The North Carolina pig farming industry has long been a topic of concern due to its negative impact on both the environment and the local communities. However, a new film titled “The Smell of Money” delves deep into the human impact of pig farming in North Carolina, shedding light on the devastating effects it has on individuals and communities.

The film exposes the true cost of intensive pig farming, where animals are confined in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. It explores the environmental consequences of the industry, such as the pollution of air and water sources. Additionally, the film uncovers the racial injustices faced by communities living near these factory farms.

Pollution of air and water sources

One of the key issues highlighted in “The Smell of Money” is the pollution caused by the pig farming industry in North Carolina. Factory farms generate an enormous amount of waste, which is typically stored in large open-air pits called lagoons. These lagoons are prone to leakage and overflow, resulting in the release of harmful substances into the surrounding environment.

The waste runoff from these lagoons contains high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and bacteria. When this contaminated runoff enters nearby water sources, it can devastate aquatic ecosystems and contaminate drinking water supplies. This poses a serious risk to the health and well-being of both humans and wildlife.

New Film Exposes Human Impact Of North Carolina Pig Farming

Health impacts on communities

Communities residing near pig farms in North Carolina often bear the brunt of the industry's negative impacts. The foul odors emanating from these farms, coupled with the release of various air pollutants, have been linked to a range of health issues. These include respiratory problems, headaches, nausea, eye irritation, and even psychological distress.

Moreover, studies have shown that the concentration of air pollutants, such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, is higher in communities located near pig farms. This disparity in exposure to pollutants has disproportionately affected low-income communities and communities of color, highlighting the existence of environmental racism and unequal distribution of environmental burdens.

Racial injustices and environmental racism

“The Smell of Money” brings to light the disturbing reality of racial injustices faced by communities living near pig farms in North Carolina. Often, these communities are predominantly made up of marginalized groups, including African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics.

Historically, the location of factory farms in these communities is no coincidence. The phenomenon of environmental racism refers to the intentional placement of polluting industries in areas with a high concentration of minority or low-income residents. Marginalized communities have little political power and are therefore more vulnerable to the negative impacts of these industries.

This systemic environmental injustice perpetuates the cycle of poverty and health disparities among marginalized communities. By focusing on the stories and experiences of these communities, “The Smell of Money” aims to raise awareness about the deeply rooted issues of environmental racism and the urgent need for change.

Transitioning to sustainable alternatives

While “The Smell of Money” paints a grim picture of the pig farming industry in North Carolina, it also showcases stories of individuals and communities who have taken a stand against this destructive system. The film highlights the inspiring journey of Don Webb, a former pig farmer who made the decision to transition away from animal agriculture and adopt sustainable farming practices.

Webb's story serves as a testament to the fact that change is possible. He now advocates for sustainable alternatives, such as regenerative agriculture and plant-based farming, which prioritize environmental stewardship and community well-being. These alternatives offer a way forward for a more sustainable and equitable food system.


“The Smell of Money” is a powerful and eye-opening film that examines the human impact of pig farming in North Carolina. Through its exploration of environmental and racial injustices, the film sparks important conversations about the true cost of our food system and the urgent need for change.

By shedding light on the devastating effects of pig farming on the environment, human health, and marginalized communities, the film calls on viewers to question their support for the industry and consider alternative, sustainable approaches to food production. It challenges us to rethink our choices and strive for a future where both people and the planet can thrive.

Now more than ever, it is crucial to recognize the interconnectedness of our actions and the impact they have on the world around us. “The Smell of Money” serves as a reminder that every choice we make, from the food we consume to the policies we support, has far-reaching consequences. It is up to us to be conscious consumers and advocates for change.

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