Factory Farms / Intensive Livestock Operations
Articles and Links to become informed.
By Holly Dressel, YES! Magazine
The word has been spreading across Europe, Canada and the U.S. about
the truly horrifying damage that ccompanies the hog industry, and
today, doors are starting to slam shut on mega-hog barns all around
the world. Rural communities that found themselves with their property
values halved, their asthma rates tripled, and their watercourses
destroyed formed local organizations to defend themselves against
incursions by more big hog
Then they warned others, spreading the word near and far about the dangers of industrial hog farms and about the alternatives - - sustainably raised pork and farms that raise truly happy hogs.
In Canada, the industrial hog barns are still on the move, particularly
on the prairies. But back East, with eight major Quebec rivers contaminated
by hog wastes, property values destroyed in what used to be the one
Quebec has paid a high
price for its hog industry, the largest in North America. The province
provided such generous "insurance" and
other subsidies and tax incentives to industrial hog farms that the
The groups that formed to fight back began on the village level,
then spread throughout whole valleys. Local leaders quickly got in
touch with similar organizations in French-speaking New Brunswick
and Nova Scotia, as well as France's long-established and powerful
agricultural union, the Union Paysanne. As the industry brought despair
to communities in the neighboring Maritimes and west through the
Canadian prairies, more rural activists made
Today, a coalition of these groups, called Beyond Factory Farming,
headquartered in Saskatchewan, works closely with national groups
like the Sierra Club of Canada and the Council of Canadians, and
with U.S.-based groups such as the Grace Factory Farm Project and
According to their recommendations, "Producers must now pay attention to the natural ecosystems pre-existing in the watershed where their operation is located," Romeo Bouchard reported recently in the Journal of the Union Paysanne. "They must answer to local government, which, for its part, must effectively manage its territory for multiple and not single uses, not the least of which is general public health."
So far, Quebec's newly elected government has agreed to all the major points brought up by the BAPE Commission on hog farming. In addition to extending a pre-existing 18-month moratorium on new hog barns for another year, it has warned that the moratorium won't be lifted until studies have established norms to protect soil and water, and until municipalities are able to take over control of the industry. Most importantly, the provincial health and environment ministries will now have as much to say about hog farms as the formerly all-powerful provincial agricultural ministry.
Although the provincial government has not publicly commented on many other BAPE recommendations, the commission showed itself ahead of the latest cases of mad cow disease by demanding that the government prohibit the use of meat and bone meal as feed for pigs, ban the use of antibiotics as growth enhancers, and institute a system of traceability for pork. They also encouraged the pork industry to take note of emerging consumer concerns about animal well-being and genetically modified foods.
These recommendations, too, inspired and energized groups across North America and Europe still fighting for local rights over mega-industries. It raises the bar on everyone's demands, and has given hope to some of the most beleaguered communities in the western U.S. and Canada. Today, a distant community's triumphs, as well as its defeats and disasters, are no longer a secret. A web of communications now makes a victory thousands of miles away into a new pattern for everyone.
Holly Dressel is co-author with David Suzuki of 'From Naked Ape
Reprinted from YES! A Journal of Positive Futures, PO Box 10818,
You can join a Yahoo Group that shares information about Factory Farms. This Group is the source of the items and links listed here. If you are interested, send an email to:
Sask first nation says no to hog barn deal
SASKATOON - An Edmonton company says now that a deal to build hog barns on a Saskatchewan First Nation has fallen through, the company is out half a million dollars.
Synergetik, and Edmonton-based consulting business, says it had a deal with the Poundmaker Cree Nation to put hog barns on the reserve.
Robert Coulter, a vice-president with the company, says it took more than two years to sign a deal with Poundmaker's chief and council. This fall, the plan to put 10,000 pigs on the reserve near Cut Knife fell through, after other band members spoke out.
· Oct. 3, 2003: HYPERLINK "http://sask.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=poundmaker031003" \t "_self" Conflict erupts over Poundmaker hog proposal
Coulter estimates his company is owed roughly $500,000.
"It's just been a lot of work. And of course that would not be a problem had the project been a go because we would have been able to recapture our investment over time."
