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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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The End of the Antibiotic As We Know It?

More antibiotics are now being fed to animals in North Carolina than given to the entire human population in the United States.


Today, the World Health Organization would like to draw your attention to on one the world's most critical global-health issues: antimicrobial resistance.

It's not just doctor's offices and hospitals. Antimicrobial treatments—antibiotic drugs, in other words—have proliferated on farms. More antibiotics are now being fed to animals in North Carolina than given to the entire human population in the United States. These treatments often kill some but not all pathogenic bacteria, so the bacteria that survives is stronger, which practically guarantees the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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Infographic: A Century of Meat Consumption

A 100 years' worth of data reveals a beef decline and a chicken boom, and also raises the great egg debate—are they meat or not?


The New York Times has put together this terrific infographic (view larger) that compares the per capita availability of boneless, trimmed beef, pork, chicken, fish and shellfish, eggs, turkey, and veal over the past 100 years in the United States.

The big story is the explosive chicken boom and the corresponding beef decline. Interestingly, this is reflected in their frequency in the written word, as we discovered in our Google N-gram survey of the American diet back in December. Turkey has also benefited from the white meat craze, while veal and eggs have lost ground, victims of animal welfare and anti-cholesterol campaigns respectively, I suspect.

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