to the company were not immediately successful.

The plant was to be built on land owned by the Gadsden Airport Authority. Vegetarian banners bearing the words “refuse to apply” appeared throughout the area as residents expressed their opposition.

“While we remain confident in the merits of our proposed project, the recent Gadsden Airport Authority vote shows that there is no interest in selling or leasing its land for economic development,” Bruett continued to The Times.

“As such, Pilgrim’s has petitioned the Etowah County Court to dismiss the pending litigation and we will not pursue our proposed project with the Gadsden Airport Authority.”

The proposed rendering factory was a highly controversial project that gripped the community for months, involving demonstrations and a highly-orchestrated opposition campaign that made its own bid for the property in question.

Opponents said the proposed terminal would be smelly and dangerous, bring in too much traffic and possibly pose a risk to airport operations.

The project was the inspiration behind several banners around Itoah County that read “Refuse to apply” and “Stop the stink.”

The case judge wrote in June that the plant, located near homes, schools and at least one church, would receive 120 truckloads of dead chicken and chicken parts around the clock each day.

Gadsden Mayor Sherman Gayton told WIAT 42 he was disappointed that Pilgrim’s Pride wouldn’t come to the area.

“It was just a big hoax mission and it got killed before it got off the ground,” Gayton told the station.

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