The biggest pork producer in the world just got walloped — again — by a massive jury verdict because of the overwhelmingly negative impact its North Carolina hog farms have on neighboring residents.
Smithfield Foods owes the neighbors of three of its hog farms a cool $473.5 million, thanks to a federal jury’s decision handed down in early August 2018. A state cap on punitive damages will limit the total amount the victorious plaintiffs receive to $94 million.
This is the third multi-million dollar verdict against Smithfield Foods. Over 500 neighbors surrounding various North Carolina hog farms await litigation of their claims against the company.
How did the state of North Carolina react to these lawsuits? It closed ranks around the farmers, of course. When successful litigation threatens your biggest political donors, you make sure people can’t file those lawsuits anymore.
North Carolina lawmakers called these lawsuits “frivolous” and adopted legislation designed to make it nearly impossible to file similar nuisance lawsuits. Clearly, protecting outdated and dangerous agricultural practices is much more important to North Carolina politicians than the welfare of its people or its animals.
“I’m sure that there are people that don’t like what we do in agriculture. When they don’t like it, they’re biting the hand that feeds them,” North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler told the Southeast Farm Press.
“That’s what I really don’t understand. To put the word agriculture and nuisance in the same sentence is just ridiculous and quite frankly makes me madder than hell,” he added.
You know what makes the people who live near hog farms madder than hell, Mr. Troxler? The staggering pollution. The roaring trucks going by at all hours. The swarms of flies. The horrific odors that cling to upholstered furniture inside homes. The…