Hundreds in North Carolina File Complaints over Hog Waste

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fed up with what they say are unbearable odors and pollution, nearly 600 residents of Eastern North Carolina are taking legal action against the world’s largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods.

 

A total of 588 “farm nuisance disputes” were filed last week in the Wake County Courthouse, citing concerns with the storage of hog waste in ponds and the spraying of liquid manure in fields.

 

One of the complainants, Elsie Herring of Wallace, lives on a property that has been in her family for nearly a century. Farmers working at the hog farm next door to her spray hog waste on fields adjoining her property. “Sometime it comes over like it’s raining on us,” Herring told the Raleigh News and Observer. “It holds us prisoner in our own home. It has changed our life entirely.”

 

The citizens will first sit down with Smithfield lawyers and a mediator to try to resolve the complaints. If that fails to produce a resolution, the complainants will file lawsuits against the billion-dollar corporation.

 

Such litigation could become hampered if the North Carolina General Assembly approves hog-farming-friendly legislation that would require any plaintiff who loses a case against Smithfield and others like it to pay for their legal fees.

 

“Anybody knows that is wrong,” Don Webb, another complainant and a long-time opponent of hog farms, told the News & Observer. “This nation can’t go forward not protecting the middle class and the poor from powerful corporations.”

 

Smithfield, which had $13.2 billion in sales last year, has announced that it is being purchased for $7.1 billion by a Chinese company, Shuanghui International Holdings Limited.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman

 

To Learn More:

Hundreds File Complaints over Hog-Farm Waste (by Joseph Neff, Raleigh News & Observer)

Chinese Bid to Buy Largest U.S. Slaughterhouse Company (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

Jury Orders Hog Farm to Pay Locals $11 Million for Foul Odors (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Pork Plant Workers Win Union Contract after 17-Year Fight (by Jacquelyn Lickness, AllGov)

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