Monday, 19 August 2019

Hogs and Water. A private citizen appeals to the Premier of Manitoba.

Dear Premier Brian Pallister,

It’s time for you and your government to stop playing Russian Roulette with the health of our waterways. Mr. Premier, you need to implement the “precautionary principle” and immediately stop the unbridled expansion of factory pig barns in the province. Scores of huge new barns have been going up - often in the face of opposition from nearby residents - for well over a year now, ever since your government slashed important environmental, health and safety regulations in order to make it happen. 
Lake Winnipeg, transformed into the bright, blue-green hue of poisonous algae.
Photo by European Space Agency.
There’s already plenty of both “circumstantial,” and scientific evidence that hog waste has played a role in reducing Lake Winnipeg to a mucky mess which can be seen from space (above).

Pigs have outnumbered people by the millions in our province for many years now. And that imbalance will only be widening with industry expansion. Hogs produce much more waste than humans. And, except for accidental releases, human sewage is treated while hog slurry - spread on vast areas of food crops as a fertilizer - is not.

And, instead of acting in the financial interests of foreign corporations, which now control Manitoba’s slaughtering facilities, your government should be thinking instead of your own citizens. 

For example, the ability of many cottage communities along the south basin to enjoy their properties this summer has been ruined by a dramatic buildup of poisonous algae which has collected along their beaches and seriously sickened some of their pets who drank the water. Some cottagers say, it’s the worst they’ve ever seen.

Could the reason your government has conducted no proper water testing be, it’ll show just how much the industry is contributing to the pollution? So, why not do the testing, gather the scientific data which has been lacking so far, and settle the issue, once and for all?

I believe many Manitobans share these concerns. If you do, please contact your local MLAs and tell them so.

Larry Powell
Shoal Lake MB

Hog Watch Manitoba Warns Current Hog Industry Expansion Could Further Harm Lake Winnipeg

(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 –
Janine Gibson – 204-557-2529 -

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