Our writer Don Stoneman set out to separate fact from fiction for this month’s cover story (see page 6) about producing Certified Humane pork for Quebec packer Viande duBreton.
He found a producer who was leaving the program to produce commodity pork for the conventional marketplace, but didn’t want to be identified. The fear of repercussions after speaking out is typical of many situations where producers are under contract.
The balance of power between producers and processors is perceived to have changed following the most recent announcement by Agriculture Minister Carol Mitchell that overturned a Farm Products Appeal Tribunal ruling that would have retained Ontario Pork’s single desk powers.
There is more uncertainty in the pork market as far as contracts are concerned than ever before. One producer, who had formerly been forthcoming with Better Pork, said: “There are only five or six places where we can market our hogs. We can’t afford to tick anyone off.”
The duBreton program is being driven by retailers. In this case, the major retailer, Whole Foods, is run by a vegan and the program that is being used to certify meat is directed by the principles of an odd match of animal rights and welfare groups.
A release for the Animal Compassion Foundation from 2005 states: “To help meat producers achieve a higher standard of animal welfare excellence while still maintaining economic viability, the Foundation will . . . search the planet for innovative ranchers and farmers who raise their animals with the well-being of the animal rather than producer productivity as the primary goal.” BP