Coulter says the barns would have brought jobs to the reserve, but now, he says the Cree nation's credibility is shot.
Tyrone Tootoosis, a band member, says the majority of Poundmaker residents did not want the hog barns on their land and that the band was lucky to get out when it did.
"The price of the land, let alone the water and the air wouldn't have been worth it. At all. In any way. And this is a heads-up again to all the first nations who want to be part of the hog industry. Be careful!"
Tootoosis says band officials have asked a Regina lawyer to help sort out their financial matters.
The Edmonton company has also hired a lawyer, to try to get its money back.
Submitted to Yahoo Group by:
Cathy Holtslander, Project Organizer , Council of Canadians , Beyond Factory Farming Coalition, Room 420-230 Avenue R South, Saskatoon, SK S7M 0Z9
Phone: (306) 955-6454 or toll free at 1-877-955-6454 Fax: (306) 955-6455 Email: email@example.com
McGill Study that is a Must Read! Click on link below
Charges laid as officers find thousands of decaying pigs:
Ontario firm has declared bankruptcy
National Post Wed 15 Oct 2021
Page: A1 / Front Section: News
Byline: James Cowan Source: National Post
Investigators have laid 77 charges of animal cruelty against seven men after finding piles of dead pigs stacked behind barns and more than 1,000 piglets decomposing in manure tanks at five farms across southwestern Ontario.
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced yesterday that it had discovered thousands of dead or dying swine at the Wood Lynn Farms facilities. The investigation began in April at a farm in Elgin County and quickly expanded.
SPCA agents encountered pig carcasses in varying stages of decomposition at many of the farms. Rats feasted on the dead piglets and there was evidence of extensive cannibalization of the corpses.
"The society's inspectors deal with pretty horrific cases all the time, but the sheer scale of this is extremely harrowing," said Brian Pemberton, a spokesman for the Ontario SPCA.
According to Mr. Pemberton, the condition of the dead pigs makes it impossible to tell how many animals are involved in the case. "There were heaps of dead pigs in various stages of decomposition. So where one ends and another begins is sometimes difficult to ascertain," he said.
He added, however, that between 1,000 and 2,000 dead piglets were found in the manure tanks at Wood Lynne Farm facilities.
Pigs throughout the farms had inadequate food, water or bedding. Sows were also found giving birth among other animals, resulting in their piglets being trampled and eaten by adults. In one instance, investigators saw an employee of Wood Lynne Farms attempting to kill a pig by beating it with a metal pipe.
Because of their poor health, many of the still-living pigs discovered by investigators were euthanized on site. Animals who were deemed healthy enough have been sold and sent to slaughter, Mr. Pemberton said.
Wood Lynn Farms Limited recently declared bankruptcy. Founded in 1959, the firm developed the Baconmaker breed of swine. Ontario SPCA officials say it is unclear how long the company's farm facilities have been in decline.
"This sort of situation doesn't arise overnight. There must have been a period of time involved, but exactly how long is impossible to say," Mr. Pemberton said. "Our view is financial difficulties don't excuse this kind of treatment of animals."
Jim Long, the son of founder Gerry Long and the president of the company, is among those criminally charged with causing unnecessary pain to animals, causing unnecessary suffering, wilful neglect and abandoning an animal in distress. He did not return calls yesterday.
Also charged are Ryan Long, George Kahiri and Victor Aideyan of London, Ont.; Kevin McHardy of Lambeth, Ont.; Martin Dewild of Wyoming, Ont., and John Bazilli of Waterford, Ont.
Conflict erupts over Poundmaker hog proposal
CUTKNIFE - Leaders on a reserve west of North Battleford say a proposal to build a 10,000 pig operation won't go through, even though the company involved in the venture says that as far they are concerned, the deal is still on.
The chief and several councillors from the Poundmaker First Nation have been negotiating with Synergetik, an Edmonton-based hog company, for several months to build a hog operation there.
At a public meeting on the matter Thursday night, leaders said the deal was cancelled. When CBC contacted Synergetik, a spokesperson said the deal is still on, despite comments to the contrary. The spokesperson said that the operation will bring desperately needed employment to the reserve.
