by SUSAN MANN
A Quebec pork company that produces organic and humanely raised pigs has arranged to obtain a supply of certified organic animals from Ontario for its processing plant in Rivière-du-Loup.
The company, duBreton, bought the inventory of organic sows and feeder pigs in Ontario from Jones Feed Mills Ltd. for $1.5 million.
Vincent Breton, duBreton president, declined to say how many animals his company purchased “for competitive reasons.” However, duBreton bought the entire inventory of Jones Feed Mills’ organically raised animals.
Breton says Jones Feed Mills, a livestock feed manufacturer specializing in feeds free of antibiotics and genetically modified organisms, has a long-standing partnership with his company. The feed mill supplies feed to duBreton’s organic farmer suppliers and has helped to develop the production of certified organic and humanely raised pigs.
Jones Feed Mills “will remain to develop the certified humane and natural network,” Breton says. “Basically we’re taking over the organic development in Ontario. What this means is we’ll still work together, we’ll still buy grain from them and we’ll still be partners.”
Developing the organic and certified humane production systems takes a lot of resources, Breton says. “We think that with Jones we can have a better partnership if we focus ourselves on the organic and Jones focuses on the natural and certified humane.”
Breton says his company is still looking for independent farmers in Ontario to supply organic or certified humanely raised pigs. DuBreton’s humanely raised pork is certified by two separate organizations – Humane Farm Animal Care, a non-profit organization from the United States, and Global Animal Partnership.
The company has both certifications because it needs them to sell products to certain grocery stores in Canada and for some global markets. The company’s pork is sold throughout Canada, the United States and around the world to countries, such as Japan and Australia.
The company’s program for certified organic and humanely raised pork includes no farrowing or gestation crates, no tail docking, no teeth clipping, no animal byproducts in the animals’ feed and no antibiotics.
Although some people see duBreton as a Quebec-only company, Breton says, “we’re very open to working in Ontario and we’re working with different partnerships. Jones is our primary partner in Ontario.”
DuBreton processes 20,000 to 22,000 pigs a week at its Quebec plant. Those animals are a combination of organic, certified humane and conventionally raised pigs. BF