Posts Tagged 'pigs'

AIC is going to lay low over the summer and come back revamped by fall.  Here are two unmitigated downers to mull over in the meantime.

Statistics . . .

On Friday, Manitou RCMP went to the property in the RM of Lorne. Officers discovered as many as 500 dead pigs, along with about 160 that were so sick that they had to be put down. Many of the animals were found living without proper food, water or ventilation.

 RCMP said evidence of “severe neglect” was observed. About 2,000 animals were rescued.

. . . tragedy.

I’m very sad to say that Sunny also had to be put down recently. Sunny was surrendered to the shelter back in August 2009, and he was a super-sweet, cuddly older boy. He was finally adopted in December, only to be returned two months later. He was clearly depressed to be back in the shelter, and his awesome personality quickly disappeared. He stayed in the corner, not moving, not interested in people. And then recently, he started biting people when they tried to pet him. Four months had passed since he’d been returned, it was clear no one was going to adopt him, he was depressed and he was going to hurt someone.

Eye on costs

Manitoba hog producers worried about costs of changes to building codes.

The activist group Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals supports stricter industry-wide building codes, saying thousands of animals have died over the years in hog barn fires.

But while the animal rights group says contemplated changes to the code don’t go far enough — Manitoba’s hog producers say while they’re to make changes, they also have to keep an eye on costs.

“If we put the cost too high then you’re going to put the producers out of business,” said Manitoba Pork Council chairman Karl Kynoch.

Pig pragmatism

University of Manitoba prof on pigs.

I advocate for animal rights from a very pragmatic philosophical position. I simply want animals out of cages, granted the ability to move around and check things out. We all die; we should all get to lie in the sun and explore the shade sometimes.

The Manitoba Pork Council, which helps fund the faculty of agriculture’s research centres, is a proponent of industrial pork production and heavy pork exports. In my opinion, the faculty of agriculture’s department of animal science is too bound up with the pork industry. As part of an institution of critical thinking, they should hold industry at an arm’s length and work independently from it, even if only occasionally. Instead, Manitoba Pork Council and Faculty of Agriculture work closely together. See Manitobapork.com for information about their exports and contributions to the U of M. It’s all there.

Frankenswine

Environment Canada says University of Guelph’s “Enviropigs” do not harm the environment.  Health Canada to decide if the genetically modified Yorkshire pigs are fit for eating.

The so-called “Enviropigs,” the world’s first transgenic animal created to solve an environmental problem, were created in 1999 with a snippet of mouse DNA introduced into their chromosomes.

The pigs produce low-phosphorus feces.

The Guelph scientists were able to reduce phosphorus pollution by creating a special composite gene that enables digestion of a normally unavailable form of phosphorus. This allows the pigs to produce manure that is 30 to 65 per cent lower in phosphorus than found in the manure of regular pigs — blamed for polluting surface and groundwater when raised in intensive livestock operations.

Wicked problems

Manitoba government official speaks to hog farmers in Kirkton.

Citing an academic journal article published in 1973 by Melvin Webber and Horst Rittel, Whiting suggested the issue of farm animal welfare is a “wicked problem.”
The article lists several characteristics of wicked problems but Whiting focused on only one: the notion that, as Whiting puts it, “you can’t talk about the problem until you have a solution.”
Whiting pointed to the First Nations residential school system as the archetypal wicked problem in Western Canadian policy – a problem that was intended to be a solution to a previous wicked problem.
Whiting suggested the school system was a response to infant mortality rates, alcoholism, unemployment, illiteracy and other issues in First Nations communities.

Less pigs

Canadian hog industry continues decline.

Jurgen Preugshas, president of the Canadian Pork Council, says massive attrition continues throughout the industry as producers realize they can’t afford to continue.

He says the futures have improved since fall, but they’re still not at break-even levels for most producers.

The CPC is anticipating annual production in Canada will drop by 5 to 6 million animals – from around 31 million to 25.5 – in the next four years.

Meanwhile, Canadian consumption of American pork is on the rise.

Pig jizz

“Improved” breeding practices could lead to savings for pork producers.

Dr. George Foxcroft leads the swine reproduction program at the University of Alberta.

He says producers should consider switching back to single boar mating programs, rather than using pooled semen samples.

He says a single boar mating system allows producers to choose a high performing animal, rather than the pooling system where producers don’t know the characteristics of the progeny.

He notes when semen is pooled, the effectiveness of the sample is usually dominated by the least productive boar.


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