Monday, 4 May 2020

Manitoba's Decker Hutterite Colony says, several dead hogs spotted recently on a public roadway, nearby, died of natural causes.

by Larry Powell

Hog carcasses in two dumpsters on a side road near the
Decker Colony, northwest of Brandon, Apr. 24th.
I spotted these carcasses on April 24th.

My initial attempts to phone the colony, to find out more about what happened, failed. Today, the Colony's Barn Manager, David Waldner, called me back (May 6th). He says the hogs died of natural causes, not disease. In his words, "Hogs die." Sometimes one gets a broken leg, for example, and has to be put down. But most of the animals in the dumpsters, were what he calls "standard mortalities," not the result of disease.

He says the company which picks up the carcasses, usually comes about once a week. But, due to mechanical issues, it was delayed. As a result, they sat there for longer than normal. Because of that, he explains, the bodies were bloated. And this likely makes it appear as if there are more than the 20 which he estimates were in the dumpsters.

Waldner says he "absolutely shares concerns" others have for the welfare of animals. He adds, the Colony had a veterinarian visit their facilities in the past month or two. 
The Decker Colony. (All photos by PinP.)
He says the Colony houses from eight to nine thousand hogs at the moment.

Waldner rejects speculation from critics that the crowded conditions used in "intensive livestock operations," like his, may have contributed to the mortalities.

And he doesn't believe other ways of raising animals, would be feasible. He says letting animals run loose, "free-range" comes with its own set of problems, including the weather and the risk of them catching disease from other sources.

Waldner says Decker Colony ships its live hogs to the Maple Leaf slaughterhouse in Brandon. The dead-stock, such as the ones shown here, goes to a rendering plant in Winnipeg.

Meanwhile, a long-time critic of the industry in Manitoba, John Fefchak, brought this story to the attention of the Government of Manitoba. The Auditor-General has responded, saying, it will be looked into. 


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