Prior to the industrial swine and Poultry CAFOs  (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) coming to eastern North Carolina, life was peaceful. People in rural areas could enjoy time in their yards, share food with company on their porch and never fear that the putrid and toxic odors of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and methane gasses would make them sick and drive their visitors away.  Wealth wasn't measured in money so much as it was in clean air, water and peacefulness. Back then, they had as their neighbors, 24,000 traditional family farmers raising about 2,000,000 hogs and a limited number of chickens and turkeys. Things were pretty much in balance with the livestock significantly spread out.  There were no odor complaints; neighbors were not fighting with each other over lagoons and animal waste application in fields next to their homes; there were no massive demonstrations complaining about hog, chicken and turkey nuisances. These were the good times.

In the mid 1980s through the early 1990s, everything changed. Those 24,000 family hog farmers were driven out of business by factory "farms" that were established and controlled by industrial integrators such as Murphy Farms, Smithfield Foods and Prestige . With that change came 9,000,00 hogs and nearly 900,000,000 chickens and turkeys. These animals were heavily concentrated in huge confinement buildings, mostly located within neighborhoods where people lived and worked.  Along with this came animal cruelty that would turn the stomach of the most hardened of people. With that also came the nuisance of odor, sicknesses related to dangerous gasses, polluted wells and dead fish by the billions.

With the arrival of these factory "farms," neighbors were driven indoors. Some of those who had air conditioners turned to spraying Lysol into them in an attempt to kill the odor.  Even that proved useless. Complaints were unrelenting, but the swine and poultry industry would do little to alleviate the problem. To them, it was simply the smell of money. 

Over the past 30 years, residents in these rural areas have suffered a great deal. With their money, the industry controlled most of the North Carolina governors and almost always the state legislature.  The people suffer still--there has been no relief. 

In Harm's Way

                                        Source Waterkeeper Alliance                                                                                        Source Farm Sanctuary 

                          Source Dove Imaging                                                            Source TED-X                                                             Source WITN-TV

                                                             Source AP                                                                                                        Source Waterkeeper Alliance

Hog, poultry and other industrial animal production facilities are where dangerous pandemics can come to life.