|"When an activity raises
threats of harm to human health or the environment,
precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and
effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.
In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the
public, should bear the burden of proof." - Wingspread
Statement of the Precautionary Principle.
2002 to June 2003 |
July 2003 to September 2003 | October
2003 to Present
- Minutes of the "STOP the HOGS
Coalition" as reported by STOP the HOGS --
July 6, 2003
Calling on Ratepayers in the RM of Barrier Valley to Stop the Hogs -- The Parkland Review
July 18, 2003
- Minutes of the "STOP the HOGS
Coalition" as reported by STOP the HOGS --
July 27, 2003
- STOP the HOGS Coalition
Launches Website -- July 28, 2003
it All for so Little for so Few -- Western Producer -- July 31, 2003
the HOGS Coalition Launches a New Website -- Tisdale Recorder -- August
the HOGS Coalition Meeting with RM of Barrier Valley Council as Reported
by STOP the HOGS Coalition-- August
Valley RM Notes -- The Tisdale Recorder -- September 10, 2003
Barns Still an Issue of Great Debate in RM of Barrier Valley -- The
Wadena News -- September 10, 2003
Council Makes Wise Decision -- The Tisdale Recorder - September 3, 2003
to Mr. DuWayne Lupien, North East Hogs -- August 18, 2003
of the STOP the HOGS Coalition Meeting with RM of Barrier Valley Council
as Reported by STOP the HOGS -- September 16, 2003
of the Regular Meeting of the Council of the RM of Barrier Valley as
Recorded by the RM -- September 16, 2003
Presented to Council -- Letter to the Editor -- September 19, 2003
Considering Petitioners' Request for a Vote on Hog Barns -- Parkland
Review -- September 26, 2003
Minutes of the "STOP the HOGS
July 6, 2003
McKague Hall - McKague, SK
The meeting was brought to order shortly after
2:00 p.m. and those in attendance introduced themselves to the meeting,
stating their name and where they live.
Isabel Muzichuk (Rama/Buchanan), Joe Homenuk (Weekes), Ryan Calder
Elaine Hughes gave a brief history of what has happened within the RM in
regard to the hog barns and where we are with the opposition up to this
explained the water flows in the area, soil conditions and how the barns
could affect our environment and us.
She suggested that it might be a good idea for people to have their
drinking water tested, and their land & buildings assessed if they
suspect test holes are being dug anywhere near their land.
this point Isabel Muzichuk was introduced.
NEW BUSINESS: Isabel
Muzichuk, Rama/Buchanan, told those present that Rama was one of the first
of the pig barns to go up, followed by Kelvington. Rama barn at this point
in time has approximately 11,600 feeders. She said that her group held
fundraisers to raise money for legal fees.
She stated that open-air lagoons should be banned, that there was a
better way to deal with the waste, which would be digesters. Digesters
being much more expensive than open-air lagoons are not being used but are
a much better option. She noted that pig barns are not just a “local”
issue; they are a “global” issue.
informed the group that the stench is unbearable; you have to close your
windows. Much of the bacteria is air borne such as hog dander which is
very allergy producing. These bacteria can cause bronchitis and asthma to
note only a couple of the respiratory problems the bacteria can and do
cause. People have died from handling manure.
She went on to say that pig feed has heavy metals in it, for
example cadmium. This affects the water. Take Walkerton, for example; it
contained the bacteria E Coli and killed 6 or 7 people. E. Coli causes
kidney failure that can and does lead to death. Why does it take a tragedy
like this to make people understand.
Isabel stated that it is the International Year of Water. In other
countries, Corporate Enterprises have taken over the water supply. Don’t
let ours be spoiled.
Do not be fooled by statements of no waste spillage. It happens too
often, for example, Sturgis.
The air quality in the Rama barn is “bad” but she states that
the employees of these barns won’t talk about the problems because they
are afraid of losing their jobs.
She also informs us that now Manitoba wants to raise pigs in
Saskatchewan. Right now they are looking at Moosomin.
These barns devaluate our property and ruin our health. Check the
Internet for health concerns. The barns are inhumane to the animals; pigs
and cattle should be free range. You should have a person in every area as
a contact. She urges people to go out and meet your politicians and let
them know about your concerns. Make sure you go out to vote and make
demands on them. It is our tax money that is helping to put this thing in
motion. Attend workshops to educate yourself and others. She says we need
to keep up the fight or the barns will come in for sure.
Isabel told us of a farmer named Leo Kurtenbach, an elderly
gentleman who has raised 50 - 100 pigs all of his life. A 900-pig barn was
built near his home and now, when he wants to sell his land, he can’t.
No one will buy it.
She suggests we have to have tolerance, we organize to make sure
everyone can be involved. It is important to fight back and to become
visible. Do not give up.
AND ANSWER (Isabel)
Andy Taphorn: If we don’t have these barns, where do we go for pork?
Isabel: Go directly to suppliers, the pigs are inhaling ammonia they are
not healthy for you to eat. Look for alternate sources - small pig barns
(farmers) or try replacing the pork with bison meat.
Hughes requested volunteers to take out petition requiring 60 - 70% of the
ratepayers’ signatures. There are 6 divisions and we would like 6 teams
of at least two people.
1 - Elaine
2 – Sharleen
Syrenne, Nadine Erickson
3 - Carol
4 - Dwayne
& Lisa Sharpen, and Tammy Doerkson to contact someone in that area or
do it themselves
5 - Darlene
6 - Dwayne
& Lisa Sharpen, Joanne Bourque Glenn Angus
Hughes, Yvonne Gerwing, Carol Garland
Speaker Joe Homenuk (Weekes):
you want your children to stay home - KEEP THE BARNS OUT was
Joe’s opening statement. He has three sons, two that have moved
away from the area and one that is 15 and still living at home with him.
Joe is a farmer that started with 5000 acres and is now down to 500 acres.
A pig barn was built a 1/2 mile from Joe’s corrals and 200 yards from
his pasture. He can’t work in his shop, he has a hard time working with
his bison because of the stench, it makes him physically ill. He says the
government tells him they sympathize with him yet they are the same people
who are authorizing the construction of these barns. He states that the
politicians lie to you. I.e. In regard to a slurry spill – Clay Serby
and Brian Campbell - only 50 litres were spilled, when questioned again it
was 100 litres, when questioned again it became 500 litres. You cannot
take them at their word, they are all liars.
Joe asked Mr. Possberg, “How much money did you put in to these
barns as a provincial government? Mr. Possberg’s reply was, “25
million.” Joe asked, “Barns were sold for 4 million each, is that
included in the 25 million or over and above?” Mr. Possberg stated,
“That is a loan, it will be paid back when they start making money.”
Joe has gone through a water appeal process (he has been hauling all of
his water), Big Sky Farms said they should comply with the appeal but when
Joe received the results, the Appeals Board had denied him. Big Sky had
been pumping water that they did not have approval for; consequently,
Joe’s herd had to eat snow all winter long. Big Sky had drilled into the
springs, so when Joe had no water and was promised help that never did
arrive, he went out and bought a valve and some hose and he too would use
the springs. One day there was no water coming in the hose, he sent his
son to check the hose and valve, upon returning his son told him that his
hose had been torched. He informs us that Humboldt by-laws now state that
no more pig barns will be built in their area.
Mr. Homenuk says that these barns are not taxed they pay a land tax
only yet elevators were taxed $10 - $15 thousand per year. Road
maintenance is to be paid $5/hog/year in lieu of taxes. Sometimes it is
paid and sometimes it is not.
Homenuk suggested that pig barns do not make money, “if they did the
government would not be involved.”
Joe suggests that we visit our politicians in the area and invite
them to our homes once the pig barns are in. He suggests we take it very
He urges us to be strong in our community and to persevere.
AND ANSWER (Joe)
Debbie Furber: Is it Mr. Possberg causing all the problems?
-Joe: Big Sky and Mr. Possberg.
Mr. Penkala: Do the barns smell all of the time?
All of the time - it’s not the lagoon so much it is the exhaust from the
barn. The pigs are fed a high protein diet that makes it worse. Evenings
are the worst. My house trailer probably smells worse than any barn.
Mr. Penkala: How do they keep disease out?
The trucks are flushed out when they come in and when they go out but this
causes excess slurry.
Speaker Ryan Calder (NDP Wadena-Kelvington)
Calder informed the group that the NDP is paying into hog barns and that
he does not agree with that decision. He does not want hog barns in rural
Saskatchewan. He, himself, has signed a petition opposing hog barns.
Mr. Calder believes in democracy - we should vote for whom we want
– if we want to take a run at hog barns then he will take that run with
need to invest money into nature, eco-tourism, into the right investments.
He stated that we have fresh air and we have fresh water, let’s keep it
Sharpen will book a hall for the next meeting, which will take place in
Archerwill, Sk on July 27, 2003 at 2:00 p.m.
Meeting closed at 4:45 pm.
