Pigs Don't Know Pigs Stink

Country people don't mind smelly hogs. Thus, folks who complain about fierce odors from big corporate hog farms must be fastidious city people. That is what the agribusiness corporations would have us believe!

Corporate agribusinesses come into rural areas, set up huge concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), then brand anyone who dares oppose these facilities as "move ins" -- fussy city people who just can't adapt to the smells of the countryside.

And that is the "Big Lie," to which you can add: "Tell a lie often enough, and it becomes the truth." This spin doctoring of hog odor has been repeated so often that even those who spin it now seem to believe it.

But not so a judge in rural Dekalb County, Alabama. That state may not be known as a bastion of progressivism, but then there's nothing progressive about digging a big hole in the ground and filling it full of hog crap.

Hence, the Alabama judge saw through the claims of the corporation -- in this case, Gold Kist, Inc. -- and ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in a nuisance suit. (The citation is Circuit Court of Dekalb County, Alabama, Case # CV-1999-345R, order entered January 9, 2002, Ivey v. Gold Kist, Inc.).

The facts were relatively simple. Gold Kist, Inc. had entered into a contract with two hog producers, Jeffrey and Marty Wooten. As with most such contracts, Gold Kist owned the hogs, the Wootens owned the land and buildings, and the contract prescribed the day-to-day management practices of the producers. The Wootens constructed buildings that housed 8,000 hogs. The hogs stank. The neighbors objected, and filed a nuisance suit.

The language of the judge in his findings in favor of the plaintiffs bears repeating:

Quote: "The respective Plaintiffs have lived in the area for various periods of time; however, all of them were residing on or around the loop road before the Defendants constructed their CAFOs. Most of them have lived there for many years.

Still Quoting: "In determining whether the odor in question constitutes a nuisance, this court is required to consider whether the Plaintiffs are reasonable in their complaints. To constitute a nuisance, the inconvenience the Plaintiffs complain of must not be fanciful, or such as would only effect one of fastidious taste. A person of fastidious taste is a person who is difficult to please, rejects what is common, and is very critical or is easily disgusted. The Plaintiffs do not individually or collectively meet this profile of a fastidious person.

"The Plaintiffs are not hypersensitive city dwellers complaining of a minor annoyance. They are a group of hardy, hard working, self sufficient, independent, reasonable, and fair minded men and women who expect to be treated just as they would treat others."

Thus a county judge in Alabama skewers the claims of the agribusiness corporations. These are no normal smells of the country! The odors from BigPig are offensive to longtime rural residents.

Of course, the agribusiness corporations also make the oft-repeated statement that "It smells like money." To which the appropriate reply is "So money smells like hog manure?"

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.