Communities of Color Take Action After Poisoning by Pig Urine, Feces

Published by Zachary Toliver.

Imagine a community smelling so awful that residents can’t go outside or even hang clothes on a line to dry. Even worse, imagine living where it rains pig urine and feces on a regular basis.

This is the reality for roughly 500 predominantly African-American residents in North Carolina who have filed a class action lawsuit against Murphy-Brown LLC, which supplies pigs to the infamous corporate giant Smithfield Foods.

Pig factory farms generate billions of gallons of waste—consisting of pig feces, urine, blood, rotting body parts, and dead piglets—which are collected in giant lagoons. These toxic ponds, some as large as four football fields, fill up quickly. Farmers use huge spraying devices (imagine massive garden sprayers) to mist the wastewater onto their fields, but it is carried by the wind onto neighboring properties.

Swab samples from the exterior walls of houses, along with air samples, in the rural North Carolina community tested positive for pig feces. The residents forced to live in factory farm filth are largely African-American and lower income.

Steve Wing, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Public Health, said, “It can, I think, very correctly be called environmental racism or environmental injustice that people of color, low-income people bear the brunt of these practices.”

Every year, our nation’s factory farms produce 100 times more waste than the entire U.S. population.

Sewage from factory farms is 160 times more concentrated with chemical and bacterial toxins than human sewage. It’s no surprise that untreated waste often sickens the people who work on or live near factory farms.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that ammonia and hydrogen sulfide—two of the toxic chemicals produced by massive animal agriculture cesspools—can cause many human illnesses and even death.

According to a report by the California State Senate, “Studies have also shown that lagoons emit toxic airborne chemicals that can cause inflammatory, immune, irritation, and neurochemical problems in humans.”

Change the world by changing what you eat.

Going vegan means eating for life—your life, other peoples’ lives, and animals’ lives. We can all stop this cruel and destructive industry by going vegan today.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind