A North Carolina jury awarded $ 50 million to neighbors on a farm of 15,000 pigs in eastern North Carolina in a case that environmentalists and the pig farm industry observe closely all over the country.
The verdict, revealed on Thursday by the jury deliberated in less than two days, is the first to file a series of federal lawsuits filed against Murphy-Brown / Smithfield Foods, the world's largest producer of pork.
In this case it was decided in a federal court in Raleigh, 10 neighbors contended that industrial scale pig operations have known for decades that the open sewage pits on their properties were the source of noxious, nauseating and overwhelming odors . The stench was so thick, the neighbors argued, that it was impossible to take off their clothes.
A team of lawyers began to elaborate the legal argument in 2014. They focused on the continued use of "anaerobic lagoons", where pig trash was stored behind livestock pens, then liquefied and sprayed on nearby fields.
They argued that such a practice was a public nuisance and persecuted pork producers.
Smithfield Foods was purchased in 2013 by the WH Group of China. the largest producer of pork in the world. The company has not changed its disposal method since the 1980s and 1990s.
Neighbors' attorneys argued that waste treatment methods had evolved and that pork production operations in East Carolina North did not change their methods because they keep operating costs lower "We are pleased with the verdict, these cases are about the property rights of the North Carolina family and a clean environment," said Mona Lisa Wallace, a lawyer in Salisbury whose The firm has partnered with two Texas-based firms to prepare a series of trials covering similar terrain. "Now we are preparing for the next, which is scheduled for the end of May."
Lawyers for pig farm operators warned that no new technologies are announced that have not been proven or proven to be effective in this state.
are extremely disappointed by the verdict, "Keira Lombardo, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Smithfield Foods, said in a statement announcing plans to appeal." These lawsuits are a heinous attack on animal agriculture, rural Carolina. North and thousands of independent family farmers who own and operate farms by contract. These farmers are apparently not safe from attacks even if they fully comply with all federal, state and local laws and regulations. . "