Hog farm in limbo

Operations at a hog farm near Rocky Mountain House remain in limbo since the discovery that some of its pigs had been infected with H1N1 flu.

Operations at a hog farm near Rocky Mountain House remain in limbo since the discovery that some of its pigs had been infected with H1N1 flu.

Farm owners Arnold and Alida Van Ginkel need some definite answers from government and industry so they can start planning their future, says Alberta Pork chair Herman Simons.

“Arnold needs assurance that, in the future, he is not going to be treated differently because of this situation,” Simons said.

It is believed that the pigs caught the disease from a worker who had been vacationing in Mexico.

Five hundred pigs had to be destroyed to make room for newborns at the farm. The Van Ginkels will receive government compensation for the culled hogs.

Arnold Van Ginkel is seeking further compensation so he can cull his entire herd and start over, stating that processors will not otherwise buy his hogs.

But performing a total cull is a tough call, because it contradicts industry’s message that people cannot get the flu from eating properly-prepared pork, said Simons.

At the same time, the Van Ginkels are still feeding and caring for animals that may or may not be marketable, so they need to know whether or not to continue breeding their sows, he said.

“We’ve been talking about it’s not a food safety issue, so the message needs to be in balance in relation to that.

“On the other side, I think Arnold’s message is more toward: ‘Give me certainty, so I know where I’m at.’ To that affect, we are working at Alberta Pork on behalf of Arnold and the industry at large together with government at both levels to find a solution to this situation.”

Because there is no food safety issue, pork processors should have no problem purchasing the Van Ginkels’ hogs once they have been cleared of the virus, said Simons.

Van Ginkel was in meetings on Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.

Mayerthorpe-area producer Jurgen Preugschas, chairman of the Canadian Pork Council, issued a statement on Monday commending the Van Ginkels for their courage in voluntarily reporting the status of his herd to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and in thanking the CFIA for its prompt handling of the overcrowding situation at the farm.

“Thanks are also due to Van Ginkel’s neighbours and industry partners for their ongoing support of the Van Ginkel family and for respecting and protecting the privacy of the family until they were ready to be publicly identified,” said Preugschas, a past chair of Alberta Pork.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Most surveyed Innisfail residents give urban chickens the thumbs up

Town of Innisfail will discuss whether to allow backyard chickens on Monday

Second attempted ATM theft at Red Deer IGA

Anyone with information is asked to contact RCMP

City businesses must have licences

Businesses can apply through new system online called MyLicence

Solar panels installed on city bus station

$550,000 project will generate power for city

Ponoka students singing to promote cross-cultural understanding

Songs focused on bringing inclusivity and cross-cultural understanding into the spotlight

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Hi Mickey, ‘Bye Mickey: 6 Disney parks on 2 coasts in 1 day

ORLANDO, Fla. — Heather and Clark Ensminger breathed sighs of relief when… Continue reading

Court weighs ‘Apprentice’ hopeful’s suit versus Trump

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s lawyers hope to persuade an appeals… Continue reading

StarKist admits fixing tuna prices, faces $100 million fine

SAN FRANCISCO — StarKist Co. agreed to plead guilty to a felony… Continue reading

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — The annual pace of inflation slowed more than expected in… Continue reading

Jury finds Calgary couple guilty in 2013 death of toddler son

CALGARY — A jury has convicted a Calgary couple in the death… Continue reading

Study of U.S. hospital figures links pot use with increased risk of stroke

MONTREAL — New research is being presented at a conference in Montreal… Continue reading

Leon Draisaitl has overtime winner as Edmonton Oilers down Boston Bruins 3-2

EDMONTON — Connor McDavid set up Leon Draisaitl for the overtime winner… Continue reading

Edmonton girl guide sells out of cookies in front of cannabis store on first day

EDMONTON — She’s being called one smart cookie. As people lined up… Continue reading

Most Read