This Little Piggy Has Come Home to Roost

By: - March 23, 2007 11:19 am

You've got to love a moratorium, North Carolina style.  We have our de facto moratorium on executions, which the governor has attempted to circumvent by having the Council of State make new execution law.  Or medical ethics guidelines.  Or something, it's too confusing for me to remember now.  And then we have our moratorium on new hog farms.   Enacted in 1997 and set to expire this fall, the moratorium offered some exemptions.  Still, only 500,000 hogs have been added to the state's total in that time.  Yes, you read that right.

Under those exemptions to the 1997 law that established the moratorium, 73 new hog farms have been built, 25 have been expanded and four were reactivated, state water regulators told The News & Observer of Raleigh. The majority of these exceptions use waste pits and spray fields to dispose of hog manure _ both of which the state wants to eliminate because of concerns that they pollute water.

The news comes at the same time Smithfield Foods has applied to add 1 million hogs to its annual slaughter rolls in Bladen County.  Indeed, the porcine powerhouse would like to buy those beasts from new farms that use the same old controversial waste techniques, rather than cleaner, more innovative methods.  Guess they're counting on end to the "moratorium" and a wider use of water-fouling waste disposal technologies.  Why shouldn't they?  I hope that they can handle the extra hogs without the employees that they sold out without warning.  (I'm not saying Smithfield has to keep employing people once they're know to have used illegal documentation, but could they not notify the families or offer some support to the community that's made them the largest slaughterhouse in the world for lo these many years?)  If this is the best we can do with a moratorium in place, let's demand a total ban on new lagoons and sprayfields.  

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