Canada Aids Hog Farmers – By Having Them Kill Their Pigs

What's going on in Canada? At the end of March, in discussing why I am vegan, I mentioned that Canada opened their commercial seal hunt (according to the Humane Society of the US this is the largest slaughter of marine mammals on the planet) on March 28th. Today I read that Canada is paying pork farmers $50 million to slaughter 150,000 pigs by November; all in the interests of propping up the Canadian pork industry which is in the throes economic implosion.

The Canadian Association of Food Banks is working with the pork council to come up with a plan to distribute some of the meat to the 720,000 Canadians who depend on food banks each month.

-- from The Canadian Press

I don't eat meat. I go to the school that you don't "need" to eat meat to survive. But to just kill these pigs and throw them away? That seems outrageous to me. I truly hope the Canadian Association of Food Banks can make some headway. The government plans to distribute "some" of the meat? What is some? 5%? 30%? How many animals will be killed just so that a dying industry can be propped up.

I don't know much about the government of Canada, but since they are in essence "buying" this meat, I'm wondering why it isn't automatically going into government subsidized food programs. And perhaps, if hog farming is not an economically viable industry any longer, the Canadian government shouldn't try to prop it up. Maybe the subsidies could be designed to help these hog farmers transition to a more economically viable crop.

Then again, I probably shouldn't be pointing a finger at Canada. Doesn't my government do the same thing? We've given out approximately $15 billion annually in farm subsidies for the twelve year period 1995 - 2006. (Source: Environmental Working Group) I thought we were supposed to be a capitalist society. Doesn't that mean that market forces, not government intervention, should dictate prices?

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Comments

  1. This makes me angry – both the seal hunt and this senseless killing of all these pigs. Although, like you, I believe all killing of animals for food is unnecessary and therefore senseless. So depressing….

  2. How stunned would people be if they were force to recognize the true cost of the meat they consume.

    Free from these subsidies, the environmental impacts, the unjust labor practices, etc., if allowed to be reflected in the cost of the meat, would be profound I believe.

    The pure immorality of these very institutions move us, however, for the prejudiced out there, perhaps the stark reality of the economic harms would move all those people who act on nothing more than desire or passion (i.e., “I just like the taste of flesh).

  3. How sad…

  4. Yup, don’t feed starving people with those pig corpses, instead artificially inflate the price of pork. Argh! The meat and dairy industries don’t care about people OR animals.

  5. Mindy / Sue — yes it’s depressing. The seal hunt is simply barbaric. I understand (but strongly disagree with) the Canadian government’s efforts to support their hog farmers. But I’m overwhelmed by the sense of WASTE here.

    Hi Alex, There was an interesting article in December’s Economist — something about the end of cheap food (it was the cover story). As the cost of grain spirals out of control, feed costs will rise therefore meat prices can only follow. (Barring government subsidies to cattle farmers.) I would guess that this economic impact might move some omnivores to eat more vegetarian meals. Baby steps.

    Hi Elaine, I’m guessing the Canadian government doesn’t want the pigs to be turned into foodstuffs for economic reasons. The marketplace would have a supply of pork products, so farmers’ wouldn’t command as good a price for the meat they would be trying to sell… vicious circle here. But the Canadian government could process the pork products and send them overseas thereby not interfering with their economy and providing relief to countries struggling with the 120% increase in the rise in grain prices.

  6. This is just one more marketing board’s overpaid lobbyists spending our money to inflate the perpetual pension plans of the elite on the backs of the rest.
    Who are the real pigs at the trough?
    We need to talk less and do more about sustainability.

    An artificial economy isn’t an economy.
    Is this lazy fair?
    or laissez faire?

    A QUESTION: If your third world children were starving to death and ‘broken’ from land mines and cluser bombs and you saw this in the papers. Along with all the other waste and razing of the planet by corporatist buffoons in NA…would you put your children out of their misery by strapping on dynamite to send them to heaven, in one last grand effort to relieve their pain and suffering and have them hailed as exorcists of the axis of evil?

    Who are the terrorists?
    Who is the enemy?
    We are sadly the catalysts of all that befalls us, wittingly or unwittingly.

    SPEAK OUT….
    before the cluster bombs come home to roost and nobody need be paid to reduce the porcine bloat.

  7. Hi Harmony,
    Yes, this is something Jane and I talk about on occasion. Especially with the overall rise in food prices, and the shortages that are expected to grow. We’re concerned that we (the wealthy nations of the world) will be further targeted by terrorism. We will be inconvenienced by the food shortages. Other countries will suffer famine and death.
    Obviously, something needs to be changed.

  8. They not only PAID the farmers to kill the Boers and sows BUT they made them all sign a 3 year contract not to produce any animals(pigs) during this time.

  9. Hi Charlotte,
    All in the name of keeping the pig industry afloat and profitable. How sad.

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