Manitoba bans new hog barns in half of province

Mon Mar 3, 2008 11:19pm EST
 
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By Roberta Rampton

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Manitoba will permanently ban new hog barns and expansions in the eastern half of the province, where the industry is most concentrated, its conservation minister said on Monday.

The government will immediately lift a temporary ban on new and expanding hog operations in the rest of the province, Stan Struthers said, but he said the entire industry will be subject to more environmental rules and scrutiny.

"Quite clearly our focus is and will continue to be the protection of Manitoba's water, the protection of Manitoba's environment," Struthers told reporters.

Manitoba is one of the largest centers of hog production in Canada and is the largest exporter of hogs to the United States.

The province had put a temporary moratorium on new and expanding hog barns in November 2006, pending results of a Clean Environment Commission review of the hog industry, which it also released on Monday.

The commission did not specifically recommend extending the moratorium in southeastern Manitoba, the Red River Valley and the Interlake, but Struthers said more protection was needed in those regions.

"We wanted to make sure that we're acting in areas of the province where the (Clean Environment Commission) has pointed to some problems," Struthers said.

The move surprised officials from the Manitoba Pork Council, which represents producers in the province. Andrew Dickson, the council's general manager, called the ban unfair, since it doesn't apply to all livestock operations and could affect the value of existing assets.   Continued...