Does anybody else aside from me see the irony of Laura Rance’s excellent editorial on the humane treatment of animals and in the same issue the rather angry letter directed at animal welfare activists regarding the castration of pigs without benefit of anesthetic?
I believe that producers are underestimating the level of knowledge activists have about the food-producing business. Just because some disagree with current practices, that does not necessarily mean they don’t know what they’re talking about.
Once again Karl Kynoch of the Manitoba Pork Council contributes to the hysteria surrounding any change to current practices by stating that when it comes to animal welfare activists “their end goal is to stop people from eating meat.” Not true Karl! I can’t be any clearer than that.
In a previous life, I worked for the federal government and all employees had to take mandatory training called Risk Management. Everywhere, you could ask people “why are you doing your work this way?” The only unacceptable answer was “because we’ve always done it like this.” Everybody had to rethink everything, and it worked. I have to confess I’m seeing more of the “because we’ve always done it like this” from producers.
Animal husbandry practices that have not been trifled with before are coming into question and the standard answer is not going to work anymore.
If one of the issues with the pigs in the Netherlands is that they are a different breed and don’t taste terrible if not castrated, has anybody considered raising them here versus what is raised now? A big change, I know, but still an alternative. Another alternative is using anesthetic or at least providing an analgesic after the procedure. There are always alternatives, there are always choices, there are always reasons but “because we’ve always done it that way” isn’t one any more.
Leslie Yeoman The Humane Education
Network Winnipeg, 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)