Friday, March 13, 2015

Smithfield owners seek gag order

Lawyers for the Chinese who own Smithfield Foods are seeking a gag order so reporters and others involved in a court case can never mention the Chinese connection.

The lawsuit has been filed by neighbours in North Carolina who can’t stand the stench from Smithfield’s hog farms, the ones it bought from Murphy-Brown.

WH Group is fighting dozens of lawsuits complaining about the ill effects of manure lagoons and how the problem will be exacerbated by the company’s potential expansion of such facilities.

WH Group not only doesn’t want plaintiffs to utter its name, but it also wants no mention of China or its huge demand for pork exports to that country, according to court documents filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina federal court.

WH Group acquired Smithfield Foods, then the world’s largest pork producer, in September 2013 with a strategy that included exporting Smithfield pork back to China.

“The allegations … concerning the Communist Party, the Chinese government, Chinese corporations, and Chinese demand for and purchases of pork are simply irrelevant to plaintiffs’ claims of farming-related temporary nuisance in eastern North Carolina,” the lawyers say.

“Moreover, the allegations are scandalous, designed to inflame the jury and the public, and injurious to Murphy-Brown’s reputation,” the company’s attorneys said in a motion to strike.

So much for free speech and vigorous debate!