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Man. hog farmers campaign against ban

The Manitoba Pork Council has rolled out a website, billboard, print and radio campaign calling for the province to reverse its decision to block southeastern hog barn development.

The campaign, titled “Unfriendly Manitoba” (a play on the province’s “Friendly Manitoba” license plate slogan) attacks the Doer government on its proposed Bill 17.

The province’s bill is meant to impose an indefinite moratorium on any increased hog production in the province’s southeastern “hog alley,” the Red River Valley and the Interlake region between Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba.

In a press release Monday, the pork council said the public will have a chance to speak on Bill 17 when it’s referred to a legislative
committee for review later this month or in early June. The committee is to hear public
debate on the bill, which was tabled last month, before it’s passed through the Legislature.

“We are encouraging people to speak up against Bill 17, which affects each and every one of us,”
said council chairman Karl Kynoch, who farms at Baldur, Man., well outside the moratorium area.

“If the government can do this to hog farmers today, the question is who’s next?”

The moratorium is meant to replace a provincewide “hog pause” on development that had been imposed pending a review of the environmental sustainability of Manitoba’s hog industry by the provincial Clean Environment Commission.

The new targeted moratorium was announced on the same day as the CEC released its report in March, after holding 20 public meetings on the issue in 2007 and meeting with a number of stakeholders and other groups.

Bill 17 “contradicts the government’s own taxpayer-funded, $750,000 study by the (CEC) and 10 years of additional independent study that concluded that hog farming in Manitoba is environmentally sustainable,” the pork council said Monday. “Bill 17 unjustly blames the hog industry for Manitoba’s water
issues by putting a permanent ban on hog farm building and expansion.”

The CEC, in its report, did not propose such a moratorium. Making dozens of recommendations — including calls for further study of issues such as phosphorus loading, odour and manure-borne pathogens — the CEC wrote that the industry’s sustainability is achievable, “but it cannot be put off into the future.”

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