By KATE PROCTER
"We are encouraging producers to wait for details before making any decisions,” says Canadian Pork Council (CPC)President, Clare Schlegel. The program is limited to $50 million or 150,000 animals, whichever is reached first. Program details can be found at www.cpc-ccp.com.
“The goal is two-fold: to allow those who don’t think they can compete to exit with integrity and to show that Canada is willing to do its part to do what is needed to adjust supply in the marketplace,” says Schlegel.
Will this program encourage a policy of “shoot, shovel and shut-up”? Schlegel stresses this is “absolutely not” going to happen. Animals must be handled in a humane way and producers enrolled in the program must provide verification of this, he says.
Sows must either go for pet food or be disposed of on-farm. Kevin Joynes is the Dead Animal Disposal Advisor for OMAFRA. Under the Dead Animal Disposal Act, producers have three options – collection by a licensed dead stock operator, burial under a minimum of two feet of earth or compost under a two feet layer of high-carbon material such as straw or dry manure.
“I don’t know how in the world they are going to dispose of that much,” says Oxford Dead Stock Removal’s Jeff Murray. Maple Leaf’s plant in Rothsay is currently the only Ontario renderer that handles pork products. Maple Leaf was unable to provide an official comment.
Murray says his plant currently handles about 400 metric tonnes of pigs per week and could handle an additional 100 to 150 MT per week. Larger numbers would require a lot of communication and organization. Considering the dead stock industry has not been consulted at all up to this point, things will have to change.
The program was news to David Smith of Atwood Pet Food Supplies. “I would be lucky if I could do 50 – 100 tonnes per week extra,” he says. Currently his meat and bone meal all goes to land fill and he wonders if the landfill could handle the extra product.
Producers will be required to apply and Schlegel assures that selection will take place in a “fair and equitable manner”. According to 2008 data from Statistics Canada, Ontario currently has the largest percentage of the Canadian breeding herd, at 27 per cent, or 415,800 animals, followed by Quebec with 26 per cent and Manitoba at 24 per cent.
There is a retroactive component to the program for producers who have already liquidated their herds. Sows shipped prior to the announcement will face different rules and will be allowed if they entered the human food chain, says Schlegel.
While CPC will eventually be responsible for administration, the program still has not received Treasury Board authority and is currently under the jurisdiction of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, explains Catherine Scovil, Executive Associate of the CPC. “We don’t know how much flexibility we will have,” especially with regard to destination, she says. While food banks have been suggested, the current rules stipulate that the meat is not to enter the human food chain. BF