There Are Almost the Same Number of Pigs as People in North Carolina. Here’s Why That’s an Issue

According to the July 2016 North Carolina census, about 10 million people live in the state. In December 2016, the USDA reported that there were about 9.3 million hogs on farms in the state, mostly in the southeastern region.

While this fact is staggering in itself, it is also a big problem for humans and hogs.

Pigs raised for meat face torturous conditions and mutilations. For their entire lives, mother sows are confined in barren metal cages barely larger than their bodies, making it impossible for them to turn around or even lie down comfortably. Piglets have their testicles ripped out while fully conscious and without painkillers. Sometimes they suffer herniated intestines due to botched castration. Their tails are painfully sliced into and yanked off with dull clippers. Horrifically, piglets who do not grow fast enough are killed by “thumping,” or being slammed headfirst onto concrete floors. These extremely cruel practices are all standard in the pork industry.

See for yourself.


Hog farming is one of North Carolina’s most profitable industries. But at what cost? Blatant cruelty aside, pig factory farms produce nearly 10 billion gallons of feces and urine each year, enough to fill 15,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. According to the North Carolina Riverkeepers & Waterkeeper Alliance, pigs produce about 10 times as much feces as humans. This means a farm with 5,000 pigs is equal to North Carolina’s major cities in waste production.

Most of this waste is stored in large open-air lagoons, which turn pink from bacteria. Farmers often spray this bacteria-laden waste into fields and air.

This toxic air has sickened residents, who have reported symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, excessive coughing, watery eyes, and nausea.

Watch this drone footage taken over a North Carolina manure lagoon.


Unfortunately, most factory farms operate in communities of color and low-income communities, so moving is not always an option. The helplessness residents feel often leads to anxiety and depression.

You can help the people and animals in North Carolina by not supporting the meat industry.

Get your FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide here.