Hog Watch Manitoba, PO Box 61082, Grant Park, Wpg. Mb R3M 3X8

There are a number of practices still allowed in Canada that are no longer allowed in Europe. These practices facilitate the expansion of intensive livestock operations here where thousands of pigs are kept indoors in very confined living spaces, with no straw or other material to root and nest in. The result of these living conditions is that the pigs suffer chronic stress because they are prevented from being able to behave in ways that they are instinctually driven to do. Pigs have evolved to root in straw, grass, dirt to find food to eat as well as to build nests for sleeping and giving birth. Sows, the female pigs are kept in gestation and farrowing stalls for their entire adult life which means they are so confined they can take a step forward or backwards but cannot even turn around. They are forced to eat, sleep, urinate, defecate in the same place above pits containing their waste. The fumes from the pits contain high levels of hydrogen sulphide, ammonia, carbon dioxide and methane which will suffocate the animals if the ventilation systems fail. NASD – Manure Gas Dangers (nasdonline.org)

Industrial Emissions

In the EU, The EU pig meat sector (europa.eu) intensive livestock facilities are considered under the category  of Industrial Emissions and permits are required as well as adherence to practices that will minimize environmental threats to air, water and soil. EUR-Lex – 32010L0075 – EN – EUR-Lex (europa.eu) Some countries like the Netherlands require air scrubbers to be installed on pig barns to filter out the dust particles and toxic gases before the air from the barns is released into surrounding communities. Some countries require above ground steel or concrete silos which are covered to hold the manure and prevent the odours from infecting local communities. Here in Canada earthen lagoons that are largely uncovered are allowed to be used. 

Antibiotic Use

The result of living with the chronic stresses as listed above, is that the animals need to be fed antibiotics as growth promoters and illness preventers. The problem with that is that too much use of antibiotics in animal feed is contributing to the problem of antibiotic resistance, a serious human health threat. 

 In the EU a ban on the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in animal feed came into effect on January 1, 2006. https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_05_1687 

In Canada, hog producers need a prescription from a veterinarian to get antibiotics put into their animal feed. This is still a significant problem here as reported Canadian Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System – Update 2020 – Canada.ca Hog Watch Manitoba has attempted to find out more about how veterinarians in Manitoba handle this issue but our requests for a meeting and further communication has been ignored. Deadly superbugs found in waterways next to cruel factory farms | World Animal Protection

Animal Welfare Standards

Listed below are a number of articles that detail the differences in animal welfare standards in Canada and the EU. One of the most outstanding is that in Canada sows are still allowed to be kept in gestation stalls which means that they are severely confined for their entire adult life. The Code of Practice for Pigs in Canada was initially going to ban the use of those stalls by 2024 but hog producers successfully lobbied to have that deadline extended until 2029. The Code of Practice in Canada is a set of recommendations, not bound by law. 

Comparing welfare standards across the world (npa-uk.org.uk)

Bad deal for animals: European Parliament approves CETA | Eurogroup for Animals

ttip_briefing_pork.pdf (hsi.org)

What is ractopamine, the drug banned in China but permitted in Canadian pork? – National | Globalnews.ca

How do Canada’s welfare standards compete worldwide? | Farms.com