Alberta pork producer Arnold Van Ginkel of Rocky Mountain House had to make the tough decision, in the last few days, to cull the entire 2,500-head herd of hogs in his barns, as the only way to eradicate the H1N1 virus, as well as the perception that meat from the hogs in his operation posed a risk to consumers and human health.
Van Ginkel’s hog operation was placed under quarantine in May after it was found the virus had been introduced to animals in his barns by a contractor who had recently visited Mexico.
The science is clear that you can’t get the H1N1 virus from eating any type of pork, but that didn’t convince meat processors who wouldn’t buy his hogs. They likely faced the same concerns about consumer perception, and didn’t want to jeopardize their markets, regardless how safe the meat was.
The full text of a release from Alberta Pork concerning the cull can be found on their website at: www.albertapork.com and click on the link to H1N1 virus updates.
Van Ginkel, who moved to Canada from Holland to start a new life, is now taking time to consider his options. He has applied to the federal government for compensation under the AgriRecovery and AgriStability programs, but it will be interesting to see how effective those programs are.
It can only be hoped that this drastic, but no doubt necessary move, closes this unfortunate chapter, making it possible for him to rebuild his business and a life for him and his family.
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