hog farming

Latest hog farm lawsuit ends with a sad joke


At least a slap on the wrist hurts a little bit:

On Wednesday, the end to a month-long trial came after jurors returned verdicts in favor of all eight plaintiffs, who live near a Sampson County hog farm, and imposed compensatory damages of a little more than $100,000 in all. Neighbors said Smithfield Foods hog operations were damaging to their daily life, complaining of powerful odors, clouds of flies, midnight noises and screeching trucks. Plaintiffs argued they could not enjoy their property enough to host a family barbecue, let kids play outside or tend a garden.

This week’s verdict was the fourth loss for the North Carolina hog industry. The jury awarded $100 compensatory damages to four plaintiffs, $1,000 to two plaintiffs, $25,000 to one and $75,000 to another — an elderly woman who lived closest to the hog farm and grew up there.

A hundred dollars in compensation? What is this, 1818? How many days of work did those four people miss in this month-long trial? I have more questions, but it's doubtful I'd get a straight answer from idiots like Jimmy Dixon:

Hog farm rally *not* held at actual hog farm site

Because who wants to smell that shit anyway:

Most recently, a jury awarded more than $25 million last week to Duplin County residents Elvis and Vonnie Williams, neighbors of the 4,700-hog farm of Joey Carter, a former Beulaville police chief. That was where Republican legislators and other elected officials brought supporters Tuesday for a rally and news conference criticizing the lawsuits and touting a new state farm law that limits when and how hog-farm neighbors can file nuisance suits.

“You work hard every single day to make ends meet, you know the daily struggles of what it’s like to grow pigs or turkeys or chickens or to grow your row crops, and you do that without complaining and the government comes in and passes regulation after regulation,” Lt. Gov. Dan Forest told farmers.

I don't want to be that guy that says "fake news," but this is simply not correct. The spot where this "rally" was held is approximately 3/5 of a mile away from the hogs & lagoon featured in the lawsuit, with a substantial strand of forest separating them. But see, they couldn't invite all those outraged white people to the *real* site, because it's literally a horror show:

Environmental Injustice: Living in Hogland

Talk about your bad neighbors:

The EPA says the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality has not done enough to reduce asthma, stench, flies, truck traffic and other problems caused by the facilities. The federal agency also says it has “grave concerns” about reports from minority neighbors of threats and intimidation against those who have complained.

“North Carolina hog farmers are good neighbors who care deeply about protecting our water and air,” Andy Curliss, chief executive officer of the Pork Council, said in a statement released Wednesday. “We welcome the opportunity to sit down with state regulators and those who live near our farms to address any concerns they may have.”

Oh, Andy. How far you've fallen. You used to investigate stories like this, and uncover the dark secrets behind the shining public façade. Now you are that façade. And you're not just covering up unethical business practices, some of this behavior is not unlike the mafia in its implied violence and brutality:

Living in a porcine nightmare: When CAFOs are next-door neighbors

You might catch a whiff from the highway, but that's nothing in comparison:

One facility sprays hog manure on a field less than a dozen feet from my front door. My family and I can’t dry our clothes on a clothesline anymore, because they would be covered with manure. We can’t garden or hold cookouts with family and friends, because the smell and particles in the air burn our eyes and make us gag. We can’t fish or swim in the rivers and streams near us because they’re polluted with hog manure, and we can’t drink or wash with water from our shallow wells.

And just like when fracking comes to town, those folks can't even sell their property unless they're willing to take pennies on the dollar. It's not right, and it's not a new problem, either. People in Eastern North Carolina have been suffering from this for decades, and nary a finger has been lifted to help them. What do Republicans do? They float a law that would all but destroy NC's solar farm growth, by requiring a setback of 1 1/2 miles from property lines, claiming they pose environmental risks and hurt property values. Standard operating procedure for the GOP; create an imaginary danger and attack it, while ignoring the real danger stinking up the neighborhood and polluting the water. The word, "Irresponsible" just doesn't seem adequate.

Hog farmers upset with waterkeepers

These little piggies went to Raleigh:

The North Carolina Farm Families organization announced earlier this week that activists will gather Thursday at noon in Raleigh's Capitol Square to stand up for hog farmers in the face of recent billboard ads erected by the New York City-based environmental group Waterkeeper Alliance.

The activists say they have gathered 11,000 signatures for a petition in which residents affirm their support for the hog farmers.

Bolding mine. This approach to prejudicial language in public statements will henceforth be dubbed the "Pace Picante Sauce" gambit, in which you frighten country folk with references to New York City.

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