Back to top
Calling on Ratepayers in the RM of Barrier Valley to Stop the Hogs
The Parkland Review
July 18, 2003
Sharleen Syrenne of St. Front, Joe Homenuk of
Weekes and Elaine Hughes of Archerwill discuss some of the resource
material on hand at the Stop the Hogs Coalition meeting at McKague
on July 6. The public information meeting was the second of
three slated for the RM of Barrier Valley where canvassers are now
in the process of circulating a petition in an effort to stop an
intensive hog barn development in that municipality. Photo
© The Parkland Review
The summer of 2003 is one that Elaine Hughes will never forget.
The Archerwill-area resident is spearheading a local effort to stop
corporate hog barn development in the RM of Barrier Valley and, pointing
to the ceiling in the McKague Hall, said that her learning curve related
to the issue had straightened right out.
The Stop the Hogs Coalition, a loose-knit group of concerned residents
from the rural municipalities of Barrier Valley and Ponass lake formed in
April of this year, has sponsored a series of public information meetings,
most recently held in Sylvania and McKague, with the final meeting slated
for the end of this month in Archerwill, and is currently undertaking a
door-to-door canvas of the RM of Barrier Valley with a petition to garner
majority support for its cause. The initiative also involves mailing
petitions to 250 absentee landowners.
"The only time we have a hope in hell of stopping this is now,
before the barn is built... if it goes ahead and it is going to go ahead unless
we have a vote," Hughes informed approximately 30 listeners at the
McKague meeting on Sunday, July 6.
"Reeve Quentin Hanson has been very supportive of the fact that he
wants to have this settled in a democratic way. I have to take him
at his word on that and am happy to hear he's going like that because we
all deserve a say in this," she said in announcing that subsequent to
presenting the initial petition with approximately 190 valid signatures to
council on two occasions, the two parties had agreed that a formal vote
would be organized if 60 to 70 percent of the rural municipality's 701
ratepayers indicated opposition to the project by signing the petition.
Hughes has booked time at council's August 14 meeting to present the
petition, but said that if the goal is not reached by that date, the group
will continue with its mission and present the results at the next
Unconfirmed reports indicated that a hilltop location in Division 6
(west of highway #35 and north of the Kipabiskau road) may be one of the
five potential sites for the 5000-saow, farrow-to-finish Big Sky Farms
operation. Hughes, who can smell the Tisdale alfalfa dehy plant and
Prince Albert pulp mill if conditions are right, lives just west of
Archerwill, a location which would be in the path of the prevailing winds
and the stench as it follows the lay of the land on calm days. She
and others present at the meeting don't want the stink in their backyards,
not do they wish it on anyone else.
"You knowing what's going on is the most important thing you can possibly
do. Inform yourself so you know what you're talking about and you
know what other people are talking about," she said, referring
listeners to the many handouts available at the meeting as well as the Hog
Watch Manitoba website.
Toward that end, the local coalition has sought the support and
resources of organizations such as Hog Watch Manitoba (Ken Sigourdson),
the Sierra Club of Canada's Saskatoon/Parklands Group (Cathy Holtslander)
and numerous individuals who have been involved in the same struggle in
Arriving in McKague from Buchanan, Isabel Muzichuk of the Concerned
Citizens for a Safe and Healthy Environment noted the diversity of the
land and agricultural enterprises she had seen along the way.
"You are doing it right. We're not after family farms. We
want people who are raising pigs and cattle free-range," she said in
her presentation that touched on numerous air, water, health, animal
welfare and marketing controversies that surround the rapidly-expanding,
industrialized system of producing pork, which involves contentious issues
such as concentrating massive numbers of pigs in indoor housing
arrangements, the use of farrowing and gestation crates, open-air lagoons
for manure storage and the practice of injecting untreated manure into the
land as fertilizer for crops.
"It's our tax dollar propping up this industry that's been so
unsuccessful in other countries. That's not the way to go," she
said, adding that despite proponents claims that hog barns are here to
stay, if they pollute the environment and devaluate property, people have
rights and they must keep up the fight in this ongoing battle.
Based on her experiences lobbying against corporate hog barn developments
in eastern Saskatchewan, Muzichuk, a retired nurse, offered Stop the Hogs Coalition
supporters tips on how to further their objective, one of which was to
educate and challenge politicians on their stand on the issue and vote
Gearing up for a provincial election call, Ryan Calder, NDP candidate
for the constituency, was in attendance and made his position known.
"I go into this with my beliefs and will win or lose on my
beliefs. i will not be a hypocrite," he said, acknowledging
that even though his party promotes hog barns and, therefore, his personal
convictions could mean a quick end to his political career, he chose to
sign the petition against the proposed hog barn and is prepared to take a
run at it with the group.
Isabel Muzichuk of the Concerned Citizens for a
Safe and Healthy Environment was one of two guest speakers at the
Stop the Hogs Coalition public information meeting in McKague last
week. Photo © The Parkland Review
Like Hughes, Muzichuk believes that it's imperative for people to take
with their neighbours about the environmental and health concerns.
"Feelings will rise high. Sometimes they call us names, but
remember, this is not a popularity contest. It's a matter of doing
what's right and making sure we can keep the environment as good as it is
and also watch our water supply. You have to have a lot of tolerance
and remember, the important thing is that you are organizing to make sure
that people have the ability to participate," she concluded prior to
fielding numerous questions from the audience.
Some people, include the afternoon's second guest speaker, Joe Homenuk
of Weekes, question the validity of the approval and appeal process which
he was a party to as an appellant at a hearing in April of this year after
having filed a notice of appeal in July of 2002 with regard to SaskWater's
decision in connection with his complaint against the operation of an
artesian well to service two of Big Sky's ILOs associated with the Plains
Livestock Hog Diversification Committee initiative in the RMs of Porcupine
and Bjorkdale. He asked that the well be saved for people rather
than used for pigs.
Concurrently, on behalf of the Saskatoon Parklands Sierra Group, Cathy
Holtslander, who will be the guest speaker at the July 27 meeting, filed a
notice of appeal against an approval to construct works issued by
SaskWater to Big Sky Farms for the development of the well in question,
arguing that a comprehensive review of the impact of all of Big Sky's
operations on the regional water supply should have been undertaken and an
approved water source determined prior to SAFRR approving the development.
While the decision on the well was in Big Sky's favour, the board did
agree that a region-wide approach to these projects should be taken to
evaluate all water supplies and that in the interest of good public
policy, the necessary water allocations should be in place prior to
issuance of any approval to construct by SAFRR, which is responsible for
administering the intensive livestock provision of The Agricultural
Operations Act of 1971. The board recommended that current
legislation be changed to reflect this and the province consider giving a
more defined role of Sask Environment and the Watershed Authority in the
application, approval and monitoring for which they currently serve as
The experience left a bitter taste in Homenuk's mouth as does the bile
that rises in this throat when the odour from the hog operation wafts
across his property, which he told the group can be on as many as five
days in any given week, making it near impossible for him to be outdoors
to end to his own farm chores, is ruining the quality of the lifestyle his
family chose and has left hem wondering who, of anyone, will want to buy
"There's crookery from the top down and we have to start from the
grassroots to clean it up," he alleged, citing further examples of
the government subsidies in place support pigs rather than people,
municipal tax concessions and environmental hazards trivialized by
authorities, as examples of agricultural policy dominated by corporate greed
and administered by a department that is out of touch with nature.
In January of 2002 North East Hogs, a committee of volunteer
representatives from the rural municipalities of Tisdale, Connaught, Star
City and Barrier Valley and the Town of Tisdale held a public meeting in
Tisdale to gauge public opinion on a proposed hog barn development in the
area. In April of 2003, similar meetings were held in Archerwill and
Rose Valley, as required in the permitting process for ILOs prior to
submitting an application for approval to SAFRR.
A Wadena News article, suggesting that the project had received
the necessary approval to proceed following the pair of meetings on April
9, struck a chord of panic and fear in residents opposed to the hog barn
development, who felt that much more information was necessary in order
for people to be able to make an informed decision and that a vote on an
issue of such significance should have been by a democratic process,
rather than at an event advertised as an information meeting. As a
result of a petition initiated by the coalition, the RM of Ponass Lake
withdrew its support of the North East Hogs project.
However, spokesperson for North East Hogs, Economic Development Officer
Doug Hay of Tisdale, stated July 10 that while two potential sites, one
just inside the RM of Barrier Valley and one just outside the boundary,
were identified a year ago, as of late, the committee has not been
actively searching for sites and will not proceed to the geotechnical
study stage until an adequate number of potential sites have been identified.
"There are no barns planned in any specific location," he
said, noting that Big Sky Farms has about four projects further advanced
that the Tisdale area proposal.
Coupled with the current state of the beef industry in the wake of the
BSE announcement, which has also had an impact on the hog industry, Hay
said that it could be a long time before anything proceeds.