But band members have joined local cottage owners to oppose the barn because they are worried about what the operation could to their land and health.
Eric Tootoosis is one of those who lives on the reserve and opposes the project.
"To protect our lands, our pristine lands, to leave them as natural as possible," he says. "The lands belong to the unborn, not us and we appreciate the non-Indians, the non-Indian public for coming on side as soon as they understand more why we are protecting, why we are adamant that such an intiative should not exist."
He is also afraid that of health effects of such an operation, saying that hog operations affect the immune systems of those who live near them.
Even though the band is expected to vote on the proposal at the end of the month, Synergetik says that contracts have already been signed.
"If I'm the bad guy on this whole deal, versus $3 million, then I'd rather save my $3 million and know that we still have that land tomorrow," band councillor Bryan Tootoosis says.
|October 29: BOOK LAUNCH-BEYOND FACTORY FARMING: CORPORATE HOG BARNS AND THE THREAT TO PUBLIC HEALTH, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND RURAL COMMUNITIES-The Saskatchewan Office of The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Saskatoon-McNally Robinson Book Sellers-3130 8th at Circle-7:30 PM-authors to read from the book: Larry Hubich, Lisa Bechthold, and Bill Weida. For more information about the book launch and/or ordering the book call 978-5308.||The Prairie Swine Centre is having an open house tomorrow (Oct 15) from noon to 4 pm. If you would like to go see what they are up to just drive to Elstow (east of Saskatoon) turn off at the gas station and follow the signs from there. For more about the PSC, see their website at www.prairieswine.ca|
|For several stories about BSE in the beef industry, see
The Ontario Township of West Perth passed a bylaw that limited ILOs. It was challenged by an ILO operator and the Ontario Divisional Court turned down his appeal. The Hudson, Quebec decision by the Supreme Court was cited. That decision upheld the right of municipalities to enact precautionary bylaws to protect the environment. The link below is a report on the Ontario case.
Forum deals with issues facing Canada's water
The Times-Herald (Moose Jaw) Sat 04 Oct 2021
Page: 3 Section: News
Byline: Suzanne Boyer
Source: Moose Jaw Times-Herald
Water is often taken for granted in Canada, but an eye-opening forum held by the Council of Canadians Friday shed some light on the myriad of issues around the conservation and supply of our water.
Sara Ehrhardt, an engineer and National Water Campaigner for the Council of Canadians, was the first speaker. Ehrhardt, who has worked on an international scale with Engineers Without Borders, spoke of the global issues surrounding our water supply, such as control, co-modification and stewardship.
"There's a fight for control of our water, there's a fight to keep our water public, and there's a fight to keep our water from becoming a good," said Ehrhardt.
Ehrhardt told the group that Canada has the largest remaining fresh water resources in the world.
"With that comes a great responsibility to be good stewards of that water," she said. "And I don't think that, in Canada, we have done a very good job of that."
She warned that it's important for the public to keep an eye on their water sources and fight the inclination of provinces and municipalities to privatize or become bulk water suppliers, effectively selling the water out from under them.
She used the example of a village in northern Chile where she had once worked. The villagers eventually abandoned the site because they had no access to clean drinking water.
"There was good clean water in that area," explained Ehrhardt. "But it wasn't owned by the people who lived in the area, so they couldn't drink that water."
The second speaker, Cathy Holtslander, explored the effects of factory farming on the water supply.
Holtslander, the Council of Canadians National Organizer on Factory Farms, is based in Saskatoon. She used the example of hog barns in Saskatchewan to illustrate the concerns with the large-scale operations.
"We're looking at water supply issues with factory farms and water contamination issues with factory farms," said Holtslander.
She noted that the connection between surface water and ground water is not one that people automatically make, meaning things like manure drainage on a hog farm aren't always perceived as threats to drinking water.
"Water really connects things, and anything that threatens water is a big threat," said Holtslander.
She explained that the hog manure is filled with nitrogens and phosphorous as well as antibiotics, hormones and heavy metals that end up in surface water and can sometimes seep from sewage lagoons.
Holtslander said a large problem with the industry is the loose restrictions placed by regulating bodies.
