Hog slurry isn’t the only stench in North Carolina

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1995:

RALEIGH, N.C.––”Boss Hog,” a
two-section expose of the political influence
and environmental consequences of the pork
industry, published on March 19 by the
Raleigh News & Observer, became a hot item
after a manure storage lagoon broke on June 21
at Oceanview Farms in Onslow, North
Carolina, spilling more than 25 million gallons
of slurry into nearby fields and streams.
By contrast, Henry Spira of the
Coalition for Nonviolent Food pointed out, the
Exxon Valdez spill involved “only” 11 million
gallons of crude oil.
The same day, a similar spill
occurred in Sampson, N.C., and less than two
weeks later, a lagoon in Duplin County, N.C.,
dumped 8.6 million gallons of poultry slurry
into tributaries of the Cape Fear River.

“For environmental activists,” Spira
told ANIMAL PEOPLE, “these massive
spills translate into a dramatic wake-up call that
raising 7.5 billion animals for food every year
is destroying nature while gobbling up our
resources. For industry,” he added, “a ‘wake-
up call’ could translate into more protection
money paid out to legislators. In the past four
years, more than half the current North
Carolina General Assembly took campaign
contributions from the pork industry.”
Explained the News & Observer,
“North Carolina is the nation’s #2 hog produc-
er. Last year’s crop generated more than $1
billion in revenue, more than tobacco. This
year, hogs are expected to pass broiler chick-
ens as the #1 agricultural commodity. State
agencies have aided the expansion of pork pro-
duction, but have been slow to act on a grow-
ing range of resulting problems.”
Added reporters Pat Stith and Joby
Warrick, “You don’t have to look hard to spot
pork industry connections in North Carolina.
Just start at the top. U.S. Senator Lauch
Faircloth, a Republican who leads a Congres-
sional subcommittee on the environment, is a
hog producer. Democratic governor Jim Hunt
is the top recipient of political contributions
from Wendell Murphy, whose Duplin County
hog firm is the biggest in the nation. The chair
of the environmental committee in the state
House, Republican John Nichols, is building a
large hog operation in Craven County, and will
raise pigs for Murphy. The chair of the Senate
committee on environment and agriculture,
Democrat Charles W. Albertson, is a friend of
Murphy’s and––judging from contributions––
the pork industry’s favorite legislator. Murphy
himself, a former Democratic state senator, is
honorary chair of the James Graham
Endowment, a group working to raise $5 mil-
lion for scholarships in the name of North
Carolina’s agriculture commissioner.”
ANIMAL PEOPLE will be taking a
closer look at these gents’ pork barrel politics
within the very near future.
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