It’s mean to deny hog producers a bailout

In the article, Giles says that consumers have the right to eat whatever they want and even though pork is safe to eat, people can choose beef, chicken or whatever.

Re. May 13 editorial by Lee Giles, headlined No need for hog industry bailout:

In the article, Giles says that consumers have the right to eat whatever they want and even though pork is safe to eat, people can choose beef, chicken or whatever.

While that is true, the article misses the point of the whole H1N1 scare and how it has been handled.

The media group Giles gets his living from has been just as guilty as the rest of the media in blowing this outbreak out of all proportion in an effort, no doubt, to sell more newspapers.

In a free country this is acceptable and something we have all come to accept from a profession that was once considered a trustworthy source of information.

What Giles seems to forget is that the pork industry employs more than 70,000 people across Canada and contributes more than $5 billion to the economy.

As a taxpayer in Red Deer, I am well aware of the impact Olymel makes to our local economy as the largest private sector employer in the area and I’m sure one of the biggest tax contributors.

Is Giles prepared to see the demise of the hog-processing facility in Red Deer Giles and local businesses supported by the plant? This would be devastating to the area as not only do we have a large processing facility, but also there are many smaller service companies dependant on the success of the hog industry.

Lastly but probably the most upsetting aspect of the editorial, was the complete callousness shown by Giles regards to the feelings of, not only the producer hit by the H1N1 directly, but all the other producers who were just starting to see a turnaround in the market price of hogs.

This industry has suffered for at least three years with high feed prices and low market prices, due to conditions totally out of its control.

Whoever would have thought we would see a time when agricultural policies were being dictated by the cost of fuel, when the decision to put corn in the gas tank rather than in people’s bellies was a serious consideration?

I have the distinct honour of working in the hog industry and I can tell you that to watch families in the severe difficulties that have plagued this industry for too long now, hasn’t been either pleasant or easy.

The hog industry in Alberta was once a vibrant, progressive business; this latest kick in the teeth is just another hurdle to overcome.

Yes, the industry has been fortunate in having help from the government and taxpayers of Alberta for which they are grateful, but now is not the time to attack an innocent segment of the agricultural population.

George Croome

Red Deer

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