North Carolina Dying from Pork

February 11th, 2007

Physician friends of mine who make quick flights across the state frequently comment on the massive fields of pig farms.   Around the cotton farm I worked as a kid, there were small pig farms; I thought I appreciated the visual and olfactory insults that are associated with porking farming.  I think I was wrong.  This is completely different.

In 1992, when a worker making repairs to a lagoon in Minnesota began to choke to death on the fumes, another worker dived in after him, and they died the same death. In another instance, a worker who was repairing a lagoon in Michigan was overcome by the fumes and fell in. His fifteen-year-old nephew dived in to save him but was overcome, the worker’s cousin went in to save the teenager but was overcome, the worker’s older brother dived in to save them but was overcome, and then the worker’s father dived in. They all died…

The Rolling Stone article, Boss Hog, continues with six pages of brutal attacks against the pork industry, much of which is located in North Carolina.  I will not repeat the article’s documentation of the pork industry’s defilement of the environment.  The read should be essential for anybody who lives in this area.

I am not a political blogger.  In fact, the only political blogs I read are those of local bloggers.  I read those to keep up with the local blogging community more than the poltical one.

Why is this issue not discussed more frequently?  Is pork farming (and the jobs it provides) just too important of an industry for that part of the state?

The N&O received a Pulitzer in 1996 for discussing this topic.  Boingboing  has an amazing array of pig-farm-hating resources relating to this article. 

Boingboing also helped out with a google maps picture of one such farm.  Here are more in that area – another and another.  But once you learn to see them on google maps, you can zoom out and start to see them everywhere. 

For example, this area between Clinton and Newton Grove seems very dense — just scroll north and sound to see a ton of them.  I believe I have marked a few here… (click for a larger pic)

I am just glad that these waste pools are spill-proof because I then I would never be able to find a google map of what looks like a flooded one.