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Weanling slaughter planned for Manitoba

Manitoba hog producers are working on a plan for a mass cull of weanling pigs that are abruptly without a market in the United States.

Manitoba ships up to four million weanlings a year to the U.S., but buyers there are said to be walking away from contracts because of concerns over impending country of origin labelling (COOL) legislation, which is set to take effect in September. Weanlings shipped now might not reach finishing weight by then, and it is uncertain how the labelling provisions would affect hogs marketed after that date.

Andrew Dickson, general manager of the Manitoba Pork Council, told the Winnipeg Free Press that producers are preparing to euthanize hundreds of thousands of animals over the next several months. Up to 25,000 per week would be trucked to a central point and euthanized with carbon dioxide, with the carcasses sent to a local rendering plant.

The plan is expected to require co-operation of provincial officials, who were not available for comment Friday.


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