"Everything has been put on hold until the livestock industry gets
back on its feet," he explained, and even then, its fate will depend
on whether or not Big Sky is still interested in expanding and in coming
to the Tisdale area.
Back to top
OF THE “STOP the HOGS Coalition”
July 27, 2003
Archerwill Hall - Archerwill, SK
PRESENT: Marie Murton, Rodger Doyle,
Lisa Sharpen, Edna Johnson, Glenwood Johnson, Garnet Karn, June Prevost,
Julien Prevost, Hans Peterson, Forest Holmes, John Booker, Wilfred Guest,
Sylvia Robillard, Ernie Robillard, Mary Martin, David Brown, Gladys Miller,
Darlene Guest, Rosaline Winnichyn, Lynne Prevost, Perry Hnetka, Audrey
Hnetka, Glenn Angus, Lee Murton, Carol Garland, Tammy Doerksen, Dwayne
Sharpen, Elaine Hughes, Cathy Holtslander
introduction of all those present took place with each individual stating
his or her name.
requested volunteers for chairperson. Forest
Holmes of Marine Lake stepped forward.
Elaine Hughes informed the group of the launching of the Stop the
Hogs Coalition website known as www.stopthehogs.com which is up and running
as of today’s date. The website is very informational, it offers a
children’s link, a forum, a button for suggestion, donations and also a
copy of the petition that can be printed, signed and mailed in.
At this time
speaker Cathy Holtslander, an Environmental Researcher, with Sask Eco-net
was introduced. Cathy will be
taking on a new position with the Council of Canadians very soon. The
Council of Canadians is a non-profit group that deals with things such as
NAFTA, water issues and factory farms. Their
goal is to make our communities safe for people, animals and our
environment. The Council of
Canadians is a National Coalition.
Cathy let the group
know that “our story” was a familiar story.
She stated that groups like ours helped to bring people together and
to find better ways of fighting factory farms.
She said that our website was excellent and she felt that it should
be linked to the Council of Canadians' National Website once it was up and
running. It would help to show
comparisons to other provinces.
Cathy told us she
would leave some contact numbers of people who would be of some help with
She stated that the
Council of Canadian was at this time working on a special project called
“How’s the Water?” which
is primarily about how hog barns threaten our water.
Cathy informed the
group that she was going to focus mainly on the “smell & the
economics” of hog barns. She
said that contrary to popular belief, hog barns are NOT the smell of money. The barns are ventilated outside on air currents and the odor
is very offensive. She stated
that how the manure is stored makes the smell even worse.
It is mixed with water and receives no oxygen, which causes bacteria.
Bacteria can be poisonous, people have died from inhaling hydrogen
sulfide. Ammonia is given off, this is also a contaminant and
irritant. She stated that our
smelling senses are linked to our immune systems and our nervous systems. People that have been exposed suffer from depression,
headaches, diarrhea, etc. She
feels that the smell of manure forced on people is the equivalent of being
Cathy stated that
Smithfield’s (the biggest hog corporation in the world) grosses 6 1/2
billion per year. Joseph Luter
III of Smithfield’s declared enemies to be independent farmers &
bought out Schnieder’s (Ontario), Schnieder’s bought out Mitchell’s in
invested in Big Sky Farms and Big Sky has contracted 80% of production to
Mitchell’s. Big Sky has been selling shares in finishing barns in 2000
they lost $640,000.00, which calculates to losses of approximately
$100,000.00 per month.
Cathy asks, “Who
is making money on these barns?”. “Why
is the Saskatchewan Government investing so much in Big Sky Farms?”
These are hard questions to answer.
These barns create very few jobs and all of the risk is going onto
the communities where the barns are being built.
Some of these
risks are odor, water contamination, road deterioration, etc. All of
the profit is going to Smithfield’s not to Big Sky or the Government.
Cathy made mention of a book called Pigs, Profits & Rural
Communities which is available at the U of S Book Store
- she recommends it.
In closing, Cathy
stated that she hopes the Stop the Hogs Coalition will help to bring people
to work together and change the direction of Intensive Livestock Operations.
Are you suggesting we return to small barns?
We have to look at what makes sense, maybe we shouldn’t be
producing so many hogs and we should start letting people produce and feed
Q. Can you draw a parallel from the
UK to here?
We used to have a good marketing system.
It has been made harder for small farmers to get into marketing.
Q. Has anyone answered the question
as to why the Government backs these operations?
A. Part of the answer has to do
with dealing with the loss of the Crow Rates.
How do we deal with the shift in the grain economy?
The government started down this line
(hog barns) and now they don’t know what else to do or how to get
out of it.
Q. What other issues are you
A. Cattle, chickens, fish, factory
farming in general.
Q. What can we do to help you to
A. Fight with all you’ve got.
MANURE STORAGE PLAN – ask people to not supply land for manure to
be spread on, work together, make it a public issue, your website is great.
Build your connections. Focus
on community not being divided, this strategy
has kept barns out.
Q. How many acres do you need for
manure spreading for 5000 pigs.
A. It’s based on nitrogen
content, pig manure has a higher proportion of nitrogen than is
required, phosphorous you need 5 times more land than for nitrogen.
I do not have the number of acres.
Q. What is ratio?
Which barn produces more phosphorus?
A. Manure is variable - I don’t
speaker Dr. Hans Peterson is introduced.
Dr. Peterson is a well-known hydrologist.
started studying the drinking water in Saskatchewan in 1987. He was and is
studying the general safety of water in rural and urban areas. Dr. Peterson
stated that “there is no more efficient means of spreading disease than
putting bacteria into a water supply.”
He said that the cost to clean up water contamination is
astronomical. In 1999 in Milwaukee it cost the US $25 Billion to clean up
their contaminated water.
informed us that the Saskatchewan water guidelines are laxer than Canadian
guidelines which in turn are laxer than most other countries’ water
guidelines. (e.g., Saskatchewan
allows 5 times as much salt in water than anywhere else. The United Nations
produced a report stating that 80% of all sicknesses are water related.
“How much disease is caused in Saskatchewan or Canada by water?
No one can tell you, they don’t want to think about it.”
Dr. Peterson said
that drinking water quality is a provincial issue, but how do you work on a
mandate where a government only supplies $60,000.00 per year.
that he has worked with Saskatchewan Water and that there are real
challenges in Saskatchewan. Only
$5,000.00 per year is spent on research.
The lawsuits are 20 to 50 times the dollar amount spent on research.
This has to change. The
main problems are disease and this has many economic repercussions.
He went on
to say that the US thought surface water was all they needed to worry about
but found that wells were worse for viruses.
Hepatitis “A” has been found in US water.
home - Dr. Peterson stated that in 1999 a lady took him to Yellow Quill.
There was a boil water order in effect in 1995 and that boil water
order is still in effect today. He
said the water treatment plant there was so full of hydrogen sulfide stench
that he had to wait 10 to 15 minutes to enter.
He wrote a four (4)-page assessment in which he stated that Yellow
Quill water was not suitable for human consumption.
He says that there is not enough water in the reservoir to meet
community needs so it has to be hauled in.
He was told that every reserve in Saskatchewan meets water guidelines
– he advises that they most certainly do not, some contain very high
levels of arsenic, iron, ammonia and salt.
He states that Ketchum is the closest place to run a water line to
Yellow Quill and that is 100 km away.
CBC did a
documentary about what is now being done at Yellow Quill to purify the
water. He calls it “bug
hotel”. It is the use of an
expanded clay filtration system. It
is Biological water treatment system in which they use bugs to clean the
water, no chemicals. He says
the first filter takes out arsenic and iron, the second filter removes more
arsenic and iron and the third and final filter removes the ammonia and
whatever is left. It is a very
stable system. This water also
has very high salt and they use a membrane to get rid of it.
The membrane will not release any viruses.
Dr. Peterson says
the Federal government is beginning to see the light in regard to water
problems. He also stated that
he and his colleagues are presenting a paper on water treatment at a
conference in South Africa in September.
How often is water source tested around hog barns?
A. They put pedometers near the
lagoons, water pressure is tested and looking at chemical composition tests
its quality. It is only checked
once or twice per year and the company is supposed to check it and report
their results. This information
belongs to the company but the public can see it - if the company okays it.
There is no protocol for run-off.
If a field is injected one day and there is a rain the next day, the
company does not have to do any type of testing.
Q. Is the concept, “bigger is
A. We challenge that concept.
It needs to be shown that quality of life, health and economic
viability is more important. I don’t think the big farmer is more efficient or viable
than the little farmer
Q. How far can
contamination and smell travel?
A. The distance the viruses can
travel in the water system was astonishing.
Q. How is human sewage treated
differently than pig sewage?
A. With human sewage the pathogens are usually taken out before being
dumped back into the river. Municipal
lagoons are shallower than pig lagoons, they don’t circulate and they
aren’t natural forces. There
is more water in human sewage, it is not as concentrated as pig sewage.
Q. What about hydrogen as opposed
to chlorine for water treatment?
