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Grassroots efforts to support the pork industry - are there others out there?

Local Veterinarian Encourages Canadian Families to Make a Difference for the Pork Industry

Linwood, ON, July 28, 2009 – A TV public service announcement is asking Canadian families to make a difference by enjoying safe, wholesome, economical pork products. The main message, “You Can Make a Difference - Put Pork on Your Fork”, is intended to support farm families in the Canadian pork industry that are in crisis.

An Ontario veterinarian, Dr. Martin Misener of Linwood Veterinary Services, has stepped up to the plate with his own money and paid for the production and media for a 30 second TV advertisement. He wants to make a difference and is asking consumers to make a difference by buying and enjoying pork products year round.

Speaking from personal experience, Dr. Misener said, “I completely empathize with struggling pork producers because I lived through my parents’ farm bankruptcy in the late 1970’s and the current industry crisis is worse than that.”

The pork industry has been suffering under difficult financial conditions for almost three years and needs some good news! Hog prices have been low and were starting to recover when misinformation about the H1N1 virus got into the news and deterred some consumers from buying and consuming pork. Farm families are being forced to leave the industry with devastating impacts on their families’ lives.

“There has been a deafening silence on the promotional front during these hard times” said Dr. Misener, “and this announcement was produced to help break that silence.”

In the public service announcement Misener appeals to Canadian families to help one another. “Just by choosing pork more often at the grocery store, Canadians are reaching out to other families in the Canadian pork industry,” he said. Targeted primarily to the food shopper and decision maker, females between 25 and 45 years of age with families, Misener’s message is a call to action for all Canadians.

Dr. Misener also expressed the hope that this public service announcement will “bolster the morale of pork producers when they see that someone has stepped up to make a difference.”

The campaign will run in southwestern Ontario from Windsor through Toronto from late July to late August.

To get on board the “You can make a difference” campaign and for more information, contact Dr. Martin Misener at 519-698-2610 Lori Moser at 519-684-6805.

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Help Save the Pork Industry Petition

To: Canadian Government

To: Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture
781 Confederation Bldg.
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Mr. Ritz,

I am writing to you in hopes that the Federal Government of Canada will recognize the extreme crisis that the Canadian Pork industry is currently in. Before the economic crisis began, before the fall of our auto industry, before the crash in energy prices and even before the soft-wood lumber challenges, Canadian Pork Producers have been losing their equity, assets and more importantly a sustainable livelihood.
A perfect storm has engulfed our once great industry:
• The ridiculous nature of converting food (corn and soybeans) into fuel which has resulted in input cost increases never seen before in the industry.
• This industry has seen the consolidation and evaporation of multiple market access for its products.
• This industry has been dealt a severe public relations nightmare in the form of the H1N1 flu (inappropriately named the Swine Flu) that precipitously resulted in an immediate decrease in consumption, demand and prices paid for our products.
• Our industry has been sanctimoniously removed from one of the largest swine market places in the world through a largely uncontested MCOOL legislation in the United States.
• Our industry has been effectively cut-off from vital credit through traditional and agriculturally based lending institutions due to misaligned mandates in the current economic environment.
• Our industry remains burdened by higher operating costs due to legislative and environmental mandates with no reciprocation through cost recovery and economic equality through pricing mechanisms.

The evidence is clear and within the public forum that the Canadian Pork Industry NEEDS a Federally sponsored Emergency Funding Initiative in order to establish a fiscal bridge that is simply not available through any chartered or agriculturally mandated creditors such as Farm Credit Canada. I ask you as a Minister and advocate for our country’s agriculture sector to act immediately, without political or pundit bias to help our industry in its darkest hour.
I believe that failure to act immediately will result in dire consequences via the dissipation of hundreds of thousands of jobs related directly and indirectly to the Pork Industry as well as the eventual death of many family farms. The losses in our industry are vast (losses of 20-50 dollars per marketed animal) and are threatening the viability of ALL farms in the Canadian landscape. As most farming is integrated into multiple sectors such as grain, beef, poultry, dairy and vegetable production, the current equity losses are now jeopardizing the entire agricultural system, the families that participate in them and all of the direct and ancillary supporting industries.

I call upon you to act now.


