Challenging Hog Factories

August 29, 2021

Speaking of Opportunities…

Dear Editor:

In his article “Big Opportunities In Hogs” (Northeast Sun, August 19, 2022), Mr. Red Williams encourages family farmers to take advantage of still more government money for packing and slaughterhouses by feeding hogs on contract.

It’s unfortunate that he missed his own opportunity to support the idea of raising hogs humanely and sustainably, for example: outdoors where they belong, using pasture grazing with hoop houses. He has chosen, instead, to suggest that farmers construct a finisher barn for 1000 hogs which, with “an under-floor manure pit avoids the rigorous environmental requirements for ILOs.”

There, while receiving growth hormones and antibiotics to keep them alive long enough to get them to the slaughterhouse, the animals will be brought to market weight, forced their entire lives to breathe the toxic fumes from the manure accumulating in the cesspools beneath their feet. This is also extremely dangerous for barn workers, some of whom have died after being exposed - for only seconds - to Hydrogen Sulphide fumes in hog barns. Is this a good way to “get through the tough years”?

And, is it really okay to devise schemes to avoid the few inadequate environmental regulations we do have concerning the pig factories for “$10,000 to $15,000 per year” while cheating future generations out of a clean environment with clean drinking water and clean soil?

Alternative methods of raising animals for food do exist which are safe, viable, sustainable and humane, and do not threaten the health and environmental rights of Saskatchewan residents, now or in the future.

Amazingly, both the government, its agencies and the hog industry cannot or will not understand that this under-the-radar scheme to expand pig factories using smaller barns is no more a long-term solution to difficult economic times than the big ones are.

They just don’t ‘get it’!

Elaine Hughes

Archerwill, SK