In Texas, investigators are demanding answers from Dallas meat-packing company Columbia Packing Company after photos appeared to show the company dumping pig blood into the Trinity River. The case raises some interesting legal questions.
The alleged violations were found by a man taking aerial photographs of the river.
The Texas Environmental Crimes Task Force is focusing on a a secondary pipe not connected with the waste water system where the blood appears to have been dumped into Cedar Creek and then into the Trinity River.
The plant has been in repeated legal problems including citations in 2008 and 2009 for inhumane treatment or slaughter of animals.
What is interesting is that the Trinity empties into the city’s new whitewater kayaking area. So Texans have been recreating in water possible saturated with pig blood and toxic chemicals from the plant. Not only would most people find swimming in pig blood rather offensive, but some people of the Jewish and Muslim faith would find such exposure to be emotionally distressing. They could argue that the exposure constitute battery and negligent infliction of emotional distress. It would make for a fascinating case, particularly on the question of damages. The company could argue that the exposure does not mean that the blood was actually digested — reducing the possible distress damages.
Restaurants have been sued for unknowingly serving prohibited foods like beef to Hindus. Another such lawsuit involved serving pork to a Muslim. Actually swimming in pig blood would seem to raise some obvious problems for civil lawsuits in addition to the environmental criminal allegations faced by the company.