Wednesday, March 05, 2008
The Beit Shean Poultry Odor Problem
News ran fast, and the day after my brilliant success in the Southern Turkey War, I received a larger job in the North, from an English-speaking kibbutz in the Beit Shean valley. As remembered (and I do remember, since the bill is yet unpaid), the neighborhood committee sued the Southern turkey empire (20,000 turkeys) that the smell and dust was making their life unsufferable. The judge ordered to close down the farm, but in the last minute, it contracted me as expert witness and I succeeded in demonstrating that the Ministry of Environment tried to impose norms that had not been approved, that an earth and tree barrier could reduce the environmental impact in the case there was one and that the fear of an ammonia odor problem was dead wrong, since poultry growers fight ammonia because birds are super-sensitive to it and it would kill them (I mean kill them before they were sold). Et cetera. Hearing my intervention, the turkeys took a deep breath and animatedly cackled on, continuing to drive crazy the neighborhood. Anyway, the Northern kibbutz, peopled by religious Jews from Anglo Saxon countries, has a vision of its own turkey empire and decided to erect not one, but six big hangars. The kibbutz in question controls the carrot business in Israel and I assume that also in the Gulf and Iraq (the American Army, I hope, has a standing order to enforce the consumption of Israeli carrots. "Soldier, you are not eating your carrots!"). The kibbutz also has two hi tech factories (something electronic) but their business consultants advice them to focus on agriculture.
Israel is the world's more densely populated country (more than Holland), so the inevitable nosy neighbors - smelling a turkey business on their way - are intent on stopping ab ovo Saudi Arabia's King Faysal savouring kosher le-mechadrin Beit Shean Fried Chicken. Kosher le-mechadrin is the highest grade of religious correctness. The Anglo people hired me to map the odor potential and to design a convincing mitigation program. In my opinion, these disputes are won by persistance alone, till the opposition is weared down and gets used living with birds and/or they start to like them. Or as in the Bible, a new generation arises that has never known how it was living without Joseph.
The poultry empire will arise on the antiquities of the Beit Shean Valley, one of the first cities in human history. Beit Shean (I think it means The House of the Sun God) was controlled by Pharaoh Tutmose III (15th Century BCE) and the city is mentioned in several Egyptian texts, one of them a list of cities that the Egyptians conquered in Israel under the pharaoh Shishak (he is also mentioned in the Bible). The Egyptian occupation lasted for 3 centuries. Thereafter it became a Canaanite city. Its first mention in the Bible is also as a Canaanite city. In Judges 1:27 Beit Shean is mentioned as belonging to the conquered area of the Israelite tribe of Manasseh, but in reality the Israelites were unable to take fortified stone cities. The city was conquered by the Israelites' eternal enemy, who did ride on chariots, the Philistines, in the 11th Century BCE. In the famous battle of the Israelites against the Philistines on nearby Mount Gilboa, the dead bodies of King Saul and his son Jonathan were hung on the walls of Beit Shean (1 Samuel 31:10). About this mournful event King David sang his lament (2 Samuel 1:27-27). In his poem David pays homage to King Saul, who pursued David to his death (but did not succeed), and to Jonathan, his best friend "whose love [was] more wonderful than the love of women." Huh?