The Undersigned

Please find below a petition initiated by East Man Feeds of Winnipeg. They will be launching it online to various committees, organizations and industry groups to help bring attention to the plight of Canadian Pork Producers and OPIC is forwarding it for your information.
They invite everyone to participate and send it on to as many people as possible as a voice advocating for change.


Thanks and regards,
Kelly Godlien
BA-Bus., BA-Econ, MBA (Hons)
Special Analyst
East-Man Feeds

East Man Feeds (WPG) 715 Marion St., Winnipeg, Manitoba R2J 0K6 (P)
204.233.1112 (F) 204.233.7245 www.eastmanfeeds.com
This email was sent to us for posting...Ontag Admin.

Let me tell you a story about someone you may know.

A healthy and thriving person was very involved in making their business successful and at the same time strongly supportive of local school and community activities.

As part of a routine check up, the Doctor in charge ordered a few new tests to be run on what appeared to be the common cold. When the results came back, the Doctor found that there just might be something that needed serious attention. In fact, there was the opportunity identified to get his name in front of the world’s media because this could be a landmark diagnosis and the first of its kind. The patient was quickly quarantined away from all contact and the greatest concern expressed for the future. Of course this was front-page news all around the world and many others joined in to speculate on the consequences. Dire projections were made about anyone that may have been contaminated by them.

The question of how wide spread this disease could have spread was elaborately analyzed.

While all of this was happening, the person quarantined away, seemed to be recovering but no longer could contact the Dr. who had much more important people to talk to and pubic statements to make.
Some time later, while the patient lost their business and all but the closest of friends refused to even speak to them, some further testing was done for additional verification of the offending organism.
Guess what. It had been a mistaken diagnosis after all. Oops, just kidding. There really wasn’t any terrible health risk to either the patient, or their family and friends.

- Where do things stand now you ask?

Well, the patient is trying to get back to normal although it is difficult because the public still remembers all the reports of the terrible disease. The destroyed business long gone of course and while family and friends are trying to help but public perception is a tough thing to change with good news rarely making it to the front page.

- What about the Doctor you ask. Well, he is happily carrying on, still basking in the glow of all the attention and quite proud of how he performed.

- But what about what damage this has done to the people caught by this serious mistake?

- What about the supervising body reviewing the Doctor’s actions and public statements?
Ah, who really is going to worry about a little collateral damage in the political pursuit of publicity related to ‘health’ no matter how irresponsible the actions that were taken?

So who was the patient? Every pig producer in North America

The Dr.? The Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The Disease and Diagnosis?

H1N1 presumed to have been transmitted between a worker who had been in Mexico and a pig farm in Alberta except it wasn’t. Later testing proved that the worker was not the source!

The direct damage? One young farmer and his family who believed they did the right thing, devastated.

The collateral damage? The North American pork industry paying by suffering an on-going discount at the farm gate of Fifty million dollars every week in turn affecting the bank account of every single farm family producing pork.
The supervising ‘body’? Nothing has changed. It is not about doing the right thing. It is about doing that which has the least potential risk for the Minister and the Government. Right now, their perceived lowest political risk is to do nothing rather than deal the “Doctor” by making them accountable for their devastating, irresponsible and self-serving actions.
What can you ‘the public’ do? You are the only ones that can change the perception of political risk for the Minister and the Government and demand that the “Doctor” be held fully accountable for their actions, not only in this instance, but also as a fundamental and effective policy. Otherwise we can expect more of these ‘opportunistic’ diagnoses in all kinds of areas. We also will have to hope that individually, you or I personally don’t get caught being part of future ‘inconsequential collateral damage’.

What’s that you say? What about a class action lawsuit? A very good idea! There would be no shortage of financially hurt hog producers all the way to Mexico willing to sign on.

Submitted by Hostage N. Peril (anonymous Farmer)
Thank you for posting this letter. The meat industry even stated in a recent issue that the H1N1 was transmitted from human to pig in Canada: "NPPC is working with health officials and veterinarians on prevention and contingency plans in case the H1N1 virus gets passed into swine herds from humans, as it did in Canada." (meatingplace magazine - August 2009, page 10, Swine industry flu). It was written by the executive editor out of the Chicago office.
I saw this article and consumers do seem to feel bad about the plight of the pork industry.

CBC Lean Years: Hog farmers weary as perfect storm persists.

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