Smithfield Fouls

A record-breaking $11 million has been awarded to plaintiffs suffering from horrendous odors emanating from hog factories in Berlin, Missouri. The case, filed in 2002 against Premium Standard Farms, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, and ContiGroup, stated that factory conditions prevented residents from venturing outdoors. The compound has 80 buildings, each confining 1,000 hogs at a time. Annually, the facility fattens 200,000 pigs and generates 83 million gallons of waste. Pigs are brought to the facility weighing approximately 60 pounds and are continuously confined to indoor pens until they reach slaughter weight of 260 pounds. Smithfield’s inhumane factory production of such an unsustainable, unnatural number of pigs necessitates the animals be kept on slatted floors. Their waste collects in basins beneath them, is flushed to lake-sized cesspools and continually sprayed onto saturated land. The verdict is the largest monetary award against a pig factory in an odor nuisance case and follows a $4.5 million verdict in 2006 against Premium Standard Farms. Roughly 250 additional plaintiffs have cases pending against the Smithfield subsidiary.