"There is very little regulation in the intensive livestock industry in Saskatchewan," she said, explaining that development of these factory farms is approved by Saskatchewan Agriculture, Saskatchewan Environ-ment, SaskWater, and other government departments only serve an advisory role in the applications.
Holtslander said there's a push toward self-regulation by the corporations, which takes the results of any environmental monitoring out of the reach of the public.
She also said that Sask Agriculture has a high stake in promoting these industries in the province, which leads to less vigilance.
"There's a desire to make a profit on these enterprises, so there's a severe conflict of interest when it comes to regulating these hog barns." An example she provided was of a Big Valley Hog Barn that moved into the RM of Rama. The barn development was approved without an identified water supply. A deal was eventually struck to buy the town's reservoir, causing the town to apply for government grants to build an $800,000 pipeline to supply their citizens with water.
Chris Robart, the assistant engineer for the city of Moose Jaw, shifted the focus to local infrastructure and water supply. Robart told the group the city of Moose Jaw purchases its water from the Buffalo Pound water treatment plant, which is considered "state of the art in water treatment." In 2002 the city purchased a total of 1.3 billion gallons from the facility.
Where Robart really comes into the equation is looking after the extensive infrastructure that delivers that water to the city residents.
"The city has endeavoured to ensure that the water that is delivered is as clean as it was when it left the plant," he said.
His responsibilities include ensuring there is adequate supply to the city and that the water is delivered at an acceptable pressure.
Robart said while the city has surpassed provincial requirements in certifying its operators at the treatment plant, there are long-range plans he'd like to implement.
"I'd like to see a second pipeline flow from the plant," said Robart, saying it would ensure an uninterrupted service should anything go wrong with the aging pipeline that exists.
He said the city also wants to adopt a water quality control insurance policy and provide local access to its water testing data on a forum like a Web page. He said the city will also conclude a water distribution assessment in the new year.
"I think it's important, as the purveyors of water, that we consider all components of the system and how they work together," he said. "As well, I think it's important that the public realize the hard work and the hard dollars that are necessary to keep a water system sustainable and safe."
Vern Corbett, the program head for the civil department at SIAST Palliser, explained the different water-related programs that are available at the school.
The water and wastewater technology certificate is available through distance education since 2001. The certification is the one required for water treatment plant operators under new provincial regulations.
"The intent (of the course) is to prepare the operator to meet the certification requirements," said Corbett.
SIAST also offers diplomas in Water Resources Engineering Technology and Environmental Engineering Technology.
The evening concluded with a question and answer period, mostly centered on issues of accountability for and monitoring of water resources.
Mad Cow Disease Attributed to Broken Food System
and Poorly Enforced Health Policies
Statement by the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE)
Despite Agriculture Secretary Veneman's statement that the Department of Agriculture "has had an aggressive surveillance program ...to insure detection and a swift response" for mad cow disease, the facts are to the contrary. A broken food system and negligently enforced public health policy are endangering the health of Americans.
In 1996, the World Health Organization (WHO) made four recommendations to protect the public from an outbreak of the disease, which have yet to be instituted in the United States. The WHO recommended the following:
Ø Stop Feeding Infected Animals to Other Animals. US deer and elk with chronic wasting disease are fed to hogs and chickens.
Ø Test All Sick Animals. Sick animals which are unable to walk on their own power, "downers," like the one found yesterday in Washington state, should be tested for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease). The US tests fewer than 2% of the downers which are sent to slaughter for human consumption, while Japan, for example, tests 100% of their "downers."
Ø Stop Feeding Bovine Brains, Eyes, Spinal Cords or Intestines to People or Livestock.
In 1997, USDA tests showed that 88% of meat processors sampled were producing beef products which contained unacceptable material.
Ø Stop Weaning Calves on Cow's Blood. Calves in the US are drinking up to three cups of "red cell blood protein" each day to wean them; this protein may contain infected material.
Although in 1997 the FDA issued a final rule banning most mammalian protein in feeds for ruminant animals, as of October 2003, a total of 300 US companies were in violation of federal regulations to control mad cow disease.
