Letters to the editor – August 10, 2017

Pig production must change

“The opportunist thinks of me and today. The statesman thinks of us and tomorrow.”  — Dwight Eisenhower.

The present method of mass producing hogs needs to change. 

It is time to acknowledge that there are better ways of raising pigs for meat export.

Our local and provincial governments need to implement the necessary changes to have this accomplished. It is recognized as animal stewardship.

Is it just a coincidence that 59 hog operations in Manitoba have experienced outbreaks of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus in the past few months? 

As the pork industry endeavours to wash away problems, which they themselves could possibly be the creators of in their method of raising pigs, it brings other situations to the forefront: the mismanagement of finite water sources and the spreading of hog slurry which contains the virus.

I have no idea of how many thousands of gallons of clean — not recycled — water is utilized to rinse those pig trucks that have returned to Canada, but would guess that it is a very high number.

And what happens to that rinse water after, for it is likely contaminated with the PED virus. Has any one considered this?

For instance, research conducted on behalf of the Manitoba Livestock Management Initiative has shown the virus responsible for PEDv, is capable of surviving over Manitoba winters in earthen manure storages.

That to me only confirms that all this rinsing, supposedly as an effective tool, is only a limited, very temporary measure, of dealing with the virus for the short term. It does nothing to eradicate the virus.

The virus remains, now spread about, ready to continue infecting when the time and conditions are ideal and appropriate.

I am of the opinion that factory hog producers must change their method of producing animals or even more serious outbreaks will occur and continue spreading.

But sadly … logic doesn’t seem to matter or apply to those operating factory hog establishments.

Statesmanship is a forgotten word and no longer recognized.

John Fefchak,
Virden, Man.

Carbon tax unfair

 I thought the carbon tax was supposed to act as a consumption tax.  It was supposed to discourage consumption of goods and services that have high carbon content.

The Trudeau carbon tax, as designed, will not achieve that.  The problem is the Trudeau carbon tax, as it moves from fuel provider to processor to retailer, quickly disappears into the market price, and consumers only see higher general prices.

To understand, think of the time before the GST when we had a manufacturer’s tax. 

It fell on producers and processors. The largest companies had the marketing power to pass on the cost of the tax by charging higher prices. Smaller businesses did not have that marketing power and had to eat the tax. Clearly, it was an unfair tax.

The GST was its replacement.  It was transparent because it was a stand-alone tax separate from the market price and could be passed down the supply chain.

Trudeau’s carbon tax, at present, is following in the failed footsteps of the manufacturer’s sales tax, and small processors and producers (such as Medicine Hat greenhouses and farmers) would similarly have to eat the cost.

A stand-alone carbon tax (CST) would be much easier to administer and pass along. 

For example, farmers could be given a debit slip rather than paying cash at their fuel supplier, and when they deliver grain to the elevator, they could be given credit slips at some standard rate. 

At the end of the year, along with their income tax paperwork, they would deliver the total of their CST debit and credit slips.

At the end of the supply chain, when the consumer comes to choose between product X or product Y, he will see the difference in carbon content by the size of the CST.

Tom Shelstad
Swift Current, Sask.


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