Pigs rule, — Municipalities lose. Proposed planning act set to ditch democracy in rural Manitoba

April 16, 2004

WINNIPEG, — Rural Manitobans will soon find themselves powerless to control the location of hog barns in their own municipalities if the Doer government goes ahead with proposed changes to the Planning Act.

Yesterday Hogwatch Manitoba and National Farmers Union members met with Manitoba Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuk to impress upon her the devastating impact the proposed changes would have on rural communities and family farmers.

Ken Sigurdson, Manitoba Co-ordinator of the National Farmers Union, said “Bill 40, or Changes to the Planning Act, removes the power of local people and RM councils to address the problems created by industrial hog factories.”

“Bill 40 is predicated on a number of specious assumptions, including the idea that there is no difference between Intensive Livestock Operations and Conventional Livestock Operations, except size,” explained Hogwatch Manitoba member Ruth Pryzner of Daly, Manitoba.

The prime beneficiary of the proposed changes would be Maple Leaf Foods, the biggest pork processor in Canada, a company that is committed to paying low wages to workers and paying rock-bottom prices to its contracted hog producers.

Today, in a national day of action against factory farming, citizens across the country are calling upon federal and provincial agriculture ministers to stop propping up factory farming with regulations, policies and funding programs that hurt family farmers and lead to serious economic, health and environmental problems.

The continuing crisis of industrial livestock production in Canada keeps getting worse. Bird Flu is devastating chicken producers in BC. Mad Cow is impoverishing Canada’s cattle farmers. Hog factories on the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick are putting hog farmers out of business. “Get big or get out” agriculture policies are producing crises and hardship and threatening the long-term viability of Canada’s food production system.

1An Ipsos-Reid Poll released today shows that 89% of Canadians want provincial and federal government support to go to family farms with environmentally-friendly livestock production systems and not large corporate farms. Today, the Beyond Factory Farming Coalition, made up of national, provincial and local organizations that represent thousands of Canadians, is calling upon governments to do just that.

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For more information contact: Bill Harrison, Hogwatch Manitoba - (204) 248-2221 Fred Tait, Hogwatch Manitoba - (204) 252-2773 or (204) 252-2153

1These are the findings of an Ipsos-Reid/Council of Canadians poll conducted from March 30th to April 1st 2004. For the telephone survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 1000 adult Canadians was interviewed by telephone. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ¬± 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were statistically weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data. Please visit www.ipsos-reid.com to view the survey findings.