Letters to the editor – October 1, 2015

Fine print on manure

On the website of the British newspaper The Guardian, author Yuval Noah Harari says, “Industrial farming is one of the worst crimes in history” and, “what makes the existence of domesticated farm animals particularly cruel is not just the way in which they die but above all how they live.”

According to a headline on the Brandon Sun’s website, (Sept. 26), “Hog producers are upbeat about (the) future.”

Manitoba factory hog producers have reason to be optimistic.

The agriculture minister is working with the industry to resolve a manure management impasse, but his “fine print” approach, in my opinion, has the stench of undermining the Save Lake Winnipeg Act.

First, it was too many hogs, now it is too few hogs.

Is the problem too much slaughter capacity? Is it poor planning requiring lots of public bailouts (our tax dollars) and environmental pollution subsidies? Any or all would qualify and be appropriate.

The Manitoba Pork Council claims current regulations are too costly for the industry because an anaerobic digestor for a barn may cost $1 million.

They’ve asked the minister to accept the cheaper alternative of building upgraded earthen storage structures (lagoons) to separate solids from liquids in manure.

Former conservation and water stewardship minister Gord Mackintosh has said, “We are not prepared to weaken the Save Lake Winnipeg Act and allow unrestricted provincewide hog production in Manitoba at the expense of the environment.

“Any pilot project proposal coming forward from the hog industry to the province must demonstrate zero negative impact on water quality and include effective odour control measures.”

Allowing additional earthen storage structures to be built would exceed the Kyoto protocol greenhouse gas emission targets the province has previously set in legislation.

Manure stored in more of these cheap structures promises more nutrient leaching and increasing the danger of groundwater contamination.

Pig waste is appropriately categorized and recognized as hazardous waste Kostyshyn should acknowledge this and respond accordingly.

We all should know and realize that you can’t put a price on clean, safe water.

Previously, I asked “who is in control?” It is fairly obvious the province has relinquished its responsibility as it had pledged in June of 2011.

The factory hog industry wants to operate as cheaply as possible, yet become environmentally sustainable by simply changing locations.

How soon we forget.

John Fefchak,
Virden, Man

Farewell to Taylor

I read Ryan Taylor’s last and farewell column with tears in my eyes. He will be sorely missed and I hope he knows how much joy his writing has brought the WP readers over the years.

I’ve been clipping and sending his columns to a senior friend in British Columbia to enjoy.

I also bought his three books and perhaps there will be more in the future. I’d like to see his mother’s columns put into a book also.

His down-to-earth sense has brought a shining light in a midst of daily turmoil on the newscasts. I wish him and his family all the best in their future endeavours.

I also miss Joyce Sasse’s columns; they stopped without a word of explanation.

Elaine Sloan
Busby, Alta.

explore

Stories from our other publications