Evidence indicates that mad cow disease is the product of an increasingly industrialized food system where parts of deceased animals are routinely fed to live animals to keep costs down. Cattle are fed animal byproducts, implanted with hormones, and are routinely fed antibiotics to promote quick growth and keep them alive. The majority spend most of their lives crowded on feedlots, where they live in a mixture of mud and their own filth, have no shade or protection, and have no freedom of movement. These practices are having a grave impact on the integrity of our food supply.
"Mad Cow Disease is a red flag that exposes the deadly flaws employed by our broken food system," says Karen Hudson of the GRACE Factory Farm Project. "The corporate industrial model of agriculture has brought us to the position we are in today. Grinding up dead farm animals to feed to live animals should be banned worldwide."
Testing animals for Mad Cow is not the solution; the only viable answer to this problem is to change the way animals are raised. Consumers can help create this change by supporting family farmers who raise animals sustainably.
Rethink modern farming to combat disease, says Lyman
Fast Forward Weekly
Thu 02 Oct 2021 Page: 4
Section: News Byline: Tom Babin
Source: Fast Forward
The appearance of mad cow disease in North America was inevitable and it won't go away unless the government seriously overhauls the industry, says former Montana rancher and well-known agricultural activist and vegan Howard Lyman.
"To suggest there is only one mad cow in North America is ludicrous," Lyman told Fast Forward. "The only thing that surprised me is that the first one was in Canada, not the U.S."
Lyman, whose appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1996 sparked a high-profile lawsuit from Texas cattlemen, will speak in Calgary on October 2. He says slow government reaction to removing animal parts from cattle feed in the '90s likely allowed bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, to emerge in the North American cattle population. He says the disease's long incubation period means it is simply being detected now, and he doesn't think it is restricted to the one infected cow found in northern Alberta earlier this year.
Lyman says the federal and provincial governments should be spending less time promoting Canadian beef with a public relations campaign and more on implementing improved safety measures. He says prohibitions on feeding rendered cow parts back to cattle are flawed, and the recently announced new procedures to test for mad cow disease in Canada are insufficient to guarantee consumers aren't eating BSE-tainted beef.
"The bureaucrats in Canada are busy fiddling while Rome burns, as far as producers go," Lyman says. "I think it's a death knell for the industry if they don't change. It's better to spend (money) testing all cattle than trying to get half of Canada to eat burgers."
Lyman is a former rancher whose health problems inspired him to investigate the use of chemicals in agriculture. Now a vegan, he says modern farming practices have created unhealthy beef and opened the doors to mad cow disease. He warned North Americans about the disease for years after its appearance in Europe, but his voice has been relatively silent compared to the powerful cattle industry.
The Canadian Cattlemen's Association, for example, recently contradicted Lyman's criticisms of Canada's new safety precautions.
"These added precautions will help reassure our export markets as well as Canadian consumers that Canada's food safety system is among the best in the world," the association stated in a recent news release. "Canadian beef is safe."
That mantra has been repeated by all levels of government and many industry associations.
But Lyman says it's obvious the precautions aren't suitable because other countries still aren't confident enough to resume importing Canadian beef. He adds that the assurances of the industry and government mirror the situation in Great Britain in the 1990s, which led to a devastating crisis.
"The government has to do something before we end up with every producer in the prairie provinces broke. (Regulations) don't go near as far as they need to go."
Lyman argues that the only sure way to eliminate mad cow disease is to raise cattle in a healthier way, which requires rethinking factory farming -- the intensification of livestock production and feedlot operations.
"If you really want to solve this problem, you have to go back in history and see what worked," Lyman says. "Sure it's going to increase the cost marginally, but go out and see a producer right now and see if that is better than no market."
Manitoba appeal court supports right of municipalities to block hog factories CP Wire
Mon 20 Oct 2021
Section: Western regional general news
WINNIPEG (CP) _ The Manitoba Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court decision allowing a municipality to restrict large hog operations.
The decision allows the Rural Municipality of Stuartburn to block a proposed 2,500-hog operation, which would have been the area's seventh.
The Manitoba Pork Council expressed fears the ruling could allow municipalities to override provincial legislation.
