Hogs at the tail end of misguided provincial planning allowing intensive hog operations on flood plains.
“Where is the wisdom allowing these type of operations to be built on flood plains” says Janine Gibson long time member of HOG WATCH who resides among the heaviest concentration of these operations in Southeastern Manitoba.
As a known flood plain, the Red River Valley experienced severe floods in 1997, 2009, 2011 and now again, this year.
“What on earth was the province thinking when the moratorium was lifted to allow these massive hog operations to further expand. Now we face increasing amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen into the watershed,” she adds.
In 2017 the provincial Conservative government removed key sections in the Environment Act that restricted new hog barn development on known floodplains.
Recent aerial photos from HOG WATCH clearly show hog operations and fields within a vast sea of water covering thousands of acres routinely used for hog manure spread fields. HOG WATCH members touring some of the flooded areas were assaulted by the stench of hog manure as it washed over the flooded land.
Bill Massey, who raises sustainable pigs for private use and has been contesting a large hog operation in Rock Lake Colony near Grosse Isle Manitoba for over 18 years, says the math is simple;
“Much of the manure spread last Fall will be carried away this spring as soils become saturated. Phosphorus and nitrogen have not had time to be taken up by any crops and tons will be carried into our rivers and lakes as well as other bacteria, feeding toxic blue-green algae blooms this summer.”
Typically hog manure is either injected into the soil or spread onto fields as nutrients for crops. Excessive manure can contain harmful bacteria like E. coli or and viruses causing groundwater contamination and fish kills.
Janie Gibson sums up this way, “The time has passed where pursuing profit at any cost to Manitoba’s environment makes sense. It doesn’t! Manitoba is the largest hog producing province per population in Canada and the government takes pride in its plans for more intensive hog industry growth. This has to end!”
Hog Watch Manitoba is a non-profit coalition of environmentalists, farmers, animal welfare and social justice advocates, trade unions and scientists that promotes a hog industry in Manitoba that is ethically, environmentally and economically sustainable.
For more information and to arrange an interview:
Vicki Burns 204-489-3852 Save Lake Winnipeg Project and Hog Watch MB
Bill Massey 204-467-9122 Concerned Citizens of Grosse Isle and Hog Watch MB
Janine Gibson 204-434-6018 Organic Food Council and Hog Watch MB