Smithfield verdict victory for critics, but NPPC calls it ‘nuisance’
The $50 million verdict last week against a North Carolina hog producer owned by Smithfield, the country’s largest pork producer, is being hailed as a major new victory in the growing grassroots opposition to industrial farming operations, the Food & Environment Reporting Network reported, but the National Pork Producers Council pointed out that the verdict will be appealed.
The producer, Murphy-Brown, is owned by Smithfield, which is owned by WH Group, a Chinese company that is the largest pork company in the world.
The court agreed with 10 plaintiffs, residents of Bladen County, N.C., that the company’s poor management of its hog farms, and particularly of hog manure, was exposing them to health risks and reduced quality of life.
In its Capital Update publication Friday, NPPC noted that Smithfield said it would appeal the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which is based in Richmond, Va.
NPPC, which closely monitored the case, called the case a “frivolous nuisance lawsuit” and an “unwarranted attack on livestock agriculture,” adding that pork producers have “a strong and long-standing track record of environmental stewardship.”
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