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Should North Carolina Neighbors Mention “China” in Their Pig Poop Lawsuit?

Is Asia’s appetite for pork to blame for North Carolina’s pig poop problem?

Photo by (cc) flickr user andjohan

We’ve all dealt with lousy neighbors before, but the North Carolina residents suing Smithfield Foods can say theirs are literally pigs. In 25 separate nuisance suits brought against the company–America’s largest provider of pork—over 500 North Carolinians claim that sub-par pork waste disposal methods are resulting in a disgusting mist of pig feces and urine that wafts over into nearby homes. But, what at first seems like an ordinary, albeit super-gross, dispute between neighbors, is actually just the latest sign of just how intertwined our global economy has made us.

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Gag Order: Why States Are Banning Factory-Farm Whistleblowers

Lawmakers wanted to crack down on the folks who hurt their bottom line: animal welfare advocates.

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Pig Love: How the Fast-Food Industry Is Making Pork More Humane

Mistreated porkers are increasingly finding some unusual allies—fast-food restaurants.


Factory-farmed pigs lead a grim life. Breeding sows are kept locked inside gestation crates for the entire duration of their pregnancies—about four months. These enclosures, which are illegal in eight U.S. states, are so small the animals can’t even turn around. Once the pigs give birth and their piglets are weaned, the animals are inseminated again and again over a period of three years, after which time they’re typically killed. It’s a brutal and largely unsanitary process. And in America’s multi-billion-dollar pork industry, it’s standard.

But there’s reason to hope that pigs are making progress toward greener pastures. Mistreated porkers are increasingly finding some unusual allies—fast-food restaurants.

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