(Winnipeg –August 19, 2019) Hog Watch Manitoba(HWM) is warning the public that further increase in the number of pigs raised in Manitoba could bring even greater blue-green algae blooms to Lake Winnipeg and other Manitoba lakes. This summer the extent of the algae blooms in the south basin of Lake Winnipeg is devastating to many cottage communities, including Victoria Beach, Grand Beach and Lester Beach. The current Conservative government in Manitoba has introduced several measures to try to encourage the development of more industrial size hog barns. They ended the moratorium on hog barn development which had been instituted by the former provincial government. They brought in the Red Tape Reduction Bill, removing the prohibition on winter spreading of manure from legislation. Subsequently they brought in Bill 19 which aims to limit local control over new hog barn development.
HWM has requested that the government collect data to determine how much phosphorus is running off fields that have been fertilized with hog manure. Phosphorus is the key element that feeds the growth of blue-green algae and it is present in animal manure, human sewage and chemical fertilizers. Currently there is no actual data on how much phosphorus is coming from hog lagoons and spread fields and HWM believes that this data should be collected so evidence-based decisions can be made. “ We have the means to do this water sampling and data collection”, says Vicki Burns, Hog Watch Manitoba Steering Committee, “so why are we not being scientific about measuring and then controlling the amount of phosphorus we are allowing on our soils that is running off into our waters?”
According to Manitoba Pork there were 7.7 million pigs marketed in 2018 in Manitoba, compared to 780,000 back in 1975. Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler has stated the government’s intention to see that number grow to 10 million each year. “This unlimited expansion of the industrial style hog industry has tremendous costs to our lake waters and the health of humans living in proximity to the hydrogen sulphide emissions from hog lagoons” says Janine Gibson, Hog Watch Member and Organic Agricultural Consultant and Inspector.
HWM is calling for data collection on run-off from hog farms before more industrial hog barns are allowed. The costs of polluting our lakes is too high a price to pay.
For more information contact:
Vicki Burns – 204-489-3852 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Janine Gibson – 204-557-2529 - email@example.com