Noxious ammonia fumes, poultry waste, polluted waterways, and gag-inducing odor are plaguing North Carolina residents as giant chicken farms encroach on residential areas.
National Public Radio’s The Salt recently profiled a North Carolina couple bringing attention to the hazardous effects that large-scale chicken farms have on the surrounding neighborhoods. Burning throats, a foul stench, harmful gas emissions, and irritating airborne dust particles are just a few of the issues Surry County residents Terry and Mary Marshall say they have had to live with as a result of the nearby concentrated animal feeding operation. The mix of manure, feed, and carcasses combined with the hundreds of tons of poultry waste produced each year makes for a dangerous hazard for human health while posing an environmental risk as well. In terms of odor and air emissions, these types of poultry operations often aren’t regulated as closely as other industries, Will Scott of environmental group Yadkin Riverkeeper says. North Carolina’s poultry production board has pushed against tighter laws, saying it would hurt the $34 billion industry. Because there are no protections for residents, Mary Marshall is lobbying for future farms to be moved away from residential areas and a way to combat increased air and water pollution.