Rick Dove, a founding member of Waterkeeper Alliance, lives in New Bern, North Carolina. From small planes, he and some of his colleagues have been been monitoring the millions of gallons of untreated animal waste overflowing across the state since Hurricane Florence struck the area.
Dove wrote about what he’s seen, in a piece for the Washington Post:
Though the skies were rough at first, we’ve had beautiful flying weather for the past few mornings. I’m a Marine vet who did two tours in Vietnam, but the devastation I’ve witnessed here still shocks and grieves me.
According to Dove, the 2.2 million hogs in North Carolina’s Duplin County alone produce twice as much manure as the waste produced by the entire New York City metro area—and not one ounce goes to a sewer plant.
Hog farms aren’t the only scourge on North Carolina. The state is also a favorite location for industrial chicken farms. Dove writes:
I also saw how the industrial chicken production facilities had flooded. Water had gone over the chicken barns, washing the waste from their floors down our streams. I didn’t see the corpses of animals, though I knew they were inside. In the past, the facilities used to open the doors during storms to let the animals out, but the images we collected were so horrific that the practice ended.
As global warming rages on largely unchecked, more hurricanes and more floods will lead to more environmental disasters, especially in areas populated by industrial factory farms. That’s a good reason to end industrial factory farming. But it’s hardly the only reason.
As we speak, companies like Costco are looking to expand industrial meat production, not curb it. And while Costco has its sights set on Nebraska, not North Carolina, the damage to Nebraska’s already impaired waterways will be just as devastating.