duBreton battles Quebec pork producers association over marketing plan

Photo: Canva
Photo: Canva

Quebec-based specialty pork producer duBreton takes its quest to be excluded from the ‘joint plan’ of the Quebec pork producers, Éleveurs de porc du Québec, to the next level.

This plan, which presently applies to all pig farmers in the province, lays out strategic goals for marketing efforts and more. “We want to be excluded from the…plan and from collective marketing, and to stop financing mass pork production,” said company president Vincent Breton in a release.

duBreton launched an online petition to be excluded from the plan. The firm has received the support of 2,000 signatories and several stakeholders. These include the Canada Organic Trade Association and leaders at several municipalities.

The company now calls for the support of all members of the Quebec provincial government, called the National Assembly. duBreton called all this support “essential to our efforts” to be excluded from the plan.

Tristan Deslauriers, spokesperson for the Éleveurs de porc du Québec, says that enabling duBreton to leave the plan is not possible. He notes that duBreton has applied to a provincial administrative court to have all organic pig production removed from the Plan, but the case has just started.

duBreton has been raising crate-free and antibiotic-free pigs for over 20 years. In November 2023, duBreton announced it is certified and ready for the implementation of US animal welfare legislation Prop 12.

Plan details

duBreton states that by being part of the joint plan, it’s “facing an injustice, just like other producers and family businesses in Quebec.” “Existing assistance programs have become programmes adapted to support the commodity pork industry, contrary to their historical mission of ensuring a stable income for all producers,” states the firm.

“The special hog detour fee deducted from the paychecks of specialty hog producers is one example. Specialty pork producers must absorb the costs associated with the difficulties experienced in the commodity pork market, while they receive no assistance from the Éleveurs de porc du Québec for the higher costs associated with their production.”

Interests of specialty pork breeders

DuBreton points out in the petition that the Éleveurs de porc du Québec has never amended its conventions to reflect the reality and interests of specialty pork breeders, and collects dues for the promotion of Québec pork from organic and Humane Certified producers without ever investing a single dollar in the promotion of their products.

The petition also notes that whilst the joint plan is supposed to enable producers to collectively negotiate the conditions under which their product is marketed, specialty pork producers “do they not benefit from collective negotiation.”

Quebec industry challenges

​In December, the Premier of Quebec stated that pork farmers are in an “extremely difficult situation,” with over 700 of them facing serious financial challenges. Financial factors include increased feed costs, labour issues, higher interest and lower demand for pork.

Processor Olymel closed a slaughter plant in Quebec last year, laying off almost 1.000 workers.

Treena Hein Correspondent
More about