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Time to change attitudes

I’m actually not sure where to start with all the comments that went through my mind as I read Dr. Terry Whiting’s perspective in “Social movements not always scientific” (Manitoba Co-operator July 15).

I’ll make my first comment about his first sentence which was “what do you do if people have concerns about agriculture that are not based on fact?” Is he talking about the concern regarding confinement systems for our food animals such as sow stalls, veal crates, battery cages – are these not facts? (Once again, cudos to the Manitoba Egg Farmers for acknowledging the need for change and taking action on it!)

Speaking of change, maybe it is time for a change at the top. My strong feeling is that the people who have been entrenched in their jobs for so long, organizations that are entrenched in continuing with the status quo, management philosophies that are based on social trends from decades ago – perhaps it is time for new management teams that are more in touch with what the purchasing public is wanting today.

I find the assertion that surveys show the majority of shoppers don’t particularly care how their food was raised, they just want a low price, puzzling. This indicates to me that perhaps people aren’t aware there is a choice. Even with knowledge some people won’t care much, but I think some education on the big business aspect of factory farms may change a lot of minds.

His comment about people not wanting to know the truth is ironic given the defence of existing practices and the corresponding reluctance to change on the part of industry.

In closing the last thing in the article is true, to paraphrase: Change can be driven by a relatively small, highly focused and policitically effective movement. I sure hope so!

Leslie Yeoman, The Humane Education

Network, Winnipeg, Man. Stock Dog Challenge being presented by the Prairie Shepherds 4-H with the Manitoba Stock Dog Association at the Neepawa Ag Grounds on August 13, 14 and 15. People interested in learning more about how to train or handle their dogs, or how the dogs actually work, are welcome to attend classes for different ages on August 13. The trial will be open to all breeds of herding dogs on August 14, with many different levels from a Beginner’s Luck Challenge right up to Open classes for more experienced dogs and handlers. Althought this is a 4-H and MSDA event, there is no requirement to belong to any group or have a particular breed or registered dog.

Once again thank you for such a well-written article!

Lorna S. Wall Wall 2 Wall Sheep Ranch Poplarfield, Man. have little effect on agricultural practices. Farmers currently plow, plant and harvest around hydro poles, and they will continue to do so once Bipole III is complete.

Acreage used for this project will be minimal. Bipole III will only require approximately three towers per mile, with the base of each tower measuring 23 feet by 23 feet. Land beneath the transmission lines can continue to be cultivated. To suggest that this transmission line will use up enough land to contribute to a world food shortage is absurd.

Manitoba Hydro will shortly announce their preferred route for Bipole III. They will then offer potentially impacted landowners a comprehensive compensation package.

Our government is as committed to supporting our farmers as we are to providing clean, reliable power at the lowest rates in North America. Together, we are working to move Manitoba forward.

Rosann Wowchuk Minister Responsible for Manitoba Hydro

Barring producers who actually grow and sell wheat board grains from voting, while paving the way for producers who don’t grow and sell wheat board grains simply makes the CWB less accountable to the farmers it serves. Next thing you know Anderson will be saying that Liberal and NDP Party members should be allowed to vote for the next Conservative leader.

The Conservatives are quick to call the Senate “unelected and unaccountable,” while at the same time they make partisan and unelected appointments to the CWB in order to influence policy decisions (including voting rules) at the CWB board table.

There is CWB legislation that should be supported, but that legislation comes from Ralph Goodale – not David Anderson. Goodale’s legislation gives the farmers more control over their marketing agency, which is a continuation of the process started by Goodale in 1998. An addition to Goodale’s legislation to include a “user-pay, user-vote” clause would make his legislation very worthy of farmer support.

Stewart Wells Swift Current, Sask.

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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