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Letters – for Nov. 25, 2010

I wish to sincerely apologize to your many readers – producers, organizations, agencies, and members of the public, who I may have offended with my poorly chosen words and comments in the recent front page article in your Nov. 11 issue.

My comments, while quoted accurately, were unprofessional, unkind, and may well have negatively impacted many people and been construed to reflect negatively on them.

I wish also to state quite clearly that the opinions expressed were indeed my own, and that those opinions do not accurately reflect the position of my employer, the Province of Manitoba.

In particular, my reference to Bill 17 is indeed my viewpoint. The province’s position is also quite clear – development of the pig business in Manitoba can proceed in a very large part of the province. Restrictions on building new, or expanding existing, pig barns in certain parts of the province were put in place to ensure the sustain-ability of the industry in these areas, not to penalize the industry in any way.

My errors include poor choice of words and poor use of examples to emphasize a point. In addition, my presentation to the Portage Animal Welfare Society fell well below the professional standard expected of me by others and expected of me by myself.

I would like to express my sincere regret for mistakes I made during this meeting, as well as in the followup discussions with members of the media.

I have worked for over 25 years trying to understand the complex relationship between society, individual humans and the animals with which we share our lives, the animals that populate our farms, and share our homes.

I had the opportunity to share my modest appreciation of the complexity of the human-animal interface with your readers and I failed to use that opportunity to advantage. My sincere hope is that my errors will not permanently prevent or distort any future ability to deliver and support the very important animal welfare work that we do here in Manitoba.

Terry Whiting Winnipeg, Man.

This “hole” in provincial procedure would never have developed if a suitable bond (of money) had been put up front – as suggested so many times before – to the government and at public conditional use meetings.

This would have covered unforeseen costs that might arise, such as what we are reading about now, and the pumping out of the barn manure pits, which is an expense to the taxpayer. Granted, sending the bill to the offender is a good idea, but trying to collect for those services could be yet another fruitless effort.

It’s not too late for the province to act now and stop any future “holes” from developing. But the big question is….will it? And what will the pork council’s reaction be?

With the backup bond in place as assurance, any number of departments within government, such as health, conservation and the chief veterinarian could initiate the appropriate cleanup requirements and have them carried out.

The onus of expense rests with the producers, not from the public purse and taxpayer.

If the polluter-pay principle, as mentioned by Don Labossiere (environmental operations director) is not successful, it is obvious that taxpayers will be on the hook for the eventual decommissioning of the manure lagoons at this site.

It’s time to take action to plug those holes.

John Fefchak Virden, Man.

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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