Friday, 6 July 2018

More help from the public trough for the corporate hog sector

by Larry Powell

Manitoba’s hog industry is delighted with the latest infusion of money into swine research. Ottawa has just announced that another $18.5 million will be spent over 5 years to look into the nutrition, health and care of the nation’s swine herds, along with their "environmental sustainability" and the quality of the pork. Canadian taxpayers will pay almost $13 million of that amount, the rest from industry.

This is in addition to more than $30 million already spent over the past decade (by both industry and taxpayers) for other so-called “agri-science” research.

The group representing pig producers and processors, Manitoba Porkhails the announcement as “Great news!” It says the research will be “industry-led,” and will “bring together experts in the public and private sectors to help increase the competitiveness of the Canadian pork sector.”  (Conveniently, the industry statement makes no mention of the apparent provision in the federal grant for a study into its own "environmental sustainability.")

And earlier this year, $176 million began flowing across Manitoba’s farm sector from both federal and provincial taxpayers. Among those eligible for financial help are “agri-processors.” These would include the province’s two big hog slaughterhouses, HyLife and Maple Leaf Foods (both of whom have been reporting profits to their shareholders of late).

And this is all part of a larger, $3 billion "investment" by federal, provincial and territorial governments to “help farmers manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farm and are beyond their capacity to manage.” This seems to be a reference, in part, to swine diseases which have devastated herds in Manitoba and elsewhere for over a year now.  For more on this, please read “In Hogs We Trust - Part 111 - From Malaysia to Manitoba. The magnitude of livestock diseases, worldwide.”

For a more in-depth account of government subsidies flowing to this “high-maintenance” industry, please read, “In Hogs WeTrust, Part 11 - the price we pay for corporate pig$”

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