Where is it written or promised that when a business venture expands to a state of collapse that taxpayers are on the hook to bail them out?
Kicking in more money to help the hog producers now might be a short-term and the easiest solution for this time, but should the public keep donating into this huge basket with a very large hole? Has the public purse now become the public trough?
The question needs an answer: “Is this a sustainable industry?”
For the past 13 or more years, amid the anger, frustrations and anxiety of rural residents, the Manitoba hog industry, with the blessings of provincial and municipal governments, has built its huge hog producing factories nearly anywhere that suited it. They were warned that this uncontrolled growth would eventually burst and the truth is, that is exactly what happened. They themselves have been victimized by their gluttony.
About four years ago, the Manitoba Pork Council (MPC) was busy spending producers’ money on huge advertising billboards, complaining about restrictions and threatening court action to sue the Manitoba government. Today, it’s a much different picture. A plea for financial aid to which the government responds. The MPC itself would certainly qualify as a perfect candidate for “extreme views.”
I have always understood that the problems we face today result from the decisions and actions that were made in the past. The hog industry is important and has a future in Manitoba, but to succeed it must change its attitude. It must adhere to environmental considerations and a recognition of dealing with the realities of economics. There needs to be an acceptance of responsibility.
And most important, changes to the factory style of raising hogs are foremost. As even Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn has assured us that “morally the province doesn’t agree with sow stalls.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 20, 2012