1992 April Fool’s spoof no joke in 2013

The following contains excerpts from a Manitoba Co-operator editorial about “Europeanized” pigs running wild in rural Manitoba that ran as an April Fool’s spoof in 1992. While the anecdotes contained in the article are fabricated, it turns out they aren’t that far out in today’s context.

According to news reports, Manitoba Conservation officials shot four wild boars earlier this month that were found during an aerial survey near Lake of the Prairies in western Manitoba.

Feral wild boars, offspring from animals that have escaped from domestic breeding operations, have taken up residence in several locations in the province, including the Duck Mountains, Turtle Mountains, Spruce Woods and in the Interlake near Ashern.

These animals are considered a menace because of their ability to tear up vegetation and eat ground nesting birds and ungulate fawns. Armed with sharp tusks, they can also be very aggressive. Humans are advised to retreat if one is encountered.

April 1/ 1992

Another European menace

No one would question the need for more diversification of Prairie agriculture, but we do object to the ceaseless rhetoric about “initiative,” and “marketing,” and “value added” and so on…

This is not to deny the benefits of small enterprises to the individuals who undertake them. The Prairies as a whole are not going to get rich on saskatoons, or raspberries, or pheasants, or llamas, or ostriches. But the few who undertake such enterprises may be able to do nicely and more power to them…

But while government should keep its fiscal and rhetorical mitts out of these businesses, it may be time for it to take on a larger supervisory role.

The disturbing news of the emergence of a “Europeanized” strain of pigs in Manitoba is a case in point. This has parallels with the “Africanized” strain of bees which threatens to invade domestic colonies. Similarly, the Europeanized pigs, while virtually identical in appearance to domestic breeds can suddenly become extremely aggressive and difficult to handle…

Of most concern are the two wild herds which have become established in the province. There have been several reports of a large herd roaming around the south and east sides of Riding Mountain National Park. The aggressive pigs, like their wild cousins, charge head long through the bush and there have been two cases of injuries when riders from Wasagaming were thrown from their terrified horses. This same herd is thought to be responsible for the decimation of vegetable gardens around McCreary. Potato and beet patches are said to look like they have been rototilled after the pigs come through, usually at night and in cover of darkness.

A smaller herd has also become established in Winnipeg, along the banks of the Seine River near the Manitoba Pork receiving yards. A Europeanized boar escaped when being delivered two years ago and was able to lure several females along with him. They have apparently raised several litters in the wild, and are surviving by knocking over garbage cans and rooting up gardens. This winter, several cross-country skiers were knocked down when the charging pigs appeared suddenly from one of the bends in the river. Besides terrorizing children on the bicycle trails along the river, they have also stolen several golf balls from the greens on adjoining golf courses…

All this could have been avoided if the government, rather than going along with diversification at any cost had identified the potential problem of wild boars and taken steps to regulate this type of operation.

In conclusion, we are supportive of the notion that the entrepreneurial vision of progressive, aggressive and innovative stakeholders in the agri-food sector must be facilitated in order that they are able to realize their vision of adapting to the unstable, ever-changing dynamic of a globalized, integrated, efficient and complex world value-added infrastructure.

But caution is needed. You’ll start to believe anything if you hear it often enough.

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