A. Hydrogen is more expensive and is not as effective as ‘bugs’.
Q. How long do you have to boil water to make it safe?
A. Two to five minutes.
Q. If we are against hog barns, what is a good alternative?
A. Look at major changes.
Let’s “brand” Saskatchewan as green.
Use an identity to promote products from here which are based on
healthy, good environmental practices, natural and antibiotic free, organic,
and ecologically friendly products. This could get the economy rolling in
regard to health.
hog operations working together in regard to marketing and getting higher
antibiotics were outlawed in Sweden in regard to intensive livestock
operations. ILOs suffered huge
losses from disease, they had to promote the health of pigs. They gave them free range.
Manitoba, the Humane Society developed a ‘humane’ label which was put on
pork packages so the consumer has a choice.
Q. How do we produce enough food
without intensive livestock operations?
A. ILOs offered such low prices for
pork imported into Indonesia and the Philippines that the small farmers
couldn’t compete and it put them out of business. They need to feed themselves.
At this time
Question and Answer period ended.
once again urged people to have their water assessed.
She said this will give you a base line of how your water was before
“the barn” and how it is after “the barn.”
“Factory Farms - Corporate Injustice” was shown.
adjourned at 4:45 p.m.
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STOP the HOGS Coalition
July 28, 2003
STOP the HOGS Coalition officially launched their web
site at the Information Meeting held in Archerwill on
July 27, 2003. “It’s
been quite a struggle to keep people aware and to give them the
information they need to make an informed decision about this very
important issue,” said STOP the HOGS Coalition member Elaine Hughes.
“That’s the reason behind the website - we want this to be a
province-wide resource centre.”
the HOGS Coalition is currently a group of concerned ratepayers in the RMs
of Barrier Valley and Ponass Lake who are opposed to mega hog barns for
their areas. Members in the RM of Barrier Valley are currently
working on a petition to have the RM Council allow the
ratepayers to vote on a 5000-sow Intensive Livestock Operation being
proposed for that municipality.
the meeting, Cathy Holtslander, Environmental Researcher with the
Council of Canadians, is very happy about STOP the HOGS Coalition
website and believes that this will be a valuable resource for people
all across this country who are struggling against mega hog barn
development in their communities.
Peterson of the Safe Drinking Water Foundation,
who is currently working on the water treatment system for the Yellow
Quill First Nations Reserve, demonstrated the challenges and the cost
of making their local contaminated water safe to drink. He indicated
that, over the long association he has had with Saskatchewan
government officials, he has become very disenchanted with the lax and
inconsistent water regulations in this province.>
Suzuki has said that the ‘ecological consequences [of hog operations]
are enormous',” Hughes continued.“ Our
group is determined that every ratepayer is given their right to a secret
ballot on this issue. It is
simply too big an issue with far too many negative implications for
seven people to decide. We all need a say in this.”
Coalition’s website, www.stopthehogs.com
contains factual information on the hog industry, intensive livestock
operations, and the stories of many communities across Saskatchewan
struggling with this issue.
Coalition is also committed to keeping their cause open and honest. To facilitate that, they have posted meeting minutes, the names of
the individuals involved, and personal statements from the public.
There is also an open Forum on the website to encourage discussion.
(Complete minutes of the July 27 meeting will be included on the website
as soon as they become available.)
is our hope that this website will reach more concerned citizens, and that
together we can ensure our right to a democratic process is not taken
away,” continued Hughes. “I
would encourage every ratepayer in the RM of Barrier Valley to visit the
website, and, if they have not already done so, print, sign and return the
petition calling for a vote.” Canvassers
are also visiting ratepayers in a door-to-door campaign collecting
one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means
to side with the powerful, not to be neutral." - Paulo Friere.
Quentin Hanson has said that 60 – 70% of the ratepayers must sign the
petition before the RM Council will consider allowing a vote to proceed.
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am one of a growing number of Canadian citizens that continues to be
alarmed by the proliferation of pig factories in Canada, specifically in
my area of east central Saskatchewan.
We are gravely concerned about the negative health, social and
environmental consequences behind these operations – they are enormous.
One by one, our communities are brought under siege, each having to
re-invent the same struggle to keep these ‘pollution shoppers’ out.
The Agricultural Act in this province has been designed to protect
the factory operators, leaving the residents of the area with no power, no
voice, and no recourse.
incredible as it may seem, no independent Environmental Impact Study,
or even an in-house environmental assessment, is required before the
provincial government issues an operating permit to yet another animal
practice, intensive livestock operations will rarely require approval
under the Environmental Assessment Act."
(Legal Aspects of Saskatchewan Intensive Livestock Operations,
Chapter 3 of "Expanding Intensive Livestock Operations in
and Legal Constraints", prepared by the Centre for Studies in
Agriculture, Law and Environment (CSALE), University of Saskatchewan,
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Final Report to the Saskatchewan Agricultural
Development Fund, Saskatchewan Department of Agriculture and Food, Regina,
Saskatchewan by the University of Saskatchewan, October, 1996.
need a government with wisdom and vision - not one that continues to
defile our countryside as they squander our tax money on yet another
mega-project, exploiting our precious water and defiling our beautiful
countryside as they chase votes and the ‘quick fix’ dollar.
How is it that we dare to risk so much for so little for so few?
The earth is not ours – we are borrowing it from future
generations. Can we not stand
– together – to protect it for them?
one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means
to side with the powerful, not to be neutral." - Paulo Friere.
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the Hogs Coalition Launches a New Website
August 13, 2003
Stop the Hogs Coalition, a group of concerned
ratepayers in the RMs of Barrier Valley and Ponass Lake opposed to mega hog
barns in their areas, is persevering through the summer’s heat in its
campaign to stop North East Hogs from establishing a five-barn, 5000-sow Big
Sky Farms operation in their vast northeast neighbourhood.
The coalition’s newest tool, www.stopthehogs.com
, was launched July 27 at a meeting in Archerwill, the final venue in a
series of three successful public information meetings in little more than a
month’s time. About 90 people
attended one or all of the events held in Sylvania, McKague and Archerwill,
featuring well-versed speakers who addressed numerous controversies related
to the hog industry; an industry that Saskatchewan’s agriculture minister,
Clay Serby, acknowledged in a March 18 interview with a Western Producer
reporter, that the government had pushed too quickly and would apply the
lessons learned to its 10-year plan to develop the province’s beef sector
as unveiled in the throne speech.
The intent of the open meetings and the website is to
keep people informed about the fast-paced changes in the hog industry by
facilitating learning opportunities and providing a forum for discussion on
the issue that has polarized proponents and opponents, but left many on
middle ground debating which way to turn.
The proponents believe that a hog barn would stimulate
economic activity in the region by providing indirect and direct employment
opportunities as well as offering grain producers a handy market and
inexpensive fertilizer. Opponents
say that the short term gains are not worth the risks, and more so in light
of the pending agriculture policy framework, of adversely affecting the
health of residents and the environment, causing people to leave the area,
and undermining family farms at the expense of producing a better quality or
less expensive product for consumers, who in the long run, will be left to
pay the costs associated with rectifying the damages.
The RM of Barrier Valley, is one of five municipalities
(the others being the RMs of Tisdale, Connaught and Star City and the Town
of Tisdale), with an interest in a hog barn project and representation on
the North East Hogs committee. It is also the municipality most affected by the fallout of
the hog barn debate and, therefore, Reeve Quentin Hanson has stipulated that
the coalition must show that 60 to 70 per cent of the ratepayers of the RM
of Barrier Valley are opposed to the project before a vote by secret ballot
would be considered by council.
Petitioners noted some resistance on the part of
ratepayers, for varied personal reasons, to sign their names to a public
document, but many have indicated that they would welcome the opportunity to
vote their mind in a referendum. “They
have told us that they would vote no in a secret ballot, but if they don’t
sign this petition, there won’t be a vote,” explained coalition
secretary Lisa Sharpen, who is one of the most dedicated canvassers.
“Our group is determined that every ratepayer will
be given his or her right to a secret ballot on this issue.
It’s simply too big of an issue with far too many negative
implications for seven people to decide.
We all need a say in this,” stated Stop the Hogs chairperson Elaine
Having presented a petition, with 192 signatures
translating into about 25 per cent of the ratepayers of the RM of Barrier
Valley who do not want the hogs, to council at its June 12 meeting, it was
anticipated that the results of a second petition would be known in time for
a delegation to present the list of names to council at its regular meeting
on August 14.
The current petition, which can be downloaded from the
website to sign and mail to the Stop the Hogs Coalition, states that the
undersigned object to any kind of mega hog barn operation in the RM of
Barrier Valley for the stated reasons that they feel that provincial or
municipal regulations in place are not adequate, nor appropriate to protect
the residents, the environment, or the land against the water and air
pollution, increased health risks and other social costs of such operations
and that the ratepayers will be the ones who have to bear the human and
environmental costs of these adverse effects with very little economic gain
attached. The petition calls
for the RM to hold a democratic vote by secret ballot to settle the very
Earlier this week, Hughes indicated that the steering
committee had made the decision to extend the deadline through summer
vacation to September 1 for the more than 250 mail-back petitions sent to
absentee landowners and should be prepared to present the petition results
to council at its September meeting.
