Stoddard authors report on impact of Hurricane Florence on animals and farmers in North Carolina
Switzer Fellow Elisabeth (Lisa) Stoddard and graduate student Stephanie Eccles have published a report on the impact of Hurricane Florence on North Carolina’s intensive farming region: a coastal flood plain where over 500 million chickens and turkeys and about 9 million pigs are raised. Poultry waste is stored dry in open air piles, and pig waste is stored wet in open air lagoons. During Florence, millions of poultry died and thousands of pigs and their waste was washed into local waterways by the millions of gallons, with negative impacts for the health of environmental justice communities and local ecosystems.
Lisa and Stephanie conducted interviews to provide a clearer picture of the impact, due to lack of transparency. The larger goal is to think through how these farms/systems should be managed in a changing climate where 100- and 500-year events are happening more regularly, sometimes annually. Because this project took place during COVID, they also worked to understand the impacts of COVID on hog and poultry workers, slaughterhouse workers, animals, the local environmental justice community and the environment.
Lisa and Stephanie also participated in a webinar about the report with a member of the waterkeeper alliance, and an expert on antibiotic resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria were found in the water as a result of animal production practices and the flooding of waste during the hurricane.