Angry Alberta pig farmer urges entire cull

14-05-2009 | |

The Alberta pig farmer with H1N1 present on his farm has said he doesn’t understand why his entire herd wasn’t culled right away., Canadian broadcaster CBC reports.

“It’s a small farm. Take the pressure off everybody. I think even off the whole world, over the whole pig industry, everywhere. Get rid of the herd,” Arnold Van Ginkel said in his first media interview. “It’s already going on over nine, 10 days? It’s a waste of time and money.”

Pigs under quarantine
All 2,200 of Van Ginkel’s pigs were placed under quarantine in late April when some of his animals became sick with the H1N1 influenza A virus. It’s believed the animals caught the illness from a carpenter who had recently travelled to Mexico.

Van Ginkel said he is frustrated and angry with officials who appear not to know what the next steps should be and what they should do about his herd, which remains under quarantine.

“They should have a plan. They don’t,” he said. “They don’t know what to do. Leave me behind and they tell me nothing.”

Hurting entire pork industry
500 of the animals were destroyed recently to help ease overcrowding. Van Ginkel hasn’t been able to ship any of his animals since the quarantine was put in place. He said that he fears he’ll never be able to sell any of them, and that delaying a decision to cull the entire herd is hurting the entire Canadian pork industry.

“Government, please make a decision. Don’t wait and sit back. Help the whole industry. Help our farm,” he said.

Provincial matter
In Edmonton, Alberta Agriculture Minister George Groeneveld said the matter is now being decided by provincial, not federal, officials because the health of the herd is not a food safety issue covered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

When asked whether the herd should have been culled right away, Groeneveld said he didn’t know. “It’s a 50-50 proposition. If he gets from under quarantine very quickly, I expect not. But, you know, hindsight is pretty easy on this one,” he said.

Related website
• CBC News