She confirmed that coalition members would be attending
the August meeting to update councillors on the group’s activities to
date. Though the lines of
communication have been kept open between the RM council and the coalition,
North East Hogs has not been as receptive to hearing the concerns of those
opposed to the project and turned down a formal request to open its June 19
meeting to the public.
Hughes said that the coalition is committed to keeping
its cause open and honest. “It
is our hope that the website will reach more concerned citizens and that
together we can ensure our right to a democratic process is not taken
away,” she said in encouraging people to check out the factual information
on the hog industry and ILOs, the stories of many communities across the
province that are struggling with the issue, and participate in the open
forum designed to give people an opportunity to voice their opinions,
anonymously if they wish, in a respectful manner and contribute in a
Regardless of where people stand on the issue or in which
municipality they reside, all submissions and stories are welcome.
Although those outside the RM of Barrier Valley cannot sign the
petition they can become involved by visiting the website, sending letters
of protest to councillors, politicians and chambers of commerce and
attending meetings. The
coalition reminds people that pollution knows no boundaries between
provinces, urban and rural municipalities, First Nations communities or
Hughes anticipates that the Stop the Hogs website will
soon be linked to the Council of Canadians’ Beyond Factory Farming site,
which will unite the provinces in a common cause to challenge the current
mind set that bigger is better. She noted that there are growing numbers of people among the
general public, agricultural world and professional community who believe
that there is a need to show that quality, health and economic viability is
more important than size and that the little farmer is as efficient and
viable as the big farmer.
it has in so many other communities, the hog barn debate has divided
residents in the RM of Barrier Valley and the communities within its
boundaries, but coalition members remain committed to their cause and find
encouragement in the words of thanks and donations they have received, as
well as with the realization that people are listening when information they
have passed on comes back full circle.
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the HOGS Coalition
Meeting with RM of Barrier Valley
August 14, 2003
10:00 - 11:10 am
As reported by STOP the
Duane Sharpen, Glenn Angus, Doris Dewhurst, Sylvia Robillard, Barb
Hagen, George and Eileen Chamberlain, Elaine Hughes, Keith Revoy
asked Quentin, the Reeve, if Councillors Bruce Thompson and Keith Braaten
had declared their Pecuniary Interest since their names appeared as North
East Hogs Committee members on the flyer circulated in the district on April
7, 2003. Quentin said they
hadn’t, that it wasn’t necessary until it came time to vote, and that he
wouldn’t ask them to do so. (RM
Regulation 45(1)(a) and (b) state that if the Council member has such
interest, they disclose that they have a pecuniary interest and leave the
meeting while the matter is under discussion.)
Elaine then requested that he ask them, in the public interest, to
remove themselves from the meeting on grounds of Conflict of Interest.
He again said that it wasn’t necessary until it came time to vote,
and that he wouldn’t ask them to leave the meeting.
Elaine asked Fern to let the Minutes of the meeting show that she had
asked the two Councillors in question be excused from the meeting and that
they had refused. Both Mr.
Thompson and Mr. Braaten then went to great lengths to assure us that they
weren’t Committee members, that they didn’t know their names were even
on the flyer, and that they hadn’t given their permission to put their
names on the flyer. Mr.
Thompson said we should consider the flyer a “lie”.
Elaine asked them to repeat this to make sure we understood each
other and she indicated that she would get confirmation on this from Mr.
DuWayne Lupien of North East Hogs.
asked Quentin why, if the Council was still in the “process of gathering
information”, no one from the Council had attended any of STOP the HOGS
public meetings in Sylvania, McKague and, in particular the last one in
Archerwill on July 27, 2003, at which Dr. Peterson spoke about Safe Drinking
Water. She told them that Dr. Peterson is recognized internationally
as an expert on water treatment and that an opportunity to learn much from
him had been missed, especially in view of the proposed hog barns for this
RM. Quentin had no response.
Bruce Thompson said he doesn’t read the newspapers and doesn’t
seek out posters. (Posters,
announcement in the East Central Connection, and on CJVR radio advertised
the meeting in Archerwill on July 27.) None of the other Councillors had known about the meetings.
then asked Quentin to explain to the delegation how a new bylaw on ILOs
would affect the farmers who currently have small 100-200 head operations.
He said that it would immediately affect all of them.
She suggested that only those operations that apply for permits after
it comes into effect would have to conform to the new bylaw, and that those
already in operation would not be affected until such time as they apply for
permit to expand. He said that
this was not correct.
Chamberlain asked how they could be sure that the hog barns wouldn’t
pollute their water. Quentin
said that Big Sky promises that it won’t get polluted but if it does, he,
Possberg, will replace it!
Sharpen asked why the RM of Barrier Valley couldn’t do what the RMs of
Pleasantdale and Ponass Lake have done – just say “No hog barns” and
be done with it. Quentin said
they couldn’t do that.
asked Quentin if the Council had arrived at their final number of
electors’ signatures for the purposes of the Petition STOP the HOGS is
currently circulating. He said
that they would have to use the number of electors of 630, not the number of
ratepayers of 560.
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Valley RM Notes
The Tisdale Recorder
September 10, 2003
Minutes of the regular meeting of the Council of the Rural Municipality
of Barrier Valley No. 297 held in the Municipal Office in Archerwill on
Thursday, August 14, 2003.
Present: Reeve: Quentin Hanson, Councillors: Brad Cramer, Bruce Thompson,
Keith Braaten, Dennis Brown, Lynn Gruending and Wayne Jones, Administrator:
Fern Lucas. Councillor Brad Cramer and Bruce Thompson left the meeting
at noon. Councillor Lynn Gruending arrived at the meeting at 1:00 pm.
Reeve Hanson called the meeting to order at 9:10 am.
The following motions were carried.
That the minutes of the regular meeting of council held in the municipal
office in Archerwill on June 12th, 2003 be approved.
That the statement of receipts and payments for the months of June and
July 2003 be accepted as presented.
That the accounts, as listed and attached to, and forming part of these
minutes, in the amount of $92,706.33, covered by cheque numbers 2483 - 2537
inclusive, be approved for payment.
Delegations: 9:00 am - Garry Schweitzer re work project update.; 10:00 am
- Elaine Hughes, Dwayne Sharpen, Sylvia Robillard, Barbara Hagen, Doris
Dewhurst, George Chamberlin, Eileen Chamberlin, Glen Angus and Keith Revoy
re Hog Barns.
Spokesperson for the delegation concerned about the possibility of hog
barns to this area, Elaine Hughes, asked that it be recorded in the minutes
that the concerned group requested members of council Bruce Thompson and
Keith Braaten to declare a pecuniary interest in the matter being discussed,
and excuse themselves from the meeting. The request was made because
the group had misleading information that led them to believe that these two
council members were also members of the North East Hog Committee. The
group maintained that sitting on both boards would be a conflict of
interest. Councillors Braaten and Thompson assured the group that they
are not members of the North East Hog Committee, and they did not declare a
pecuniary interest in the matter being discussed, and did not excuse
themselves from the meeting.
11:30 am - Wayne Black re Submission to Financing K-12 Education
1:30 pm - Gene Rusk re gravel
2:45 pm - Sergeant John Haley of Rose Valley RCMP re policing concerns.
That we accept the tender submitted by Kenneth McPhee in the amount of
$310 for the purchase of Parcel L, a potion of SE 13-42-15 W2.
That we cancel the 2003 taxes on the trailer situated on SE 35-40-15 W2
(assessment roll #6132) as the trailer is no longer occupied, Mun.-$67.67,
School-$76.08, Sasko-$2.31, Total-$145.76.
That we cancel the 2003 taxes for the months May-December on the
residence previously situated on Lot 2, Block 5 in Algrove as the building
has been removed, Mun-$294.00, School-$331.85, Sasko-$10.08, Total-$636.03.
That this municipality has no objections to the sale of Crown land SE
That we approve the application for subdivision of NE 07-40-13 W2,
subdivision for agriculture.
That Wayne Black, on behalf of the Rural Municipality of Barrier Valley
No. 397 be appointed to present a submission to the Commission on Financing
Education from K-Grade 12.
That the correspondence, as listed and attached to and forming part of
these minutes, having been copied and distributed, now be filed.
That this meeting adjourn at 5:35 pm. The next regular meeting of
council was on September 11, 2003.
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Barns Still an Issue of Great Debate in RM of Barrier Valley
The Wadena News
September 10, 2003
Debate over the hog barns proposed for the Archerwill area continued this
past month with a delegation of concerned people approaching Barrier Valley
RM council during a regular meeting. Although the minutes of the
meeting do not state the purpose of the visit, it does state the group
requested that a couple of councillors declare a pecuniary interest and
leave the meeting during the discussion. According to the minutes the
request was denied because it had been based on incorrect information that
two RM council members were members of the North East Hog committee.
