Saturday, 25 April 2020

Some Canadian hog producers are euthanizing their own pigs because Covid-19 has rendered them almost worthless. Is it happening in Manitoba, too?

by Larry Powell

According to the farm newspaper, the Western Producer, some Canadian producers are killing their own hog stocks and disposing of them, without putting them on the market.  Many meat-plant workers have been infected with Covid-19 and several packing plants in Canada and the U.S. have closed, as a result. Packers are therefore not accepting as many hogs as before and supplies are backing up throughout the production chain.Piglets normally raised in Canada and sold to finishing operations in the 'States are said to be worthless.
These carcasses were spotted on a side road not far
from the Decker Hutterite Colony.
Photos by PinP.
News reports suggest, only animals in eastern Canada are known to have been euthanized, so far. 

However, I spotted and photographed two large dumpsters filled with the carcasses of mature hogs two days ago (see above). They were near the Decker Hutterite Colony in southwestern Manitoba, site of a major hog producing operation. However, it isn't known if the animals were euthanized because of Covid-19, or died of other causes. My calls to the colony have gone unanswered. 
This sign is now posted at the entrance to the
Decker colony. Photos by PinP.
Janine Gibson of HogWatch Manitoba, tells PinP, it's most likely the animals died "from the unnatural confinement and its inappropriate density. Also pick-up for disposal may be behind, so the carcass numbers are higher. I do sadly believe, some may choose to euthanize rather than continue to lose money feeding hogs they cannot sell." 

HogWatch is a citizens' group which keeps a critical eye on the industry in the province.

The Chair of the Canadian Pork Council, Rick Bergmann told a news conference, producers are losing hundreds of millions of dollars because of the Covid crisis. Calling federal assistance to business, "totally inadequate," the industry is asking Ottawa for an immediate cash payment of $20 per hog. 

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Please also read:

"In Hogs We Trust" Part 11  
a critique of Manitoba's runaway pork industry.

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