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Food Integrity Campaign Blog

Hurricane Dorian Renews Worries About Flooding Hog Waste Lagoons

FIC Staff | September 9, 2019

As Hurricane Dorian makes landfall in North Carolina, whistleblowers and scientists yet again raise warnings that hog waste lagoons will likely flood, creating a public health disaster. Just last year, Hurricane Florence devastated this area. With climate change making hurricanes stronger, the trend is poised to continue.

This summer, FIC had the unique opportunity to investigate this issue on the ground and from the air. We traveled to Duplin County, North Carolina, where hogs outnumber people 30-to-1, and interviewed people affected by the industrial hog industry. From neighbors suffering respiratory illnesses from living near hog facilities to farmers trapped in exploitative contracts to animals living in cramped conditions, the hog industry causes widespread harm already, which hurricanes only make worse. FIC continues to monitor this issue and advocate on behalf of those affected.

FIC staff photographed this overhead view of hog barns and waste lagoons in Duplin County, NC. Note the home in the upper left portion of the photo, and imagine how spraying hog waste as fertilizer on the fields surrounding the hog barns and lagoons would likely impact those neighbors. Photo Credit: Food Integrity Campaign

As seen from above, a waste lagoon dominates the area of the farm. Duplin County is home to 235 hog facilities with over a 1,000 hogs. Many thanks to Larry Baldwin, a North Carolina Waterkeeper, who arranged for our flights over hog farms in Duplin County. Photo Credit: Food Integrity Campaign