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Earlier this summer, residents of Pender County, North Carolina won a much-deserved battle against Smithfield Foods, the owner of three industrial-scale hog farms that have had horrific ongoing impacts on the local community.
This victory came after a group of individuals living in the vicinity of the pig production farms filed a lawsuit against Smithfield for causing them major nuisances, including unbearably strong odors, swarms of flies, and frequent noise disturbances from rumbling transport trucks. After taking these damages into account, a federal jury ruled that Smithfield owed these long-suffering neighbors $473.5 million.
This sum may seem large, but when you consider the well-documented negative health consequences, environmental effects, and economic impacts that industrial pork production spells for those living in nearby communities, it becomes quite apparent that it was completely justified to order Smithfield to give such compensation to the victims of impacts resulting from its operations.
Now, a month after Smithfield took this major financial blow, the company is in the news yet again. The infamous pork-raising corporation has announced that it will be closing one of its distribution centers in Clayton, North Carolina at the end of October, meaning that over 100 Smithfield employees will be laid off.
While it hasn’t been confirmed whether this planned shutdown has anything to do with the company’s recent lawsuit loss, chances are the two are connected. Assuming this is the case, it goes to show how even a small group of people can stand up to a corporation and enact positive change!
However, there is some bad news: Smithfield is now planning to expand its operations in Tar Heel, North Carolina, presumably to make up for the closure of its Clayton distribution center. Reportedly, the company stated that it will be investing $100 million in the Tar Heel expansions, which will unfortunately probably transfer many of the nuisances suffered by those in Pender County to the local citizens of Tar Heel.
Are you outraged that families are being subjected to dangerously polluted water and air, plus a slew of other unpleasant effects that stem directly from large-scale pork production? You can help dismantle this hazardous industry by choosing to leave meat off your plate and eating delicious plant-based foods instead!
To learn more about how your decision to eat plants instead of animals can help create a happier, healthier future for all of us, check out the #EatForThePlanet book! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to tell everyone in your network what you’ve learned about how pork production hurts both animals AND people!
Image Source: Pixabay