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Letters — for 2012-11-01 00:00:00

Expense to farmers considered inconsequential

Regarding the opinion piece by Ronald Doering in the Oct. 25 Manitoba Co-operator, the statement “Adventitious presence does not meet the definition of an (adulterating) ingredient (and therefore)… Health Canada… would not favour a “contains” or “may contain” (food label) statement,” this is a corporate-friendly, citizen-unfriendly, double-standard con job!

Note how the soy in wheat ad-mixture is justified. “Because of farming operations with common storage facilities, and shared harvesting and transportation equipment, most wheat products contain detectable levels of soy… and largely unavoidable with today’s agricultural systems.”

Whoa! “Wheat products” are finished goods, not farmer production. Truthfully, what proportion of the commingling arises prior to the farm gate compared to after, when such a slam-the-farmer statement is allowed in this farmer-focused paper? Moreover, whose inefficiencies are externalized here?

Remember, who was first fingered regarding GMO Triffid flax contamination? Conversely, who is protected when small-scale farmers with loose housing, grass-fed beef or small-scale abattoirs that do not carry the contamination risks of large processors, but all must meet the regulations of large ones? Or urban dwellers may not keep a few chickens while a list of exotic corporate-imported species are OK?

Before strict contamination standards such as with Triffid flax existed, before organic canola was known to be “adventitiously” adulterated with GMO canola and before GMO wheat was even on the public’s radar, the Rosser Pool local advanced a resolution asking the Pool to start segregating canola in order for non-GMO farmers to collect the non-GMO canola premium.

During debate, MPE CEO Gord Cummins stated quite emphatically segregation was not commercially feasable within the Pool’s commercial system.

Then, when Monsanto’s GMO wheat was met with resistence, many a corporate stooge, with a straight face as if the cat was still in the bag, claimed segregation was possible. Expense to farmers, not unlike the Triffid situation, was inconsequential.

Please, would greater diligence be practised before farmers are so thoughtlessly swept under the table?

Sincerely,

Eduard Hiebert

St. Francois, Man.

Wasted meat means wasted lives

On the morning of October 22, I woke up, made coffee and turned on the TV to my favourite news channel. The first thing I saw was the story on the landfill at Brooks, Alberta and the truckloads of meat being dumped and buried there.

My first reaction was shock as to what a million pounds of beef is in terms of volume. Then it brought a tear to my eyes as I realized what it really meant. It meant that nearly 1,333 head of cattle were wasted, and some of those wasted animals could have been ones that I raised.

As a rancher I have a social contract with my animals. I provide feed, water and shelter to them and in turn, they provide their young to feed Canadians. As part of the contract I am to be humane to them, not to abuse them or mistreat them, to care for them if they are ill, to provide assistance if they need it during birth and above all, to ensure their young are cared for and that their short lives are not wasted.

Now through an act of man’s greed these some 1,333 lives were wasted. These were living beings that gave their lives to nurture us — not to be dumped as garbage into landfills.

We have a moral responsibility to ensure we do not mistreat or waste these animals. They deserve better. Canadians must get involved and demand accountability for this wanton waste and demand our food system be restructured so that no more XLs occur. Write your MLA, MPP, MP and county and city councillors and demand change — and demand to be part of that change. And yes, please light a candle and place it in your window for those 1,333 wasted lives.

Neil Peacock

NFU board member

Sexsmith, Alta.

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