Friday, 19 October 2018

Mayor denies news report that a controversial Manitoba hog barn has been declared "legal." Issue remains unresolved.

by Larry Powell
What the fuss is all about. A PinP photo.
The building in question is a "finisher barn," where mature hogs are prepared for market. It's located in the RM of Yellowhead, northwest of Brandon.

It became controversial when the citizens' group, Hogwatch Manitoba, brought a formal complaint in September to the Yellowhead council.

It alleged the owner, Wim Verbruggen, had built a larger barn than stated in his original application for a building permit, bypassing several regulations and bylaws in the process. Ruth Pryzner of Hogwatch says there should have been a public hearing and provincial technical review. Neither was held. She also questioned whether proper procedures have been taken to ensure adequate manure storage and water management. She called on the RM to take meaningful action, including possible closure.

Yellowhead Mayor Don Yanick told PinP, Verbruggen has since assured council the number of animals he intended to raise in a larger, approved building meets legal requirements. On the basis of the assurance, Mayor Yanick says it appears the owner "followed our rules" and that there was no need for a hearing. Nevertheless, he says council decided on Oct. 9th, to "definitely" find an "independent person" at taxpayers' expense and verify the actual number of pigs in the barns. At the time of this writing, however, that person had not yet been appointed.

Also, it may be tough to get that independent person into the barn, in the first place. Barn owners can invoke special "biosecurity" requirements, such as "showering in and showering out" to guard against the spread of disease. Whether the owner has the power to forbid entry altogether, is unclear. The Mayor believes the inspection could depend on whether Verbruggen even "allows us in."

Pryzner says regulation must determine the most number of animals that an be housed in the original barns ("iso-wean" operations which have been there for years) and the addition. She adds, "If a disease outbreak occurred and all animals removed, the building capacity remains the same." The manure storage permit the province issued in 2001 for that original operation is proof that barn capacity must guide regulatory decision-making, not animals present at any given time.

Meanwhile, Yanick is denying yesterday's headline story in the local newspaper, Crossroads This Week," (see story, below). It reads, "Hogbarn Found to be Legal." First of all, he says, Council will not be declaring the operation "legal," even if an inspection clears the owner. (It will simply be allowed to proceed.) So, the bottom line is, the matter is still pending and will be discussed again at the next council meeting on Oct. 23rd.

Despite the fact this whole issue is not yet resolved, the newspaper describes the Hogwatch allegations as "unwarranted swipes against a family farming operation." 


"In Hogs We Trust."  
A critique of Manitoba’s “runaway” hog industry.

Monday, 15 October 2018

PROFIT VS PEOPLE Corporate Power + Climate Change = Geocide

susan-geoprgeSusan George: We are faced with determined adversaries who care nothing about human rights or climate change. They only want a world in which they can make endless amounts of money using all available resources, no matter what the costs to nature and to human life.
Susan George is president of the board of the Trans National Institute, an international research and advocacy institute committed to building a just, democratic and sustainable world. She spoke at the Seminar of the International Center for the promotion of Human Rights [CIPDH] and Unesco titled “Interreligious and inter cultural dialogue: consciences and climate change”  in September in Buenos Aires.  Read her lecture here.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Enbridge Pipeline Explosion Forces First Nations Community to Flee

A 36-inch natural gas transmission pipeline owned and operated by Enbridge exploded in rural land north of Prince George, B. C. this week, the Canadian pipeline company said in a media release. Story here.
Spills & explosions are no strangers to this corporation. Here, technicians
cut and remove a section of pipe in an earlier Enbridge incident - a
pipeline oil spill site near Marshall, Michigan. The U.S. 

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Farmed Out

George Monbiot's view from the U.K, here.

Gas is not a "bridge fuel" - it's a climate disaster! (Video)

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

The RM of Yellowhead will ask an independent investigator to solve a dispute over an allegedly illegal hog barn operation in southwestern Manitoba.

The citizens' group HogWatch Manitoba made an official presentation to the RM council two week ago, It claimed the barn owner, Wim Verbruggen had built a bigger barn housing more animals than the rules allowed. A Hogwatch official, Ruth Pryzner, suggested it be shut down because it had deprived any concerned resident the right to be heard. She also feared he may have to spread the waste on fields in winter, which is illegal. That's because he apparently has not expanded his storage capacity to take care of the waste from the barn.

But, following a council meeting today, Mayor Don Yanick told PinP, Verbruggen still maintains he is not keeping more animals than he should (He claims it is 297, not the 300 or more he is alleged to be). The Mayor says the RM will ask some independent person to look into the situation to confirm who is right before deciding on any further action. Despite the controversy, the Mayor says he would not be opposed to one or two more barns in the region in the future. 

After serving for several terms in that position, Yanick is not seeking re-election in the civic elections later this month.

Hogwatch has not yet commented on this latest development. But its position has already been,“If the Yellowhead Council refuses to take the strongest enforcement action possible, choosing instead to try and bring the operator into compliance with the law, rural people and the environment are in big trouble as the hog industry expands across the Province. Failures in the livestock approval system have broad implications for how hog barn expansion will proceed in the future under the Pallister government's direction,” Pryzner concluded.