VANCEBORO, N.C. -
Environmentalists say they began seeing the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea, or PED, virus in North Carolina in June. Although the virus doesn't directly pose a concern for humans, the way the dead pigs are being disposed of does.
"What kind of testing, if anything, is being done at these facilities to ensure that this ground water and surface water is not being contaminated by the burying of this unknown amount of animals," said Larry Baldwin, who is with the Waterkeepers Alliance.
Baldwin says the dead pigs are normally either buried or dropped in dead boxes at the facility. He says the runoff from the dead pigs and the bacteria carried away by animals feeding on the dead pigs could pose health concerns for the environment and people.
The Waterkeepers Alliance and North Carolina Riverkeepers called Steve Troxler, the NC Commissioner of Agriculture, to request that he ask Governor Pat McCrory to declare a state of emergency to deal with this issue.
In a statement to 9 On Your Side, the Department of Agriculture said, "The state has laws and rules that address the proper disposal of animals. Specific complaints about improper disposal of animals carcasses are addressed as they come in."
But Baldwin says these types of vague promises aren't addressing what the public needs to know.
"Transparency is what I would consider to be the problem here," Baldwin said.