Vermont Journal of Environmental Law

Volume 21 (2019-2020)

Reconciling Environmental Justice with Climate Change Mitigation: A Case Study of NC Swine CAFOs

For thirty years, the swine industry has externalized severe environmental and health harms onto poor communities of color in Eastern North Carolina. This “Big Pig” problem is caused by the confinement, consolidation, and concentration of industrial hog operations within the low, flat, and economically marginalized Coastal Plain. Big Pig’s rise was not inevitable. As recently as 1982, more than 11,000 small swine farms freckled nearly all of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Then came the “boom” of consolidation and industrialization that transformed hog production into a highly consolidated and vertically integrated industry.

Reconciling Environmental Justice with Climate Change Mitigation: A Case Study of NC Swine CAFOsReconciling Environmental Justice with Climate Change Mitigation: A Case Study of NC Swine CAFOs