Letters to the editor – March 3, 2016

Unpleasant photo

Re: Photograph of steers in feedlot on Page 9 Jan.21 edition.

It was disappointing to see such nice steers, ready to be slaughtered, carrying so much tag above the knee, back to the elbow then carrying it through to mid-thigh or above.

On some of them it must be five percent of the live weight.

If this is the way some feed yards operate, then perhaps it is time for them to look at engineering protocols for a better drainage system, or use of substrate for the animals to rest and ruminate.

There is a cost to producing clean beef and, to stay in business the operator must have sustainable, viable, marketable product to the consumer. Beef is still the “go-to meat” and we want to keep it that way.

From the consumer side, they do not want to see the possible sites of contamination for a group of pathogens that can be sourced from the hide, i.e. salmonella or E. coli. Surely in the future, you can find a photo of clean cattle with clean noses.

Margaret E. Mitchell, D.V.M
Westerville, Ohio.

PM no friend

On Feb. 16, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair asked agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay “when he would restore the Canadian Wheat Board” now that the evidence is in that the private grain companies had taken $6.5 billion from grain farmers in the last two years.

The minister’s answer must have shocked Mulcair and certainly should have shocked western farmers. Yes, he said, the wheat board had been sold (reminding Conservatives that a contract is a contract) and he would not be seizing assets, no matter how they were disposed of from G3, which is the combination of Saudi Arabia and Bunge, one of the world’s giant private grain companies.

The fact that this response triggered a standing ovation from Conservative MPs speaks volumes.

In October 2011, Liberal agriculture critic Frank Valeriote and Liberal deputy leader and former minister responsible for the CWB Ralph Goodale said, “The government’s decision to kill single-desk selling is a clear violation of the Canadian Wheat Board Act, which insists on democratic producer control.”

The Act also insists that any changes to the CWB must be made in consultation with its board of directors and with farmers directly, something this government has blatantly refused to do.”

When Bill C-18 was recently tested in the federal court, judge Douglas Campbell, on Dec 7, 2011, ruled that then agriculture minister Gerry Ritz violated terms of the existing CWB Act by failing to hold a vote among producers about his proposal to end the CWB’s monopoly on wheat and barley sales. In other words, the CWB was then illegally gained goods.

What MacAulay and the Liberal government is saying is that it is OK for corporate interests to keep illegally gained goods leaving western grain farmers to suffer the consequences.

In spite of the Liberal election promises, we now find that the Trudeau government and the new minister of agriculture, like the emperor with no clothes, stand revealed as no friends of western grain farmers.

And don’t tell us that the majority of us are happy with marketing freedom, because there has yet to be a referendum that proves it.

Joyce Neufeld
Waldeck, Sask.

Farmers lost billions

The Saskatchewan Party claims to have the support of rural Saskatchewan. One would wonder why. The Saskatchewan Party supported (former prime minister Stephen) Harper when he dismantled the Canadian Wheat Board. During the last couple of years. The removal of the board has cost wheat growers about $6 billion.

Farmers in this province lost the major share of that $6 billion. No amount of government assistance matches those billions.

Lorne Jackson
Moose Jaw, Sask.

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