Manitoba CEC Moves to Next Phase of Investigation of Hog Industry Environmental Sustainability

CANADA - The Manitoba Clean Environment Commission is preparing to move to the next phase of its investigation of the environmental sustainability of the province's swine industry, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 30 April 2007
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Late last year the provincial government directed the Manitoba Clean Environment to examine the environmental sustainability of the province's hog industry and imposed a "temporary pause" on the development of expanded or new swine barn construction pending the completion of that investigation.

On Friday the three member panel concluded 17 days of public hearings which stretched over eight weeks making stops in 14 communities and hearing from about 150 presenters.

Commission Chairman Terry Sargeant says the nature of the review will change as it unfolds and additional research data comes in but the panel is holding to its goal of having a final report prepared by December.

Terry Sargeant-Manitoba Clean Environment Commission

Nothing has changed.

We're still holding December of '07 as our target date for a final report.

I'm not sure now that we will have an interim report, for a couple of reasons.

My biggest concern is that there's so much work for us to do right now that if we focus on trying to get out an interim report a couple of months before a final report it may prevent us from meeting our December deadline.

So the December deadline is a priority, we're going to do everything possible to meet that.

Sergeant says the panel heard about every imaginable topic related to pork production, from the industry's impact on water, soil and air quality to human and animal health and animal welfare to social and economic considerations and, while the members will consider most if not all of those issues, the animal welfare issue is not something that falls within the scope of this investigation and will not be explored in great detail.

He suggests the over riding issue is probably the handling of manure but, he stresses, that impacts on all kinds of other things, including surface water, ground water and odor.

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