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Letters – for Jul. 8, 2010

Urban chickens a healthier option

I was very interested by the article “Winnipeg group seeks backyard chicken option” (Manitoba Co-operator June 18, 2010).

I am actually surprised that there are not more urban and rural people interested in raising their own chickens. There are tremendous benefits, such as much healthier eggs, free from antibiotics and hormones.

The Chicken Farmers of Canada claim that backyard flocks were the suggested origin of avian flu is not necessarily true. There is no proof that this was the case as well as no proof that it started on large chicken farms.

In his book The End of Food”: “Common sense however, Thomas F. Pawlick indicates that highly infectious disease organisms would be more likely to spread quickly in crowded conditions, where birds are also highly stressed and thus likely to be less resistant. Large chicken farms continuously feed chickens antibiotics. Is this safe?

Pawlick also reveals important facts of antibiotic-fed chickens, “the British Soil Association reported that people on diets involving high egg consumption may be in danger of lasalocid, an antibiotic commonly used by poultry farmers.” Apparently this study revealed that 12 per cent of the eggs had residues of the drug. Lasalocid has been known to cause severe illnesses in animals.

Pawlick also states in his book, chicken meat has lost 51.6 per cent of its vitamin A since 1963 and white meat has gained 32.6 per cent fat and 20.3 per cent sodium.

Raising backyard chickens is also much more humane. Chickens would not have to be debeaked, a very painful procedure, at a very young age. They would be looked after by someone who cares and not just to increase a corporation’s profit.

Chicken waste can be composted and used in the garden as organic fertilizer. Another quote from Pawlick’s book: “the waste of a million chickens would be equivalent in strength to the wastes from a city of 68,000 people.”

Anyone who cares about the quality of the food they eat should read Pawlick’s book The End of Food.

Luc Gamache MacGregor, Man.

Hog barn neglect merits more scrutiny

Ron Friesen’s article on starving pigs near Notre Dame de Lourdes (Manitoba Co-operator, July 1, 2010) reports that Manitoba Pork Council chair Karl Kynoch simply can’t understand why well over 2,200 hogs were left to starve and suffocate in a facility owned by Martin Grenier, who until recently was a member of the MPC board. For Kynoch, the extensive suffering of these pigs is an, anomalous mystery reducible to an isolated “animal welfare issue.”

We are asked to believe Kynoch’s claim that the “industry goes a long way to meet the highest level of welfare standards,” while ignoring research findings of independent scientists and animal welfare experts that have identified the systemic, structural cruelty inherent in industrial hog production.

Friesen derides and dismisses what he calls “hog industry opponents,” without having contacted a single one. Surely as a seasoned reporter, he was aware of the CTV interview with the head investigator of Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals who was on-site collecting evidence. Rather than speak with her, Friesen merely repeats an anonymous comment from a CBC website.

How can the “mystery” of Notre Dame be solved without asking the right questions of the right people? Friesen reports that the chief provincial vet has the authority to lay charges and that last year, out of 317 inhumane cases, none of them involved pigs. Doesn’t the chief vet work for the same government that has for years promoted and subsidized expanded industrial hog production? Can charges be laid without sufficient evidence? The facility suspiciously burned down a few days after the suffering pigs were discovered.

Finally, isn’t this kind of “high standard” to be expected in a vertically integrated industry, where the pig owners – who supply feed and management systems – simply rent pig places from facility owners?

Ruth Pryzner Alexander, Man.

I’ve been involved with horses for over 20 years and suggest that if her bottom line is being affected as her stock becomes unpopular, and if indeed she does breed pleasure and show horses, then this is a result of her own mismanagement and failure to evolve within her own industry. Why continue with your breeding program if you can’t sell your stock?

As a general “consumer” I would not purchase any horse from you based on the fact that you send your unwanted stock be they old, sick or crippled to slaughter.

Change happens to all industries. I’m all for shooting unwanted horses as long as the person is a good shot versus the alternative. Our animals deserve no less than a quick and painless end.

The time is coming where slaughtering animals will no longer be cheap and the profit margins will be down due to much needed enforcement of current regulations and the inevitable new regulations that will put an end to inhumane slaughter.

Paige Talledo Belleville, Ontario

Please forward letters to Manitoba Co-operator, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, R3H 0H1 or Fax: 204-954-1422 or email: [email protected](subject: To the editor)



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