Other delegations attending the August 14 meeting included Wayne Black
regarding a submission to the Commission to Financing Education from
kindergarten to grade twelve and Gene Rusk regarding gravel. Also
attending were Sergeant John Haley of the Rose Valley RCMP detachment who
attended to discuss policing concerns and Garry Schweitzer regarding a work
Council accepted a tender submitted by Kenneth McPhee in the amount of
$310 for the purchase of Parcel L, a portion of SE 13-*45-15 W2. It
was also agreed to cancel tax levies for the trailer situated on SE 35-40-15
W2 as the trailer is no longer occupied. Taxes were also cancelled on
Lot 2, Block 5 in Algrove because the building has been removed.
It has been decided that the municipality does not object to the sale of
a quarter section of Crown land described as SE 20-40-15 W2. It was
also agreed that approval would be issued for the subdivision of NE 07-40-13
for agricultural purposes.
The municipality's next meeting is slated for this Thursday, September
11. Current council members are Reeve Quentin Hanson and councillors
Brad Cramer, Bruce Thompson, Keith Braaten, Dennis Brown, Lynn Gruending and
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Council Makes Wise Decision
The Tisdale Recorder
September 3, 2003
The Wadena Town Council is to be congratulated on their wise decision to
increase the distance restriction for ILOs from their community to TEN
MILES! It's very encouraging to have proof that more and more people
are actually thinking about the negative implications of these pig
factories, one of the most evident being, of course, the far-reaching stench
of the barns and filthy open cesspools full of manure, that this province
continues to permit.
Having the factories this distance from their community will help to
decrease the negative effects on human health by (to name a few) the ammonia
and hydrogen sulphide in the fumes given off by the cesspools and
barns. It will also put some distance between the community and the
flies and rodents which frequent these 'high tech' atrocities. Hopefully,
the Town of Wadena has a secure water source which they will also vigorously
protect from pollution by leaky cesspools and from the raw liquid manure
spread onto fields and pastures surrounding each factory site.
This is a step in the right direction. The Council's
forward-thinking can only encourage other communities to protect themselves
ahead of time against what seems to be an obsessive proliferation of our beautiful
province with these dangerous and exploitative entities.
We encourage the Council in their future efforts to develop bylaws which
will restrict and regulate this industry near their community, thereby protecting
its people and the environment. It's amazing what a little common
sense can do!
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North East Hogs
Archerwill, SK S0E 0B0
August 18, 2003
Dear Mr. Lupien,
On the back page of your North East
Hogs flyer announcing the meeting in Archerwill on April 9, 2003, the list
of the Committee members included the names of Bruce Thompson and Keith
Braaten, both Councillors of the RM of Barrier Valley.
At the RM meeting on August 14,
2003, both of the above-named indicated to us that they are not members of
the North East Hogs Committee, didn’t give their permission to have their
names added to the list of Committee members, and didn’t know their names
were on the back of the above-mentioned flyer!
We find this confusing and, in the
public interest, request that you confirm, in writing and at your earliest
convenience, whether or not Bruce Thompson and Keith Braaten are members of
the North East Hogs Committee as set out in your flyer.
We would also appreciate receiving a
complete list of all current North East Hogs Committee members.
Thank you for your anticipated
assistance in this matter.
Elaine M. Hughes
STOP the HOGS Coalition
SK S0E 0B0
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of the Stop the Hogs Coalition
Meeting with RM of Barrier Valley Council
September 16, 2003
As Reported by STOP the HOGS
Delegates from STOP the HOGS
Coalition met with the RM of Barrier Valley Council on Tuesday, September
16, 2003. Present were: Dwayne Sharpen, Lee Murton, Carol Garland, Darlene Guest,
Kathy Karn, Joan Kaiser, Elaine Hughes, Frances Davies, Sylvia Robillard,
Roland Doerksen, and Debbie Furber from the Parkland Review.
Spokesperson Elaine Hughes requested
that the Minutes from the August 14, 2003 RM meeting be amended from:
“The request was made because the group had misleading information
that led them to believe that these two council members were also members of
the North East Hog Committee” to read: “The
request was made because, according to the North East Hogs brochure, these
two council members are also members of the North East Hog Committee.”
Ms Hughes then informed the meeting
that, on August 17, 2003, the Coalition sent DuWayne Lupien, CEO of North
East Hogs, a Registered Letter requesting confirmation as to the status of
Councillors Bruce Thompson and Keith Braaten:
are they members of the North East Hogs Committee as stated on their
brochure or are they not? Mr.
Lupien has apparently chosen to not respond to the letter which, according
to Canada Post, was picked up on August 19, 2003.
In place of Mr. Lupien’s lack of response, and in a final attempt
to clarify the matter of conflict of interest of these two Councillors, the
Coalition requested that the Council members sign a prepared Declaration,
stating that they are not members of the North East Hogs Committee/Big Sky
Farms Inc., have no Pecuniary Interest in the proposed hog barn development
project by North East Hogs/Big Sky Farms Inc., and are not sitting in a
position of conflict of interest with regards to the above-mentioned
proposed hog barn development. None of the Council members present would sign the
Declaration. Copies of
the Declaration, the letter to Mr. Lupien, and the page of the North East
Hogs brochure which lists their Committee Members, were left with the
Secretary with the request that they be attached to the RM Minutes.
Keith Braaten then informed the
meeting that he had represented the RM at North East Hogs meetings in Reeve
Hanson’s place. Reeve Hanson
explained that, in order for the RM to best represent the ratepayers and to
function effectively, he, in his role as Reeve, or his representative,
attends many meetings, for example, the Hospital Board.
Ms. Hughes assured him that the Coalition understands and agrees that
this is a necessary duty of the Reeve.
She repeated that the group’s concerns lie specifically with any
conflict of interest or Pecuniary Interest of the two Councillors in
question and with any potential of future financial advantage they may have
as a result of being on both the North East Hogs Committee and on the RM
Kathy Karn asked the Council several
times if they are in favour of the pig barns, and finally, Reeve Hanson
said, “Yes, I would have to say that we are.”
Councillors stressed that the proposal for the hog barns was brought
to them, and in light of the potential for economic development, they could
not dismiss it without due consideration.
She asked them why they would keep fighting for it, in light of the
potential for pollution to our water and the terrible stench from the
manure. She told them that she
lives in the Lanigan area, surrounded by hog barns and, whenever they open
their windows on a summer evening, are forced to tolerate the suffocating
stench of manure from the surrounding barns and cesspools.
She added that, in conversation with friends who live in the RM of
Wolverine, she has learned that there have been no benefits to that
community as a result of Big Sky pig barns in that area.
As the owner of a cabin at Barrier
Lake, she is very concerned that people will move out if a hog barn moves
in, and subsequently, Archerwill will lose the patronage of the resort
residents. She is also
concerned that there would be a huge drop in the value of their cabins
because no one would want to purchase them.
She suggested that the RM commission an independent environmental
study with respect to hog barns or consider alternatives for economic
development, such as tourism.
She added that money talks and it
seems like things are happening without people knowing about them.
Reeve Hanson stated that residents within the three-mile radius zone
would be the first to know of any potential site because the North East Hogs
Committee would need their signatures on an agreement before it could
proceed to the testing phase. Dennis
Brown stated that he was not there to force a hog barn development in an
area where people are opposed to one or to tell people they can’t have one
in their area if they want one – as long as the bylaws and regulations are
Carol Garland inquired how many jobs
the hog barns would really create, relating that, in the past, she had been
the only employee at a 200-sow operation.
Lee Murton asked the Council what
happens to the 3-mile limit set by this RM when a pig barn is built close to
the border with another RM such as Pleasantdale, which does not permit pig
barns. Reeve Hanson's response
was that the bylaw affects only the barns in the RM were they are being
built. From this, it would
appear that the barn can be right on the border between two RMs and no
allowance has to be made to ensure that it is 3 miles from the nearest
neighbour in the adjoining RM.
Sylvia Robillard asked if Council
had the authority to require that the manure be composted rather than stored
as a liquid in a lagoon. Reeve
Hanson replied that Council probably could stipulate in a bylaw how the
manure must be handled. He went
on to say that it is highly unlikely that any site within the RM will meet
the geotechnical requirements because of the lake and river systems, high
water table, and the sand/gravel base.
