East Central Connection
March 21, 2003
This is in response to Mr. Greg Putnam’s open letter
regarding hog barn systems in the March 14th publication:
First of all, I should state that our family operated a
50-sow farrow-to-finish operation for about 30 years.
So you could say that we have had some experience with the not so
exhilarating, healthy odour of hogs and hog manure.
In referring to those hog barn systems, Mr. Putnam
states, “these types of opportunities come far too rarely to chase them
away” – Mr. Putnam, if you lived 1.2 km from a 1200 sow or larger hog
factory, as my wife and I do – a location where our family has lived for
more than 85 years, before the barns were set up, you would soon find out
who is being “chased” away. These
mega hog operations devalue any farmyard sites near them.
We are well past what people generally consider retirement age; we
need to sell our farm.
You could suggest like our provincial Minister of
Agriculture and Food, Mr. Clay Serby, did when he stated in a letter to us,
that we don’t really know if these barns devalue your property.
However, as most people know, our provincial government has a vested
interest in factory hog barns and the processing of pork.
But to deal with the problem of property devaluation, there is a
simple question for a family wishing to buy a farmyard site – If you had
to choose between two equally attractive property sites, but one of those
was near a hog factory, which one would you buy?
If the people of the RM of Lakeside wish to avail
themselves of facts and figures that are not based on what Mr. Putnam refers
to as “junk science and misinformation” they can obtain a copy of a well
researched American brochure titled “Understanding the Impact of Large
Scale Swine Production”, which explores the impact on health, environment,
and the effect on rural communities in the loss of family farms.
For the second time in four years, South Dakotans have
clearly voted in favour of legislation which would ban corporate factory
agriculture. However the
proponents of corporate food production are attempting to overthrow this
proposed amendment, as well as the South Dakota Family Farm Act of 1974.
The struggle continues. The
present proliferation of hog factories and confined animal feeding
operations (CAFOs) in Canada is laying the foundation for the eventual
corporate control of the production of food.
I agree with you, Mr. Putnam, in that we both hope that
council members of the RM of Lakeside would base their decision on honesty
and from an educated viewpoint, so that they may “hold their heads up
high” – without having to hold their noses.
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