``It allows municipalities the unfettered ability to determine what kind of development should happen in the municipality regardless of really what the province says or good science,'' said Peter Mah, a director with the Council.
Mah said the decision could arbitrarily limit not only hog development but other livestock operations.
``It really muddies the waters,'' he said.
The appeal court ruled that under the Municipal Act, the municipality has the right to pass bylaws to protect the general welfare of the community.
The Supreme Court of Canada waded into a similar debate two years ago in a controversial case involving the use of pesticides.
In that case, which was referenced in the Manitoba decision, the court upheld a Quebec municipality's right to pass a bylaw banning the use of pesticides and herbicides.
Stuartburn is located in southeastern Manitoba, and has a population of about 1,600.
The municipality is in the process of drafting a development plan and zoning bylaws. It would specify, among other things, where such operations could be located.
It's not clear when that process will be complete but in the interim the municipality decided to impose restrictions on large hog barns.
James Janzen, who had proposed the new hog operation, took the municipality to court, arguing that they didn't have the right to pass what amounts to a zoning bylaw under the Municipal Act.
Janzen said he had the support of almost all of the residents living near his proposed operation.
Stuart Briese, president of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, said he doesn't believe municipalities will use the Municipal Act to limit the hog industry or similar development.
``Livestock development is economic development and most municipalities are looking for economic development,'' he said.
Last year, the Manitoba government announced a wide-ranging plan to regulate intensive livestock operations which will require municipalities to pass development plans under the Planning Act.
Minutes of Stop the Hogs Meeting with the RM of Barrier Valley, September 16, 2003
Spokesperson Elaine Hughes requested that the Minutes from the August 14, 2022 RM meeting be amended from: “The request was made because the group had misleading information that led them to believe that these two council members were also members of the North East Hog Committee” to read: “The request was made because, according to the North East Hogs brochure, these two council members are also members of the North East Hog Committee.”
Ms Hughes then informed the meeting that, on August 17, 2003, the Coalition sent DuWayne Lupien, CEO of North East Hogs, a Registered Letter requesting confirmation as to the status of Councillors Bruce Thompson and Keith Braaten: are they members of the North East Hogs Committee as stated on their brochure or are they not? Mr. Lupien has apparently chosen to not respond to the letter which, according to Canada Post, was picked up on August 19, 2003. In place of Mr. Lupien’s lack of response, and in a final attempt to clarify the matter of conflict of interest of these two Councillors, the Coalition requested that the Council members sign a prepared Declaration, stating that they are not members of the North East Hogs Committee/Big Sky Farms Inc., have no Pecuniary Interest in the proposed hog barn development project by North East Hogs/Big Sky Farms Inc., and are not sitting in a position of conflict of interest with regards to the above-mentioned proposed hog barn development. None of the Council members present would sign the Declaration. Copies of the Declaration, the letter to Mr. Lupien, and the page of the North East Hogs brochure which lists their Committee Members, were left with the Secretary with the request that they be attached to the RM Minutes.
Keith Braaten then informed the meeting that he had represented the RM at North East Hogs meetings in Reeve Hanson’s place. Reeve Hanson explained that, in order for the RM to best represent the ratepayers and to function effectively, he, in his role as Reeve, or his representative, attends many meetings, for example, the Hospital Board. Ms. Hughes assured him that the Coalition understands and agrees that this is a necessary duty of the Reeve. She repeated that the group’s concerns lie specifically with any conflict of interest or Pecuniary Interest of the two Councillors in question and with any potential of future financial advantage they may have as a result of being on both the North East Hogs Committee and on the RM Council.
Kathy Karn asked the Council several times if they are in favour of the pig barns, and finally, Reeve Hanson said, “Yes, I would have to say that we are.” Councillors stressed that the proposal for the hog barns was brought to them, and in light of the potential for economic development, they could not dismiss it without due consideration. She asked them why they would keep fighting for it, in light of the potential for pollution to our water and the terrible stench from the manure. She told them that she lives in the Lanigan area, surrounded by hog barns and, whenever they open their windows on a summer evening, are forced to tolerate the suffocating stench of manure from the surrounding barns and cesspools. She added that, in conversation with friends who live in the RM of Wolverine, she has learned that there have been no benefits to that community as a result of Big Sky pig barns in that area.