He stated that Council is not aware of any suitable sites identified
to even begin the formal testing procedure and confirmed Doug Hay’s (REDA
representative) August comments that North East Hogs has not been actively
searching for sites as the project has been put on hold due to the BSE
situation. (The RM Newsletter
received in July 2003 states that they (the hog committee) are investigating
some potential sites; however, at this date, there are no approved sites in
The Coalition then presented the RM
with the Petition requesting the Council give the RM a vote to settle the
pig barn issue. It consists of
378 signatures representing 60% of the 630 eligible voters of the RM
- a number specified by Reeve Hanson at the August 14 RM meeting they would
have to get before the Council would even consider giving the people a vote
on the pig barn issue. After
accepting the Petition, Reeve Hanson said,
“Of course you realize that we don’t have to do anything about
this Petition.” He asked for
clarification that the Petition requested a vote by secret ballot and stated
that he had never alluded to the fact that Council would automatically give
a vote. He stated that 60%
gives them an indication of what people are thinking and he said the Council
would check the Petition over to make sure that all the signatures where
those of eligible voters of the RM, discuss it, and get back to the
Coalition with their decision. After
several attempts to find out “when” they would get back to the
Coalition, Reeve Hanson indicated that they would probably have that
decision for the Coalition at the next RM meeting in October.
As part of their presentation, the
Coalition displayed a map of the RM (posted on their website:
www.stopthehogs.com) which clearly shows the number of people who
signed the Petition and who want to settle the issue of the pig factories
with a vote - in a democratic manner – the way Reeve Hanson has, from the
very first meeting the Coalition had with him in May, 2003, indicated it
would be settled.
Kathy Karn asked why keep fighting
about it if 60% of the people don’t want it?
There was no reply to this question.
Lee Murton asked how, if a vote is
not held, do residents get a say in this issue.
Reeve Hanson explained the process:
first, the three-mile radius bylaw requires their signature, then the
geotechnical study determines if the proposed site meets the requirements,
then a 30-day public notice gives people the opportunity to express their
a general discussion, the Administrator asked the Coalition if they had
considered the wording of the question should the Council decide to conduct
a vote on the issue. Both parties agreed that the wording would be critical and
may serve to prevent future conflicts or the need to debate the issue a
second time. Reeve Hanson
commented that the livestock industry is very important to the economy and a
new bylaw restricting all livestock operations was not going to happen.
the undersigned members of the RM of Barrier Valley Council, hereby
are not members of the North East Hogs Committee/Big Sky Farms
have no Pecuniary Interest in the proposed hog barn development
project by North East Hogs/Big Sky Farms Inc.;
are not sitting in a position of conflict of interest with
regards to the above-mentioned proposed hog barn development.
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of the Regular Meeting of the Council of the RM of Barrier Valley
As Recorded by the RM
September 16, 2003
Reeve: Quentin Hanson;
Councilors: Bruce Thompson, Keith Braaten, Dennis Brown and Wayne Jones;
Administrator: Fern Lucas
Councilors Brad Cramer and Lynn Gruending.
Call To Order:
Reeve Hanson called the meeting to order at 8:10 am
Waive Notice of Meeting
Brown: That notice of this meeting be waived as per the attached signed
Brown: That the minutes of the regular meeting of council held in the
municpal office in Archerwill on August 14, 2003 be approved.
Statement of Receipts & Payments
Thompson: That the Statement of Receipts and Payments for the month of
August 2003 be accepted as presented.
Braaten: That the accounts, as listed and attached to, and forming part of
these minutes, in amount of $206,671.13 covered by cheque numbers 2538-2566
inclusive be approved for payment.
Stop the Hogs Coalition consisting of: Elaine Hughes, Lee Murton, Dwayne
Sharpen, Kathy Kern, Joan Kaiser, Frances Davis, Carol Garland, Sylvia
Robillard, Roland Garland, Darlene Guest and reporteer Debbit Furber re
presentation of petition asking that the RM arrange a democratic vote by
secret ballot for the ratepayers of this municipality regarding the
establishments of an intensive hog operation in this area.
Ken Klippenstine of SteelCor Culverts re culvert requirements.
Fire Chief Larry Christianson re update of fire hall improvements.
Resignation of Councilor Div. 5
Jones: That we accept the resignation of Councilor for Division No. 5, Lynn
Gruending, effective December 31, 2003.
Thompson: That nominations for the purpose of nominating candidates for the
office of a councilor for each of divisions 2, 4, 5 and 6 will be received
until Monday, October 20, 2003 until 3:00 pm CST (Division 2, 4, and 6 will
be for a two year term; Division 5 will be for a one year term). That
Fern Lucas be appointed as Returning Office and Nominations Officer and
Aline Kozar be the Deputy Returning Officer and Poll Clerk. The
polling places will be the community hall in McKague for divisions 4, 5 and
6 and the municipal office in Archerwill for division 2.
Jones: That we acknowledge receipt of a petition signed by 378 ratepayers
(60%) of the population of the municipality asking for the municipality to
arrange a democratic vote by secret ballot for the ratepayers of the RM of
Barrier Valley No. 397 to vote on the establishment of an intensive hog
operation in this area.
Public Utility Easement
Jones: That the Reeve and the Administrator be authorized to authenticate a
public utility easement granting the municipality an exclusive easement
over, across, under and through those portions of land described as follows:
That portion formely identified as roadway in a surveyed plan registered
witht he Prince Albert Land registration district of the Land Titles Office
(which registered plan has since discharged due to the transfer of the
roadway bythe Rural Municipality of Barrier Valley No. 397 to the Grantors),
in which portion is illustrated in red on the attached Scheule A, being a
part of NW 30-41-14 W2, Saskatchewan Extension 0.
SARM Benefits Plan
Thompson: That this municipality renew the SARM benefits plan for employees
and elected officials.
Braaten: That the 2003 residential levy be cancelled from assessment roll
No. 344, as it is 331 exempt. Mun - 294.00, School-331.97,
Braaten: That the correspondence, as listed and attached to and forming part
of these minutes, having been copied and distributed, now be filed.
Braaten: That the Administrator be instructed to proceed with tax enforcement
procedures as stipulated on the following properties: SE Sec 13 Twp 42 Rge
15 W2 Extension 4 and described on Certificate of Title 95PA04594,
description 4 - Send Final 30 Notice; Parcel A Plan No. 101434812 Extension
18 as described on Certificate of Title 96PA04930, description 18 - Make
application to Provincial Mediation Board for permission to make final
application for title.
Intensive Hog Operations
Brown: That no intensive hog operation (intensive as defined under the
Provincial Guidelines relation to ILOs) be established within three (3)
miles of residences within the Rural Municipality of Barrier Valley No. 397,
unless they have consented in writing that they agree to have such an
Braaten: That this meeting adjourn at 3:50 pm. The next regular
meeting of council to be October 9, 2003.
Correspondence as Copied and Distributed
September 16, 2003
- Copy of Executive Compensation of a large hog
operation provided by Elaine Hughes
- Beth Parsons re request for funds for publication
of book on service men who lost their lives in WWII
- Thank you from 4H Beef Club
- Milton Harvey re dust control at Barrier Beach
- NEAPTC re workshop on issues in Managing a Road
- Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food re conference on
Manure and Odor Management "Environment in the Kyoto Age"
- SARM re August 29, 2003 update
- Leanne Hartman proposed changes to dietician
services at Sasko Park Lodge
- Canadian Nature Federation re proposed ILO at Quill
- Package of literature regarding hog barns submitted
via Email by Elaine Hughes
- William Wilson re road allowance East of Sec
- Jack and Berle McPhee re hog barns
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Presented to Council
Letter to the Editor
September 19, 2003
At the regular RM Council meeting in Archerwill on
September 16, 2003, delegates from Stop the Hogs Coalition presented their
Petition to the RM of Barrier Valley Council.
The 378 signatures on the Petition represent 60% of the eligible
voters of the RM, requesting that they be given a vote on the proposed mega
hog barns for the Tisdale/Archerwill area.
To emphasize the significance of these 378 signatures, the Coalition
displayed the map of the RM with the landholdings of the signatories
brightly coloured in red.
At an earlier meeting, Reeve Hanson had indicated that
they would need the signatures of at least 60-70% of the eligible voters in
the RM before the Council would even consider giving the voters a vote on
this issue. Following the
presentation of the Petition, Reeve Hanson said that, of course, the
Coalition realizes that the Council doesn’t have to do anything with the
Petition. He also said that the
Council would check it over to make sure all the signatures were legitimate,
that it would be something they could discuss, and that they would get back
to the Coalition, probably at the next RM meeting in October.
During discussion of this issue, Reeve Hanson was asked
if the RM Council is in favour of the pig barns; his response was:
“Yes, I guess I would have to say that we are.”
He was also asked why would they be when we know about the stink and
the potential for all the pollution. His
response: “We are in favour
of the economic development.”
“It isn’t that they can’t see the solution.
It is that they can’t see the problem.”
- G.K. Chesterton
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Considering Petitioners' Request for a Vote on Hog Barns
September 26, 2003
The Stop the Hogs Coalition, a group of citizens from the RMs of
Barrier Valley and Ponass Lake, now has proof positive that there are more
than just a few people who object to intensive hog barn operations within
the RM of Barrier Valley.
