Working to Protect North Carolina’s Communities and Waters from Industrial Animal Agriculture Pollution

by Geoff Gisler, Senior Attorney, The Southern Environmental Center Category:

Spring is in the air in North Carolina. For many of us, that means opening our windows to let the fresh air in, playing with our kids in the yard, or sitting back and relaxing in a rocking chair on the front porch. For North Carolinians who live near industrial hog operations, however, these rites of Spring are distant memories. The coastal plain of North Carolina is littered with industrial hog facilities—concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in the legal terminology. The state is second to only Iowa in annual pork production. Thousands of CAFOs are concentrated in eastern North Carolina, with the greatest densities in Duplin and Sampson counties. Each of these facilities hosts hundreds or even thousands of hogs, which are typically brought in to the facility as piglets and kept on site until they reach slaughter weight. After the hogs are taken away, their waste is left behind. It’s that waste that haunts nearby communities, which are disproportionately low-income communities of color. The waste from the hogs is collected and stored in unlined, open-air storage pits... read more +