Only after the last tree has been cut down.  Only after the last river has been poisoned.  Only after the last fish has been caught.  Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

"When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof." - Wingspread Statement of the Precautionary Principle.


Letter to the Editor
East Central Connection
March 21, 2003

This is in response to Mr. Greg Putnam’s open letter regarding hog barn systems in the March 14th publication:

First of all, I should state that our family operated a 50-sow farrow-to-finish operation for about 30 years.  So you could say that we have had some experience with the not so exhilarating, healthy odour of hogs and hog manure.

In referring to those hog barn systems, Mr. Putnam states, “these types of opportunities come far too rarely to chase them away” – Mr. Putnam, if you lived 1.2 km from a 1200 sow or larger hog factory, as my wife and I do – a location where our family has lived for more than 85 years, before the barns were set up, you would soon find out who is being “chased” away.  These mega hog operations devalue any farmyard sites near them.  We are well past what people generally consider retirement age; we need to sell our farm.

You could suggest like our provincial Minister of Agriculture and Food, Mr. Clay Serby, did when he stated in a letter to us, that we don’t really know if these barns devalue your property.  However, as most people know, our provincial government has a vested interest in factory hog barns and the processing of pork.  But to deal with the problem of property devaluation, there is a simple question for a family wishing to buy a farmyard site – If you had to choose between two equally attractive property sites, but one of those was near a hog factory, which one would you buy? 

If the people of the RM of Lakeside wish to avail themselves of facts and figures that are not based on what Mr. Putnam refers to as “junk science and misinformation” they can obtain a copy of a well researched American brochure titled “Understanding the Impact of Large Scale Swine Production”, which explores the impact on health, environment, and the effect on rural communities in the loss of family farms.

For the second time in four years, South Dakotans have clearly voted in favour of legislation which would ban corporate factory agriculture.  However the proponents of corporate food production are attempting to overthrow this proposed amendment, as well as the South Dakota Family Farm Act of 1974.  The struggle continues.   The present proliferation of hog factories and confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Canada is laying the foundation for the eventual corporate control of the production of food.

I agree with you, Mr. Putnam, in that we both hope that council members of the RM of Lakeside would base their decision on honesty and from an educated viewpoint, so that they may “hold their heads up high” – without having to hold their noses.

Leo Kurtenbach
Cudworth, SK

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