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Lawsuits Over Animal Manure Wafting Toward Meat Companies, Away From Farmers

June 11, 2018

KUNC Public Radio,

Madelyn Beck,

June 8, 2018-

There’s a new strategy when it comes to combating the smells and air quality concerns that arise from large-scale animal feeding operations: Blame the company, not the farmer. And if a recent federal case against the largest pork producer in the U.S. is any indication, it’s a model that could benefit contract growers — people who don’t own the livestock they raise but own the property and the barns. “What the plaintiffs did in their complaint was lay out factually how the farmer in these arrangements doesn’t really do enough to be found liable for damages,” North Carolina State University AG and environmental law professor Andrew Branan said.

For years, neighbors in livestock-heavy states have complained about the hundreds or thousands of animals who live nearby, saying the odors and fecal particles create a dangerous environment to live in. They’ve gone after the farmers themselves to force operational upgrades from dairies in Wisconsin to egg farmers in Arizona.

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