Behind the Lines - December 2011

The pressure to set a definitive date for eliminating the use of sow gestation stalls is growing in the United States and now a campaign is being waged in next-door Manitoba. While there is no imminent threat that it will spill over into Ontario, farm leaders are bracing themselves. Coverage of this development here, by Senior Staff Editor Don Stoneman, begins on page 6.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is driving this issue and it has a branch in Canada. It appears that the HSUS even has the ear of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and, according to a report from Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas, it is involved in “preplanning” of an animal welfare symposium, ahead of the groups that represent livestock producers in the United States. David White, senior director, issues management, of the Ohio Farm Bureau and executive director of the Ohio Livestock Coalition who discussed HSUS activities at a swine seminar in Shakespeare in early November, confirmed the veracity of Moran’s allegations and that actions were being taken. “National farm and commodity organizations are voicing their apprehension to USDA about this and plan to meet with USDA officials to voice their concerns and request a modification of its original decision,” White told Better Pork’s editors in an e-mail.

One of the biggest interests pork producers always have is price. And economist Randy Duffy, our Second Look columnist this month, says nearly a year’s worth of data based on Ontario’s new price reporting information has allowed him to reach some conclusions about price equivalency with the United States. You can see Randy’s findings on our back page. BP

Robert Irwin

Better Pork - December 2011