"Long home to industrial hog facilities, North Carolina has seen a huge increase in large-scale poultry farms, with more than 1,000 added in 2020 alone. The state scarcely regulates the poultry industry and its waste, which threatens waters in low-wealth communities of color."
"Thirty years ago, North Carolina gained the dubious distinction of having the largest hog slaughterhouse in the world. Two eastern North Carolina counties, Duplin and Sampson, became synonymous with environmental racism when it came to light that the lower-income residents of these largely Black, American Indian, and Latino counties were outnumbered by hogs 40 to 1.
But even here in North Carolina, in America’s most densely populated swine areas, hog is no longer the boss of industrial farming. After massive expansion in recent years, poultry now trumps pig production in scale and economic impact and is increasingly seen as a threat to the environment and human health, chiefly because of the runoff of poultry waste into the state’s waterways.
Each year, North Carolina farmers raise more than 500 million chickens and turkeys, compared to 9 million hogs. The exact number of industrial-scale poultry farms is hard to pin down because there is no official state record of their locations. The best available data comes from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which uses aerial surveillance and satellite imagery to track and identify facilities across 17 watersheds in the state."
Melba Newsome reports for Yale Environment 360 February 14, 2022.