A delegation of 10 coalition supporters attended the RM of Barrier
Valley's regular council meeting on September 16 to present the results of a
formal petition requesting that the municipality arrange a democratic vote
by secret ballot for ratepayers of the RM of Barrier Valley to settle the
very serious matter.
Through a door-to-door canvass and mail-back campaign undertaken to
contact all eligible voters in the RM of Barrier Valley, the Stop the Hogs
Coalition garnered 378 signatures in support of its cause, representing 60
per cent of the population, which is the minimum that council indicated
would be necessary before it would consider taking the requested course of
Though the RM council does not have a constitutional obligation to honour
the petition request, Reeve Quentin Hanson said that the results definitely
give council an indication of what people are thinking and are significant
enough to put discussion about the issue around the table.
Up until now, due to the fact that the North East Hogs Committee has not
yet been able to identify any suitable sites within the RM for the five-barn
set up, the only time that the proposed 5000-sow Big Sky Farms project has
been on council's agenda is when coalition representatives have attended
previous meetings to voice their objections and concerns.
Councillors reinforced the North East Hogs Committee's statement, that no
sites have been identified and that the committee has not been actively
searching for locations since Big Sky Farms publically stated that it will
not be expanding its business at this time due to unfavourable market
conditions as a result of the huge negative impact that the single BSE
incident has had on the entire agricultural industry.
From his past involvement with a group that spent two years searching for
a suitable location for a beef feedlot, Reeve Hanson predicted that it is
unlikely, but not totally impossible, that a site will be found for a hog
barn within the RM of Barrier Valley due to the high water table, sand and
gravel texture of the land and network of rivers and lakes in the region,
which are not conducive to intensive livestock operations, as determined by
extensive geotechnical testing.
Councillor Dennis Brown was among those who stressed that it is not his
intention to force a hog barn through in an area where people don't want
one, nor, short of making a bylaw against all intensive livestock
operations, can council deny a development in an area where ratepayers want
one if a appropriate sites are found that meet all conditions set out in the
provincial permitting process and RM bylaws.
While Saskatchewan Agriculture, Food and Rural Revitalization's Intensive
Livestock Operations Regulations under The Agricultural Operations Act
prescribe protocol governing hog barn development and operations in the
province, each municipality is at liberty to establish bylaws that further
regulate intensive livestock operations within its borders, including
whether or not it will facilitate such developments at all.
The council of the RM of Barrier Valley, therefore, has the authority to
establish bylaws in consideration of specific kinds of expressed concerns,
such as the way in which manure is stored and processed. It has
already taken action to increase the "preferred separation
distance", within which all residents must sign their names in
acceptance of a proposed hog barn, from three-quarters of a mile to a radius
of three miles.
Reeve Hanson explained that the people who own land within a three-mile
radius of any potential site would be the first to know about any movement
on the project because, without their signatures, the North East Hogs
Committee can not bring a proposal to council for consideration, nor can it
advance the project to the geotechnical testing stage, which would determine
if, in fact, it is a suitable location. Additionally, regulations require
that a 30-day notice be posted so that the public is made aware of the
intention and to provide an opportunity for people to express their
Even a three-mile separation distance is just not far enough to get out
of the path of the suffocating odour said one worried opponent who lives
near a hog barn operation outside the RM, but has a cabin on Barrier Lake.
She is also concerned about the effect hog barns will have on the sensitive
water and soil conditions throughout the municipality, and, in turn, the
devaluation of cabins and tourist areas and the resultant negative effect on
Archerwill's economy if cabin owners sell out and tourists by-pass the area.
Coalition delegates nodded in agreement when she told council that she
cannot understand why, when 60 per cent of ratepayers have signed the
petition, council would keep up the fight, rather than moving on to
investigate more promising and acceptable means of creating economic
activity, such as expanding on the region's growing reputation as a tourist
The question of pecuniary interest on the part of councillors who
represent the RM of Barrier Valley at the North East Hogs Committee
meetings, as well as the potential conflict of interest of council as a
whole also came under review at the September 16 meeting.
Though council has not taken a unanimous position on the issue because
the North East Hogs Committee has not yet come forward with the required
list of signatures and pursuant request to undertake geotechnical testing on
any site within the municipality, Reeve Hanson said that he supports the
development of livestock operations, including hog barns, just as he would
consider any proposal said to create jobs and economic activity in the
region, which, like many, is struggling to retain and attract families due
to the difficulties experienced by the agricultural sector and loss of
related infrastructure in recent years.
To turn down a $30 million initiative that promises to create 40
full-time jobs without giving it due consideration would not be in the best
interest of the region as a whole. With respect to representing the
interests of the ratepayers of the RM in any matter at hand, Reeve Hanson
explained that he and, or the elected councillors routinely attend numerous
meetings of other organizations whose activities impact on the municipality
and is puzzled as to why the coalition would not want council to keep
informed about the proposed hog barn project.
Some coalition members felt strongly that, because of its expressed
interest in the hog barn development, council is not in a position to
represent the interests of those who oppose the project; therefore it was
requested that each of the councillors sign a declaration of pecuniary
interest and exclude themselves from discussions and votes on the issue.
Councillors refused to do so, reaffirming that they had no
pecuniary interest in the project that was not of their making to begin
with. In March of 2002, Doug Hay, director of economic development for
the Kelsey Development Corporation (KDC), met with the council of the RM of
Barrier Valley, which is one of the corporation's seven associate member
municipalities, to discuss the potential for an intensive hog operation
development in the area.
At that time the KDC had already appointed representatives from each of
five interested municipalities to form a sub-committee known as North East
Hogs. Original appointees include: Hay, in his position as director of
economic development, Roger Armstrong (chair) of the RM of Tisdale, Cal Reid
of the Town of Tisdale, David Morgan of the RM of Connaught, Larry Kozar of
the RM of Barrier Valley and Garry Skjerpen of the RM of Star City.
In an effort to improve the local economy, this group had met with Big
Sky Farms to discuss the possibility of setting up a hog operation in the
region. The prospectus presented to council indicated that, in addition to
the aforementioned full-time jobs, there would be part time positions, 200
to 250 created during the construction period, and more in spin-off
businesses, for a total of 300 to 350 new jobs, with an annual local payroll
of about $1,6000,000.00. The advantages to local farmers would be a market
for about 1.2 million bushels of feed grains annually, plus a source of
cost-effective fertilizer for those within the three-mile reach of the
specialized slurry injection equipment.
Subsequent investigations to identify suitable locations for the breeder
barn, nursery barn, three feeder barns and feed mill revealed that there
were environmental problems coupled with a lack of community support in the
other municipalities involved in the initiative, but that there was
potential and interest in the RM of Barrier Valley. On behalf of the
committee, Kozar was able to gather a group of willing volunteers,
representing varied interests across the locale, to pursue the possibilities
in the RM of Barrier Valley and Ponass Lake.
The RM of Ponass Lake withdrew its interest from the North East Hogs
Committee when petitioners in that RM presented a case against the project
in short order following the April 9 information meetings in Rose Valley and
Archerwill. Shortly thereafter, on May 20, the Canadian meat complex
was thrown into turmoil with the discovery of BSE in one cow in Alberta and,
consequentally, the economic development initiative came to a standstill.
"At this point, Big Sky is not moving any projects forward in
Saskatchewan until it is happier with the marketplace, so, yes, that is a
limiting factor," Hay stated September 19. "If the company
(Big Sky) thinks it can create a profitable business and wants to move
forward, that will be its decision and we (North East Hogs) will facilitate
its entrance if the community is willing."
"We have not identified any sites mainly because we have wanted to
be receptive to community stakeholders," said Hay, indicating that the
North East Hogs Committee was set up to meet with stakeholders, receive
questions, search for answers and, essentially, to represent community
interests in this project and would be interested in meeting with the
Whether or not the Stop the Hogs petition will be the beginning of the
end to a hog barn in the RM of Barrier Valley remains to be seen.
Reeve Hanson indicated that council would review the petition results and
would probably be able to have an answer, as to whether or not it will put
the question to a vote by secret ballot, by the time of its next council
In the meantime, the RM's administrator, Fern Lucas, asked coalition
delegates if they had given any thought as to the wording of the question on
the ballot, should council decide to go that route. All present agreed
that the wording and scope of the question would be critical.
Following the meeting, Stop the Hogs Coalition chair Elaine Hughes
commented that the group is very pleased with the results of its efforts,
that being to inform and educate residents about the hog barn proposal as
well as to obtain signatures, and relieved that the time-consuming
petitioning is now behind them, although it's still not too late for people
to add their names to the list.
"However, we will not rest until the RM gives us a vote on this
issue. The reeve said that they don't have to do anything about the
petition, so if they ignore the 378 signatures we will continue our struggle
in other ways," she reported, adding that, for now, they will wait for
the decision of the RM council.
The coalition's minutes of the September 16 meeting with the RM of
Barrier Valley are posted to its website at www.stopthehogs.com, while the
RM submits formal minutes of its meetings to the newspapers in Wadena and
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