Jury Finds for Smithfield Neighbors

A jury Wednesday found in favor of the neighbors of a North Carolina industrial hog operation, the fourth case in a row the industry in the state has lost. The operation, in Sampson County, is wholly owned by $15 billion Smithfield Foods.

Brands owned by Smithfield Foods. Source: Smithfield Graphic by Amy Wilson

Plaintiffs in the case detailed noxious and sickening odor, “dead boxes” stuffed with rotting pigs, and onslaughts of flies and pests. They described the nausea and difficulty breathing they suffered, and the worry and anger they felt. Their complaint discussed how drifting mists of hog waste left them unable to grill, garden, or even leave their windows open. When the jury heard the evidence, they concluded that Smithfield’s actions interfered with the neighbors’ use and enjoyment of their property.

At Waterkeeper Alliance, we cheer this victory in the fight against pollution from industrialized meat production. But we also strive to support traditional family farms in North Carolina that don’t threaten neighbors and natural resources.

If you’d like to find meat producers who are more neighborly, check out our list. And please consider avoiding the Smithfield-owned labels above. Because the industry regularly rebrands its products, this is neither an exhaustive nor evergreen list, but it’s a starting place when shopping for meat to ensure you’re not supporting a company that produces pork at the expense of  your fellow North Carolinian’s property rights.


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