Hogwashed: A Powerful Special Interest. Shameless Politicians. Failed Regulations. An In-Depth Look at Big Pork in North Carolina.
By Erica Hellerstein, Indy Week (NC)
Jul 12, 2017
On Wednesday, the INDY published the third and final installment of our investigative series into North Carolina’s hog-farming industry. The first story examined claims by lower-income African-American residents of eastern North Carolina that neighboring hog farms have polluted their properties and efforts by lawmakers to shield pork producers from litigation. The second looked at the environmental impacts hog farming has had over the last two decades, particularly on waterways such as the Neuse River. This final piece discusses ways to make the multibillion-dollar hog industry more sustainable, both for the environment and the state’s rural population, and the political and financial reasons those steps have not been taken.
Among the series’ revelations:
Cumulatively, House Republicans who supported HB 467, also known
as the “hog-farm-protection-bill,” have received more than $272,000 in campaign
contributions from the industry throughout their careers. The bill’s sponsor,
Republican Representative Jimmy Dixon of Duplin, has received $115,000,
including $36,250 from individuals associated with Murphy-Brown LLC and $9,500
from the N.C. Pork Council. House Speaker Tim Moore has garnered $44,650. Senator
Brent Jackson, who sponsored the Senate companion bill to HB 467, has received
more than $130,000 from industry associates.
Jimmy Dixon, the bill’s sponsor, is not concerned by studies that
point to the public health and environmental hazards associated with hog farms
because he believes those studies are biased. “A lot of these studies, a lot of
them, begin with the end product in mind, and then they construct it for the
outcome," he told the INDY.
· No new hog farms have been constructed since the state legislature placed a moratorium...
· Just ten of the state’s 2,217 hog farms have implemented the more environmentally sustainable anaerobic digester system, which converts the methane sequestered by covering swine lagoons into electricity. Of those, two belong to the state's largest pork producer, Murphy-Brown LLC, which, according to court records, owns hogs at up to two-thirds of the state's farms...
more, including links to Hogwashed series