September 29, 2008


Manitoba new bill to stunt development of swine sector

The passing of a bill that will stop the development of Manitoba's swine industry has left the Canadian province's hog producers disappointed.


Bill 17, the Environment Amendment Act was passed by a margin of 36 for, 19 against. The bill establishes regional moratoriums on hog barn expansion in Southeastern Manitoba, the Red River Valley Special Management Area, which includes the Capital Region and the Interlake.


Before Bill 17 received its final reading at the legislature, about 150 pig producers gathered to protest against the bill, which they said would jeopardise their livelihoods. The producers also expressed support for the "Zero Percent Solution", a proposed compromise amendment intended to ease the expected impact of the bill but which had been rejected.


Manitoba Pork Council Chair Karl Kynoch said Bill 17 will force many small farms and family farms to leave the business, which will eliminate opportunities for young people to start up.


Kynoch is not expecting a large shift in hog numbers, but believes the bill will push larger farms to meet the new demands. He added that he heard producers saying they will either have to shut down or move out of the province.


James Hofer, the chairman of Manitoba Pork Council's research and environment committee, said the government fails to recognise the efforts of farmers to practise environmental responsibility.


Manitoba Liberal leader Dr. Jon Gerrard said by freezing the sector's development, they would have less ability to address environmental and animal husbandry issues.

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