As the owner of a cabin at Barrier Lake, she is very concerned that people will move out if a hog barn moves in, and subsequently, Archerwill will lose the patronage of the resort residents. She is also concerned that there would be a huge drop in the value of their cabins because no one would want to purchase them. She suggested that the RM commission an independent environmental study with respect to hog barns or consider alternatives for economic development, such as tourism.
She added that money talks and it seems like things are happening without people knowing about them. Reeve Hanson stated that residents within the three-mile radius zone would be the first to know of any potential site because the North East Hogs Committee would need their signatures on an agreement before it could proceed to the testing phase. Dennis Brown stated that he was not there to force a hog barn development in an area where people are opposed to one or to tell people they can’t have one in their area if they want one - as long as the bylaws and regulations are followed.
Carol Garland inquired how many jobs the hog barns would really create, relating that, in the past, she had been the only employee at a 200-sow operation.
Lee Murton asked the Council what happens to the 3-mile limit set by this RM when a pig barn is built close to the border with another RM such as Pleasantdale, which does not permit pig barns. Reeve Hanson's response was that the bylaw affects only the barns in the RM were they are being built. From this, it would appear that the barn can be right on the border between two RMs and no allowance has to be made to ensure that it is 3 miles from the nearest neighbour in the adjoining RM.
Sylvia Robillard asked if Council had the authority to require that the manure be composted rather than stored as a liquid in a lagoon. Reeve Hanson replied that Council probably could stipulate in a bylaw how the manure must be handled. He went on to say that it is highly unlikely that any site within the RM will meet the geotechnical requirements because of the lake and river systems, high water table, and the sand/gravel base. He stated that Council is not aware of any suitable sites identified to even begin the formal testing procedure and confirmed Doug Hay’s (REDA representative) August comments that North East Hogs has not been actively searching for sites as the project has been put on hold due to the BSE situation. (The RM Newsletter received in July 2003 states that they (the hog committee) are investigating some potential sites; however, at this date, there are no approved sites in this municipality.)
The Coalition then presented the RM with the Petition requesting the Council give the RM a vote to settle the pig barn issue. It consists of 378 signatures representing 60% of the 630 eligible voters of the RM - a number specified by Reeve Hanson at the August 14 RM meeting they would have to get before the Council would even consider giving the people a vote on the pig barn issue. After accepting the Petition, Reeve Hanson said, “Of course you realize that we don’t have to do anything about this Petition.” He asked for clarification that the Petition requested a vote by secret ballot and stated that he had never alluded to the fact that Council would automatically give a vote. He stated that 60% gives them an indication of what people are thinking and he said the Council would check the Petition over to make sure that all the signatures where those of eligible voters of the RM, discuss it, and get back to the Coalition with their decision. After several attempts to find out “when” they would get back to the Coalition, Reeve Hanson indicated that they would probably have that decision for the Coalition at the next RM meeting in October.
As part of their presentation, the Coalition displayed a map of the RM (posted on their website: www.stopthehogs.com) which clearly shows the number of people who signed the Petition and who want to settle the issue of the pig factories with a vote - in a democratic manner - the way Reeve Hanson has, from the very first meeting the Coalition had with him in May, 2003, indicated it would be settled.
Kathy Karn asked why keep fighting about it if 60% of the people don’t want it? There was no reply to this question.
Lee Murton asked how, if a vote is not held, do residents get a say in this issue. Reeve Hanson explained the process: first, the three-mile radius bylaw requires their signature, then the geotechnical study determines if the proposed site meets the requirements, then a 30-day public notice gives people the opportunity to express their concerns.
During a general discussion, the Administrator asked the Coalition if
they had considered the wording of the question should the Council decide
to conduct a vote on the issue. Both parties agreed that the wording
would be critical and may serve to prevent future conflicts or the need
to debate the issue a second time. Reeve Hanson commented that the livestock
industry is very important to the economy and a new bylaw restricting
all livestock operations was not going to happen.