Letter to the Editor: After effects of Florence

Letter to the Editor: After effects of Florence
Hurricane Florence's five-day forecast as of Wednesday at 11 a.m. (Photo courtesy National Weather Service/NOAA)

To the editor:

Beyond the widely reported devastating impacts of Hurricane Florence on the Carolinas, there is one more – of the self-inflicted variety.

North Carolina is home to thousands of factory farms that raise millions of pigs, chickens and other animals for our dinner tables. Their feces are stored in huge open pits, labeled ironically as “lagoons.” The excess rainfall from Florence is very likely to spread much of this waste onto nearby housing developments, farmland and waterways, including those supplying drinking water.

This is exactly what happened when Hurricane Floyd struck North Carolina as a Category 2 storm in 1999. According to the Associated Press, “The bloated carcasses of hundreds of thousands of animals bobbed in a nose-stinging soup of fecal matter, pesticides, fertilizer and gasoline so toxic that fish flopped helplessly on the surface to escape it.”

Although none of us has direct control over the weather, we each have direct control over our demand for animal food products: the very food products that cause so much damage to our environment and to our personal health. The advent of Florence presents a great opportunity for each of us to start reducing that demand.

-Ashton Gunter, Alexandria