Prairie Swine Centre Adjusts Research Following Closure of Saskatoon Hog Slaughtering Plant

CANADA - Officials with the Prairie Swine Centre have made a series of adjustments to accommodate continued research in the wake of the closure of the Mitchell's Gourmet Foods hog slaughtering plant in Saskatoon, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 11 June 2007
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At the end of May, approximately seven months after Maple Leaf Foods announced plans to close its Mitchell's Gourmet Foods primary pork processing plant in Saskatoon, the facility accepted its final load of hogs.

Historically there had been a close working relationship between the Prairie Swine Centre and Mitchell's in terms of the slaughtering of research animals, the collection of data and sometimes the collection of actual carcass samples in support of the centre's research programs.

Prairie Swine Centre CEO Dr. John Patience says now, with that plant being closed, the centre is in a position where it's looking at alternative places to have animals slaughtered, as a normal practice like any other pork producer, and also to collect the specialized research data that's required.

Dr. John Patience-Prairie Swine Centre

There's a number of things that we have put in place.

Number one our pigs will be going to Red Deer to Olymel and they, again, have been very very cooperative in allowing us to collect data.

Collecting samples in that plant, which is much larger, is going to be a little bit more difficult and where we need plants with slower line speed we have arrangements with other abattoirs and will be making other arrangements with other abattoirs as the need arises so we will be using some local smaller abattoirs for some of that specialized research.

In addition we have had an excellent working relationship with the Lacombe Research Centre and their excellent research abattoir.

We have completed a number of studies at that facility and we're initiating some new research at that same place so we would foresee using their facility even more in the future than we have in the past.

Dr. Patience notes, to ensure all of the data came from one plant, a few projects were moved along a little quicker than they might have otherwise prior to Mitchell's closure but other than that it's been pretty much business as usual.

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