Imagine your car skidding off the road after hitting a large puddle of animal waste and sliding into a guardrail. This exact scenario is happening in Eastern North Carolina and many other states as trucks carrying the carcasses of chickens and hogs spill their contents on area roads.
Residents in Sampson, Duplin, Cumberland, Anson, Union, Gaston, Catawba and Cleveland counties in North Carolina have expressed concerns about the growing problem of animal carcasses and waste being dumped on the roadways in their communities.
According to local reports, the source of the problem is the rendering industry, which processes animal by-products into products such as pet food, soap, and fertilizer. The industry has been accused of leaving hazardous messes on roadways, causing unbearable smells and creating poor road conditions.
Despite numerous complaints from local residents, nothing much has been done to stop the rendering companies from continuing to dump waste on area roads. This has led to frustration and anger among residents who feel that their concerns are not being taken seriously.
“Arriving on the scene obviously you see the roadway, the carcasses, the parts all over the place and the smell is absolutely horrendous. And you’re having to stand out in this for hours,” Clinton Police Chief Anthony Davis told WRAL Investigates.
Part of the frustration, according to Mayor Starling of Clinton, is how little the town can do to fight the problem. “Well, we have no recourse,” he told WRAL. The local penalty, if they catch the culprit, is just a $50 civil fine, with the rare chance of up to $5,000 in state penalties.
While hog and chicken farming is regulated, residents say state law isn’t doing enough to prevent the spills and local authorities are left to clean up the mess with taxpayer dollars.
For now, the problem remains unresolved, and residents continue to endure the unpleasant and potentially hazardous conditions created by the spillage of animal parts from transport vehicles. However, State lawmakers are now debating one remedy. Senate Bill 582 includes a provision to make leaving the scene of a spill a class 3 misdemeanor.