Smithfield Foods—the largest pork company in the world—will close a major meat distribution facility in Clayton, NC by the end of October, according to a notice posted by state’s Commerce Department. The move comes after Smithfield lost three federal lawsuits in which it was fined $473.5 million for creating a public nuisance in North Carolina. In 2015, the company’s large-scale hog operations prompted 500 Duplin County residents to file suit for creating toxic conditions—spraying animal fecal matter into the air, illegally dumping waste into open-air lagoons, and creating noise disturbances with rambling trucks filled with pigs headed for slaughter—that have compromised the standard of living in the area. Smithfield plans to consolidate the operations it conducted in Clayton with its larger processing facility in Tar Heel, NC. In October 2016, Smithfield resumed operations only one week after Category 5 Hurricane Matthew devastated the area, allowing little time for residents to clean up the waste its putrid waste lagoons spilled onto neighboring, low-income communities.
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