5 years after headlines, SC monks grow mushrooms

BRUCE SMITH Associated Press Published:

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (AP) -- Almost five years after an animal rights group complained about the treatment of chickens by a Roman Catholic abbey in South Carolina, the monks are earning their daily bread with mushrooms.

It hasn't been easy for Mepkin Abbey north of Charleston. Brother John Corrigan oversees the growing of oyster and shiitake mushrooms and says there were times he wanted to give up.

Now, he says they're making almost as much from mushrooms as they did from eggs.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals accused the abbey of running a factory egg farm. The abbey said there was nothing wrong and state and federal officials took no enforcement actions.

But the publicity was a distraction for the monks who settled on mushrooms as a new way to support the abbey.